Residence: United States
Date of Performance/Collection: April 25, 2016
Primary Language: Swedish
Other Language(s): English, French, Portuguese
Informant was a 20 year old female who was born in Sweden and currently lives in the United States. She came to visit me.
När trollmor har lagt sina elva små troll
och bundit dom fast i svansen,
då sjunger hon sakta för elva små trollen
de vackraste ord hon känner:
Ho aj aj aj aj buff,
ho aj aj aj aj buff,
ho aj aj aj aj buff buff!
Ho aj aj aj aj buff.
Informant: There’s a song that my mom would always sing to me in Swedish about trolls. It’s called Trollmors Vaggivisa, which literally translates into The Trollmom’s Lullaby. It’s about how this trollmom puts her 11 kids to bed, and the kids are trolls obviously, and how she sings a song to them after, and then it literally says when troll mom puts her 11 small trolls to bed and ties up their tails.
Collector: Wait, do trolls have tails?
Informant: These trolls do. And then the last part of the song says that she sings slowly to the 11 small trolls the prettiest words she knows. And then it goes like “ho ai ai ai ai buff ho ai ai ai ai buff ho ai ai ai ai buff buff ho ai ai ai ai buff.”
Collector: What does that mean?
Informant: It doesn’t mean anything. It’s giberish. It’s just supposed to be the prettiest words that the mom knows. And my mom used to sing this to me when I was a kid, and she has always sung it to us even when we were older. When I was in France and missing Sweden, she would always sing that to calm us down and put us to sleep, actually. It reminded me of home.
Collector: Why do you liked this song?
Informant: I think there was always something comforting about my mom singing it to me. It was calming and it made me feel like I was back home in Sweden.
I found this song particularly funny, because there isn’t really any meaning to it at all. I think that’s what makes this song particularly endearing, because it’s a cute little bedtime story about trolls. Even though it’s a song about trolls, it has significant meaning for my friend, as it connects her to her Swedish culture. Being international myself, I know how hard it can be to be away from home, and how important it is to have things that can connect you back to your culture.