Delsbovals is a gorgeous piece from the northern part of Hälsingland. It is the “anthem” waltz for the town of Delsbo, home to Sweden’s longest continuing fiddlers’ festival.
Variations of the tune are found elsewhere in Sweden, but this best-known version comes down from Thore Härdelin the elder, who was a prominent fiddler 120 years or more ago. His son Sven Härdelin preserved tunes in published volumes, and was an important figure in Hälsingland music. The son of Sven, Thore Härdelin the younger, reached nationwide fame in the 1970’s as a member of Skäggmanslaget, a trio of young men playing fiddles with wonderful style.
Thore is still active with his longtime fiddle partners, and is considered an icon of Hälsingland music.
The waltz itself is named for the little town rich in folk traditions. It is found in the 1928 collection Svenska Låtar, Hälsingland & Gästrikland, #28. It is included in the repertoire of the master fiddler Jon Erik Hall. It is also said to be composed by Pelle Schenell.
To the left is a photo of two old churchboats approaching Delsbo after a row across the big lake.
Here is a YouTube video of Delsbovals being played at the Delsbo festival in 2018, led by Thore Härdelin!
In many Swedish tunes, the chords for accompanying instruments can be somewhat ambiguous. For those interested, I have the sheet music with suggested chords here.
To the left is a video of me playing Delsbovals.