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Gunhild Carling: Sweden's Incredible Talent

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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Sweden's Gunhild Carling is truly a musical experience to behold. The talented vocalist and multi-instrumentalist is an Internet sensation and a marvelous throwback to the days of the Classic Entertainers of the '20s and '30s.

All About Jazz: Tell me briefly where were you born.

Gunhild Carling: I was born in Gothenburg Sweden

AAJ: You are incredibly and diversely talented. Are you from a musical family?

GC: Yes. My father is a trumpet player. My Mother, Aina is a violinist and banjo player. My brother Max plays several instruments: violin, clarinet and tenor saxophone. Sister Gerd plays piano, alto saxophone, trombone and vibes and my brother, Ulf plays drums, trumpet and sings.

AAJ: What instruments did you play as a child?

GC: I began with drums, recorder, trombone, and a whole bunch of baroque Instruments like Crumhorn, etc.

AAJ: Did you also sing as a child? In a group?

GC: Yes, I sang and played with my family. As I became somewhat famous as child musician, I had a couple of solo gigs.

AAJ: Did you attend music school?

GC: I didn't go to music school. When I was 20, I went to a teacher to learn the classical approach and reading notes. I also studied harp.

AAJ: What was your first gig? How old were you?

GC: At a festival in Malmo, Sweden when I was seven years old. The place was called the "Swing Inn."

AAJ: What is the "Gunhild Carling Family," the group that plays on your live shows?

GC: It is a six piece band playing in the style of Louis Armstrong, the Dream Sextet, George Lewis, Chris Barber. We are all family members. Now brother Max's daughters, Linnea (bass, banjo), Petronella (trombone, violin) and Nanna (soprano and Alto sax) are also in the band.

AAJ: When did you start doing your live shows?

GC: I began a year ago.

AAJ: Tell me about the format of your show? It is very Retro.

GC: It is a one hour show broadcast live on You Tube every Sunday at 8PM. We play viewers' song requests. The first request we ever received was "Stomping at the Savoy." We have done almost 50 programs. Jazz lovers all over the world follow it and ask for songs. The programs have had over 100 000 viewers.

AAJ: Is there a live audience in your studio at the show?

GC: I didn't have an audience this first year. I have built the TV studio to look like an old jazz club. From the 20s. Next season we plan to extend the shows with a live audience.

AAJ: How did you build your incredibly extensive repertoire?

GC: My really big interest and love since I was small was the Great American Songbook. From as long as I can remember, I have learned new songs every day.

AAJ: You tend to favor Hot and Swing Styles. Why?

GC: I prefer the old hot jazz and swing. The most part greatest stars and geniuses are there—as composers and artists Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lil, Satchmo, Cab, Billie, Bix, etc.

AAJ: How many and what instruments do you play?

GC: 20-trombone, trumpet, harmonica, recorder, accordion, harp, piano, flute, oboe, bagpipes, soprano saxophone, drums, and a whole bunch of medieval instruments.

AAJ: You are an incredibly active and energetic performer/player/dancer. What's your "energy secret?"

GC: Jazz. To be more precise, I imagine I am "in" the music. Like if the music was a bubble around me. Suddenly a magic energy builds up and grows and grows like thunder weather. So, I feel like the energy is built up from a very focused connection with the music around me.

AAJ: Who handles the production of your show? It is outstanding.

GC: My husband, Johan Blomé does the most part of the producing -mostly the technical end. He is extremely technical as he is an engineer

AAJ: I know you tour Scandinavia and Europe extensively. Have you toured the United States? Asia?

GC: I have toured a lot -Asia, Europe, South and North America, but, not Australia or Africa yet

AAJ: Please tell me about your future projects.

GC: I am going to extend the Sunday live shows and set up my big band show and tour.

AAJ: Best of Luck and thank you for taking time.

GC: You and All About Jazz are very welcome.

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