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World Translation Center Music Blog

Using Music to Build
Bridges Between Cultures

Our music blog features music from around the world, traditional music, modern music, singer and
instrumental, as well as some interesting facts about the different musicians, countries and cultures.

Finnish Quartet, Sväng

This video shows the Finnish quartet Sväng playing harmonica music while cooking sausages and bread. The video contains English subtitles when the four musicians talk and the video description indicates that the two recipes are available upon request.

This is how each of their concerts starts: Four Finnish musicians in dark suits with prominent rings on several fingers step on the stage, each carrying a small suitcase. In the suitcase are various harmonicas and mouth organs, some of which you have probably never seen before. They slowly take out their instruments and start playing.

The name “Sväng” which means “curve” in Swedish. (Swedish is spoken in parts of Finland.) The name identifies that the band does not play straight forward music but rather complicated compositions relating to unexpected ‘turns or curves’ in their music. All tunes are only played with harmonicas and other mouth organs.

These complex compositions resemble dance music from the Balkan countries, including polkas and tangos as well as some Finnish and Russian folk music.

Jouko Kyhälä, the mastermind of the quartet is the first to major in harmonica and then complete his doctorate.

The Sväng quartet started in 2003 and has released several albums and videos since then. Each year they go on tour. In April of this year, there are several concerts scheduled in Austria.