The Witcher Blood Origin

At long last I can talk about a project that I did quite a lot of work for during the pandemic. I got to work on Netflix’s The Witcher Blood Origin. The character Éile, an elven bard plays the nyckelharpa, so obviously they needed someone to teach the actress to play! I was unbelievably excited to get the job!

Because of the way I was asked to play (ie as much drone as possible) I decided to use a gammelharpa bow and a gammelharpa bow hold. (It’s not possible to hold that bow in a modern way!) You can tell that from the video below. At the lesson with Sophia I realised who had made the instruments – Ian McMaster of Blackdown Harpas. Ian did an amazing job with all the requirements he was asked to do (I’m not going to give away any spoilers here!) but let’s just say I was stunned at the job he did!

Sophia was a great student and I think from the photo below she looks awesome! I’ve had a lot of comments about the bow hold – but to be nerdy for a second:
The strap is held correctly, the elbow is nicely over the tail piece, the thumb of the left hand is behind the keys, not the neck. The pinkie of the right hand is crooked behind the bow exactly where it should be and the thumb is tensioning the bow hair. Any other critique is overboard – so I will just say – good job Sophia! You rocked! I was onset making sure that everything was correct, so although you can’t see me in the picture below, I was there, just behind the camera!

Unfortunately Netflix forgot to credit me. So there are two of us nyckelharpa players on the soundtrack – so rule of thumb if you see the nyckelharpa being played – it’s me playing. If you don’t see a nyckelharpa on the screen, then it’s Erik Rydvall.

In the instagram link on the left – go to the second image to hear Sophia play for real. She was awesome! The instagram link on the right is me de-tuning the nyckelharpa down to Bb!