Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday's Music Moment: Swedish Edition

For 51 weeks of the year, we run a Hapa* household. Yorkshire pudding for dinner one night (mmm, bland!) and Egg Flower Soup the next. One of us is really excited about the upcoming royal wedding, and the other always wants to know where you went to college. 

But the week of December 13 each year, we embrace our non-existent Swedish roots. 

It started exactly 10 years ago, when our youngest daughter was born almost a month early, on Christmas Day. (Yes, Virginia, there is an anesthesiologist who looks an awful lot like Santa when you're in back labor.) She shares a name in common with St. Lucia, the patron saint of Sweden whose big day is December 13th. So with the prodding and guidance of her Swedish godmother, and to counter the lousy timing of her birthday, we have turned St. Lucia Day into an adopted family holiday.

The biggest marker of the day is baking of the Lucia Crown - a two-story braided bread made with saffron. Here's the no-fail recipe we use - the key is really good powdered saffron, so spring for it. Stud it with candles, sing "Happy Name Day to You!" and shower the kid with gifts (this year lots of Harry Potter and art supplies,) and you got yerself a holiday. We like the bread so much we make it again for Christmas morning, which is probably not allowed in the Swedish rule book, but they're an affable people so maybe they won't mind.

In looking for this week's Music Moment, then, I wanted to stick with the Sweden theme. I had hoped to bring you Robyn singing "Konichiwa Bitches," which includes some handy tips on how to organize your body parts, but my parents put some stupid parental control thing on my computer and I can't access it anymore because it has "swear words." Oh, wait, I'm the parent who did that. And I've forgotten the password and there seems to be no way on earth to recover it. Don't you hate that?

So I went a bit further afield to bring you the youthful Lykke Li singing "I'm Good, I'm Gone" from what looks like a school bathroom where she stashed two shoe-gazing Nordic musicians during second period. Now, I've seen four different acoustic versions of this song and in every one her voice is this strong, hypnotic, and distinctive; only the instruments change. This is the spoons, soap dispenser, and toilet flushing version, not to be confused with the megaphone, Robyn handclaps, and tinny transister radio version. 

"Yeah, I'm workin' to make butter for my piece of bun" - hope this weekend your piece of bun is a morsel of Lucia bread!

* white + asian = Hapa. Check it out at


  1. I'm a little worried about clicking on that video link. Looks like something, uh...bad is about to happen.

  2. Oh no. It's all Swedish goodness, I assure you. Although one reader has let me know she can't understand a darn thing Lykke is singing, which may be because they are all standing in a water closet.

  3. I think it was going to be Serge Gainsbourg this week? How disappointing.

  4. Don't blame me, blame Youtube - couldn't find any good quality video of that song. The Normalarkians demand quality video. Still I did play it to myself a few times and can hum a few bars with you next time we're stationed at the same dessert station.


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