Unexpectedly, I hear music

A week ago I went with a friend to see Eva Dahlgren´s one-woman-show, "Ingen är som jag" ("No one is like me"). It´s not something I would have thought of doing myself, Eva Dahlgren´s (one of Sweden´s most loved singer-songwriters) music has never really touched me. Her voice makes my mind drift. But this was a monologue, this time she had something to say, and I was curious. And I was looking forward to seeing my friend.

The show was not bad. Most of the audience were women my own age, forty-plus, and after the show, as we were waiting for our coats, I heard a lot of them saying it was "nice". A nice show. The review in the paper the next day quoted one woman as saying "she laughed until she cried", and no doubt she did, but no one I heard or talked to did. The all smiled, however. It was a really nice evening. It´s hard to dislike Eva Dahlgren. She is beautiful but not annoyingly so. She is not trying to be cleverer than her audience. She is not making a big display out of being a lesbian and married to the most celebrated jewellery designer (former fashion model, former singer) in the country. She makes a cute dance on stage dressed in a tutu, and it does not make her look ridiculous. What she says makes sense and we like her for it, even though we have all thought it ourselves. "That´s right", we think. "That´s just how it is." Even for Eva Dahlgren.

When I got home I googled her and found out she has written a book called "Hur man närmar sig ett träd" ("How to approach a tree"). The tree is a metafor for the creative process and this book is a diary, from 2003 to 2005, two years when she was working on a new album and on her monologue, the one she is touring with now. I read it pretty much back to back, stopping only to eat, sleep and work. Again, the word "nice" comes to mind. And dare I say it, it´s a bit like reading my own diaries. A lot of complaining about things not getting done, about things turning out wrong, or turning out right but not the way one planned, about people being annoying, about pains and aches, about being tired and hungry and feeling fat. As much as I wish that Dahlgren (or any other woman) would never ever feel fat, I still am greatly comforted by it.

And, as I get near the end, the album is recorded, she is planning a few concerts, a tour, I get this urge to listen to all these songs that I have read all about, that I have almost taken part in the creation of. And thanks to Spotify, I can. And unexpectedly, the songs on the album "Snö" ("Snow") open up to me and I realize Eva Dahlgren´s genius. I am swept away by her voice and the lyrics and I have to put the book away even though there are just a few pages left and I repeat some of the songs, dim the lights, take off my glasses and just listen. I haven´t listened to music like that in a long time.

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