The swingin' Swedish hip-hop trio is in Louisville, KY on Sept. 15, Bloomington, IN on Sept. 16-17, Chicago on Sept. 22, Madison, WI on Sept. 23 and finally Minneapolis on Sept. 24. Look for the show dates nearest you through the link at the end of this review. (Different musical genre but no less catching is Jaerv, also on US tour:

Here's an interview with the three members of Movits! during their first U.S. tour:

Straight outta Luleå

The back story is just too fun not to repeat. The Luleå-based trio, known worldwide for its irresistible amalgam of acoustic hip-hop, jazz and Benny Goodman-style swing, was in Uppsala in May 2009 when the band members heard they were being hyped on some U.S. blogs.
Their debut album, Äppleknyckarjazz ("Apple-Swiper Jazz"), released in November 2008, spawned two engaging music videos (directed by Kalix-born Axel Söderlund). A Colbert staffer spotted one on social bookmarking site, shared it with his famous boss, and an invitation to perform on the show soon hit the group’s inbox.
Lead vocalist Johan "Jivin’" Rensfeldt, his multi-instrumentalist brother "Mördar" Anders Rensfeldt and jazz saxophonist Jocke "One-Take" Nilsson, thought it was all someone’s idea of a joke.
"We figured one of our friends up in Luleå put it together somehow,” Johan said, relaxing before the night’s show at the Mohawk Bar in Austin, Texas. The guys figured it’d make a good story to share at their next gig — and it truly did. "We couldn’t believe the email was real, but it was.”


In July 2009, Movits! made its U.S. debut with a charming interview with Colbert and a take-no-prisoners rendition of ”Fel Del av Gården.” The next day, Äppleknyckarjazz shot up the charts and was released on iTunes in Sweden and the U.S. Thanks to "the Colbert bump," it actually topped hip-hop icons — some of the band’s idols, like Eminem — in downloads for a while.
"We still look at a screenshot of that sometimes and can’t believe it,” said Anders.
Fueled by Colbert’s young, hip viewership, Movits! went from being complete unknowns (despite 7 years of making music together) to being recognized on the streets of New York overnight. The phone started ringing. And the opportunities started coming.
"I think we really underestimated the impact the show would have," Jocke added. "Our hope was to get a little more attention in Sweden … the next morning, we had 30,000 new views on YouTube and 400 unread emails.”

A bit of background: The band's name doesn’t come from the fact that its music makes you want to get your ass out on the dance floor and "move it,” as two tipsy coeds speculated in the graffiti-spattered ladies room of the Mohawk (although that’s undeniably true).
In fact, its roots are almost three centuries old and couldn’t be more Swedish. It’s a musician’s homage to Fader Movitz, a key character in Swedish composer Carl Michael Bellman’s "Fredmans Epistlar" song cycle. (In another nod to Bellman, Äppleknyckarjazz even features a tune called Epistle No. 1.) The band cites renowned Bellman troubadour Cornelis Vreeswijk and his bluesy renderings of Bellman’s classic pub songs as a major inspiration.
Vreeswijk’s influence coexists alongside “King of Swing” Benny Goodman — his "Sing Sing Sing" provided a creative epiphany, and the album opens to Gene Krupa-esque beats — scat jazz singer (and proto-rapper, if you think about it) Cab Calloway, gypsy guitar virtuouso Django Reinhardt and the driving rhythms of Buena Vista Social Club.
"In some strange way, the swing, jazz and hip-hop combined to create something no one else had done before,” Johan said. "People are drawn to something new and fresh.”

On top and out in front are Johan’s syncopated rap vocals — cleverly constructed social commentary delivered entirely in Swedish. "Fel Del av Garden," the thumping number the band performed on The Colbert Report, talks about an outsider born with the deck stacked against him. Others, like “A-Kasse Blues” and “Swing för Hyresgästföreningen,” perfectly channel the big-band era by evoking a working-class, pre-folkhem Sweden that would be all but impossible to explain to a non-Swedish audience.
But that doesn’t seem to have presented much of an obstacle, as the band’s earlier sold-out shows across the country have demonstrated.
"Sometimes it’s weird that 95 percent of the people out there don’t know what I’m saying,” Johan said. “But we like listening to French pop and don’t understand a word. Sometimes the ‘flow’ is just great, and you get to enjoy the sound without getting caught up in the lyrics.”

American fans who discovered the Swedish trio via Colbert aren’t surprised to see the three-man line-up on tour. But the group’s full-strength sound on Äppleknyckarjazz is the product of a studio-layered big band orchestra — brass, strings, accordion, keyboards, harmonica. Of course, it’s too expensive to tour the states with a big band, so the Movits! sound is rolled up and reproduced onstage via DJ soundboard by Anders, who ably sets up the evening’s beats.
But Anders is more than the maestro, as he gets to demonstrate on a few numbers. He pulled out his guitar on the gently swinging “Stick iväg Jack Del 2” — a sequel to Ray Charles’s classic “Hit the Road, Jack” — to complement Jocke’s slick, jazzy accompaniment.
by Lisa Carr

The Movits! 2016 tour continues through September 24, ending in Minnesota. Check out for more info. And see the Colbert Report interview at Stephen Colbert of July 27, 2009