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Not Just ABBA: From Pop To Death Metal, Sweden Rocks The Music World

A vast number of planet music's cash cows - including a little act named Madonna - originated on the synthesizer keyboards of Swedish songwriters, but can the country hold its high note?

Thank you for the music, Sweden
Thank you for the music, Sweden
Rinny Gremaud

STOCKHOLM — "Sometimes people wonder if there isn’t something in the water here in Sweden", says Johan Fridell. “We seem to have an innate sense of melody. I can’t explain it. Our compositions end up in everything from folk to traditional music, although God knows I never listen to that shitty stuff!”

Fridell has black-dyed hair so long it comes down to his hips. Although he’s only 37 years old, his face looks older, probably because of his hard-drinking lifestyle. To compensate, today he’s chosen an ageless outfit: threadbare T-shirt, tight-fitting jeans and ankle boots. Fridell is a Satanist who uses the professional name Nephente when performing with his death metal group Netherbird. But he’s a Satanist in the romantic sense of the word. Clearly highly intelligent, this jovial man speaks perfect English, quotes 19th century British occultist poets, and argues that the real message of Satan is the most liberal there is — an invitation to do whatever we want.

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A man walks on a tank left behind by Russian troops, on display in Kyiv’s Mykhailivska Square.

Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Tuesday, which marks three months since the war in Ukraine started. Meanwhile, BoJo is in trouble again, and millionaires at Davos ask to be taxed more. Persian-language, London-based media Kayhan explores what the future of Lebanon could look like after the election defeat of Iran-backed Hezbollah.

[*Swedish]

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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