You can’t think of summer without thinking about all of the great summer music festivals that take place. From Lollapalooza, happening here in Chicago from July 31 to August 2, to Roskilde in Denmark, which just ended, music festivals bring people together to enjoy “the universal language of mankind,” as American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it.
Spanning every known culture around the globe, the art of music has had the power to move people (literally and figuratively) throughout history. As H.C. Andersen said, “Where words fail, music speaks.”
From gospel and blues to opera, Chicago has become known for all types of music. This year alone Chicago music festivals will draw millions of people to the city to celebrate all genres of music.
Denmark is also known as a music hub in its own right, and is the setting for many popular music festivals throughout the year where folk music influences and musical traditions can still be heard. Spillemandsmusik (“folk music”) and folk dancing are important parts of Danish tradition and customs that have been used to preserve the culture of its people for centuries (watch here).
If I’ve learned one thing it’s that Danes love to sing! At the Danish Home I know that Mormor and her friends practice this beloved Danish pastime quite often. They sing together at monthly birthday parties and various other events throughout the year, and each summer the Bjornson Male Chorus performs during Summer Festival.
In this editorial piece from Scandia from December 1908, a cultural appreciation for Scandinavian music is expressed so eloquently:
“We Scandinavians love our songs of the home land–songs that breathe memories of the past, of childhood, of mother love. We have heard our Scandinavian Singing Societies sing these songs, and we have been carried home to the shores of childhood.”
The most wonderful aspect about music is that it is a shared experience. Around the world and in every culture, music, in all forms and genres, has the ability to make us laugh and cry, to inspire and excite. It evokes emotions and memories and is often times the bookmark to our most significant life events. Music is, in its simplest form, a wonderful pastime spent among friends, loved ones, and even strangers.
So get out this summer, enjoy some musik!
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