At its core and in its soul Indians Tillsammans is about togetherness, celebrating diversity and nurturing connections. 'Tillsammans' is a beautiful Swedish word which means Together. Tillsammans also happens to be the name of the choir song of the group Helsingborgs Världskör for H22 City Expo 2022. This simple connection led us into a wonderful conversation with Jonas Engström of Helsingborgs Världskör.
As Jonas has wonderfully said '... choir is not only important for the singers but can actually change a whole society', Helsingborgs Världskär invites all Helsingborg citizens to participate in their wonderful vision of choral singing for H22 City Expo 2022!
Read on further to get to know about the Tillsammans H22 Expo song, about Helsingborgs Världskör and who Jonas Engström is.
Can you introduce Helsingborgs Världskör (Helsingborg World Choir) to us?
Almost one year ago me and my colleague Emma heard about the Visionsfonden supporting initiatives making Helsingborg a more creative, vibrant, united, global and balanced city. We immediately felt that a choir would contribute to all of this goals. They said yes to the application and along the way we found out that we are many sharing the same vision.
How would you explain a choir to a person who has no inkling about it?
It’s all about doing somethings “Tillsammans”. A group of people singing and sharing together. Few experiences can measure up to the feeling of unity and closeness in united song. Choral singing is a meeting place with unique ability to tear down walls and build bridges. In the choir you are both sender and receiver. Participation is central and everyone has something to give.
(Here is a YouTube link to one of their recent collaborations with One Nation and Laila Adéle.)
Helsingborgs Världskör and H22 Expo
Can you tell us something about your VisionFonden journey? Why did you choose that route?
Me and (sometimes) Emma have been organizing big and small choir events for many years. We have a lot of connections with existing choirs but when we wanted to reach out to all citizens in Helsingborg it was important to have the city involved. Since we wanted it to be free and open to everyone, we also needed funding.
What is this project about? Why did you choose Världskör in the choir group name?
It’s about bringing people together, through the universal language of music.
We are all connected and we need each other. “If we fall, we will fall together. When we rise we will rise together”. There are people from all over the world living in Helsingborg and we wanted to show that.
Can you tell us something about the song Tillsammans?
The song simply says. “Together, you and me. Together, here today. Together, what an evening this can be.” The key word is can. It’s not until you (and everyone else) realizes that you have to devote yourself and contribute it can be a wonderful evening.
Why do you want to showcase Helsingborgs Världskör in the H22 Expo? What do you hope to achieve?
We want to show the whole city and all visitors in the midst of all technical innovations and sustainable solutions that culture and choir is not only important for the singers but can actually change a whole society. Ask people in South Africa or the Baltic countries. Beside the concert May 31 and June 4, we will in May 11 highlight the meaning of Choral singing at Dunkers Kulturhus during the workshop “The Choir – activity or necessity”?
We want to show the whole city and all visitors in the midst of all technical innovations and sustainable solutions that culture and choir is not only important for the singers but can actually change a whole society
Who can join? When and where? Based on music skills, will there be a selection criteria?
Everyone is welcome! Advanced singers, beginners, choirs, individuals or associations.
We will rehearse:
You choose the weekday that suites you.
Who is Jonas? Please introduce yourself.
I grew up in Ängelholm not far from Helsingborg, met my wife and moved to Stockholm. When our kids were about to start school, we decided to move back to Skåne and landed in Kullabygden 20 km north of Helsingborg.
What is your connection to Helsingborg?
Helsingborg is my city and it’s beautiful during the summer. It’s where you go shopping or to have something to eat. My choir One Nation rehearses here as well.
Your history with music/choir? What motivates you? Previous such projects?
What motives me is to encourage and challenge people, through music.
I’ve been singing in choirs since I was young. When I was about 15 years old, I met and was captivated by African American Gospel Music. I felt that very first night that this is what I would like to do with my life, but figured I couldn’t do that in Sweden. But so far, I have. During our 10 years in Stockholm, I was the project manger and Artistic director for the Stockholm Gospel Choir Festival. When we moved back, they built Malmö Live, a new concert hall, and we ended up doing Gospel fest with international guests and more than 1000 singers from all over Skåne.
At the moment we are also involved in “Break the Silence”, a concert about hope and the importance of music for young people’s mental health
Have you listened to Indian music? (Non-Bollywood / Bollywood). If you have, how do you like it?
Just a little bit I’m afraid. Sometimes the scales are a little bit unusual to me but I really like the singing, the dance, the drums and the polyrhythmic.
Apart from choir what else do you like to do?
I love reading biographies, spending time and eating with family and friends. I also like hiking and traveling to new places meeting new people and cultures.
Connecting to Indians Tillsammans
Why did you connect with Indians Tillsammans?
We were reaching out to different communities in Helsingborg and was recommended to contact you since you play an active role in the Helsingborg’s cultural life. I’m really happy I did.
A video invite from Jonas of Helsingborgs Världskör.
As Jonas said that everyone is welcome to join and so if you are interested to participate, you can either connect with Jonas directly (details below) or you can reach out to Indians Tillsammans (Pallavi Panicker).
Compiled by Pallavi Panicker on behalf of Indians Tillsammans