Hello there Sweden Day entertainer Tim Rued,
Tell us a little about yourself!
“My name is Tim Rued, born and raised in California. As of May, I am 65 years old. I am married and have 3 grown daughters, and 3 young grandchildren.
When I was 14, I began playing old-time traditional music with my grandparents, and graduated to fiddle when I was 16. When at college in Seattle, I came into contact with Scandinavian musicians and dancers, and playing the fiddle for dancing became my main off-campus activity.
In the early 1970’s I worked as an engineer in Glendale, California, and got connected with the Swedish Folkdance Club of Los Angeles. My music became more and more important to me, and when the Swedish dance group planned a tour of Sweden in 1974, I signed up to go along. One thing led to another, though, and I wound up backpacking through Sweden with my fiddle beginning in March, joining up with the Los Angeles group when they arrived in June. I met hundreds of fiddlers, learned an astonishing amount of music, became fluent in the language, and essentially became an “adopted” Swede.
I have gone back to Sweden many times since then, often leading groups of people on “folk tours” of the country, exposing my companions to the music, folk culture, traditional foods, and more. My two-week tours in the summertime always include at least 3 music festivals, as well as staying in places that the typical tourist never sees.”
What is it that is so special about authentic Swedish music?
“Authentic Swedish folkmusic is one of the richest forms of “people’s music” I have ever come across. It is carried on by tradition, sometimes father to son for many generations. It is filled with subtle rhythms and unusual chord progressions, and beautiful melodies. It is a working music, traditionally played not just for dancing, but for weddings, traveling, church services, funerals, and more. Seldom heard in the US, the music still is easy to listen to, and is great as background music for non-dancers and non-Swedes alik
How would you describe your music?
The Swedish music I play involves a huge repertoire of tunes of all sorts from every corner of Sweden. While I specialize in music from Gästrikland, Hälsingland, and Uppland, I also play music from Värmland, Jämtland, Småland, and all the other provinces of old Sweden as well. Most of my music is played on the fiddle, but I also play nyckelharpa (key-fiddle). This old instrument is traditional in Uppland, and has a special echoing voice that is at once thrilling and beautiful. While it shares the repertoire of the fiddle, there is no other instrument that can compare with its sound. On my first trip to Sweden in 1974 I was introduced to the nyckelharpa, and I have played it ever since.
What would you tell someone who hasn’t yet decided whether or not to attend Sweden Day?
“To those who are considering attending Sweden Day, I would say that it is much more than just celebrating one’s Swedish-American heritage. It is a chance to learn more about a country that has a history going back more than a thousand years. There is so much more to Sweden than meatballs and pickled herring! For my part, I will be presenting some of the most wonderful music that I know of – music that has never been commercialized, but that comes direct from the hearts of musicians who have learned it from generations before them. Please come, and you will not regret it!”