At a recent concert in Stockholm, U.S. indie rockers Fleet Foxes surprised the Swedish crowd by playing a song no one expected them to. The band are currently on the European leg of their tour and have played some major shows including the headline slot at U.K. festival Latitude and Spanish festival Bilbao B.B.K. Their most recent album, Crack-Up, reached the top twenty in the U.K., Irish, Dutch, Australian, U.S. and Canadian charts. In short, they are a band with a great deal of cache and international clout, which is why the fact that they played a song by Swedish psych-rock band Dungen was so surprising.
Fleet Foxes were coming to the end of one of their own songs—”Mearcstapa”—from their most recent album, when suddenly the band’s lead singer, Robin Pecknold, began to sing in Swedish. The band have no familial connection with Sweden to speak of and the lead singer cannot speak Swedish. Yet here they were launching into a song by a Swedish band who, quite significantly, only sing in Swedish. Asked later if he liked Dungen, Svenska Dagbladet noted that Pecknold said, “Do I like Dungen? Yes, they are by far the best band in the world.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
There are plenty of well-known Swedish stars in the world of music, from ABBA to Robyn, and First Aid Kit to Zara Larsson. What makes the support for Dungen from a band as significant as Fleet Foxes is the fact that they only sing in Swedish. This is compared to the vast majority of Swedish artists who sing in English or combine the two—having some songs in their own language and others in English.
Dungen’s influence goes further than just Fleet Foxes. They have long been compared to Grammy-nominated band Tame Impala, whose frontman, Kevin Parker, was so taken by their music that he asked them to mix some of his newly recorded music in 2007. In a 2010 interview with Pitchfork, he called them one of his favorite bands and discussed how much they influenced him.
Dungen is set apart from other Swedish language bands in just how much influence they have managed to garner outside of Stockholm and Sweden. When top film director Jim Jarmusch was asked to curate a festival for All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2010 in New York, Dungen was one of the few non-English bands that appeared on the bill. They have played across the United States to audiences full of people who cannot understand what they are singing.
When they played in San Francisco, the SF Gate noted that despite having, “lyrics that only half its audience understands,” they had still managed to, “earn…critical praise in the U.S.” They have somehow managed to transcend their linguistic boundaries to craft a career that has seen them play shows in Sydney, the United States, Spain, London, and Canada, among other non-Nordic countries.
During their time in San Francisco they were given the chance to be on the popular YouTube show, “What’s in my bag,” made by the record store Amoeba Records, which has featured artists as well-known as Outcast, Dave Grohl, and Noel Gallagher. It is a show that has had more than a million views on many of its videos and very rarely features artists who do not sing in English.
When they were in Seattle, the popular radio station KEXP featured Dungen as a live streaming artist and put their performance on their YouTube channel, which has over a million subscribers. In being featured on the show they joined notable acts such as Florence and the Machine, Macklemore, and Arctic Monkeys. Perhaps most significantly, they were featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on N.B.C.—a show which does not often feature Swedish language bands. For a Swedish band that does not sing in English to make it onto a show with millions of viewers is impressive.
They have not only managed to tour America, but also be accepted into the alternative music scene. Their most famous album, Ta Det Lugnt, was reviewed by some of alternative music’s most famous publications—including the NME and Uncut from the U.K. and Pitchfork and Spin in the U.S. They were even featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s albums of the year in 2005. They managed to secure distribution deals in both the U.S. and the U.K.—again something which is very rare for Swedish language bands.
Dungen’s reach and their penetration outside of Sweden is very special. It is hard for non-Anglophone artists to make the kind of impact they have. Featuring on a late night chat show and sharing the stage with bands like Tame Impala, Wolfmother, and Fleet Foxes is something few Swedish language bands can match. They are arguably the most influential Swedish band hailing from Stockholm, managing to become a part of the alternative music scene in countries across the world. It would be interesting to see what happens if they ever release an English language album—but for now they are doing very well sticking to Swedish! They were even asked to create a score for the animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed. It was so well received it was released as a Black Friday Record Store day exclusive in 2016.
When asked by fasterlouder why they think people liked their music even if they couldn’t understand it, their frontman, Gustav Ejstes, remarked, “I am totally surprised, but at the same time the music could be interesting as a whole.” The fact they have managed to create such a following despite linguistic differences is really wonderful—so if you haven’t already make sure to check them out.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.