An old Swedish custom of sending young peasant women to higher grounds a few months in the summer. The fact cattle was moved away from the arable farmland benefited the families of the small farming communities nearby. The women lived in a "fäbod,” a cottage on a mountain pasture area (a fäbovall) with a collection of buildings for shelter, from where they scattered to search for better pastures for goats and cows. This summer pasture culture thrived for more than 400 years, especially in the central and northern parts of Sweden, until World War II, when agriculture became more streamlined and the forests more valuable in other ways.

Swedish summer nights were very short, but they were also very dark - especially for the fäbojäntor, the girls, living alone sometimes a day's travel by foot from their villages - and the women sang to wipe away their superstitious fears. They developed a sisterhood and a special vocal technique that was discovered to also summon their animals. The women’s songs, especially the “kulning,” which attracted the cows for milking, could be heard for miles, transforming the forest into a cathedral of music. Their songs are not recorded in history, but it’s a foundation of Swedish folk music.


Two young Swedish singers are reliving this piece of history, a sort of folk cabaret they call "Fäboland” (Land of summer pasture). Sara Parkman and Samantha Ohlanders perform "Fäboland" as a theatrical production. Their premiere kicks off at the Hälsingland farm on Stenegård in Järvsö in central Sweden where the stage design consists of a few “animals” and a hut with lace curtains. The musical is an educational journey and one about women's rights. It's also humorous and invites the audience on a journey into the land of pasture as they move into the forest and up to the meadow where the audience can sing along.

Sara Parkman and Samantha Ohlanders perform “Fäboland” in various venues throughout Sweden from Sept. 30 until Dec. 14.

Listen to the trailer here: Fäboland - TRAILER (in Swedish)