Dansband (“dance band”) is a Swedish term for a band that plays dansbandsmusik (“dance band music”). Dansbandsmusik is often danced to in pairs. The terms dansband and dansbandsmusik were coined around 1970, when Swedish popular music developed a signature style. The genre developed primarily in Sweden, but has spread to neighbouring countries Norway, Denmark and the Swedish speaking regions of Finland.
Before dansband music became popular, many jazz orchestras played a “schlager-inspired” dance music. Many people believe that the development of the dansbands during the 1950s and 1960s depended on the decreasing interest for jazz, it being replaced by pop and rock as the most popular music among young people.
The golden era of dansband music was the 1970s, with bands like Thorleifs, Flamingokvintetten, Ingmar Nordströms, Wizex and Matz Bladhs. There were at most around 800 full-time working dansbands in Sweden; by the late 1990s this number was down to around 500.
The term “dansband” was coined in Sweden in 1976, to sound more modern and tougher than the earlier “dansorkester” (dance orchestra), but later many of the bands have begun to call themselves “live bands”.
For taxation reasons, it was possible to deduct “fantasy” outfits in the declaration of income. The reasoning behind the phrasing was that it shouldn’t be possible to wear the same outfit in your daily life. This led to many bands wearing highly extravagant matched outfits in their stage performances.
(Photos via svenskadansband.se)