From polka to punk

Photo Mats Engfors/Fotographic

Eva and Rolf Lindström are fascinated by the versatility of the accordion. Now they pass on the Norrbotten fiddler tradition to Jesper Forsberg, 26, and meet across genre boundaries.

It was the music and love of the accordion that brought Eva and Rolf Lindström together in the 90s. Rolf then attracted Eva to Boden’s accordion club and a little later also to his heart.

Today they are 70 and 83 years old respectively and still like to play together. In various constellations, they have played at many nursing homes, midsummer celebrations and fiddlers’ meetings, but in these times they follow the recommendations and stay at home.


– We have played a lot in recent years so now it feels a bit empty. It’s much more fun to be several. You get a little braver, dare to take the turns more and get inspired by the others, says Eva.

At home, Eva and Rolf like to choose Evert Taube or classic accordion songs from Norrbotten’s fiddler tradition and when they play outside, there is a lot of Swedish music from the 40s and 50s. The audience recognizes this and can sing along.

Accordion is a fantastic instrument. You can play Life in the Finnish forests and Kalle Skeven and stuff, but you can also play classical and jazz. You can play very beautifully, we have several great songs in different parts, says Eva.


Next generation

They serve coffee and cinnamon buns on the glazed porch when the next generation of accordionists steps in through the sliding door. It is Jesper Forsberg who has been a student at Eva’s since last winter.

– We are a large group of friends with many talented musicians, especially guitarists. I wanted to learn to play but realized that no matter how good I get at guitar, I will never be the best. So I started thinking about which instruments no one can play, says Jesper.


He likes a punk band that includes accordion in certain songs and understood that the instrument can be used for more than folk music. So he decided on accordion and went and bought one. Youtube gave no tips so through the accordion club he got in touch with Eva. The first time he came here, however, it turned out that the accordion he bought had Russian fingering and the buttons in completely different places. It was completely impossible to play for Eva, even less could she teach it. Instead, Jesper had to borrow one from Rolf
which he then bought.

They started with simple exercises so that Jesper would practice coordination and be able to do different things with his right and left hand, or “split the halves of the brain”, as he puts it.

– I have a partner and son who were not so fond of the beginning so I sat out in the cottage and practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced. Finally I learned, now I know Boeves Psalm which was my goal and some other songs, says Jesper.


Generations and genres meet

Eva and Rolf have tried to bring in younger abilities but usually the beginners are over 50, so they are very happy that Jesper showed up.

– It has been very fun. He asks a lot and I really get to think and read, so I have learned a lot too, says Eva.

– I am impressed by the guy, he has learned in a flash, says Rolf.


Jesper has started to take out melodies himself and tests the instrument in everything from hard rock to TV series intros. Now the accordion has a given place in his punk band. The next step will be to learn to take chords and try Boden classics such as Waltz from Lakaträsk or Korpforsens Brus.

– If you do not play an instrument, start! It’s the best thing I’ve done in my whole life. It’s developing the brain and it’s so damn fun. Having a private tutor is a privilege and now we have become friends, says Jesper.


During the spring, they have had many meetings online. There will be a time lag that means they can not play together but they can talk, show and listen. Today they get a chance to play together again. Jesper starts, than Eva and then Rolf joins in.

So they sit there, a little over a meter apart and lift the roof on the porch. The hilarious atmosphere can not be missed, something very special happens when musicians meet and let the notes rule. #


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