Edina, MN—Retailers understand that multiple senses are in play when people go shopping, especially at the Christmas season. The more interesting the experience and the more senses that are positively engaged, the more likely we as consumers will be inspired to buy that second cup of coffee, another pair of shoes, or a gift for a child or relative. As strolling musicians the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag added to the shopping ambience at the Galleria in Edina, Minnesota, on four Sundays during the Christmas holiday season. They performed traditional Swedish folk music in an informal procession with Santa Claus as he visited with young at heart.

Following the musicians was supporter Galen Hokanson, engaging guests at the mall in conversation after they listened to the music. He introduced himself as the husband of one of the performers and asked,
“Do you know what that instrument is?” then offered them an informational card that talked about its history, dating back hundreds of years, to possibly as early as the 1300s. One learned when reading the card, that while there are thousands of nyckelharpa players in Sweden today, the U.S. is home to about 175, twenty of whom are in the Twin Cities area. The group’s web site, www.tcnyckelharpalag.org was included along with the message that it is available for parties, festivals and events.

The nyckelharpalag has the mission to conduct educational programs that promote awareness and knowledge of the instrument and to provide practice and performance opportunities for its members. A visit to its web site shows many of the events in which it has participated.

By Valorie Arrowsmith

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The Galleria Mall in Edina, MN. was decorated for the season providing
a visual invitation for shopping, as the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag
added traditional Swedish music to the venue creating an ambience for
a pleasurable experience. Photo by V.S. Arrowsmith.

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Shoppers in the Galleria in Edina, MN were treated to traditional
Swedish music performed by the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag on four
Sundays during the Christmas shopping season. Shoppers lingered to
listen in between forays into the stores. Photo by V.S. Arrowsmith.

Members of the Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag are surrounded in
reflections of the snow-filled through a sky light at the Galleria in
Edina, MN. In the background Gaylen Hokanson engaged shoppers in
conversation about the nyckelharpa and its history. Photo by V.S.

Jana Lindgren Early, the newest member of the Twin Cities
Nyckelharpalag participated in its gigs at the Galleria in Edina, MN.
The group stopped to perform outside shops and then strolled behind
St. Nick while he made his rounds. Photo by V.S. Arrowsmith.

The Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag performed as strolling musicians at the
Galleria in Edina during four Sundays in the Christmas shopping
season. Photo by V.S. Arrowsmith.

Santa Claus visited with guests at the Galleria in Edina, MN while the
Twin Cities Nyckelharpalag performed in the background. Photo by V.S.