By Samantha Boorer (email@example.com)
Southern Sweden, March, 2000
small but very international group got together on 15th April for the Scandinavian
Squeeze-in in Southern Sweden, organised by Jim Lucas, Louise Lundberg and Pontus
Thuvesson. Three Swedish squeezers (Louise, Pontus and Per) were augmented by
Andy (English but living in Sweden), Erwin (who hitched up from Germany), Danny
(who flew in from England), Jim (an American resident in Denmark) and me (English,
but who flew in from Russia!). Bearing in mind that some people played more than
one instrument, there were three anglo players, six English players, two duet
players, two 'melodeon' players (I think that's what they were!), one tin whistler
and a piper (plus bones, spoons and feet ... and an assortment of voices).
mood was informal throughout, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere which put
me (I have been playing the anglo for less than a year) completely at ease. Some
of the time we all played together (someone would strike up a tune which was repeated
while we all joined in), some of the time we split into pairs or smaller groups
(to grapple with a particular system, or to grapple with a particular tune). The
more experienced players were very generous with their knowledge, time and patience,
and it was also great to have an opportunity to play other instruments (I managed
to get my hands on a C/G and a G/D Jeffries, and there were an assortment of Lachenal
and Wheatstone Englishes of various sizes). As I have been living in Moscow since
I started playing the anglo, this was my first chance to meet other concertina
players in person and I found it great to be able to swap tunes and absorb playing
hints. The small size of the group was a definite plus for me, as it made the
whole event seem like going to visit friends and playing in their living room
- no 'performance nerves' in evidence at all. I have come away with three new
tunes, increased confidence and had a great weekend into the bargain!
The squeeze-in itself took place in the very well equipped village hall in
Olserod, with sleeping accommodation in a nearby chalet park. Delicious food was
also masterminded by Louise, Jim and Pontus with everyone mucking in to make light
work of any chores.
following day we had been invited to go and play at a lakeside cafe/restaurant
in exchange for our lunch. Only four of us were able to take up the invitation.
Once again this turned out to be a very laid back afternoon 'gig' - ideal for
a newcomer to break her teeth on!
We all parted with many promisings of 'next year' - I hope that this will be
repeated and that a few more people in need of a spring weekend break will join
us for this exclusive and very enjoyable event. If you're interested and want
to put a marker down early, contact Jim on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- (Top) L to R, back row first, Per, Samantha, Danny, Erwin, Louise, Jim, Pontus.
- (Middle) What we played (Andy's pipes are missing from this photo!)
- (Bottom) Erwin's arm, Pontus, Samantha, Per, Danny, Louise's legs in 'class'!
Jim Lucas ( email@example.com) adds:
So I hereby announce that we intend to hold our Second Annual Scandinavian
Squeeze-In next spring. March and April are the candidate months, and we're
taking suggestions as to the exact dates. So if you think you'd like to come
but have specific preferences or potential conflicts -- Easter, St. Patrick's
Day, a family event, flying lessons, or whatever, -- please let us know. We
should fix the dates by summer's end at the latest.
According to plan, nothing was planned except the meals. The whole day was a
mixture of solos and group playing, discussions of music and techniques,
learning music and skills from each other, and just jamming. Since we were so
few, we mostly sat in one group, but occasionally two or three people would move
elsewhere to do something separate.
Levels of concertina experience ranged from one to twenty-five years, performing
experience from semi-professional to "once in public, by mistake". When the
owner of a local inn -- also a musician -- invited us to play for our dinner the
following day, that became "twice, and no mistake".
The "folk" music we played ranged among tunes and songs from Sweden, Denmark,
Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Russia, and one from Bulgaria. (I had some
Norwegian and Finnish tunes, but we never quite got to them.) There were
recently-composed tunes, classical music (Mozart and others) and even a little
We traded ideas and techniques ranging from bellows control and the best way to
hold one's instrument to different harmonies and how to locate the basses of the
basic chords in any key.
In addition to the concertinas (Englishes, anglos, and Crane duets were
represented), two players doubled on diatonic button box. Mandolin, whistle,
bones, and highland pipes were also played. (The guitar and fiddle had been
left home.) There were also a little dancing and a lot of singing.
The only disappointment was having to leave. But we just didn't have time for
everything we wanted to do. Should we plan the next one to last more than one
We're all looking forward to next year. With plenty of lead time, we hope
to have lots more attendees. Even with more people, we expect to keep the everybody's-equal
intimacy. It's really the people attending who will make it work, and that's why
we're sure it can't fail.