A great party is always close at hand when Markus Rosendal is around. During week 1 of Herräng, Markus is in charge of the Midnight Ramble at Folkets Hus. ”Join a conga line, dress up for New Orleans and get your grooves on in the wee hours,” says the former Boogie Woogie champion, also known as DJ Big Papa Mac. During the day, he´ll be teaching you everything he knows. At night, get ready for some eclectic tunes!
Photos: Tamara Pinco
Markus was a baby when the neo-swing era was picking up, giving the international swing dance scene new life. Herräng was already running, with Frankie Manning as a special guest, and in the US Chuck Berry was touring again with songs like Reelin’ and Rockin’, Sweet Little Sixteen and Little Queenie. Chuck Berry’s music was also played in Ludvika, Sweden, were Markus grew up. At the age of nine, the music began to spiral into Markus life, drawing him in a new direction.
– My friend was competing in Bugg and Rock’n’Roll and I got interested. Of course, my mom encouraged me to join in and down that road I went.
– I felt a sense of belonging and a nice social atmosphere, meeting kids all around Sweden while competing and still with a friendly aura around it all.
For almost a decade, Markus was part of the Swedish national team in Boogie Woogie. He and his dance partner, Frida Borg, enjoyed many successes. They became Swedish champions, made it to the podium in the World Championship and in the European Championship.
– I am very proud that Frida and I managed to keep our own unique style and did not let ”the leading couple” influence us too much. We stuck to our path and I think it paid off. Even today, I very much favor people who manage to stay true to themselves and do not try to please someone else in their dance styles.
Markus’s style cannot be mistaken for being anyone’s but his. It’s a sight to see him work, both on the dance floor and in the DJ booth. His eclectic and personal manner has led him to a great international career. In 2015, he moved to London to teach, do vintage business and spin his favorite tunes. His collection of vinyl records is significant and he takes pride in selecting only the best music from the 1920s to the 1960s, not only jazz but mambo, ska and, of course, boogie woogie. On top of that, he has an ability to blow life into any party by accentuating positive vibes on the dance floor.
– I have a big interest in music and keep mixing it up for my own sake. Also, I have experienced proper DJs in action and believe me when I say that a good DJ is very different from a DJ that just ”does the job.”
Why do you love swing?
– It’s groovy, raw and humorous. You meet people, sweat with people, socialize with people, dress up with people. I guess you get that I like people!
Boogie woogie, rock’n’roll, Lindy hop and jive… what are the similarities and differences?
– The character of the music that defines the dance. All of them have a similarity in that someone leads and someone follows but the music differs and that will hopefully change the way you move and groove. That is the short answer!
Which part of your vinyl collection have you brought to Herräng 2017?
– Anything that I believe fits into the different Ramble themes. It is eclectic and not your average mix.
Markus came to Herräng for the first time in 2003. Since then he has been back every year.
– For the first five years, I always left the camp thinking it could not get better, but it did for many more years. My greatest memory is tricky to sort out, but I liked when two goats were given to Lennart on stage. I also remember a Swedish Folkets Park theme very well, as well as the Herräng Marathon, where you could get a cigar along the way. These are just some of many great memories.
What has the camp meant to you and your career?
– The camp itself is a creative base where you can decide how much you want to participate. The more you indulge and take part and actively join the activities, the more you will get out of it. For my career, I do not know. I’ve been doing this since I was about nine years old and it’s always been a part of my life. But without the camp I would not have had a platform where I could put some of my more crazy ideas into action.
What dreams and goals do you have?
– Manage to keep on growing, not stagnate in my evolving dance career and also to put some of my fresher plans into action. To stay humble to the fact that we can always learn more, and not get star stuck in these times of YouTube worshipping. There are people in this world who know a great deal but they are not necessarily on YouTube or similar forums.
Who is your inspirational star?
– We are all “Stars,” depending on how you define it, people that do INSPIRE me are many, here´s a few: Sakarias Larsson, Lennart Westerlund, Daniel Heedman, Mattias Lundmark, Natty Bo, Tim Hellzapoppin, my local African dance teacher, Daniel Larsson, Brian, Åsa Heedman, W, Kim and David, Sylvia Sykes, Mimmi, Liz, Frieda W, Count Cassavubu, Count Basie, Frankie, Al Minns, Pepsi Bethel, Leon James, all my family members…well, the list is long.
What new crazy ideas of yours will we experience in Herräng 2017?
– You have many fun live performances to look forward to, both at Midnight Ramble and on stage at the Folkets Hus main ballroom. And there will be a lot of interaction with the audience!
FACTS MARKUS ROSENDAL:
Age: 30 since June 2017
Family: Mom, two older brothers with family and grandparents on both sides.
Home: London since 2015
From: Ludvika, Sweden.
Interests: Gardening, Fashion, Theater, Film, Documentaries and staying present.