Crows’ Bones will be performing a set of beautifully intricate folk songs and melancholic ballads at our Winter Festival. The quartet will consist of:
Martin Green (accordion), Becky Unthank (vocals), Inge Thompson (vocals) and Niklas Roswall (nyckelharpa).
But what, I hear you ask, is a nyckelharpa?
Translated as a ‘key harp’, a nyckelharpa is a traditional Swedish string instrument with similarities to a hurdy gurdy. To change the pitch of a string, you press a key. Strangely enough, the nyckelharpa and its tonal range are often depicted on the back of Swedish banknotes!
Around the 1930s, changes were made to the instrument to enable a chromatic scale, resulting in the use of a bow to play with.
The nyckelharpa has been used in both early and contemporary music, following on from a surge in its popularity during the folk revival in the 1970s. Instrument makers like Jean-Claude Condi and Annette Osann continue to makes changes to the nyckelharpa to increase its expressivity and bring it into the 21st century.
Thursday 12 December
Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s)