A Scandinavian Winter Playlist to Create Your Own Hygge

Winter isn’t coming. It’s here. In Scandinavia at least. Today in Copenhagen, it is cold and dark and damp. To me this is the worst. I’d rather have snow. But the Danes have an answer to combat these shortening days and less than desirable weather. It’s called hygge. You know it. You do. I have talked about it before. More than candles and cookies and cool Danish design, hygge is about creating a space that your community can well, commune in. It’s about moments. A feeling. For me, music helps creating that feeling. Every year I create an alternative Christmas playlist. I love the classics and a carol sung by a choir or two, but music evolves and how I listen to it equally evolves. I like seeing where winter music can take me. And since I now live in Scandinavia – it makes sense that my musical tastes have been swayed by the locals. Let me sway you. Or rather – feel the sway of this beautiful music. I have created a playlist to help UP your Scandinavian winter hygge. I hope you enjoy.

Scandinavian Winter Hygge Playlist

Tokka | Agnes Obel | Copenhagen, DK & Berlin, DE

Agnes Obel is a classically trained pianist and her music for me is an updated and modern version of George Winston’s December. I know – super dating myself there. But to be honest, I have not played George Winston since my sorority sisterhood nights in college. Don’t ask. It’s cringy, but sentimental at the same time. Not Agnes’ music though. Pure and gorgeous. Put this on your Scandi winter mixtape, bust out some candles. Light them all. Enjoy. With someone preferably. Now you’ve got hygge.

WHEN YOU TOLD ME IT WAS CHRISTMAS | BODEBrIXEN | Aarhus, DK

Something about this duo from Aarhus conjures the hours and hours and hours I used to listen to my Jesus & Mary Chain cassette on loop. In case you were wondering… YES. Yes it was a yellow Sony Sports Walkman. I’ve already dated myself. See above. Don’t judge. I love this song.

Dear Santa | Mr Little Jeans | Grimstad, NO & Compton, CA

Mr Little Jeans, which might be my new favorite band name ever, is the lovechild of Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, who now calls LA home. Kicky, swingy and beautifully sung – try not to move to this one. I can feel the Norway AND the California is this fun holiday song.

Det’Cember | Sys Bjerre | Vanlose, DK

Listening to Sys Bjerre sing about julefrokosts and brunkager in Danish is amusing and fun. The way she interjects English into the song is much like riding on the train with Danes. All of a sudden you are like, “HEY! I understood what they said!” Oh. Because that was English. Yep. I do understand though (a little too well) her sharing that her underwear don’t fit anymore from enjoying too many marcipan treats. Hahaha!

It’s Christmas | Cody | Copenhagen, DK

CODY – which stands for Come On Die Young are based right here in Copenhagen. Known for their own brand of Nordic gloom, this year’s julesang, Christmas song, is all about the angst that coming home for Christmas can bring. Reminiscent of Blitzen Trapper’s Christmas is Coming Soon! and Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal, I love CODY’s vibe and will probably be shouting their refrain all season – “It’s Christmas!” Check out the video to for a traditional Danish Christmas dinner too!

Be mine | Alice boman | Malmö, SE

I do love a beautiful Swedish voice and local Alice hits us with hers. You know Malmö is like a suburb of Copenhagen right? (Shhh.. don’t tell the Swedes that!) Lilting and lovely, Be Mine will definitely notch up the hygge this winter. Snuggle in, but be ready to tap your toes.

Winter song | Caesars | STockholm, SE

Do you remember this Apple iPod ad?

Then you already know the Swedish group Caesars. Winter Song is from 2005, but it still holds a rich and full sound that is perfect for creating that Scandi hygge – and I find it means more for me now living here – “… running down the icy streets, trying to catch the last sun beam.” I know it will hold a space on my indie Christmas list for a long time.

Dreams today | EFTERKLANG | Copenhagen, DK & BERLIN, DE

In Danish, Efterklang means echo or reverberation. Try to listen to this song and not feel it. Viscerally. I also love their song Modern Drift where the piano and drums push the music, pulling you along in slow and steady rhythm full of a sorrowful sweetness. Creative and evolving, Efterklang is Danish design put to sound.

Suppegjok | Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas | Oslo, NO

No Scandi mixtape would be complete without some indielectric syntho pop. I love this one – a collab between long-time Norwegian friends and music producers Hans-Peter Lindstrøm and Thomas Moen Hermansen. When grey days call for hygge socks and warm drinks, add this to your mix.

WATER FLOW | Klyne | EINDHOVEN, NL

Ok, ok. So Klyne is not officially Scandinavian. But I have been asked if I speak Dutch after living here in Denmark. (I know, I was just as embarrassed as you!) Because of this, I offer you the tongue-in-cheek inclusion of this Dutch band Klyne. Once you listen – you’ll understand why. Warm energy, delicious beats and yummy vocals. Insta-hygge. The Dutch may call it “gezelligheid,” but it is similar in sentiment.

New Year’s Eve | First Aid Kit | StockhOLM, SE

If you don’t know Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit – stop everything and look them up. Now. The soundtrack to my life across borders here in Denmark includes lots of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderbergs’ gorgeous harmonies and elegant lyrics. I adore My Silver Lining and Wolf. New Year’s Eve is no different. Written in 2012 – it seems especially pertinent for 2016.

Well it’s a new year, with it comes more than new fears.
Met a young man who was in tears, he asked me,
“What induces us to stay here?”
I said, “I don’t know much and I’m not lying,
But I think you just have to keep on trying.”

And I know I am naive, but if anything
That’s what’s going to save me
That’s what’s going to save me

Took a stroll around the neighborhood where the trees are swaying.
People passed in cars with their windows down, with a pop song playing.
A man walked by, walking back and forth the street with a drunken smile to go along.
He stopped to look at me and say, “Child, don’t fear doing things wrong.”

Yet I am still afraid but if anything
That’s what’s going to save me
That’s what’s going to save me

Now I have a lot to learn and I’m starting tonight,
Got to stop looking at things like they’re black and they’re white.
Got to write more songs of a little more, treat my friends better.
Got to stop worrying about everything to the letter.
And sometimes when it’s too hard to get up,
It just might be a little call apart.

But I find it hard to believe, but if anything
That’s what’s going to save me
That’s what’s going to save me

Tell me, tell me
Oh, what’s going to save me?

-First Aid Kit, New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve | Mø | Ubberud, DK & Copenhagen, DK

You may know Mø from her hit Final Song, she is crazy popular here. (And it is not pronounced Mo – see here for the artist pronouncing it herself. Try taking the oo’s in pool and add it’s closer to that.) This year, she has her own version of a New Year’s song – take a listen – her unique voice offers an honest message.

Thanks Erin – but what if I don’t want to click on every song by itself and make my own playlist. NO WORRIES. I already did that. You knew that right? I work in Spotify because I think it is awesomesauce and we got the no-ads version with our Danish phone contracts and when you connect with with Sonos you can play it all over your entire house. WHAT? I know. That was not a plug and I get no kinds of kick-back for saying any of that. But I LOVE it.

I don’t have Spotify though. It ok. Spotify offers a free version. Just after a few songs, you may have to listen to an ad. You can create playlists, share songs and connect with friends. Check it out.

Here’s my list – includes songs shared in this post along with other classic Danish juletunes. Did I miss one of your favorites? Or have another indie Scandi band favorite you need to share – PLEASE – I always am looking for new music. Cheers from Copenhagen and happy listening. Get your hygge on. Erin

Know someone who might enjoy these tunes? Share it!

Suitcases and Sandcastles

61 thoughts on “A Scandinavian Winter Playlist to Create Your Own Hygge

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Exactly! That was one of the nods to the necessary kitsch quotient – had to be done. A couple funny Danish ones too. Sne & Snaps anyone? Snow and snaps? Hahaha! Enjoy! Cheers from Copenhagen! Erin

  1. I love all of your posts, Wig, but this one was especially lovely for it’s timing. The sky is still dark, this kids aren’t up yet and I’m enjoying a peaceful pre-dawn coffee by the Christmas tree.

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Was it the Fireside reference!? Wasn’t that what we called it? 😉 Insider information for sure! Love to you and yours all the way from here – thank you for commenting – love to know you are enjoying! xoxo, wig

  2. I cannot wait to listen to these! I love First Aid Kit. Silver Lining is one of my fave songs ever. And I’m hoping to add that and the others to my Winter Playlist. Thanks for this. I have Spotify so will hook up also

  3. bavariansojourn

    Aw this brought back happy memories of our life in Copenhagen. The Danes, like the Bavarians do Christmas so so well! Will have a listen to a few of the ones I haven’t heard of later! 🙂

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  5. tracycollins2016

    Great list! Listening to it on Spotify now – have shared with my friends in Aarhus and Copenhagen and my mother who is spending Christmas and New Years in Copenhagen (jealous a lot!!)

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      The Danes like to think it is untranslatable- but I think we all know it – just didn’t have a word for it until now! Enjoy!

  6. I love your idea of creating a playlist to add to your hygge. My daughter was sitting right next to me while I read it and she kept saying “play that one!” #farawayfiles

  7. So fun! I love Spotify and connecting it with my home speakers! I think I’ll borrow some of these for my upcoming moms night in cocktail party! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      You are welcome! Hope there are some new gems for your! I tried to make a diverse list! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

  8. mymeenalife

    Thanks for the song ideas! I’m always listening to music (I use Google Music) so these will be great inspiration for a playlist.

  9. I have a lot of music to hear! Have to admit I am not familiar with the artists in here but I am eager to get to know them better. Thanks for sharing a little piece of Scandinavia. #FarawayFiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Great! Happy to share some new sounds and artists with you! Only a few are in Danish, the rest should be easy to understand! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Haha! Some of them are a hoot! Hope they can give your mama a little smile and calm for the holidays! You just give her a snuggle and sway along! Cheers from Copenhagen! Erin

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      I hope you might find something to add a little coziness to days in Lithuania! Glædelig Jul from Copenhagen!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Haha! Maybe! Maybe not? But if I can spark some inspiration / then I’ll be happy! Cheers from Copenhagen!

  10. So many cool new songs to listen to! I used to LOVE Ameliana Torrini from Iceland (who I haven’t listened to in AGES, thanks for reminding me) – Scandi singers have such beautiful voices. #FarawayFiles

  11. Some great choices Erin and I hadn’t heard of any of them (stuck in a Suede/Depeche timewarp!). Think I liked Caesars and First Aid Kit best. Time to get hygge with it! Wilbur. # faraway files

  12. aandj8804

    Thanks for the intro to new winter music. I love that you do this every year and don’t use typical tunes to help create your list. 🙂 #farawayfiles

  13. Efterklang’s Dreams today is an interesting piece. Thanks for introducing your current Scandinavian favourites! Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas!

  14. Wow! Who knew that I liked Danish music? (Not me, for sure). I particularly like the sound of Agnes Obel (I’m a bit of a piano freak) and the dreamy, ethereal Efterklang. Some inspiration and education for our trip to Denmark in 2017!

    Thanks for introducing me to new sounds! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      YAY! Clapping hands with glee – glad to open your ears! When you doing Denmark in 2017! Happy to offer suggestions!

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Great – enjoy! Although I’ll be curious how you like them as they were geared as a “winter warmer” and I don’t think you need that down under right? Glædelig Jul from Copenhagen! Erin

  15. What a fabulous post – I love that you haven’t just talked about the song/artist but you have been so kind as to add the song and create a playlist with them all in ready for us to listen to, thank you. I admit that I haven’t heard of any of these artists (apart from ABBA, love that you have included them!) so it’s lovely to have something new and different to listen to instead of the old regurgitated songs which are currently playing in the shops/on TV. Thanks for this! #farawayfiles

    1. oregongirlaroundtheworld

      Did you know her before? It’s so beautiful and soothing! Glad you enjoy – have a wonderful rest of your year and cheers to 2017, thanks for contributing to #FarawayFiles, Erin

  16. Oh I’m late catching up on #FarawayFiles links..am loving your post because it’s so different, thanks for sharing these list of songs 🙂 Merry Christmas!

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