The Forest Roberts Theatre welcomes Swedish folk band

The+Emilia+Amper+band+draws+inspiration+from+traditional+Swedish+folk+music+dating+back+to+600+years

The Emilia Amper band draws inspiration from traditional Swedish folk music dating back to 600 years

Jackie Jahfetson

A nyckelharpa, an instrument forged from the ancient depths of the Scandinavian borders near the Baltic Sea, begins with a dramatic pounding of the strings, echoing a pre-battle cry. The woman holds it across her body like a guitar and continues to shift her fingers along the many rows of keys on the upper neck of the instrument with her left hand while her other hand sways the bow across the strings. In a Swedish tongue, she sings a love song inspired from a walk in the deep forest of Småland called “Ut i mörka natten,” which translates to “Into the Dark Night.”

Her music takes you on a journey over the high peaks to the rolling countryside hills of Sweden where thousands of streams flow like her Celtic-like voice, soft and peaceful. What some might say you’d have to travel back 600 years to hear such music, Emilia Amper, one of Sweden’s most successful folk artists, will perform this Saturday night at the Forest Roberts Theatre (FRT).

Presented by Arts Midwest Folkefest (AMF) and the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center (BUPHC), Amper and her band will showcase some of Sweden’s oldest tunes to contemporary folk music at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 29, at the FRT.

Amper was selected by Arts Midwest, which is a non-profit organization based out of Minneapolis that seeks to bring music ensembles from Finland and Sweden to come and spend one week in three different U.S. cities. The groups selected visit schools and campuses and do workshops as well as put on a final concert, said BUPHC Director Daniel Truckey. Amper and her band were chosen because they’re not only talented musicians, but they have an ability to work with young people, Truckey said.

“[The nyckelharpa] has a unique sound and it’s quite unlike anything you’re going to hear in Marquette on any given weekend or month for that matter,” Truckey said.

Amper who has been awarded with different awards from the world champion nyckelharpa player to Swedish and American Grammy nominations, the concert will be professional yet “exciting,” Truckey continued. She’s a “dynamic” musician who knows how to engage a crowd especially with her choice of instrument, Truckey said.

“It’s not the kind of instrument people see very often so when people just watch her play, they’ll be blown away because it looks like it would be very hard to play and also kind of cumbersome. But she plays incredibly fluently and fast,” Truckey said. “It’s a powerful instrument even though it looks like something from 700 years ago.”

With the U.P.’s high population of Swedish descendants, this concert is a way for the community to connect with their ethnicity and their culture, Truckey continued. The event is also a way to connect with the United Conference that took place earlier in the week, to show the diversity in this area.

“The Swedish and Scandinavian countries are very well represented in this area and they really played a role in defining our culture and way of life,” Truckey said. “Not everybody is going to get a chance to go to Sweden so this is a great way for them to interact with these people and learn more about their culture, their music and about a different world.” .

Tickets for the general public are $10 and $5 for NMU students and those under 18; and can be purchased at the FRT Box Office. For more information on the concert, contact Truckey or the BUPHC at (906)227-3212 or email them at [email protected]