Sweden’s sweet melodies

The Swedish all-women band ‘The Rising’ had their maiden performance in Kerala recently

Published: 12th March 2012 12:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:34 PM   |  A+A-


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Rising started their musical sojourn at Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, five years ago. The band came into being as an initiative of the Brankyrka Protestant Church Parish and had set off with two members - Sophia Andreasson and Sophia Oden who are no longer part of it. Over the years,  the singers of the band have come and gone although its identity remains the same in Sweden. It also did not have a name until it was christened ‘The Rising’ two years ago by Vineet George Panicker, a musician who had been to Sweden from Kerala for a music exchange programme.

“The band now has fourteen members. It is not that the band is particular about having women alone. It just so happened that whoever remained in the band for long were women,” laughs Cecilia Ohrwall who heads the band. “We are trained in singing pop, Swedish folk and songs of Africa in Swahili (Language of Africa). Our music band has its singing in three parts- Alto, Soprano 1 and 2. For concerts we collect songs from books and even try on our creativity by penning down lyrics for a new track” she says.

The band is allowed grants by Olof Palme Remembering Fund, set up in memory of Palme who was the Prime Minister of Sweden. Of the fourteen, Cecilia plays the flute and the others join her in singing. Alina Sundberg Halmesalo, Moa Jacobsen Loov, Matilda Sjoberg, Ronja Tellinger Lehnberg, Ellen Junstrom, Andrea Asplin, Sara Gustafsson, Maria Lindblad, Lydia Kjellberg, Hanna Sandberg, Charlotte Lindha, Amanda Fogelin, Jennyfer Trinder and Cecilia had their first performance in Kerala at the Vyloppilli Samskrithi Bhavan last Friday as part of the Cantata Festival organised here. Prior to their performance in Kerala, they had performed at the St.Patrick’s Church in Bangalore and in Coimbatore.

For their performances in South India, the band members decided to wear saris. They purchased saris and got blouses stitched from Coimbatore. Not familiar with the attire, the girls were struggling with the six yard long costume, when Saraswathy Murthy, music teacher who had come to attend the musical evening offered to help.  Finally they walked out of their green rooms with their embroidered colourful saris held up to avoid tripping “They stood like dolls, not knowing what to do. But I was happy to see the effort they were taking to drape the sari,” she said.

Most of the members are either doing a professional course or are working with some organisation apart from being members of the band. Lydia is a theatre student at the Intgesunds School and during her free hours enjoys practicing songs for upcoming concert. Alina, who works at a kindergarten school, has been a part of the band only for a couple of months and the exotic Kerala experience has thrilled her. “We will take back with us good memories of the time we had spent at the Kalamazoo beach and the visit to the elephant camp (Kohinoor),” says Alina.

After their last minute grooming session with Cecilia playing her silver flute and the girls sharply following her prompts, they headed towards the stage for the performance. The musical show had Percussionist Chary Harangue and Vineet George on the keyboard.


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