Our grand adventure

Our year abroad was rendered feasible by the generous outpouring of support for our wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. Here's the nifty three-minute video we created to tell people about our project.

We spent an intense and rewarding 2012–13 school year in Sweden, studying fiddle and nyckelharpa at the Eric Sahlström Institute. ESI is the epicenter of the nyckelharpa universe; it's located in Tobo, a couple hours' drive north of Stockholm. The town is tiny, but is nevertheless a familiar name both to nyckelharpa players around the world and to people who happen to live along the same train line. It is a wonderful place and you should all go visit.

Yoohoo from Tobo!

Unsurprisingly, lydia attempted to keep a blog where she posted stories and photos and the occasional video. The entries get a bit spottier toward the end there, what with its having been largely insane to suppose there would be time for such things in the first place, but she still aspires to getting all caught up with sharing the last three months' worth of photos. Meanwhile, there's plenty of entertainment there already. If you haven't seen it yet, you might even want to start at the beginning.

The recordings

Before our trip, we recorded a digital EP called Trip to Tobo containing a handful of tunes to share with our Kickstarter backers: some traditional Swedish tunes, some of our own originals, and one tune by Eric Sahlström in honor of his then-imminent 100th birthday celebration.

Upon our return, lydia created the Trip to Tobo tunebook to help share some of our favorite new tunes; it contains both transcriptions and audio. After an intensive year of collecting material, it was a challenge to select a compelling yet representative yet cohesive array of tunes from among the couple hundred top candidates, but happily our Kickstarter backers have been sending rave reviews about the results.

Learn more about both on our Recordings page.


A somewhat astonishing number of folks pitched in to support our trip. We love you all!

Our album!

Thanks to Bob Mills for sound engineering of our "Trip to Tobo" recording, Doug Cox for the violins and viola we played on it, and the MacDowell Colony for the recording space. Moti Mark Zemelman snapped the album cover photo.

Our movie!

We are very grateful to Moti Mark Zemelman for video filming and Mark Leibold for the generous loan of his video camera. Thanks as well to these people for permission to use their photos in our video: Moti Mark Zemelman, Bob Mills, Karsten Evers, Marty Stock, Roger Katz, Andrew Finlayson, Astrid Lague. Images of the Eric Sahlström Institute come from the ESI site and their Facebook page; the faculty portraits are by Mia Marin, and the classic photo of Eric is by Ingvar Johans.


Thanks to SWEA Boston for the $1000 scholarship awarded to lydia (and for the beautiful flower wreath that appears in our photos). lydia also received a $200 grant from the Outreach Fund of the Country Dance and Song Society.

Kickstarter backers!

We are tremendously grateful to the many generous folks whose contributions have made our trip possible. Please take a few moments to appreciate this amazing outpouring of support — we sure do!

A. Rima Dael
Aaron Marcus
Adina Gordon
Alex & Jan Aminoff
Alice Bennett Groh
Alice Klingener
Alisa Dodson
Alixe Dancer
Allison Aldrich
Allison Bell
Amanda Doster
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Amy Jesaitis
Amy Parker
Anders Buen
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Ben Alexander
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Betty Jacobson
Bev Bernbaum
Bob Cook
Bob Mills
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Brad Battey, Sr.
Brandt Kurowski
Brian Gallagher & Magdalen Zander
Brian Lisus
Brian Wilson
Bruce Kokernot & Wendy Gilchrist
Cal & Irene Howard
Carlton Fuerst
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