Creative Transitions: Musical Currents in Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s

The late 1960s and early 1970s are often described in terms of a transformative era in many ways, from politics to aesthetics. This is a story often told, and in a Swedish context often accompanied by images of students occupying university buildings, manifestations against urban transformations and the music festival at Gärdet in Stockholm. There are many reasons why the narrative has been construed thus, but also reasons to go back and reexamine this period: how was it, what really happened, and if it was as dynamic a period as is usually claimed.

In the project Creative Transitions, Karin Eriksson, Sverker Hyltén-Cavallius and Dan Lundberg examine three musical areas between 1965 and 1975: the folk music wave, the early alternative music movement and the folk song scene. All three have been studied previously, but from different perspectives. A point of departure for this project is that this period is characterized by shifts or movements – of people, ideas, impulses and sound worlds – that are often pointed to as important for creativity. The project revisits the collections at Svenskt visarkiv with new questions, at the same time adding new interviews with people active in the period to the archive, and uses other archives and media databases. The project aims to contribute to an understanding of the prerequisites of cultural creativity, ranging from abstract shifts of perspectives to concrete circumstances. Sometimes these relate to such fundamental circumstances as private economy. Or as Eva Wilke, one of the founders of the record company Silence, expressed it in our interview with her in the autumn of 2016: “In those days you could earn 3200 crowns a month and pay a rent of 98 crowns, of course we had the time of our lives!”

The project started in September 2017 and will continue until 2020. The Project is financed by The Swedish National Heritage Board.


Sverker Hyltén-Cavallius (project leader), associate professor in ethnology, research archivist at Musikverket/The Swedish Performing Arts Agency.

Karin Eriksson, Ph D musicology, defended her dissertation Sensing Traditional Music through Sweden’s Zorn Badge in 2017 and is researcher at Musikverket/The Swedish Performing Arts Agency.

Dan Lundberg, associate professor in musicology, Chief librarian/Head archivist at the Swedish Performing Arts Agency

Madeleine Modin, Ph D musicology, Research Archivist at Musikverket/The Swedish Performing Arts Agency