Långbacka Jans Polska
Långbacka Jans Polska is one of the best-known tunes connected to this special 19th-century musician.
Jan Persson was born in 1800, and lived to just short of the age of 80. He was born and raised in Rasbo, in the province of Uppland. A long steep ridge was in the area, and that gave him the nickname Långbacka Jan.
He played both clarinet and fiddle, but was much best known for his fiddling. Although a shoemaker by trade, he was constantly in demand to play music for dances, weddings, etc. A folklore belief developed around him, having to do with his having learned to play from otherworldly forces. The fact that he moved away and stopped playing for religious reasons only amplified the stories in his old home area.
Stories about Långbacka Jan include playing so the furniture danced, his fiddle playing without him touching it, and the devil appearing in the flesh to him, so he had to run and hide behind the altar in the church to protect himself. One of the most famous legends about him is in the description in this website about Långbacka Jans Gånglåt.
To the left is a picture of Rasbo church, which provided Långbacka Jan with a defense from Satan.
Here is a link to a YouTube video of Långbacka Jans Polska being played by two of the most famous fiddlers in 20th-century Sweden. Eric Öst, from Hälsingland, was a prolific fiddler from a prominent fiddling family. On nyckelharpa is Eric Sahlström, unquestionably the top player of all time.