Christer Sjögren - The dance band king from Hagfors

The dance band vocalist and solo artist Christer Sjögren from Hagfors in Värmland showed musical talent at an early age and has a long career behind him.

The Viking from Hagfors

Christer Sjögren was born on 6 April 1950 in the little mill town of Hagfors in Värmland where he grew up and went to school. He was cultivating his interest in music already in his teens. In 1964 Christer started the band Jonny-Christers along with Stig-Åke Byberg and brother Johnny and Hans-Gunnar Brokvist in which he played the electric organ. He left in 1965 and was instead assigned to the local dance band Jupiters where he also began to sing. In 1968 Christer moved to Mariestad to be the vocalist in the band Pelles where he also changed instrument and began to play bass. His career in Pelles was successful and several songs from their discs ended up on the Swedish Charts.

Christer’s big breakthrough came in 1978 when in his deep bass voice he took over as lead singer in the dance band Vikingarna after Stefan Borsch and released the record  Kramgoa låtar 7 – Djingis Kahn.

The Dance Band King

His career really took off and Christer was the front man for Vikingarna for 26 years. Vikingarna have released about 30 records and a lot of songs in the Swedish Charts and are a dance band that is not only known in Sweden but also has fans in the whole of Scandinavia.

In 1997 Christer replaced Tommy Körberg in the role of Georg von Trapp in the Sound of Music at Göta Lejon in Stockholm where he played against the likes of Carola Häggkvist.

In 1994 Vikingarna split and Christer instead focused on pursuing a solo career. His successes as a solo artist appeared quickly and in 2009 he participated in the Melody Festival (Melodifestivalen) with the song  I Love Europé which reached ninth place. Christer has also released a number of albums as a solo artist, including an album with covers of Elvis Presely and Frank Sinatra, which is his most recently released record.

Romantic duets

Christer Sjögren is a very popular artist and has a past with the artist and presenter Lotta Engberg, both professionally and personally. During the 80s they sang duets together and in the early 90s they began a romance despite both of them being married. The romance was short-lived and Lotta divorced her husband Anders Engberg whilst Christer separated from Birgitta Sjögren but after scarcely a year Christer and Birgitta moved in together again and still live happily together.

Today all of those involved have drawn a line under the infidelity but Christer and Lotta still expolit the positive chemistry and ability to collaborate in their musical endeavours. In 2012 they sang at Medolifestivalen with the contribution Don’t let me down and in the same year they released the album Lotta och Christer tillsammans and Christer has also appeared as a guest on Lotta’s programme Lotta på Liseberg on several occasions.

Christmas concerts and spiritual tones

Christer has recorded many Christmas records and appears on both TV and concerts in a Christmas context. He has toured with the Christmas concert White Christmas along with Lotta Engberg and Gunhild Carling and the biggest Christmas tour in Sweden at Christmas time that delivers classic Christmas songs filled with nostalgia in many of the country’s church.

Cars and engines

Christer has several interests other than music. Since he was small he has shared his father’s great delight in cars and engines. Christer’s father worked as a taxi driver and it was when Christer learned of the sense of freedom in being able to decide for yourself and drive away anywhere, whenever, that fascinated Christer and the Mercedes is dear to his heart.

Melody of the future

Today Christer has celebrated 40 years as an artist with a big anniversary show (2008) at Tyrol in Stockholm and has passed retirement age. He has earned sufficient money to never have to work again, but for Christer music is a passion and he is currently writing his autobiographyFår jag lov att berätta? (Can I explain?).  The memory of Kramgoa from Christer’s garage. In the book Christer talks opening for the first time about his previous alcohol abuse.

Today Christer lives in Hammarö, outside of Karlstad, with his wife Birgitta, on the shores of Lake Vänern in an architect-designed house surrounded by forest and shoreline with its own bridge.

Nya Vikingarna

Christer is no longer part of Vikingarna which was officially dissolved in 2004. The band has now re-appeared as Nya Vikingarna (the New Vikings) with three of the original musicians: Johan Norgren, Kenth Andersson, Erik Lihm and Kenneth Wahlberg as the new vocalist and the band is currently working on the album Kramgoa låtar 30.

Some of the works of Christers Sjögren:

  • 1989 - Andliga sånger (Christian tunes)
  • 1993 - Andliga sånger 2 (Christian tunes)
  • 1994 - När ljusen ska tändas därhemma (Christmas album)
  • 1996 - Varför är solen så röd
  • 2000 - Ett julkort från förr (Christmas album)
  • 2003 - För kärlekens skull (tunes)
  • 2005 - Love Me Tender (interpretations of Elvis Presley’s songs)
  • 2006 - King Creole (interpretations of Elvis Presley’s songs)
  • 2007 - Älskade andliga sånger (Christian songs)
  • 2008 - 40 år med Christer Sjögren (compilation album)
  • 2008 - Mitt sköna sextiotal (covers of popular music from the 1960s)
  • 2009 - Schlagerminnen
  • 2010 - En stjärna lyser i natt (Christmas album)
  • 2011 - Kramgoa låtar 2011
  • 2012 - Lotta & Christer (with Lotta Engberg)
  • 2014 - Christer Sjögren sings Sinatra

Photographer: Peter Knutson