Skepparschottis, or “the Skipper Schottische”, is one of the most popular old-time dance tunes in Sweden right now.
It was composed by Thore Härdelin, one of the great living fiddlers today. He is from the town of Delsbo, in Hälsingland. His father, Sven Härdelin, was an important leader of the fiddling movement in Hälsingland in the 20th century, and his grandfather, Thore Härdelin the elder, was a very important fiddler in the tradition.
The tune got its name when Thore bought a boat, and had all kinds of bad luck with it – motor breaking down, it sinking, and more. He named the schottis in memory of his boating adventure.
Thore was a nationally known character in the 1970’s and beyond. He was one third of Skäggmanslaget (the Bearded Men’s Team), perhaps the most prominent fiddle group of its time in Sweden. The group still performs today, even making new recordings.
He also starred in a TV documentary about Hultkläppen, a legendary Hälsingland fiddler, and in another film about Hårgalåten, in which he was the devil playing the fiddle, causing some young people to dance to death!
Here is a YouTube video of him leading a large group of fiddlers on stage at the Delsbo fiddle festival in 2019.
To the left is a picture of Skäggmanslaget today, with Thore in the middle.