Anders Nyberg, musician and founder of the Fjedur choir, visited South Africa for the first time in 1978 and immediately found a home for his songs and music. He returned on his own in 1980 to work for a year with music in the townships of Cape Town.
In 1978, Anders, as musical director of the Swedish folksong-group “Fjedur”, toured South Africa at the invitation of ELCSA, the South African Lutheran Church. In 1980 he returned to work for a year in Athlone and the township of Gugulethu, Cape Town with youth and music work. During this year he also travelled extensively, recording South-African choral music, traditional, sacred and political.
Composer, conductor, publisher, born 1955 in Malung, Sweden, citizen of both South Africa and Sweden.
After returning to Sweden his work with Fjedur continued with concert-tours and workshops, in Sweden and internationally, using the South African songs and dances as a tool to spread awareness and solidarity. For this purpose Anders produced collections of “songs of protest and praise from South Africa”, most notably “Freedom is coming”, based on these field-recordings. The songs had a catalyctic effect on a whole generation and were used in churches, schools and at political gatherings alike. The songs have since become not only an integral part of Swedish choral life, but have also spread globally, and have been translated into a number of languages as well.
In later years, Anders' attention has been focused on the music of Latin America, through several tours to Cuba and Central America, by himself and with his group Gondwana.
As a conductor and educator Anders has held inspired seminars and workshops in over 20 countries on five continents. In Sweden he has been a recurring guest-lecturer at the Music Conservatories of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Piteå and the University of Växjö, as well as in innumerable other educational institutions, choral festivals and local choirs. Anders also served as the first director of a unique world music education at the Stiernhööks gymnasium, Rättvik, Sweden. He was nominated the "Swedish Choir Leader of the Year" in 1986.
To facilitate his composing and arranging, alongside the conducting, Anders developed his own publishing company, “Utryck”, which has published more than 100 of his compositions and arrangements.
In South Africa, Anders together with his wife, singer-songwriter and cultural activist Jennifer Ferguson, developed the “Peace of Music Centre”, a cultural hotspot and meeting place in their home in central Johannesburg. It has been hosting concerts and workshops and acted as a vantage point for local cultural activism. The work with children has been a priority, resulting in among other things the production of “Seeds of Peace”, a CD featuring some of South Africa’s most prominent artists, like Vusi Mahlasela, Gloria Bosman and Johnny Clegg together with street children.
Anders Nyberg has also worked successfully with film. In 2005 he was nominated for an Oscar in the category best foreign movie. “As it is in heaven”, is a film about a choir and its conductor. Co-scripted by Anders, the movie has become the most viewed Swedish movie ever as well as receiving great international acclaim. In Australia it is still running, surpassing movies like Ben Hur and Titanic as the longest running show in the country and in South Africa it has become the longest-running foreign language movie.
Anders is now working from his home in Dala-Floda, Sweden, with different creative projects.
Read more about Anders Nyberg at his website www.utryck.se.
Listen to samples of Anders Nyberg's songs and lyrics.
- A South African Youth Choir in Western Cape. ”Sibomba" Opens in new window. (mpeg)
- This is a song being sang at an initiation ceremeony in the bush outside Port Elizabeth Opens in new window. (mpeg). The young men had been imprisoned at Robben Island after their involvement in the student uprisings in 1977. They had now gathered for a traditional Xhosa initiation ceremony. The song is a mix of political poetry, religious hyms and traditonal xhosa songs.The meeting had been set up by the political activist Moki Cekisani, who also features on the recording. He was at the time banned from any political activity.
- This is a song called "Baba wetu" from Kwazulu-Natal - recorded at a small hospital in Ceza Opens in new window. (mpeg). It was sang by a group of boys in a style related to Icicathamiya.
- This song is called Hamba nathi, "Vandra med oss" (mpeg) Opens in new window.. A Youth Choir from the Cape Orange Dioceses singing with a Swedish Group during a workshop on South African singing, Summer 1986.
- Same choir, as above, singing a praising song "Hosanna Nkosi Phezulu", "Praise be God on High" Opens in new window. (mp3)
- "Ipendlela" is sang by a choir from Gugulethu - Cape Town Opens in new window. (mpeg). The Choir presenting the song is called Teenage Harmonies. It was one of the leading choirs in Gugulethu during the 1980s.
- 'An interview with Miriam, a young mother with a 5 year old kid who during that time was expecting her second child and was a member of a group of women who resisted the aperthaid laws and had put up a camp at Nyanga bush, Cape Town Opens in new window. (mpeg). Officially she was a Ciskeian and had no rights to be in Cape Town. They were under constant police harrassment as they gathered in the fields singing. When the time came for her to give birth to her second child, she got four hours at a small clinic nearby and then she wanted to return to her sisters at the camp. After some convincing, we (Anders Nyberg and my friends) managed to offer her a bed for a night with her little child Basil. On return to the camp the next morning, she found out that her 5 year old child had been arrested and deported to Ciskei. She did not find him until half a year later'.
- A song sang at Nyanga Bush, Cape Town in August 1981 by Miriam and her group. Opens in new window. (mpeg)