Kristin Hellberg is one of the founders of Bilingual By Music. They have recently released their first bilingual album “Kids songs – Childrens favourites Swedish-English” which can be bought from the Bilingual By Music website.
Kristin grew up in Norrköping, Sweden. At 19 she moved to London to study Musical Theatre at the Arts Educational Schools. She started working as a performer and has since appeared in various West End shows (e.g. Showboat, Chess, Napoleon, Pirates of Penzance) on TV (e.g Family Affairs) and doing the voice for many commercials (e.g Nokia, Swatch, Clas Ohlson)
She completed a BSc in Psychology at Goldsmiths College London, followed by a MSc in Business Psychology at London Metropolitan University. Kristin lives in London with her husband and two young children. She can currently be heard doing the voice for TV8 in Sweden. She is also slightly addicted to the Nordic TV series such as The Bridge, The Killing etc.
Where did the idea of Bilingual by Music come from?
The idea came to me when my son started English nursery school and started to learn the traditional English nursery rhymes. It hit me that these songs were the same that I had learnt as a child in Sweden. I then further realised that I really wanted him to know them in Swedish as well, and began teaching him. With all these traditional songs there are, however, so many different versions and arrangements to listen to. I wanted to have the same versions so he could hear they are actually the same songs, just in different languages.
When and how did you start the project/company? Was it just you?
The idea of creating this kind of product started growing back in 2010. In 2012 the actual company, Bilingual By Music ltd was registered by myself and my colleague Guy James. Guy is also Executive Producer of MaKiNG Records and head of Creative Development at Access Artiste Management in London. His input and advice have been invaluable to me and to help Bilingual By Music become established.
What are your plans moving forward?
We have many exciting ideas in the pipeline. In the very near future – a karaoke version of the Swedish-English album. Then, of course, the same concept applied to other languages: Danish-English, etc. At the moment we are concentrating on reaching out to the Swedish community around the world.
How do you think music can help language learning?
I think music can be a fantastic tool in language learning. Music has rhythm, structures and rules just like languages. Language learning involving music can be a fun way of repeating words and understanding concepts. It’s also a great way remembering new words.
Can you recommend any other Swedish books/online/media resources that are good for learning Swedish?
Great sites if you are interested in bilingualism:
Do you have any other advice for Swedish-English families?
Make sure you expose yourself and the kids to the minority language (i.e. Swedish if you are not living in Sweden) and culture: read books, listen to music and songs, watch films. Also try to embrace the culture, which for Swedes would include Midsummer, Lucia, playing traditional games such as ‘Bro Bro Breja’, and so on. Also keep an eye out for Swedish food traditions such as Semlor, våfflor, leverpastej, etc. A great website to visit is www.totallyswedish.com