the nordic harp

Experience Nordic music on the harp - by a real Swede!

erik ask-upmark

What is the Nordic Harp?

Erik Ask-Upmark is a leading international harp player from Sweden. He is unique in his focus on traditional music from the Scandinavian countries on the harp - an instrument more associated with Irish and Scottish music, but which nevertheless has a long history in the Nordic region, going back all the way to the Vikings! Erik has earned the official title of Riksspelman in Sweden (Master Musician of the Realm) and has released two solo CDs ("Heaven's Polska" and "Winter is coming") and his music has appeared in everything from Dutch pop music to Norwegian death metal. He has performed all over Europe and America both as a soloist and with his own groups Svanevit, Dråm and Falsobordone; in November 2019 he even toured in China with a Norwegian ice music orchestra, playing the world's first ice harp!

And if you wonder what makes a harp "Nordic" (as opposed to, for example, "Celtic"), the easy answer is that it simply depends on the repertoire. Although there certainly are traditional Nordic harp models (most notably the Norwegian krogharpe/bondeharpe), Erik mainly plays a lever harp called the Cithara Nova (built by John Westling in Oregon, USA) which elegantly fuses elements of different historical and Celtic models. Some other of his harps include a Dusty Strings' Ravenna, a Gothic Memling harp by Lynne Lewandowski and a Baroque Arpa Doppia made by Tim Hobrough.

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