Thanks to Trevor Buck and Phil Lyon for alerting me to a house concert this evening – we went along to hear Ditte Andersson (nyckelharpa, fiddle, voice) together with Ewen MacPherson of Shooglenifty, Salt House … (guitar, voice) and Sarah Hoy (fiddle). A great evening. I’ve been very lucky to hear lots of nyckelharpa in the past few weeks – Peter Hedlund, Väsen, and now Ditte Andersson. Fantastic!

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fiddle and harpa

The Greenbank Buskers played a wee gig today in St Mary’s Kirk, Haddington, as part of their summer concert series. We normally play for dancing at ceilidhs (for charity), but today had been asked to do a performance – so our bandleader Hazel had finally got me to play the nyckelharpa (I don’t really do reels on it yet). We formed a trio from the band – Fiona on fiddle, Tom on guitar and self on nyckelharpa, and gave them three Swedish tunes. It meant that I had both fiddle and nyckelharpa there; the nyckelharpa seemed to go down well with the audience. Continue reading

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TMSA have put up some photos on Facebook – not on a permalink yet so hope this persists. It’s a good photo of Phil and me in the session.

Posted by TMSA Edinburgh and Lothians Branch on Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Peter Hedlund

Another fantastic Northern Streams festival well and truly underway! Today I attended three great workshops, the first with the brilliant Peter Hedlund (featured photo) who taught us three great tunes. It was great to see and hear Peter’s “number 3” nyckelharpa, built in Kjell Lundvall’s “Nyckelharpverkstan” in Söderhamn. This workshop with Peter alone had four nyckelharpas present – I believe the largest number in one room in Scotland, ever! There have been five at the festival – one of the V-Dala Spelmanslag has one as well.

Harpacam photo of my nyckelharpa, with Pete and Fion Rigg up at the festival from Cumbria.

After lunch I attended the Swedish singing workshop taught by Hannah from V-Dala Spelmanslag where my Swedish from last year’s course was pretty useful – enjoyable singing too. For my last workshop I attended the tunes and accompaniments session taught by the Fika Collective which was also very useful in terms of trying harmonies.

We had a session where all the groups shared what they had learned – so you could see what groups you couldn’t attend had been doing – and then had a nice impromptu session afterwards before the hall was rearranged for the evening concert.

The concert featured Peter Hedlund, Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson, and it was a delight to watch the masters of their respective crafts. I was also really pleased to hear the story of Peter’s tune “Fläckpolskan”, which I could never understand as “spotty polska” – it’s a polska he composed when put on the spot! A great tune that I love to play, too.

Addendum – live video on Facebook from Channel7A.

We left before the ceilidh started – dragging our tired old selves back home. I’m sure they will have had a great time.

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Over the weekend it was great to meet up again with some of the fine musicians who go to the sessions at the Steam Packet Inn in Isle of Whithorn. Fortunately the nyckelharpa is welcome there, and although I usually do some drone accompaniment for most of the jigs and reels, I am increasingly finding that I can play more tunes on the nyckelharpa. They are also happy to play Swedish tunes and have even brought one or two into their repertoire.

The photo teaches me a lesson – not to leave my little session friendly camera two stops underexposed when I have been playing with it for other things. I’ve done the best I can with tweaking and will try harder next time!

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Sunshine in Glasgow! A great Fika session this afternoon, many thanks to people for welcoming the nyckelharpa from the east We played a great selection of tunes, including lots of my favourites. Must take a recorder next time to get the tunes people don’t know the names of 🙂

dusty nyckelharpa

The nyckelharpa had a great time again at the Edinburgh Scandi Session – together with the fun of meeting a microphone from the BBC! The producer of BBC Radio Scotland’s “Travelling Folk” had sent someone along to listen to us and talk to us. Yay! (They are doing a special on Scandi music next month.)