18 February 2013

Playing the nyckelharpa

How does the music-loving daughter of musicians rebel against her parents' expectation that she follow the family calling? Josefina Paulson fell in love with a traditional folk instrument and music that was popular two centuries ago. 

Josefina Paulson at the Old Beach Studio
Thanks to modern communications the Swedish keyed fiddle, the nyckelharpa, is gaining popularity world wide, but it is still unfamiliar enough in Australia for the novelty of the instrument rather than the quality of the musicianship to attract attention. That is, until you meet Josefina.

If you attended the Woodford Folk Festival you might have seen her performing and you are probably still glowing from the enthusiasm and sheer joy of her music.

Roger Joseph from Arel Media Management
 welcomes the audience and
 introduces Josefina
Last night I had a rare treat as one of a very small and select audience at a House Concert at the Old Beach Studio. About thirty people, at least half of them musicians, arrived early for a barbecue with Josefina Paulson in the garden overlooking rolling fields below Gunners Quoin with a view down the valley to Mt Wellington.

Feeling happy and well-fed we made ourselves comfortable on bales of straw in the converted garage and were soon tapping our feet to some lively polskas.

Josefina composes and teaches music, and has received some prestigious awards for her musicianship. Her introductions and explanations added greatly to our enjoyment, but in the end it was the music with its percussive beat and haunting tonality that kept us spellbound. It is impossible to describe in words, so you should visit her website to see a splendid video.

Many of the audience members had also attended a music workshop with Josefina on Thursday night; in the privacy of this garden setting they were astonished and delighted to have the privilege of a “hands-on” nyckelharpa experience at the end of the performance.
Midj Jones, fiddle player with the Hobart Old Time String Band,
 tries out the nyckelharpa

Josefina Paulson's visit was arranged by Arel Media Management.

Arel Media Management website  for information about visiting performers and future House Concerts.

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