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  • Claudia

Umefolk with perhaps some broken toes

(Turns out the ‘Spanish’ song I was singing was actually Serbian… I was wondering about the strange Spanish words!)

Again on the train, this time moving away from Umea and this stunning festival that brought me many moments of utter happiness. Polska dances were had, a beautiful concert with friends from around the world, a little slot with my Scottish fiddle playing friend Kate Young and Mahesh Vinakrayam all the way from Chennai in India.

Totally relaxed after a short sauna session in Anton&Sofia’s place by the ice lake.

My hair is still wet and I feel quite spaced after what feels much more than seven days of music, happiness, late nights, early mornings, time away in a space somewhat apart from the ordinary. Thinking that this in fact should be the ordinary as I feel completely alive. Though very tired and in desperate need to hibernate for a while and reflect on all that has happened.

Enjoying my ‘god mor gon’ orange juice and wondering if I did actually break a little toe or two when trying to quickly shut the door of the beautiful round wooden sauna owned by the family Teljebek just about 50 minutes ago. Images and sound tracks to the last few days up in this forest country are flying past me. The free-style polska dancing and waltzing with Marti, Matija, Kate and Hansa at the late night afterparty at this amazing house… the disco jump-dancing by the bar.

Our gig with Umeuropa, a folk orchestra holding no less than 20 or 30 people (numbers aren’t my strength), including at least 4 of my all-time favourite people and musicians, playing tunes we shared from all over the world. The all-day rehearsals in the school in typical Matija style, coming up with a new thing to learn or do every about 10 minutes, throwing over the whole programme. The many times I got lost in Umea, which had me not trust myself anymore and hanging on to my Estonian-French-Slovenian flat mates who always brought me home safely, even made lovely porridge and dinner and read me nice quotes before going to bed. Reconnecting with Kate and her awesome music and being and our moment with Mahesh doing his Carnatic rhythms, Kate singing her Bulgarian song and me yodelling. Mahesh blessing Matija’s panda puppet, by accidentally sitting on it.

Our sessions by the sauna and the beautiful wooden cottage in the forest by the lake, right cut out of an Astrid Lindgren book. Shoe plattln to the Austrian band ‘Hotel Pallindrone’. Singing a Slovenian song from different corners in a church. Cramming into the only bar at the festival. Listening to beautiful fiddle playing by Brittany Haas. Jump-dancing to a po

werful all-female party band. Laughing. Indian style breakfast with Mahesh. A quick Carnatic violin lesson, Indian massage. Visit to the frozen (!) sea, barely able to take in the landscape’s beauty, starting to understand people’s connection to trees and the forest.

Anton’s beautiful wooden cottage with all the instruments and things and Dan’s old time music. Singing in the sauna and jumping into a hole cut out of the ice lake, steam coming off our bodies. A quick goodbye and off to the train where I am now.

Sweden is a lovely country. I haven’t quite realised my departure, but I can already feel some sadness coming over me having to leave so many people behind with whom I feel alive. Amazing times!

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