This week, the word just happens to be my favorite number, 8. Eight comes from Sweden of course (don’t quote me on that with the historical context), and what a place it is. I almost lost a friend to Sweden; she visited the country during a little European trip and ended up staying there for months, with no intention of returning. A Swedish juggler had caught her eye… Anyways – the band Bo Kaspers Okester has apparently caught the eyes of many, as it sits in the number two spot on the top selling album charts in Sweden, and it’s been a consistent contender for the top spots on the chart for 5 weeks. I’ll give you one guess as to what stole the number one spot, and it should be pretty easy if you’ve been following this darling little column. If you haven’t, just think of Beavis and Butthead’s very favorite band, and you’ve got it: yep, it’s AC/DC! It’s an AC/DC world people, we’re just going to have to get used to it.
Bo Kaspers Orkester has been very busy over the past few years, putting out record after record with hit after hit. Aside from ABBA, Bo Kaspers Orkester is probably the most famous Swedish band in the world (unfortunately no musicals have been made from different tracks of Bo Kaspers Orkester to date). With ten previous records since their debut into the music scene in 1993, their eleventh album (named 8) was released on Sep. 24, 2008 with high bars to reach that they set for themselves and their listeners. Aside from AC/DC’s global sweep of the top spot in album sales, 8 seems to have delivered to the Swedish citizens just what they were looking for, as they have bought up and are continuing to buy out the album, safely placing it in that number two spot.
The band consists of four main members, Bo Sundström, Fredrik Dahl, Michael Malmgren, and Mats Schubert. They create a sound that borders somewhere on jazz, folk, and rock at times. Having streamed the album, I can see why the Swedes love it so much – even though I don’t know the language, it was hard to not sing along. America might just lose me to Sweden; I might just grab my juggling-loving friend and catch the next plane. The band was nominated for a Grammi (the Swedish version of our Grammy here, imagine that!) and won for artist of the year in 1998, and they were nominated again in 2007. Heavily laden with accolades and public praise, Bo Kaspers Orkestra is a wonderful face for the Swedish music scene to flaunt internationally, and they’re a great band to ease foreigners into modern Swedish music. If the wall of harmonies, big blonde hair, and crazy dance steps of ABBA are too much for you, please don’t turn away from Swedish music just yet – Bo Kaspers Orkester will probably be your gateway drug to the enticing scene of the Swedish sound.
Hopefully 8 now means for you what it does for me: something way better than ABBA. Not to knock ABBA, they were great and all, but Bo Kaspers Orkestra is just, well, a lot better. Take a little time to familiarize yourself with the Swedish music scene (or Swedish jugglers, they’re marvelous too from what I hear), and check the column out next week for a little look at what’s happening in Moroccan music. If AC/DC’s Black Ice is what they’re all listening to in Morocco, I’ll devote my column to following the spread of Black Ice to even the hottest of places- this is just unnatural.

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