Some Scandi Tunes to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay
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 to create 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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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 sunbeam.” 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
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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!
63 thoughts on “A Scandinavian Winter Playlist to Create Your Own Hygge”
Awesome sauce Erin. Exactly what I needed. I have queued it up for a relaxing afternoon of hygge in London. Love that you have ABBA on the playlist too. There’s always time for ABBA!
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
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.
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
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
There are some funny Danish ones on the mix also – feel free to amuse yourself! Cheers – Erin
By ‘that’ I mean their song New Year’s Eve – never heard that one. Wish I wasn’t at work so I could listen! Exciting
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! 🙂
I agree!! Glædelig Jul from Copenhagen!
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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!!)
Haha – let me know what they think!!
Absolutely LOVE that Dear Santa song so much I went and added it to my Christmas Playlist on Spotify! I can definitely here the California in that one!! Happy Holidays!! #FarawayFiles
RIGHT? I can too – glad you liked! Glædelig Jul from Copenhagen!
Frohe Weihnachten aus Deutschland!
really intrigued by the hygge philosophy so will look into this more. Thanks for sharing #farawayfiles
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!
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
Which one did she like?
I usually like Scandi music so I’m looking forward to having a listen to your playlist later. Joyeux noël Erin from the South of France…I’ll try and make a little Danish hygge over the holidays!
I know you can! Enjoy!
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
Awesome! Enjoy! Cheers from Copenhagen! Erin
This is amazing! Ilove hearing music from different countries! I have a playlist on my Spotify of all the Romanian songs I heard whilst over there! Thanks for this #farawayfiles
You are welcome! Hope there are some new gems for your! I tried to make a diverse list! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
Thanks for the song ideas! I’m always listening to music (I use Google Music) so these will be great inspiration for a playlist.
Great! I hope there are a few that you like! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin
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
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
My mummy needs to create a space in the house and her mind to accommodate Hygge! The playlist sounds awesome just checked some out – love the Danish Yuletunes!
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
Winter is here in Lithuania as well. It is darn cold out! I love the idea of creating a playlist to make things cozy. #farawayfiles
I hope you might find something to add a little coziness to days in Lithuania! Glædelig Jul from Copenhagen!
Will have to listen to the above – I feel very out of date as I’ve not heard of hardly any of them! Although Peter Bjorn and John need adding to your list 🙂 #Farawayfiles
Oooh – ok! I’ll look them up! Cheers from Copenhagen!
You are my Scandi-music guru! I think we might have similar tastes in music, but I know little of these. Thanks for the fab introductions! #FarawayFiles
Haha! Maybe! Maybe not? But if I can spark some inspiration / then I’ll be happy! Cheers from Copenhagen!
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
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
I would love to hear Will Smith pronounce hygge! Glad you like – those are some of my faves too!
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
Hope there might be something you like!
I love this! And First Aid Kit are my favourite! Merry Christmas 🙂
Mine too! Have another Norwegian band I shouldn’t look at? Or give a listen?
Hahah you have to love a great playlist. Adding these to my playlist for my party this week. Thanks! 🙂 #farawayfiles
Music is the way to go. It’s cold and snowing and not all that sunny today so I’m filling the void with cookies (;
Music with a side of cookies! Yes please! We baked yesterday also! Cheers from Copenhagen!
Efterklang’s Dreams today is an interesting piece. Thanks for introducing your current Scandinavian favourites! Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas!
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
YAY! Clapping hands with glee – glad to open your ears! When you doing Denmark in 2017! Happy to offer suggestions!
How awesome, Erin! Very timely too, as I’m currently putting together a playlist to enjoy on our little Xmas getaway in Australia.
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
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
Spotify is the best! Love the no-ads version too. Thanks for sharing the song by Agnes Obel. I love it!
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
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!
Glad you liked Kat! Glædelig Jul from Denmark ??
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My favorite kind of first aid kit! I also love this! thanks for sharing.
Wow! thanks for sharing. Who would have guessed that I enjoyed Danish music until you shared these?