With my last record, Vägen (Swedish for the road or the way), I wanted to demonstrate how beautiful the sound of a lone nyckelharpa can be. It has a voice which, to my knowledge, no other instrument even comes close to approximating. Prior to Vägen, a lone nyckelharpa had never before been featured on a major CD. This is now done and I can move on to other things - take another road, choose another way.
Playing with others counts among lifes greatest joys. I relish such times and expect I always will. I've been part of many constellations over the years, played at hundreds of gigs and folk music gatherings, met and played with musicians of all types and flavors - not just Swedish! When it came time to augment The Peter Puma Hedlund Band (which consits of myself, Sven, and Mats) for this project, I had a great many musicians to select from. It is my hope that, as you listen, you will hear and understand why I asked Olle, Bosse, Karin, Marit, Frankie and Leo to join us! They are some of the finest musicians I have ever played with and I am proud and happy they agreed to participate. It's an honor to play with the lot of them!
During our recording sessions, I sometimes shook my head in astonished disbelief at the music we were making. I'd never before heard anything remotely like this! Nothing beats playing music with people you really like and who share your joy in playing!
Peter Puma Hedlund
Peter Puma Hedlund is considered Sweden's leading traditional player of the modern chromatic nyckelharpa, having won the title World Champion twice, in 1992 and 2000. Peter and his nyckelharpa are a commanding presence whilst in the act of bringing forth music. Pure magic. The music is a powerful continuationÑa linking of the past, present and future.
Peter is proud of the strong musical tradition and heritage that nurtured him as he grew up in Uppland. He plays nyckelharpa for fun and states this repeatedly when asked questions about his style and interpretation. Peter's technique is unsurpassed. His exceedingly precise playing is characterized by deep murmuring tones, liquid cascades of ornaments and flourishes and gives the uncanny perception that there is more than one of him playing at once.
When he has gone as far as technique can take him, Peter probes deeper to complement technique with powerful personal interpretation. His tones remind one of older sounds, and rightly so, as they are coming from a mind and soul that has listened to and learned directly from the old masters. Peter's primary inspiration and teacher was the legendary Eric Sahlström.
Justly proud of his position in the realm of Swedish traditional music, Peter is gradually expanding the horizons of nyckelharpa expression. In his role as an instructor, he has the opportunity to influence and nurture the growth and development of the next generation of nyckelharpa players. Peter also makes tunes, which are quickly gaining favor among today's nyckelharpa players. Neglected and almost forgotten by the 1940s and 50s, the modern chromatic nyckelharpa is blossoming as never before both in Sweden and elsewhere, especially the USA.
Peter, 46, lives in Iste, Hälsingland with his wife, Karin, and their two sons Jonas and Mathias.
- September 2003