Back to the Old Country
Harpa 06 is a talented group of American and Canadian musicians, by far mostly folk harpers, who gathered in Oslo in July, 2006. Under the leadership of Beth Kollé, the group traveled through southern Norway and Sweden, playing concerts and giving workshops. Most audience members had never seen a folk harp, never mind five on a stage at once! People were encouraged to come up after the concerts and have a mini-lesson. There have been two Harpa tours since the initial tour: in 2008 and 2013, both of them centered in southern Norway. Harpa wishes to inspire their listeners with exquisite harp playing, and to have a wonderful time seeing parts of the countries that are rarely visited by tourists. During their two-week tour in 2006 they were hosted by the generous people of Scandinavia, treated to the beauty of the countryside off the beaten track, and given a warm welcome wherever they went. This inaugural tour was great fun, and now the second tour, Harpa 2008 has proven successful. Beth Kollé, internationally known folk harper from Seattle WA, has traveled and lived in Norway and Sweden. She has a great love for the traditional music and dance that is still a part of life in these countries. The folk harp was once an important instrument for dance accompaniment in Norway and Sweden, but because of the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1800's there is little trace of it now, especially in Norway. It is Beth's desire to bring the harp back to Scandinavia, to inspire people to listen to it, and perhaps to take up the harp and play. With that in mind, Beth has been creating arrangements of Scandinavian folk music for the lever harp. The lever harp is a folk instrument which is not as large as the concert pedal harp. It is not known what kind of music was played on the folk harp in Scandinavia before the Industrial Revolution. Therefore Beth draws her material from the fiddle, nyckelharpa (a Swedish folk instrument), pipes and song traditions. Her arrangements are known for their beauty and simplicity, and her books are sought after in the harp world.