Vendelpolskan is one of the most revered tunes in the Uppland repertoire. It was composed by the beloved fiddler, Viksta-Lasse (Johan Leonard Larsson).
Lasse was born in the village of Viksta in 1897, and lived to the ripe old age of 90. He began playing fiddle when he was 10, with a cigar-box fiddle. By the time he was 15, he was winning prizes for his fiddling.
As a young teen he was taken under the wing of the great Bingsjö fiddler, Hjort Anders Olsson, and became his protogé. He went on to become once of the most celebrated fiddlers of his time and place.
By the church in Viksta, there is a monument to him. The fiddler seated in the picture to the right is Viksta-Lasse in 1974. The fiddler with the hat and moustache is noted fiddler and nyckelharpa player Leif Alpsjö.
Construction of the church at Vendel was started in the 13th century. It was expanded over the years, and in the 15th century was decorated with religious paintings all over the walls and ceiling. Eventually the conservative Lutheran authorities had them all whitewashed, as being “too Catholic”, but an ongoing restoration of the church has uncovered most of them.
Iron age graves near the church revealed artifacts which helped define a Viking-like culture in Sweden’s history, now known as the Vendel Age.
The tune, Vendelpolskan, is one of the most famous compositions of Viksta-Lasse. It is equally good on both fiddle and nyckelharpa. He composed it for the fiddle festival held in Vendel in 1975.
Here is a YouTube video of it being played in Vendel in 2010.