Sara Maria Forsberg’s Global Magic

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Like a rabbit from a hat or a quarter from inside an ear, Sara Maria Forsberg has surfaced without expectation, intriguing millions of people with shocking linguistic lability that defies commonsense notions of human abilities. Unlike a magician’s carefully-planned ruse, however, Forsberg’s impromptu talent is devoid of legerdemain; her prodigious insights about dialectical variation and musical genres are unstudied testaments to an intrinsic gift that makes her a true rara avis in a world where many people have difficulty speaking even their native language correctly.

The 19-year-old Finnish sensation – hitherto ordinary teenage girl – decided capriciously one day to upload a YouTube video featuring her extemporaneous rendition of no fewer than 14 languages, many of them noncognate constructions requiring completely different articulatory abilities to speak with authenticity. From Finnish to UK English, Swedish to Spanish, French to Japanese, Forsberg masterfully delineated linguistic differences and their complexities while making it all look wildly facile. The appearance of easiness – practical verisimilitude – is part of the charm that attracts people to Forsberg’s videos. One might attribute the remaining attraction to her histrionic expressions and casual tone. Forsberg’s intention is not to instruct. Her intention is to entertain. In the process of entertaining with bubbly brilliance, though, Forsberg has managed to instruct and inspire a captive audience.

Since uploading her language video, Forsberg has proven a penchant for musical ability as well in her second YouTube video. With a surprisingly mellifluous and versatile voice, Forsberg sings in the style of rhythm and blues, hymnals, rap, jazz, and musical theatre, not to mention other musical genres. With over 10 million views and counting, this once unknown adolescent is becoming an international presence, an enigmatic, multi-talented, fresh-faced novelty who may receive offers to travel to the United States and display her talents on national television. The more exposure Forsberg receives the more likely she will remain in the public consciousness, giving her an opportunity to hone her abilities and develop a strategy to remain a lasting global presence.

Forsberg’s family will not stifle the magic that has elevated her to budding stardom; conversely, they welcome the opportunity as a gift that has the opportunity to keep on giving. Forsberg receives positive attention and possible benefits from sharing her talents; then, in a chain reaction, people see her talents and share them with others. This concatenation of sharing leads to a chain of smiles, of admiration, of awe. A conversation develops among friends and family. Yes, but not only that. A conversation about Forsberg and human possibility develops among complete strangers, different nations and, perhaps, even enemies. Forsberg’s work is an inspiration not only because one person has talent. It is an inspiration because it unites people and gives them hope. Forsberg has the ability to raze global isolation and establish a global village and that is the true power of language. That is the true magic of Sara Maria Forsberg.