Chapter Four

Riksspelman or Åke Plays Polska

 

Åke Carlsson was a riksspelman, a national folk musician. He played the violin and his brother Tor played cello. They enjoyed playing folkloric music as well as classical. During a typical day at their workshop they would work a little, carve a little then sat down and played for a while. There are notations books about Åke's music, he was one of the winners of the culture prize of Tranås municipality and his compositions have been published in several books including anthologies about the music of the landscape of Småland. His father PJ Carlsson was also a musician, as was his brother.

 

The fourth chapter is about Åke’s music, it is abstract and untouchable. In the site specific intervention Åke’s floating music is once again played at the old workshop. The intimate recording starts with a lullaby, “it suits this semi dark evening hour with little light coming in” says Åke before he starts playing.

 

“I was there at the workshop when Åke was recording this piece!” exclaimed Sven Karlsson. In an old cassette he gave the artist Åke’s music. “I was sitting here at the entrance and he said ‘Sven now I’m gonna play you some music’ and he played. He also played on my wedding day.”

 

Riksspelman or Åke Plays Polska is a sound based intervention focusing on the musical side of the workshop. Music is very hard to describe due to its untouchable and volatile nature. The subtle and minimal intervention consists of a looped forty five minute recording of Åke playing the violin and interjecting from time to time with personal comments about the songs together with a number of musical anthology books and notations spread on the working benches inside the space.

 

Åke's haunting and powerful music, once recored in the workshop, fills the space yet again. The audio recording coming from a small speaker positioned where Åke’s working uniform still hangs.

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