Umeå can blame music for placing this northern swedish city in the world map. Bands like Meshuggah and Refused call Umeå home and they are not alone in this. The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Nocturnal Rites, Koma, Naglfar; we could be name dropping bands for quite a while here.
But, this is not everything that you can hear in Umeå, the city has also been a base for the Norrland Opera, the opera of northern Sweden. And one of Europe’s oldest and among Scandinavia’s largest modern jazz festivals: the Umeå Jazz Festival.
Fotostrasse visits the Guitars Museum in Umeå
Last week, we had the pleasure of being there for the Guitars Museum opening and we can say that you should go there. The Guitars Museum is europe’s largest guitar museum and one of the world’s largest privately-owned vintage guitar collections, with more than 500 electric guitars, basses and lots and lots of vintage items.
In the building you can also visit Scharinksa, Umeå’s renowned live music venue which was formerly a historic family home built around 1904, as well as exhibitions on photography, fashion, art and design inspired by music. A music shop, a studio and a café can also be visited there.
You may be asking yourself how all those guitars ended up so close to the north pole and the answer is simple: the love for music shared by the twin brothers Samuel Åhdén and Michael Åhdén. Their great interest in music began in the mid sixties, when the twin brothers used to follow their mother to the corner shop to buy sweets and magazines. One of the magazines featured an article on the Rolling Stones, a band that changed their life forever.
It took them three more years until they could actually play some chords. With the help of a neighbour who owned a Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Marshall amplifier, they started learning Chuck Berry songs. At the time, rock and blues albums were not that easy to find and they had to specially order them from a record store. An Eric Clapton album cover with a Gibson Les Paul, sparked the start of this huge collection.
In 1973, the family went on a holiday trip to Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. And here, the boys made a visit to the guitar guru Halkan and his music retail store, Rock House. There they found their dream place with lots of Fender and Gibson guitars. Later on, in the summer of 1976, Samuel planned a trip through Europe.
And a considerable sum of money had been saved for this purpose, but before he set foot on foreign soil Samuel wanted to pay Halkan a visit and there it was, the long awaited for Gibson Les Paul guitar. This resulted in that the vacation budget was minimized by about 95%. But the guitar was with him. Today, they have a unique and extremely sought after collection of guitars, basses, amplifiers and props, worth millions of dollars.
And you can see all this guitars at the Guitars Museum in Umeå. You can find them at Vasagatan 18-20, 903 29 in Umeå, Sweden.
And there are more pictures from our visit on flickr: Umeå 2014 – Guitar Museum – a set on Flickr