Storytelling has been featured at all previous Nordic Harp Meetings,
Storytelling at previous NHMs:
At the NHM 2008 in Lund, Tone Holte told a heroic story about Queen Åslaug who was hidden in the soundbox of a harp. Wendy describes Tone’s performance: “The story comes from Ragnar Lodbrok’s saga and was performed by Tone Holte (NO). Again it was proven that language is not too much of a barrier. Tone had her performance prepared in Norwegian – a language which Swedes understand… well we thought we would be completely lost. However, the plot of the story was explained in English in the beginning and Tone’s wonderfully expressive acting and singing made us completely forget we cannot understand every word and we really enjoyed the tale very much. To me it seemed as if there was a whole company of actors—not just one.”
At the NHM 2009 in Turku, Yrjänä and Helka Ermala performed the horrible story of the night visitor (Yövieräs).
At the NHM 2010 in Gjøvik, Nancy Thym performed her (children-friendly) version of the Icelandic Saga of Bósi & Herrauðr, one of the sagas where harp music plays an important role.
At the same NHM, Niss Stricker told a part of the life (and death) of Danish queen Dagmar (13th century) who was so popular in Denmark that several ballads about her have survived up to modern days.
At the NHM 2011 in Broby, Nancy Thym and Thilo Viehrig performed a story of travelling Bohemian harp ladies of the 19th century. These girls, who often possessed nothing more than their harp and their clothes, travelled through the world and played their songs in many countries, including Scandinavia.
Another story was told by Astrid Selling Sjöberg, who had composed harp music for “Kung Byxlös”, a theatre play about Margaretha Valdemarsdotter (1353-1412), queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Astrid’s vision was that harps have to be featured in the “Kung Byxlös” play, and she had success: The project increased the number of harp players in Blekinge from zero to seven.
At the NHM 2012 in Jyväskylä, Nancy told a Norwegian folktale about how Askeladden fooled the troll (known in many versions even outside Norway).
At the NHM 2013 in Järna, Kate Fletcher, Corwen Broch and Erik Ask-Upmark told a part of the Saga of Bósi & Herrauðr (this time the uncensored adult version).
At the NHM 2014 in Gjøvik, the group Lyra fra Nord (consisting of Rolf Agaton, Tone Holte and John Vedde) told the story of Aud the Deepminded.
At the NHM 2015 in Turku, many stories were told in the narrative component of rune songs and ballads featured in several workshops by Anna-Maria Toivonen, Maria Ojantakanen and Monika Schön.
At the NHM 2016 in Albertlund, Benjamin Bagby showed with voice and lyre how evening entertainment may have looked like in the time of the skalds.
The writer of these lines could not attend the NHM 2017 in Viljandi and cannot thus report which stories were told there, but given the fact that marvelous storyteller Niss Stricker was there, it seems quite likely that storytelling was not absent…
In 2018, the storytelling was aimed at Swedish children, with Anna Rynefors’s unique take on the well-known fairy tale of Bockarna Bruse (= the three Billy Goats Gruff):
In this re-telling of the classic folk legend about the Three Billy Goats Gruff, Anna Rynefors leads the young audience on an adventure through the woods – and remember to watch out for the troll!