Tag Archives: music

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

From North to South we have (Top left to right): Mahmoud Hanafy from Egypt studying Systems, Control and Mechatronics at Chalmers. Tebkew Shibabaw from Ethiopia studying Environmental Science at GU. Sussy from Cameroon studying Social Anthropology at social work and human right at the GU. Ronald Byaruhanga from Uganda studying Social work and human right at GU. Blessing Kabasa from Zimbabwe studying Electric Power Engineering at Chalmers. Nomsa Kgosietsile from Botswana studying Social work and human right at the GU. Thato from South Africa studying Leadership and Management in International Contexts at Linnaeus University

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

I’m back with the next installment of Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II.

I interviewed a few friends and colleagues doing their masters from different countries to give you a little taste of how it is to study in Sweden from various countries in Africa.

Here are their thoughts on food and music.


What do you think about Swedish food compared to food from your home country?

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Kalix löjrom toast
Credit: Magnus Skoglöf/imagebank.sweden.se

Mahmoud: Swedish food is fine, I eat here vegetarian food and seafood. The difference is that in Egypt we have many spices that give a special unique taste.

Tebkew: It’s nice and delicious.  It’s a bit different from what we eat back home. In my country, we usually prefer to eat meat and other animal products. But here people mostly follow sustainable way of feeding style. So, people consume more of healthy foods such as vegetables.

Sussy: Swedish food compared to my country food to me is very artificial, have very little taste, or sometimes very salty a good example is the salted pork and boiles potatoes they eat during Christmas .

Ronald: I am not so adventurous when it comes to food but I think Swedish food is so nice, especially vegetarian food. Meat is quite expensive but affordable if you are a meat lover.

Blessing: Swedish food is prepared and served in an art-form with lots of vegetables. The delicious food is usually like a paradise of ingredients replete with tasty seasoning.  

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Swedish Langoustine salad
Source: Jakob Fridholm /imagebank..se

Nomsa: Nothing beats my home flavor for I would say. The food here is actually not bad at all, they love cheese, it’s in almost every food they prepare, and since I don’t take cheese the food does not form part of my “interesting things in Sweden, list” however its manageable.

Thato: South African food is full of flavor, a fusion of spices give texture and personality to the food. I have experienced Swedish food to be quite mild in comparison. It is often modest and unsurprising. The Swedish also have a far healthier and organic outlook on preparing food.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition II

South African food
Source: eatout.co.za

What food do you miss most from your home country?

Mahmoud: I miss Okra casserole with meat slices and a special Egyptians dish called “Hawawshi” which is made of mincemeat in a local bread.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition II

Source: thefooddictator.com

Tebkew: ‘Injera’- that’s the traditional food of Ethiopia

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Source: www.mmia.com

Sussy: Kwakoko and mbanga soup( graded cocoyam tied in plantain leaf and palm nut soup).

Kwacoco and Mbaga soup
Source: cameroonkitchen.wordpress.com

Ronald: Honestly, the only thing I miss is so dearly is matooke (banana), but the rest can be found in Sweden. There are several places in Gothenburg where one can get Ugandan/African food. For this, I recommend visiting Indian food stores if you miss something Ugandan.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Source: kitchenjs.com

Nomsa: Beef, farmhouse boerewors, Tswana chicken.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Pap and Tswana chicken
Source: http://escapesfromthelittlereddot.com

Thato: I really miss samp! It’s basically chopped dried corn kernels which you prepare as the main starch for a meal. Then you can add beans to it, a light gravy for added moist and some diced beef. I especially love it when my mom adds some powered milk while it boils on the stove.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Samp and Beans with Spinach and Bacon (Umngqusho)
Source: spar.co.za


What do you think of music in Sweden?

Mahmoud: It makes me very happy, I like their music

Ronald: I personally do not enjoy secular music, but I love the fact the fact that I have bumped into African music playing in Swedish Clubs including Ugandan music, especially Jose Chameleon and Eddy Kenzo

Blessing: Swedish music brings with it a beautiful sensation to the ears. I think the Swedish pop genre is one of the best in the world.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition II

Source: giphy.com

Nomsa: I haven’t really listened to Swedish music, but I know we don’t dance to the same tune.

Thato: What they play on the radio is mostly the commercialized pop, hip-hop and rock music you find everywhere. I live in a small town so I can’t say there is a wide variety of music exposure.

Do you know any Swedish artists?

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Of Course! Source: giphy.com

Mahmoud: Zara Larsson of course

Tebkew: Zara Larsson

Blessing: I know quite a number but my favorite group is Bo Kaspers Orkester and I love their song ‘Vi Kommer Aldrig Att Dö ’.

Nomsa: I know Sebastian Stakset, probably because he had a concert at my church, and his story was very inspirational.

Thato: Swedish House Mafia, their music is loved at home and all over the world really. Zara Larsson is also an excellent musical talent from Sweden, I really enjoy her songs.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Swedish House Mafia Source: giphy.com

What is your favourite music or song from your home country?

Mahmoud: I like trance and house music in general, also one of my best is this for Amr Diab https://goo.gl/KTdrEt , also, I like classic romantic ones that have deep meanings like this: https://goo.gl/omKLkg

Tebkew: ‘Tikur sew’ by Teddy Afro

Sussy: A good makossa such as son me by the group X- maleya.

Ronald: I can say Valu valu for Dr.Jose Chameleon.

Blessing: Gospel and Dancehall music are my favorite genres. My favorite artists are Oliver Mutukudzi , Jah Prayzah and Winky D.

Nomsa: Believe me when I say I started listening to Botswana music so much when I got to Sweden, on those days that I really miss home. I won’t say it’s the favorite, but the song at the top of my playlist right now is Charma gal- Mmokolodi.

Thato: The genre I enjoy the most is rock music. Artists like The Parlotones, Prime Circle, BlackByrd and Freshly Ground are just a few that I really enjoy. South African house music is also phenomenal! It’ll lift your mood on a bad day and keep you dancing all night on a good day!


The interviews show the diverse nature of various foods and music from countries in Africa as well as how students feel about Swedish food and music. Zara Larsson had to feature of course. I hope you enjoyed seeing and hearing different foods and sounds from countries in Africa.

Here is a post I previously wrote about Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part I about all things hair and weather.

Look out for the next blog on the Coming to Sweden: African edition series.

Follow Study in Sweden on Snapchat for more updates

From Sweden with Love


NB: Disclaimer: This post is based on perspective and experiences of the students interviewed. It is not meant to generalize all African students in Sweden perspectives.

Meet Martin Molin – Let your eyes and your ears feel the magic

He might be perceived and considered a genius; but guess what he thinks about ‘being a genius’: “I don’t believe in any of this about geniuses and talents. Especially not when it comes to music. As long as you have a dream, you can succeed. (…) Believe in your dream and don’t let others judge you. You might not be going wrong with what you are doing, you just have to find the right context for you”. And you know what? I understand him. It’s not that easy to be confident about this perception of ‘being a genius’. I personally think that sometimes talent is just there, and it’s up to us to somehow find it out. But he basically says that everyone has talent: it’s up to us to work hard in order to unfold it. And yes, his insight gives me hope, as it should give it to you. So I like it.

Coming back to us, the person I’m referring to is a very (and objectively) talented Swedish musician, called Martin Molin. He’s part of a folktronica and post-rock band, Wintergatan. Before going straight to the point where you’ll probably be thinking “W-o-w”, just let me introduce briefly Martin. Born in 1983, he has struggled so much to become the great artist that currently is. After finishing the school, for three years he has tried to enter a college in order to pursue his musical dreams. Always rejected, he didn’t give up, and eventually an academy accepted his application. For our ears’ sake. And he has written many songs for his band even though he said: “I’ve tried writing lyrics, but I’m totally useless at it. All I can write is emails, so I’ll stick to that”.

Martin has been in love with music since his childhood/adolescence. However, and apparently, his romantic feelings for music were shared with something else: mechanics. Specifically, mechanics embodied in Lego Technic. The shapes and the lines that could be created and intertwined, new small mechanical creatures and all the reasonings behind that: a way to escape the reality of the simple things, and embrace the complexity. He really loved that. And the amazing combination of music and mechanics has led him to build something… magical.

Try to have a look at this, first. Then, if you want, just come back here: you’ll know more about that. But first, enjoy:


In 2014, Martin started working on a project that initially was supposed to be accomplished within a couple of months. Eventually, it turned out to be 16 months. Actually, after the very first six months, Martin was not able to reach a way out. However he didn’t leave his idea behind: against the unsatisfying results, he kept on trying again and again. And the outcome of the project is what your eyes and ears have met in the video: called Wintergatan “Marble Machine”, it can be defined as a sort of handcrafted music box.

What you can see it’s a machine where marbles (two-thou-sounds!!), a hand crank, wooden levers, and in total more than 3000 moving parts, match perfectly together, originating the show performed by those sounds and rhythms. Some instruments, that is to say a vibraphone, a bass, three pads and a percussion are activated both manually by some levers and by a pre-set sequence; this process leads the marbles to be released following the ideal tempo drawn by Martin’s mind.

A creative mind, and saying creative it’s not enough I would add. Giving birth to such a brilliant machine is something not so common. Martin was really able to combine the two passions that accompanied him throughout his youth. And this mixture gave us the chance to appreciate and admire such a talented human being making up something remarkably splendid.

Currently, Martin has been working to a new model of the Marble Machine: his aim is to bring it with him when touring for his concerts. After all, as he said: I am still totally fascinated by complex systems and constructions. And cogs. I love cogs!


Photos: https://zirconet.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/cose-la-wintergatan-marble-machine-di-martin-molin/

Quotations by Martin Molin: https://www.stim.se/en/interviews/studio-martin-molin 

My playlist for studying.

Music creates different emotions, and most importantly it creates different states of mind. Last month I wrote about one of the productivity techniques that I started using, and so far it is working perfectly.

Today I’m writing about something related but somehow different, today I’m writing about my playlist for studying.

Can music boost your performance?

Maybe some of you are familiarized with the “Mozart Effect“; the idea is that listening to classical music can enhance the intelligence of people in general and babies in particular. This is pretty much false.

Listening to a composer or genre of music won’t make you smarter. However, according to Francis Rauscher, listening to classical music can improve certain cognitive skills (like spatial intelligence) for a short time period (about 10 minutes).

In his research, he also says that this effect will vary depending on taste of music, some may react positive to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525: I. Allegro but if you instead like The Clash you’re going to find a “The Clash Effect”.


Then again, a study from Dr Nick Perham suggests that music can interfere with short-term memory performance. According to Perham’s research, listening to music (doesn’t matter if you like it or not) will impede us to recall phone numbers, doing mental arithmetic, and even learning languages.

However, there is an agreement that acknowledges the potential of music to help create the perfect state of mind for studying, somewhere in between relaxation and excitement.

So, there’s no way of knowing if it boosts your performance or not (at least it is very complex to know for sure), it is actually a individual matter and for some it works for some it is better to study in silence.

My playlist.

Everybody loves music, and everyone has specific taste in music for different activities. It doesn’t matter what you are doing there is always a perfect soundtrack to go along with whatever you are doing.

Even though researchers and scientists say it is not the best idea to listen to music while study, I kind of disagree; for me music sets my brain into an active state, and most of the times I’m not even paying attention to what I’m listening to but it helps me knowing that there are some nice tunes in the background.

So, this is one of the playlists that I use to study, hope you guys like it!


Loved in Sweden, loved worldwide. Remembering the Thin White Duke

Trying to describe David Bowie is kind of impossible. It’s like trying to define where we come from, or where we are heading or whatever you can put along with the term ‘impossible’. One thing is indisputable, anyway. When you pronounce his name, you are disclosing the world of music itself.

Why am I talking about him? Well, exactly one year ago (10 January 2016) he left our material world and reached the one he actually came from – the world of the stars, the universe.


Photo: http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/01/11/exp-ns-stout-giddings-david-bowie.cnn

A man capable of transforming music in something which can be close to be defined as art. A man living continuously in a tenacious way: he has always wanted to do and write what he had in mind and he was able to come up with some characters which became immortal icons. And most of the time, let’s say every time, these characters were one only person: David Bowie.


Photo: http://rollingstoneaus.com/music/post/david-bowie-15-great-performances/2967

King of many faces of the modern rock, always eager to experiment and be influenced by different genres, David Bowie touched the heart and the mind of million of fans around the world over the course of his life and career. A career that has lasted until the very final moments of his terrestrial time – just two days before his death, the day of his birthday (8 January), his last album was released, called Blackstar.

Through his music, Bowie has been able to conceive a new kind of rock, a sort of ‘global art’: he opened the doors to contaminations between rock music and cinema, theatre, mime, dance, comics, visual arts. We probably won’t see another artist like him. We can easily claim that he has been and always will be inimitable.


Photo: https://sunvalleymag.com/articles/the-photography-of-andrew-kent/


As you can see from the last picture above, David Bowie would perform a live concert in Stockholm: it was his first one in Sweden, on 26 April 1976, at Kungliga Tennishallen. Here you can hear what the artist said to Radio Sweden after the concert!

As mentioned before, he travelled and performed in many countries, and regarding especially Sweden, fans have taken part to his live events 16 times – concerts spread out between Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Olofström. His last concert was in the capital, dated October 8, 2003. Sweden has been the most visited country by Bowie in the Scandinavian area.

You are not among us anymore, still you’re everyday in the ears of an uncountable number of people. Thanks for reminding us that we can be something special, just for one day.

Featured image: http://www.phillymag.com/tag/david-bowie/


Sónar Stockholm 2016.

Besides being a beautiful and historic city, Stockholm is also pretty decent in terms of the music scene. As you’d expect from the capital, it’s one of the big dates on any European tour for musicians, bands, singers and DJs. Even on a smaller underground level the high quality and originality of music in Stockholm makes it a haven for anyone with an appreciation for live music.

The festival line-up in Stockholm over the coming months is also filling up with Stockholm Love Affair, Summerburst, Weekend and then Popaganda 2016 rounding the season off in August. This trend in urban festivals attracted Spanish brand Sónar to start satellite events across the Nordic region with Reykjavik debuting in 2013, Stockholm in 2014 and Copenhagen in 2015. Now in its third cycle Sónar Stockholm 2016 was held on the outskirts of the city in Sickla’s industrial estate, Nobelberget.

The venue itself had the rawness of an abandoned warehouse injected with Sónar flare in lightning, installations and scaffold-construct bars. The main stage SonarClub lined by tiered staging encouraged dancing from an elevated viewpoint, and the Stockholm food trucks dotted around the outside SonarLab stage satisfied all those late night cravings.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 14.27.12

Friday night. The Black Madonna, from the birthplace of house music – Chicago, set the tone for the weekend. Her music transitions from deep house roots to disco to techno and back again, always keeping listeners active in anticipation and moving their feet.

Next up at SonarClub was Ida Enberg. Playing on home soil, she’s been a regular on the Stockholm scene when she first started playing in bars around the city aged 18. Now part of the Drumcode label, she laid down her hard and percussive techno sounds and heated up the floor for the headliner of the night Maya Jane Coles.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 14.25.06

Stepping out of SonarClub through industrial PVC door strips you entered the SonarHall. Here, away from the techno and dance, Yung Lean took to the stage and proved his credentials as Sweden’s supreme hip-hop export. With his grungy 2000s look, post-internet art effects and his collective named Sad Boys, its no surprise he’s become iconic in both Swedish and international rap communities. As expected his performance lived up to expectations.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 14.24.18

Squarepusher was the most unique act of the night. Dressed in grey and masked with a fencing helmet, the costume matched the space-age resonance within his music. Dubbed as a type of acid-techno / drill ‘n’ bass, the genre was powerful, fast and at times discordant with any musical norms I’ve ever experienced. Still, it was an exceptional performance and one I’ll remember. Highly recommended seeing live.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 14.22.58

Saturday night. Fatima Yamaha with his catchy synth melodies, looping beats and funky basslines got the whole crowd throwing shapes down on the dance floor. His energy and enthusiasm for his music was clear as he danced around his decks and the crowd sang out the tune to his hit ‘What’s A Girl To Do’. Easily my favourite act of the weekend.

The other highlight on Saturday was Hudson Mohawke. As a graduate of the Red Bull Music Academy, and making up one half of the trap duo TNGHT with multiple collaborations with Kayne West, this Glaswegian DJ/producer had the audience ready for something special – and it was. The highest energy performance of the festival, the crowd turned into a sea of chaos as huge drops of bass caused a storm amongst it. If you haven’t heard of Hudson Mohawke you’ll probably recognise his biggest hit ‘Chimes’ featured by Apple in an advert during 2014.

Even as a smaller satellite festival, this Stockholm edition still maintained the bold image of Sónar as a quality European festival with a twist of urban Sweden. At first, this year’s line-up didn’t seem as big as 2015 with the likes of Paul Kalkbrenner, SBTRKT and Jamie XX. However, 2016 still proved itself nonetheless through numerous unique and quality acts. Sónar Stockholm 2016 was an epic event and I hope it returns in 2017. If not, I suppose I’ll be off to Sónar Reykjavik?

Photography: Hilda Arneback