Peter Puma Hedlund, a Swedish nyckelharpa player, has released a CD called Another Way. Peter is a two time world champion on the chromatic nyckelharpa.
The nyckelharpa is a traditional Swedish instrument that has been played, in one form or another as it evolved, for more than 600 years. In Swedish, “nyckel” means key, and “harpa” refers to “stringed instruments” in general. For a long time, the nyckelharpa was only played in Sweden and was very close to extinction in the mid-1900s.
In recent years, interest in the nyckelharpa and its music has exploded all over the world, primarily in the USA, but also in Japan, France, Germany, Canada and Italy.Peter Puma Hedlund is the foremost exponent of the Swedish nyckelharpa in the world today. He is a composer as well as one of the main forces in the revival of the nyckelharpa and its music. A two time winner of the Nyckelharpa World Championship title, 1992 and 2000, he is a well respected and sought after instructor as well as performance artist on this unusual traditional folk instrument. Peter’s CDs are released on the independent label RPM Music which he started together with Rita Leydon, a Swedish born American, who also co-produced Peter’s instructional DVDs.
“What sets Peter apart from the rush of younger Swedish harpa players is that he’s not trying to appeal to anyone,” Rita Leydon explains. “He simply remains true to his roots and his music while at the same time expanding and evolving. The music is so lovely and his skill at presenting it is so excellent that it needs no embellishing, no dressing up, no pretending. Although rarely heard outside of Sweden, western ears can readily relate to and understand the nyckelharpa’s sound and Peter’s music. Many first time listeners muse that it feels familiar even though they have never heard it before.”