Eric Sahlström Institute, Tobo, Sweden
The “Eric Sahlström Institute” (ESI) is a foundation with the mission to support Swedish folk music, folkdance and folksong. Special attention is placed on the nyckelharpa. ESI was founded in 1998 by the Eric Sahlström Memorial Foundation and is Sweden’s first national folk music centre. The board consists of representatives from the prime and largest national organizations of folk music and folkdance, the Eric Sahlström Memorial Foundation and the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. The institute receives funding from the Swedish Arts Council, Uppsala County Council and the Municipality of Tierp. It is situated in a manor house from late 19th century in the small village of Tobo in northern Uppland.
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For hundreds of years the nyckelharpa was played only in Uppland, but thanks to Eric Sahlström (1912-1986), who was an extraordinarily skilled nyckelharpa player, composer and nyckelharpa maker living in Tobo, the instrument gained in popularity. Today it is played all over Sweden as well as in many other countries and used in various genres.
Every year about 200 people take part in workshops and courses in folk music, folkdance and folksong at ESI. There are two courses running over a year “Nyckelharpa and Fiddle playing” and “Folkdance”. In addition, there are courses of different length dealing with various instruments and subjects as for example nyckelharpa, fiddle, clarinet, harmonica, Scandinavian folk dances, folk song and also nyckelharpa building.
About 500 people visit concerts, open-house activities, seminars and other events at the institute every year. ESI organizes networks and meetings between national organizations of folk music, folkdance and folksong. A couple of Nordic seminars have also been carried out.