On the eve of May Day, Valborgsmässoafton, as Gothenburgers gathered at Slottskogen to take part in the annual festival a busker attracted passers-by with his piercing music. Standing closer to the entrance of Slottskogen by Linneplatsen, the busker made the visitors for Valborgsmässoafton to take note of the notes coming out from the bagpipe. Alexander Sundestrand is a student of geology and also plays the German bagpipe as supplementary vocation.
“I played whistles like flute. It is like electric guitar of flute,” says Alexander Sundestrand. The two bagpipes are Scottish bagpipe and German bagpipe. “It is a German bagpipe. The most famous bagpipe is Scottish. Most people assume it is Scottish but it is German – Swedish.” A youth passing by yelled ‘hej, Storbrittanien’ assuming that Alexander was from the UK and visiting Sweden but unware that Alexander is very much ‘Gothenburgish’.
Alexander has the skill to play other musical instruments like guitar but he started to learn to play the bagpipe by practising in the last eight months, and wishes to play in a band run by his friend. The 23-year-old is studying geology at the University of Gothenburg. “It is an odd combination,” notes Alexander, and muses, “Most of us are not very aesthetic.”
The visitors to participate in Valborgsmässoafton at Slottskogen took note of the musician as they tried to exit towards the evening – after the bonfire and the musical event in the park. Though hundreds of Gothenburgers walked past the musician but some did stopped, interacted with him, showered words of praise, and also tipped him with money. One young Gothenburger was so impressed with the busker, he immediatedly swished (electronic transfer) out of sheer appreciation both for the busker and the music! Few could not resist from dancing to the tune of the German bagpipe in the hands of Alexander Sundestrand.
Buskers in Gothenburg add a great musical diversity to the city, and also giving a treat to the ears of passers-by.