Voices from the Outside

Outsiders’ songs are being examined in a new research project at Svenskt visarkiv. Songs about and by the blind, prison songs, and workers’ strike songs from the collection are being highlighted.

The research project is based on chapbooks, recordings, and interviews from the middle of the nineteenth century up to around 1970. The focus is on begging songs of and about blind people, songs of unemployed and striking workers, as well as prison songs (having a connection to prison life). The materials can be found in Svenskt visarkiv’s collection at Statens musikverk.

Unexamined Cultural Heritage

“The three song types all have their origins in social alienation, a theme that is treated in different ways in the songs. Common to all three repertoires is that they, until now, found themselves in the shadow of cultural heritage and research material, says Dan Lundberg, one of the researchers in the project, as well as Chief Librarian and Head Archivist at Statens musikverk.

In addition to the intimate study of the different song contexts and text worlds, the project’s aim is to also highlight the songs as source material and socio-historical documents. The three-year research project is implemented with support from Kulturrådet (The Swedish Arts Council).

Participants in the Project

  • Stefan Bohman, ethnologist and head of Strindbergmuseet (the Strindberg Museum)
  • Dan Lundberg, ethnomusicologist and Chief Librarian and Head Archivist at Statens musikverk
  • Karin Strand, literary scholar and Deputy Chief of Archive at Statens musikverk

Kulturrådet logotyp


Skrivet av Musikverket den 13 May, 2013



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