Nyckelharpa is a duo based in the South West of the UK that aims to expose this unusual instrument to a wider audience with both traditional and contemporary music from Sweden as well as original compositions. A larger band format is also available with the addition of guitar, fiddle and percussion.


Gris Sanderson plays the nyckelharpa. After years exploring traditional music from her native Scotland she formed the band Waulk Elektrik with her brother, touring extensively in the 1990s and playing at festivals such as Cropredy, Towersey, Sidmouth and WOMAD. She then formed the trio Spyka with Mike Cosgrave (Jackie Leven band, Sin É) and James Dumbelton. Since acquiring this nyckelharpa at the St. Chartier Festival for instrument makers in Central France she has been composing new material for live performance that highlights the instrument’s extraordinary qualities.
James Dumbelton collaborates on this project with the addition of mandolin and bodhrán. He was also a key member of Waulk Elektrik and Spyka, and is also currently working with traditional singers Jackie Oates & the Jim Causley Band.


Waulk Elektrik (1992)
Uprooted (1994)
House Music (1997)
Um-Di-Um (1998)
Spyka (2002)

Set List

A typical set includes a mixture of traditional Swedish nyckelharpa repertoire such as polskas to new material by contemporary Swedish composers. Original compositions by Gris also make up a large proportion of the set. Most of the material is dance-based.