June 1
Swedish entertainer, singer, pianist and composer Povel Ramel was born on June 1 in 1922 in Stockholm, into an affluent, noble family. His style was characterized by imaginative wit, both verbal and musical. He took inspiration from America and England’s “ crazy” style humor and created his own personal Swedish version, unusual combinations of lyrics and music, word play, pastiche and general unexpectedness. He wrote approximately 1700 songs, skits and monologues, and he is regarded as a legend and an institution in Swedish entertainment. He went to art school, but his infatuation with painting did not last. However he developed a love for playing the piano and for words, as he became inspired by musicians such as Bing Crosby, Fats Waller, British trumpeter Nat Gonella, Spike Jones and British dance band leader Harry Roy. In 1952 Ramel and Felix Alvo started the Knäppupp AB (Unbutton Inc.) company. The Knäppupp vaudeville shows were popular with Swedish audiences, and some of Ramel’s hits include “Måste vägen till Curaçao gynga så,” “Far, jag kan inte få upp min kokosnöt,” “Sorglösa brunn” and “Varför är där ingen is till punschen?” Povel Ramel died in 2007.

June 4
Peter Jöback, a Swedish singer and musical artist, was born on June 4 in 1971 in Stockholm. He is currently regarded as one of Sweden’s best male vocalists. Jöback was discovered by Cameron Mackintosh and was offered the lead as Chris in “Miss Saigon” at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London’s West End in 1997. Three years later at the same theatre, Jöback created the role of Michael in Macintosh’s original production of “The Witches of Eastwick.” But he got his real break through his collaboration with ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson when he created the role of Robert in their musical “Kristina från Duvemåla” at Malmö Opera och Musikteater. The musical was seen by over one million Swedes and the original cast CD-box became a triple-platinum album and received several Swedish Grammy awards. Jöback received his first Golden Mask for his role as Robert. During 2006–2007 Peter Jöback starred as the MC in productions of “Cabaret” in Stockholm and Göteborg, and he received critical praise as well as his second Golden Mask Tony Award. In 2003 he performed as the MC at Gladsaxe Theatre in Copenhagen, and in 2011 Jöback starred as the Phantom in the London production of “The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary.” Some of Jöback’s albums include “Livet, kärleken och döden—La vie, l'amour, la mort,” “Himlen är inget tak” and “I Feel Good And I'm Worth It.”


June 11
Jules Sylvain (pseudonym for Axel Stig Hansson) was born on June 11 in 1900 in Stockholm. He was a composer, script writer and musician. The son of actor Axel Mauritz Hansson, Sylvain studied at The Royal Swedish Academy of Music and was hired by Karl Gerhard during the period of 1925-1928, and worked for Svensk Filmindustri from 1937 to 1945. He composed about 800 songs, among them “Säg det i toner,” “Jag är ute när gumman min är nine," “Med en enkel tulipan” and “Tangokavaljeren.” It’s uncertain how and why he took his pseudonym, but one story has it that Ernst Rolf (a popular revue actor and singer at the time) suggested Hansson needed a name change. Perhaps he wanted a more international name. The author Jules Verne was one of his favorite authors, and he also admired the French composer Maurice Yvain; perhaps he was inspired by those two names. Jules Sylvain never married and died in Tuscany, Italy in 1968.

June 19
Writer and translator Gunnel Vallquist was born on June 19 in 1918 in Stockholm. She was elected a member of the Swedish Academy in 1982. Vallquist is a Catholic and has written several essays on the Catholic religion of our time, among them reports from the Second Vatican Council. Her most famous achievement is probably the Swedish translation of the seven-piece novel “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust, which she began in 1965 and completed in 1982. Early on, she wrote for Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet, and has for periods lived in France and Italy. Her debut came in 1956 with a collection of essays entitled “Något att leva för” (Something to live for). Other works include “Vägar till Gud,” “Morgon och afton,” “Vad väntar vi egentligen på?” and “Steg på vägen.”