Northern Streams 2018 - festival of Nordic and Scottish music, song & dance

Submitted by ELTMSA on Tue, 10 Apr '18 3.08pm
Time & place
Tickets and info
Telephone (info)
0795 191 8366
Telephone (box office)
0800 411 8881

A unique festival of Nordic and Scottish music, song and dance based in Edinburgh – celebrates its 15th anniversary this month and we’ve got some very special guests.

Taking place 20-22 April, Northern Streams 2018, features in concerts, workshops, sessions and a ceilidh:
· Peter Puma Hedlund – nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle) player from Sweden who has been awarded the highest honour of ‘Riksspelman - master fiddler of the Realm’ and his first time performing in Scotland
· Paul Anderson – one of Scotland’s top fiddlers and Shona Donaldson – fiddler and previous Scots Singer of the Year from North East Scotland
And celebrating Scotland's Year of Young People:
· Fika Collective – Lachlan Munro, Libby McGugan, Malcolm Bushby and Callum Forsyth – Glasgow based band playing Nordic and Scottish music
· V-Dala Spelmanslag – Sweden’s longest-running student folk ensemble & three times student world champions!

All events take place at the Grassmarket Centre, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA.

Described as “…something out of the ordinary” by The Herald, throughout the years Northern Streams has showcased performers often new to Scottish audiences, offering opportunities to learn about different cultures around the North Sea through a mix of concerts and workshops.

Outline programme

Friday 20 April: Evening concert @ 7.30-10pm Tickets: £12/10

Fika Collective (Scotland/Sweden)

Blending Nordic and Scottish music, The Fika Collective is a newly-formed Glasgow-based group of fiddlers – Lachlan Munro (hardanger fiddle); Libby McGugan (fiddle); Malcolm Bushby (fiddler, bouzouki player and singer) with guitarist, Callum Forsyth (who has a Swedish grandmother!)

V-Dala Spelmanslag (Sweden)

Founded in 1961 V-Dala Spelmanslag is the longest running student folk ensemble in Sweden and they are famous for their award-winning joyful and energetic playing style.

The cafe/bar is open for food before the evening concert.

Sat 21 April: Northern Streams Workshops Tickets: £8/6 per workshop.

Choose 1 of the 2 options per time slot

(Children aged nine+ are able to attend workshops, as long as they are at the level specified and accompanied by an adult):


1. North East Scottish Songs (Shona Donaldson): For all, including beginners OR

2. Swedish Tunes (Peter Puma Hedlund): For all melody instruments – Intermediate level upwards.


1. Swedish Songs (V-Dala Spelmanslag): No prior knowledge of Swedish required. For all including beginners OR

2. Scottish Tunes (Paul Anderson): For all melody instruments – Intermediate level upwards.


1. Swedish Dances (V-Dala Spelmanslag): Learn the dances we’ll be dancing in the evening. For all including beginners OR

2. Scandinavian Tunes & accompaniment (Fika Collective): Learn how Scandinavian musicians accompany their tunes using melody lines. For all melody and chord playing instruments – Intermediate level upwards.


Sharing Session with all invited guest performers and participants to get a chance to share what they have learnt from the workshops and performances. (Free with any workshop or concert ticket).

The cafe/bar will stay open for food before the evening concert.

Sat 21 April: Evening concert and ceilidh @ 7.30-11pm Tickets: £12/10

Peter Puma Hedlund, Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson

A Trio made up of a ‘Riksspelman – Fiddler of the Realm’ nyckelharpa player from Sweden, one of Scotland’s top fiddlers and winner of the Scots Singer of the Year and fine fiddler – can only mean an amazing exchange of cultural delights.

The Northern Streams Ceilidh Band (Scotland/Sweden)

Created from our Festival guest musicians, the Northern Streams Ceilidh Band, will be giving you the opportunity to try out Scottish and Swedish dances – which will be called/ demonstrated – during the extended second half of our concert or you can just sit and listen to the Nordic and Scottish sounds!

Sun 22 April: afternoon session @ 2.00-4.00pm Free and open to all to take part or come along and listen at the Grassmarket Centre cafewhich will be open. We will be welcoming members of the Grassmarket Music Group to give us a wee taste of their repertoire!

Bonus extra! Aberdeenshire Concert on Friday 27 April, 7.30pm, MacRobert Hall, The Square, Tarland AB34 4YL – with Peter Puma Hedlund, Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson – Tickets £12 (£10 concessions + TMSA members) this cannot be counted as part of the Northern Streams Festival Weekend Ticket. Tickets available from the Paper Shop, Tarland OR by phoning Paul on 01339 881 929 OR on the door. More details are on

Information about the artists – short biographies

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. He earned the designation, ‘Riksspelman’ – Fiddler of the Realm – while still in his teens (1975) through receiving the Zorn Silver Medal. In 2010 he received the Zorn Gold Medal – recognised as the highest honour Sweden can bestow on an artist – awarded by Svenska Folkdansringen, the Swedish national organisation for traditional music, dance and handicraft.

Peter is proud of the strong musical tradition and heritage that nurtured him as he grew up in Uppland, learning directly from the old masters – especially Peter’s primary inspiration and teacher – the legendary Eric Sahlström. He is a greatly sought after teacher on a global scale and has influenced all of the younger generation of nyckelharpa players. He was chosen as the Patron of The World Fiddle Day 2017 and lives with his wife Karin and their two sons, Jonas and Mathias, in Iste, Hälsingland (about a four-hour drive north of Stockholm).

Shona Donaldson is originally from Huntly but now living near Tarland in Aberdeenshire with husband, Paul Anderson. She is one of Scotland’s leading traditional singers. In 2009 she was voted ‘Scots Singer of the Year’ at the BBC Alba Trad Music Awards and in 2016 she became the first woman ever to win the coveted ‘Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions’. She was also a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year and took part in the TMSA Young Trad Tour of winners and finalists from the competition in 2004.

Shona has sung on a number of recordings including an album of the works of Robert Burns in Scots and Gaelic and her solo album, ‘Short Nichts and Lang Kisses’. She performs regularly at home and abroad and guests and has been a guest at festivals like Celtic Connections, Keith Folk Festival (TMSA), Orkney Folk Festival, Cullerlie Traditional Singing Weekend, Willie Clancy Week (County Clare, Ireland) and the Rudolstadt International Folk Festival.

Paul Anderson is one of the finest Scots fiddlers of his generation. During his competitive career, Paul won most of the traditional fiddle championships in Scotland and in 1995 won Scotland’s premier fiddling event, the Glenfiddich Scottish fiddle championship, which was until recently, held each year at Blair Castle.

Paul was brought up on the family dairy farm at Tarland near the Cairngorm National Park in the heart of rural Aberdeenshire, where at the age of five he discovered an old fiddle under his grandparent’s spare bed, an old French violin which he plays to this day. He began initially with classical tuition but before long joined the acclaimed Scots fiddle group, The Banchory Strathspey and Reel Society. He went on to study for several years with Douglas Lawrence of Buckie, who was the most acclaimed pupil of Hector MacAndrew, a player who could trace his fiddling lineage directly back to Niel Gow and the Golden Age of Scottish Fiddle music. Gow is regarded as the father of Scottish fiddle music and was a legend in his own lifetime. Hector’s grandfather was taught by James Mackintosh of Dunkeld who was the last pupil of Niel Gow. Therefore Paul is part of a teaching lineage which stretches right back to before 1745 and the time of Gow. Consequently, Paul is a highly-regarded tutor and as well as solo tuition has led workshops and master classes from Aberdeen to Australia and from Banff to British Columbia.

Paul has toured extensively and recorded eight solo albums and over forty albums with artists like Pallas, Rock Salt and Nails, The Cutting Edge and the Banchory Strathspey and Reel Society. Paul regularly recites the poetry of Robert Burns and in 1993 he played the part of the young James Scott Skinner in the play ‘The Strathspey King’. In 2008, Paul performed at a private reception for Prince Charles at Fyvie Castle to celebrate Prince Charles’ 60th birthday and in June 2010 he performed at an 80th birthday party in Edinburgh Castle for Sir Sean Connery at the request of the Scottish Government.

A regular on Scottish TV and radio, in 2011 he presented a series of features on traditional Scottish music and song for the BBC Scotland programme, ‘Landward’. He recently was seen in the film remake of Whisky Galore – wielding his fiddle at a ceilidh! He also is a composer of some repute, having composed over 300 pieces in the Scots style and published some in the Lochnagar Collection as well as has collated other collections of previously unpublished and out of print fiddle repertoire from the north-east of Scotland, with partners such as the Highland Music Trust, Taigh-na-Teud, the Elphinstone Institute and Greentrax recordings.

He has also written articles and given talks and lectures on the subject.

V-Dala Spelmanslag is a Swedish folk music ensemble, founded in 1961 and the longest running student folk ensemble in Sweden and they are famous for their joyful and energetic playing style. They have also won the World Championships for Student Folk Groups three times.

A ‘Spelmanslag’ is a Scandinavian term for a large group of people playing folk music together and any instrument is welcome in the group. Almost all learning of music is by ear, without sheet music and the musical ability ranges from beginner to very skilled folk musicians without compromising on the quality of sound and fun! There is no audition to join and they meet weekly on Thursdays during termtime at Uppsala University.

The traditional music they play is mainly Swedish, particularly as people often dance at their concerts and the Swedish dancers naturally know the Swedish dances best! Their repertoire does also cover neighbouring countries such as Norway and Finland as well as further afield (such as Scotland). They enjoy social activities, sessions, dance evenings and travelling to festivals in Sweden and abroad – including Northern Streams this April. They are looking forward to coming to Scotland to play tunes and teach traditional dances from Sweden!

Fika Collective is a newly-formed Glasgow-based group of fiddlers. They share a love of Nordic folk music and other unusual world tunes, choosing their music around the story and distinct visual imagery which the tunes suggest to us. They have recently performed at a number of venues around Scotland including Celtic Connections and the Scots Fiddle Festival. This will be the first time Fika Collective has headlined at a festival.

Lachlan Munro is originally from Canberra, Australia where he first developed his love of Scottish and Scandinavian folk music. He has performed in Australia, Scandinavia and the UK, most notably a Hardanger fiddle solo with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House. He runs a weekly Nordic tunes session in Glasgow on Friday afternoons which currently appears to be the only weekly Scandinavian session in Scotland.

Libby McGugan is from Glasgow and has been playing traditional music for 15 years. She has studied music at UHI and at camps in Scotland and the US. She is a hard-core Glasgow trad session addict and co-runs a Nordic session with Lachlan.

Newcastle-based fiddler, bouzouki player and singer Malcolm Bushby is from Tasmania, Australia, with family roots in Scotland. He has studied Scottish fiddle with Anna-Wendy Stevenson at UHI in Benbecula. He has played and recorded with many notable trad musicians including Tom McConville, Aidan O’Rourke, Tony McManus and Catriona MacDonald. He released his first solo album in 2012.

Covering Sally Simpson’s place for this Festival is Callum Forsyth. From the north east of Scotland, Callum is a renowned guitarist with family links to Sweden’s west coast through his grandmother. As a soloist, band leader and deputy, he has performed across Europe and as far as Australia including performances at the Royal Albert Hall and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on guitar and bagpipes. Now an accomplished recording engineer and acoustician, Callum is “the guitarist with the best innate polska rhythm”, according to Lachlan.

For those unfamiliar with the word, ‘Fika’ is considered a social institution in Sweden; it means having a break, most often a coffee break, with one’s colleagues, friends, date or family. Apparently, the group came together through visiting each other’s homes for coffee, food and tunes hence the choice of name. We would like to think that Fika Collective’s performance at Northern Streams will be similarly refreshing and fun!