Typically Swedish

Små grodorna, a midsummer classic

Song for midsummer - små grodorna

The midsummer party anthem is ‘Små grodorna,’ a catchy sing-along about little frogs. I actually learned the lyrics from some elderly Swedish couples while travelling on the Inlandsbanan railway, just before midsummer. It was a moment I’ll never forget! They got right into it, and before you know it, we were all hopping down the train carriage like frogs! There’s no video of it, which is a shame in a way, but somehow that makes the memory even more special. What an experience!

Another time, I was in Mora for the midsummer festival in a little village. I joined the locals as they raised the maypole, and then we all danced and sang around it together. It was a fantastic day!

If you ever get the chance to celebrate midsummer in Sweden, I urge you to go for it! Don your flower crown and don’t worry if you don’t know the little frogs song and dance – you’ll pick it up in no time. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to practise beforehand, I’ve included the lyrics below. So, are we all ready to belt it out at full volume?

The text of Små grodorna

Små grodorna lyrics

The song about the frogs is simple and doesn’t really make any sense. Yet it belongs to the collective memory of the Swedes. Are you singing along?

Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se. (2x)

Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de. (2x)

Origin Små grodorna

The melody of Små grodorna comes from the chorus of a military march from the French Revolution, “La Chanson de l’Oignon”. The original text sounded: “Au pas, camarade, au pas camarade / au pas, au pas, au pas!”.

The English, enemies of the French at that time, changed the text with condescending irony to “Au pas, grenouilles!”. The melody is still used in a French nursery rhyme with the original lyrics “Au pas camarades”, and is also used on military occasions. However, it is not yet known how the melody eventually ended up in Sweden, but the Swedish lyrics are clearly inspired by the English version.

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små grodorna

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