Preview: Songs For A Summer Night From Sweden, Wigmore Hall, London

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The Independent Culture

One of Sweden's leading folk singers, Lena Willemark, will be showing off her extraordinary "kulning" skill at London's Wigmore Hall for the final concert of the From-Sweden project. This is a vocal technique practiced by shepherd and cowherd girls in Sweden to communicate across mountains and forests.

One of Sweden's leading folk singers, Lena Willemark, will be showing off her extraordinary "kulning" skill at London's Wigmore Hall for the final concert of the From-Sweden project. This is a vocal technique practiced by shepherd and cowherd girls in Sweden to communicate across mountains and forests.

"Some of the sounds, especially the melodic high-pitched sounds used to call animals, can be heard 5km away," says Willemark, who grew up in the small village of Evertsberg in mid-west Sweden and has managed to adapt the sounds for folk music and even jazz.

Willemark's kulning will be improvised, as she "always sings with nature's help". She last performed in the UK when she was part of the line-up for the opening of The Sage, Gateshead. Now she is appearing as part of her trio, Frifot. Willemark sings and plays fiddle, Per Gudmundson plays fiddle and viola and Ale Moller is on wooden flutes and the mandolin.

"We bring a modern twist to traditional music," says Willemark. "We do not want to repeat the music as if we are stuck in a time warp. We are not afraid to bring new harmonies or instruments to the music."

Frifot will perform traditional songs, instrumental dance music and medieval ballads, though they will not be wearing traditional outfits. "It is not about what we wear. It is about playing music we love," says Willemark. "When the audience close their eyes, they will see the landscape of Sweden. Hopefully, we will really get into their hearts."

From-Sweden started in October 2004, celebrating Swedish and English music, composers and artists. For the closing gala, Willemark will star with Anne Sofie von Otter, and 16 young singers from both countries will be conducted by the Wigmore's artistic director Paul Kildea in Vaughan William's Serenade to Music.

'Songs for a Summer Night From Sweden', Wigmore Hall, London W1, 13 June (020-7935 2141; www.wigmore-hall.org.uk)

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