‘Strange Immigrant’ SINGLE: FREDRIK KINBOM – “Swede Hollow”
Fredrik Kinbom – ‘Songs For Lap Steel And Harmonium’ is available @ iTunes.
by Walter Price
The new album from Swedish composer/artist Fredrik Kinbom isn’t any ordinary folk-pop outing. ‘Songs for Lap Steel and Harmonium’ is more akin to an experimental and thought-provoking collection ready for the musical theatre. And as the title suggests, the relegated to the “garbage dump of history” instrumentation is the only other sounds cradling this album’s compassionate societal views.
The single “Swede Hollow” finds its roots in literary history as an uncredited YouTube post explains. “The lyric for “Swede Hollow” was inspired by Swedish author Ola Larsmo’s 2016 novel of the same name, which tells the tale of Swedish immigrants in the USA in the early 1900s, who escaped poverty in rural Sweden only to land in urban slums, being met with prejudice in their new country and living at the lowest level of society. Swedes were by many there considered to be “dumb”, “smelly” and not “proper white Europeans”. This is of course currently a highly relevant theme, as people newly arrived in a foreign country and culture are facing the very same problems. But they are not blonde Swedes today. To remember that any one of us could be this “strange immigrant” is important.
“The valley Swede Hollow in St. Paul, Minnesota – now a park – was a slum neighbourhood first inhabited by Swedish settlers from the 1880s, followed by Italians, Poles and later by Mexicans, until the last inhabitants were forcibly evicted and all housing burnt down in 1956 as the neighborhood was considered a health hazard by city officials. As the song’s lyric concludes, “at the very bottom there is always room”.
Unequivocally, this album is a timely, dark and beautiful collection that needs your undivided attention the first several times you explore its depths. Watch the Kinbom & (Sonja) Kessner produced film for “Swede Hollow” below.
Starring Sonja Kessner and Askin Djordjevic / Produced by Kinbom & Kessner
“With Songs for Lap Steel and Harmonium, I set out to write and record an album where the only instruments accompanying my voice are the lap steel guitar (acoustic and electric) and the harmonium, or pump organ.” – F. Kinbom
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