Henrik Christensen - electric and upright bass
Ulf Nilsson - acoustic and electric violin, mandolin
Stefan Valsberg - drums and percussion
Kari Sjöstrand - reeds and vocal

This constellation opens up an exciting world of sounds from different corners of the world. Traditional Swedish folk music, especially polskas from the region Hälsingland in the south of the north Sweden, mixed with jazz standards and originals, all melted together with a touch of balkan music and latin rythms.


Just in time for Cornelis Vreeswijk's "Telegram for the Full Moon" (1966), the last of the audience arrives at the Karisma garden scene. Forty visitors have already had a listen to Lars Gullin's "Mazurka" (1974) and Duke Ellington's "Caravan" (1937). "No, men are pigs, swarming about the glow of love. But the moon is cold and dead," sings Kari Sjöstrand, and never ceases to be horrified by Vreeswijk's poor Ann-Katarin Rosenblad's miserable love life. Ulf Nilsson's mandolin, Henrik Christensen's double bass, and Stefan Valsberg's drums, together with Sjöstrand, give the song its Cornelian bitter-sweet expression.

After a brief musical detour to Spain, the quartet then plays a "polska" signed Järvsö's own rock star From-Olle, the early 19th century Yngwie Malmsteen. When Christensen's violin is complemented by Sjöstrand's saxophone and Valsberg's drums, the step to the Balkans does not feel very far. From time to time it sounds almost a little George Riedel and the associations with Ronja Rövardotter are close at hand, something wild and indeterminate.

"We mix, as you notice, folk music and jazz," describes Sjöstrand the quartet HUSK of which she is a part. HUSK then leaves Hälsingland and takes the audience a century ahead. It's about the halloween bus à la fifties brass by Ernie Vilkins and Manny Albam's jazz dungeon "Trick or Treat". Here too, Georg Riedel feels occasionally present. Maybe it is the sound of a child on a squeaky trampoline a bit away from the garden scene, which reinforces the feeling of Pippi Longstocking that ravages in a sleepy residential neighborhood in Vimmerby in 1955. We talk about skillfully delivered feel-good jazz and maybe it is not in Astrid Lindgren's Småland we are, but rather in post-war Paris. Violin and sax plays curiously with each other with bass and drums as aprons. The 21st arrondissement, is it in Undersvik?

HUSK's closing song is self-composed - "Polska from Djupviken". The same bay as now rainy clouds hangs over as wet laundry, while some thunder and occasional lightnings make it's entrance into the greeting sky. This song really impresses and is performed skilfully and compellingly. An interesting fusion between folk and jazz, which begins with violin and sax, and ends in a lazy swing at la Deirdre's samba, where Valsberg treats both bongo drum and cowbell.

Despite, or thanks to, HUSK's divergent repertoire, where years, genres and places emerge for every conceivable preference, it can be stated that a music-historical buffet like this tastes very well amongst good friends' at one of Hälsingland's most beautiful places.

Maria Dahlström

HUSK Hälsingland on Spotify

Polska from Djupaviken
Donna Lee