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Irrbloss: Songs from the Poetry of Signe Aurell

October 4, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Join us on Tuesday, October 4, from 6:00–7:30pm in Memorial Union for Signe Aurell: Irrbloss by Maja Heurling and Ola Sandström.

Signe Aurell was a Swedish woman who came to the United States in 1913, worked as a laundress and seamstress, joined the Industrial Workers of the World, and wrote poetry and essays published in the Swedish American press during her seven years living in Minnesota.

Signe Aurell in her yard sawing wood

In 1919, Aurell self-published a poetry collection in Swedish, Irrbloss (Will-o’-the-Wisp), featuring her lyrically powerful work. Her poems, mostly unknown until now, tell of homesickness and the struggle for a better tomorrow.

Musicians Maja Heurling and Ola Sandström collaborated to set music to a selection of poems from Irrbloss, blending folk stylings and the Swedish visa tradition together to amplify the importance and continued relevance of Aurell’s words. In October 2019, 100 years after they were released, the album with the compositions of Signe Aurell’s poems was released on Kakafon Records. In doing so, the group has employed the Swedish visa tradition to interpret not just Aurell’s poetry, but also the migration histories of the over one million Swedes who came to the United States between 1850 and 1930.

This performance will feature songs based on the poetry of Aurell, as well as stories from her life in both Sweden and Minnesota.

Appetizers will be provided and this event is free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!


This event is sponsored by the Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper Midwest Project; the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures; the Center for European Studies; and the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic+.



October 4, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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Memorial Union
800 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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