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It may not be Abba, but the fact that Friday night’s show by Gothenburg electro soul foursome (sometimes fivesome) Little Dragon was sold out, proves that Swedish music still makes waves internationally and among South Africans.
The show, at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, formed part of the Adidas Originals Live Performances Series by We-Are-Awesome Events. About 1 700 people braved the rain to turn up at the show and jump to tracks like Ritual Union.
The group was supported by SA DJ Felix Laband, who warmed up the crowd.
Three members of the band, Arild Werling, Yukimi Nagano and Erik Bodin, said during an interview this week that they’d told their agents that SA was definitely somewhere they wanted to play.
Lead singer Nagano said they were influenced by SA: “We look at dance music videos from here, and there was a vibe from fans on Twitter.”
They were also influenced by DJ Cleo’s Ndiya and Professor’s Jezebel as SA dance tracks.
“Music from here feels fresh. The sound has house elements and traditional elements,” said Nagano.
Bodin said that incorporating traditional Swedish sounds into their music was not vital, and they were influenced largely by British and American music.
And Werling joked that old Swedish men made folk music.
They described their trip to international fame as a slow one, but said it was also a privileged one.
Werling said: “In a rich country, it was possible to work on our music and survive.”
Nagano has a soulful voice and she attributes some of her soul inspiration to D’Angelo and his album Voodoo.
“If you like house, you look at everything. Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and James Brown are people I listen to,” Bodin added.
Being complimentary about SA house music, the band are open to collaborations with locals too.
“This is something we get asked a lot and we usually say no,” said Nagano.
“But what is going on here is really cool. I’d like to remix with SA music.”
It is thought that the name Little Dragon comes from temper tantrums Nagano used to throw as a child.
”I think there is some truth in that,” she said, smiling.