“Music is our common language”Culture
For anyone feeling empty after the recent choir festival came to an end, there is still hope. Every Monday, the international student choir meet up to practice in their truly unique way, instructed by a charismatic leader – recently awarded by the Mongolian president as a promoter of Mongolian culture.
This weekend’s choir festival in Lund has come to an end but Lund’s choirs are still practicing hard.
“This is different from a stereotypical choir,” observes Swiss student Christian Maurer.
“We have exercises where we get to move around, we try uncommon songs and experiment with improvisation at the end of every session. There is a place for everyone here.”
Swedish medical student Simon Regnell adds: “I originally came here because I just wanted a choir but it is the people who have kept me coming back. It is always so varied. We recently had a workshop with a couple of Bulgarians and there is a Georgian group coming in a few weeks.”
But the common theme that emerges when talking with choir members is their admiration and appreciation for the work of their choir leader Gösta Peterson:
“Music is our common language and Gösta’s work has really served to bring all these international people together in a social and productive way. He also lets us have two fikas so that is good!” Comments Alexandra Thilen, the newest member of the choir.
So who is this enigmatic choir leader and just how did he come to receive an award from the President of Mongolia.
“I have been working a lot with overtones and made an event with a trans-Mongolian group based in Germany. We have since done concerts, workshops and tours of schools to promote the Mongolian culture and throat singing,” said Gösta.
“My friends made jokes that maybe I would get some recognition but when the Ambassador in Stockholm contacted me I couldn’t believe it, I never expected to be given an award by the President of Mongolia for doing what I love!”
But Gösta is not a man to gloat and quickly turned the attention back to the International Choir that he set up three years ago:
“We try not to make it not to difficult so that everyone can enjoy themselves. The main language is English but we also sing songs from Sweden, across Africa and Europe, anywhere really.”