Music and Friendship

To the memory of Bo Sybrandt Hansen

Sometimes people say that it is hard to find new friends when you get old; that it was easier when you were young. This is not my experience. I am quite old, and in some ways I find it easier to get to know people now than it was when I was younger. I am less afraid of showing who I really am, and in my age I cannot afford to waste time on games of pretending. That approach to social life often gives the same kind of honesty in return. I believe this is an experience I share with many. But of course, to have the possibility to get to know people you need to be in places where you have the chance to communicate. It can be in physical places or on digital platforms.

I have come to know some of my friends through music. I am not a musician myself, but I find that different genres and musicians strongly appeal to my emotions. Joan Chamorro and his project the Sant Andreu Jazz Band are among those who do. I found the SAJB on YouTube in 2016, and wrote a short story for my music page,

In the SAJB project, Joan Chamorro combines a very interesting jazz education project with performances on a high-quality level by the young musicians. The members of the band are of different ages, but they are all young and serious about their music. The band is irresistible.

So, I have continued to write about the project. As Joan Chamorro shares stories written about the SAJB on social media, SAJB fans can easily find them. One of Joan Chamorro’s and the SAJB’s followers was Bo Sybrandt Hansen from Denmark. He found one of my stories, and I believe it was The Sant Andreu Jazz Band formula. That story was based on an interview with Joan Chamorro and the two young musicians Èlia Bastida and Carla Motis. I conducted the interview in conjunction with a SAJB concert in Stockholm in October 2018. Bo commented on the story in a positive way, and of course I was happy about that. We began to communicate.

In the end of the interview, I asked Joan, Èlia and Carla where to see the band next time. They strongly advised me to come to Barcelona to see the band at the Palau de la Música next month. (November 28, 2018). So, I did together with my wife. At the concert (which was wonderful), we met Bo and another SAJB fan, Pertti Haikonen from Finland, for the first time.

After leaving Barcelona, we kept in contact. The next time we met was at the Riverboat Jazz Festival 2019 in Silkeborg, Denmark. As Bo lived near to Silkeborg, I believe Bo was the one that first found out that SAJB would come to the festival. The decision to go there was quickly made by all of us. Bo helped with tickets and other practical arrangements, including a boat trip on the river with entertainment by another jazz band. During the festival, Bo and I stayed with our wives in two neighbouring cabins in a camping site on the outskirts of Silkeborg. Pertti and a Finnish friend stayed downtown in a hotel. It was in June, and the weather was beautiful. The SAJB played five concerts, and we of course attended all of them. We had a great time!

On New Year’s Day, 2020, the American writer and SAJB fan Garry Berman published an interesting article on the SAJB. Bo and I found it and gave him well earned credit. Later, Bo and Garry approached me and asked if I wanted to take part in a discussion about how we could spread the word about Joan and the SAJB. We discussed different ways, and in the end decided that a Facebook group probably would be the best. The discussion was interesting, and I came to know Bo and Garry better. We started the Facebook group Friends of Sant Andreu Jazz Band in March 2020.

I was active in the discussion and the start-up of the group, but after a few weeks I had to return to my other commitments. However, we continued to be friends and from time to time we communicated – most often about the SAJB. Bo and Garry developed the group into a highly active forum with more than 8000 members, paying their tribute to Joan, the SAJB and its current and former members. The group is still growing.

In November 2021, Joan Chamorro and three senior members of the SAJB – Alba Armengou, Èlia Bastida and Alba Esteban – came to Sweden for a short tour. Bo came for one of the concerts, and my wife and I were lucky to have Bo as our guest. After the concert we had an interesting late-night discussion about the SAJB, different music experiences and life in general.

Later that year we met Bo again in Palau de la Música, Barcelona. During that year, the SAJB project celebrated its 15 years anniversary. They did so with a number of different concerts. On December 10, Joan had managed to gather almost all young musicians that had been part of the SAJB project for a marvellous concert. The Palau de la Música was full of enthusiastic SAJB fans, and the musicians as well as the audience radiated happiness, warmth, and joy.

In July 2022, my wife and I went to Aarhus for a concert with Diana Krall, and I told Bo about it. He was not interested in the concert, but he wanted to come and show us Aarhus, a city where he had lived several years. We had lunch together, and then he very generously spent the day with us as our guide.

In October 2022, Bo and I started to discuss the possibilities to make some kind of initiative(s) that could end up in a Scandinavian SAJB tour. We communicated on Messenger and e-mail. It was of course a far-reaching idea, and we did not know what practical initiatives we could take to make the idea come true.

However, we found that communication on Messenger and e-mail was not efficient enough, so we decided to meet and spend one full day on sharing and evaluating different ideas, including what kind of valuable contacts we had. Bo would arrive the day before and leave the day after our discussions. We were of course prepared to face the fact that we might conclude that this was not a realistic idea, but we did not want to leave the idea before we had had a serious discussion about it. And I believe we both wanted to meet again, regardless of why we would meet.

Bo was to come by ferry from Denmark on a Friday evening. That evening I waited for him by the ferry terminal in Gothenburg. There were not many passengers on the ferry that day, so it was easy to see that Bo was not among them. I tried to reach him on all the platforms that we used to communicate on, but there was no answer. So, after half an hour I went home, where my wife waited with the dinner that we had planned to have with Bo. We had our dinner without him, and from time to time I looked for messages from Bo on my mobile phone. There were not any.

The next day I was informed by a member of Bo´s family that Bo unexpectedly had passed away the day before.


Some time has now passed, but I still very much miss Bo. He was a true friend, and we shared the interest in and the love for the SAJB. When you have shared an interest in music with a lost friend you are constantly reminded of that friend, and you miss the possibility to exchange ideas that you once had.

Of course, Bo had many friends, and he shared his love of the SAJB with many of them. In fact, Bo’s and Garry’s work to build and develop the Facebook group Friends of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band (FOSAJB) has brought many SAJB friends together on this common communication platform. We all share the same interest and love that Bo had, the interest and the love of the SAJB. With FOSAJB we can enjoy and develop what we love with the SAJB, and we can, old or young, develop friendship relations with other SAJB fans. The communication platform is there, and it is not difficult to find new friends, regardless of the fact that some of us are getting old.

Dear Bo, thank you for your friendship.

From the Anniversary concert December 10, 2021