Hi, I’m Pär. I’m a fiddler raised in Svärdsjö, a small idyllic village in Dalecarlia, Sweden. Folk music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember: my parents were deep into traditional folk dances, and they took me with them to each and every dance meeting they went to. There, a little infant-version of me lay in a corner, indulging every single note, every single melody that I could pick up. And my mother played the fiddle, one of my older brothers played the fiddle, my grandpa played the accordion. There was simply no way to escape traditional music in the home I grew up in, and by grabbing a fiddle I fulfilled my destiny a couple of weeks before I turned five.
I’ve been into folk music ever since, and I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in one of the areas of Sweden most vibrant with traditional folk music. When explaining to my German friends I usually say its the Bavaria of Sweden, where people are walking around in the Swedish version of Lederhosen all day long. That’s a strong exaggeration, but you get the point. I was almost totally immersed in the music from day one. I did have some detours into classical music when I was in the city’s music school, but I was extremely blessed by having a fiddle teacher who herself had a strong love for traditional Swedish fiddling. Where other kids’ teachers might have lured them away from the polskas and schottisches, she encouraged me to dig deeper.
So, how does a guy like me end up playing American old time music? As most things in life it happened by coincidence. I’d been living in Germany for some years, and I missed playing folk. As you might imagine the German scene for Swedish folk music is small. There is one, but it’s spread over Germany like specks on a mirror, and it isn’t that easy to find people to play with regularly.
I took to the local Irish folk session to at least have a substitute. And through the Irish music I got to know someone who knew someone, and suddenly I played My old hen and Shove that pig’s foot a bit further into the fire. After that my fiddle played old time music more and more often.
Support Oldtime Central
And I have no plans on stopping. In the last couple of years old time music has become a big part of my life. I’ve met so many kind people through it and made so many friends that are so much fun to jam with. There are so many future workshops and jams that will fill me with joy. I feel that I’m still very much in the beginning of my old time journey, and that my fiddle has so many tunes that it still needs to play.
Oh, and recently I bought a banjo…
If you want to find out more about me and my music, you can find me at https://www.fiddlestomper.com.
[…] You can find the interview here: https://oldtime-central.com/par-persson-mattsson/. […]