Catriona McKay & Olov Johansson

Two of northern Europe's leading harpists – one playing the Scottish Harp and one the Swedish Nyckelharpa.

Catriona & Olov met in 2002 when Väsen and Fiddlers Bid shared a concert in Stockholm. A new sound was experienced that had to be explored further!

They have toured frequently the last years with their unique collaboration where the Scottish harp and the Swedish Nyckelharpa gives the framework. The two harpists have developed a common core in their music making where groove, interplay and melodic wealth stands in the center and where their different experience from different traditions fill the picture all the way out in the corners.

In April 2009 they released their critically acclaimed first CD Foogy and since then they have appeared in, among other things: The International Harpfestival in Edinburgh, Festival Mundial del Arpa en el Paraguay, Chico World Music Festival-USA Ransäterstämman, Korröfestivalen, Musikveckan i Östhammar, Musik vid Siljan, Oktoberstämman i Uppsala, Celtic Connections i Glasgow, Umefolk & Kulturfestivalen Sundsvall.

In August 2013 their second album The Auld Harp was released.

Widely recognized for their individual harp talents, Olov is a nyckelharpa master who drives the Swedish harp boldly forward while Catriona, a Celtic harper like no other, is known for playing her Scottish harp to 'sound like an orchestra'. Catriona's creative arrangements and innovative rhythmic use of her harp together with Olov's striking nyckelharpa tunes creates a remarkable musical whole . It's the meeting of two harps but most significantly, two fine musicians who give life to this unique world of music known as 'The Auld Harp'.

The repertoire consists of both traditional as well as new composed music from Scotland and Sweden, everything performed in this new unique harp-shape by these awarded harpers.

Catriona was appointed "Instrumentalist of the year 07" at "Scots Trad Music Awards 2007"

Olov became "World champion in Nyckelharpa" in Österbybruk 1990.

Quotes about the CD “THE AULD HARP”

“…utterly reshapes our perception of the instruments’ potential…A radiant excursion into uncharted terrain.” Irish Times ****Siobhan Long, Aug 2013

“a beguiling combination of timbres” The Scotsman **** Jim Gilchrist Sept 2013

“The compositions demonstrate a keen reciprocal grasp of the musicians’ respective indigenous traditions and a willingness to experiment within them, allied to a feel for a varied musical language and the possibilities of emotional temperature as conveyed through imaginative deployment of instrumental colour and dynamics.
…a playful quality to their music-making that stems in no small measure from their mutual respect and a musical bond that comes from that decade of performing together.” The Living Tradition, David Kidman, Oct 2013

“…upbeat and funky…powerful and surprising…Quite a mixture of styles…nothing but harp and nyckelharpa on this CD, but that's more than enough to make The Auld Harp a magical experience.” Folkworld, Alex Monaghan, November 2013
“Detta är duons andra album och harpa plus harpa skapar fantastisk Folkmusik.” ”Harporna skapar klanger som slingrar sig runt varandra. Ibland varsam, ibland vildsint. “ A match made in heaven” heter det väl på utrikiska” LiRA Music Magazine, Lars Lind, Oct 2013

Here a few words about the first CD “Foogy” and concerts:

“Catriona and Olov have created something that revels in its pedigree, with traditional polskas, waltzes & reels but, at the same time, embraces the moment and the future with breathtaking and percussive flights of fancy. The result is a very democratic piece of work, with both musicians happy to either take the lime-light with dazzling virtuosity, or provide guidance and support for the other's leading role. This is a CD that never, for a moment, loses it's sparkle. An absolute joy to listen to from end to end on the first hearing and thoroughly refreshing on every subsequent visit.” Review by Fudged FolkRadio UK

“Olov Johansson and Catriona McKay have teamed up to create an album that is big, bold and bursting with amazing sound. Johansson’s nyckelharpa and McKay’s harp complement each other perfectly” “Foogy is exciting, contemporary and a definite breath of fresh air. I sincerely hope Johansson and McKay continue to collaborate on future projects.” Lori Gordon Folking 090519

∗∗∗∗ “Outstanding world class folk music” Upsala Nya Tidning 090602 (translation) “The music from the recording Foogy, released at the concert, feels just about as fresh as folk music can be. Catriona McKay’s harp playing , by itself makes all possible folk music moth balls to swirl away and Olov Johansson is a master in composing modern folk music that sounds current/timely and sound without needing to use any drastic moves. At the end of the hour long concert, when the sun falls through the narrow windows, everything is just so perfect that it almost feels good when Catriona show off so much that Olov Johansson gets lost in the music. That gives perspective to the degree of difficulty the cross bar is set to and reminds you of how much you would have missed if it wouldn’t have been two musicians of outstanding world class playing.” Andreas Jakobsson

“The two instruments complement each other beautifully throughout this album, producing a full and rich sound which is as ancient as the tradition with the freshness of today's young virtuoso musicians.” Alex Monaghan, 090714

“The nyckelharpa and harp combination is fresh, charming and dynamic” Lars Fahlin Rock'n'Reel - Roots, Rock, Blues and Beyond

∗∗∗∗ Upsala Nya Tidning 090429“Johansson och McKay är båda mästerliga instrumentalister, men det är lyhördheten mellan dem som är skivans stora behållning, förmågan att växla soloutrymme och variera spelet från det skiraste lyriska till de pådrivande dansrytmerna i The foogy set.” Ulf Gustafsson

∗∗∗∗“Nya Wermlandstidningen 090714 ”Mötet mellan Olov Johanssons svenska nyckelharpa och Catriona McKays skotska harpa blir en åktur in i dimmiga landskap. Landskap som är magiska, mytiska och vackra. I musiken befinner man sig i en evig skymning eller en dröjande soluppgång. Horisonten är rosaskimrande och naturen trolsk. Det är två otroligt skickliga musiker som efter att sprungit på varandra på olika festivaler med deras respektive band, Väsen och Fiddlers Bid, bestämde sig för att samarbeta. Tur är det. För samarbetet ger oss Foogy där musiken är allt annat än felstavad. Höjdpunkter som Mr Fish och Early Sun Polska ger albumet ytterligare skimmer. För en tidig morgon eller en väldigt sen natt har, som de säger, båda sina fördelar.” Lovisa Eriksson

DN 090708 Betyg 4“Vissa instrument kan man liksom gömma sig bakom. Även en amatör kan ju imponera med en distad gitarr. Erkänt knepiga instrument som nyckelharpa och skotsk harpa kräver däremot sina mästare. Med Olov Johansson från Väsen och skotska traditionsmusikern Catriona McKay kan man känna sig helt lugn. Det brister inte en sekund i deras spel. Det är ren uppvisningsmusik i det avseendet. Sedan råkar mötet mellan Johanssons skira upplandstradition och den lite allvarligare skotska harpan vara rätt lyckat. Några låtar är tradlåtar från respektive hemland, men en hel del av materialet är skapat för just detta samarbete. De låtarna förblir svävande i luften, mystiskt oklara i sin musikaliska hemvist. Lika svenska som skotska. Det är elegant gjort.” ” en rätt igenom lättflytande och trevlig skiva med riktigt vacker musik.” Po Tidholm

“Det är svårt att dra gränsen mellan det svenska och det skotska, men förmodligen är det bara snitsiga musikrecensenter som funderar på sånt. Det låter så vansinnigt bra att det enda man tänker på är att de inte får sluta riktigt än.” Daniel Blanck Smålandsposten


The Auld Harp

The Auld Harp: Olov Johansson & Catriona McKay

Olov Johansson & Catriona McKay · Swedish Nyckelharpa and Scottish Harp



Foogy · Olov Johansson & Catriona McKay

Olov Johansson & Catriona McKay

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