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Skogfjorden Songprints: A New Podcast Tracing the Connections (and Power) of Song

Published: June 15, 2022

Allsang at Skogfjorden.

“Back in the day,” reminisces Kristian Aksel Skjervold, “we were encouraged to bring a musical instrument up to camp… and be part of the camp band. I remember… Trond-Viggo would take a flute and a violin and an empty ice cream bucket drum and put together the most amazing jazz bands and play Ja Vi Elsker in the morning. I was like, ‘How did you do that with that mix of instruments?’”

Tove teaching songs at Skogfjorden.

In honor of Skogfjorden’s 60th anniversary this summer,  Tove I. Dahl, dean of Skogfjorden Norwegian Language Village, has teamed up with Aksel (a longtime Skogfjorden allsang guitarist and songwriter) and sound engineer, podcast producer, and former Language Village technology services manager Robb Carothers to create Songprints, “a podcast that takes us to Norway and beyond.” Artwork for the podcast comes from Skogfjorden staff member Jessica Dina Korynta (find out why there are seven mountain peaks in episode four!).

The podcast highlights the remarkable stories shared and passed around at camp through music, showing how that camp magic gives individuals space to add their own voices, and how true-life stories and interests have sprouted out from the Village into the “real-world” through song and other means. The podcast (available on SoundCloud) features songs that go way back to when Skogfjorden first began in 1963, new songs from Tove’s personal musical repertoire now preserved in an archive for other Skogfjorden singers to learn, and songs from Skogfjorden’s more recent history. 

 “Sixty years. Imagine how many people we must have been singing and playing with all that time,” says Tove. “Each song has its own songprint based on stories that uniquely connect it to Norway, and the lyrics and melodies that uniquely connect it to the hearts of those who hear and sing it.” 

Robb adds, “I liked the concept of these songs tying back into history – recent history as well as far back history – but the idea that we are dissecting them, almost looking at them forensically, talking about the grammar, the attitudes of the time, trying to piece together motives ... it just felt like a fingerprint, where the song has left clues, an identity of itself that goes back years and years and years. And we can trace it. Not only is it relevant in history, but what’s fun is to see how it’s relevant today.” 

“When our life experiences from either side of the Skogfjorden border intermingle,” says Tove, “the world comes more to life, and connects us in fascinating ways – even across time! Of course, lots of what we talk about is drawn from the Norwegian experience, but the essence of every episode is actually universal. We hope listeners hear that when they tune in to the podcast.” 

And there’s a lot to look forward to listening to, whether you’ve been to Skogfjorden or not, with new episodes being released all summer long! Listen to them here

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