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Fri, 02 Dec



benjin | Guest Lecture

benjin is a multi-instrumentalist, academic, artist and storyteller who has toured with a number of experimental ensembles over the last 15 years.

benjin | Guest Lecture
benjin | Guest Lecture

Time & Location

02 Dec 2022, 17:30 – 20:00

Margate, 31-33 High St, Margate CT9 1DX, UK

About the Event

Event details

Doors open: 5.30pm

Talk begins: 6pm

The Margate School / Gallery Space

Suggested Donation: £5

benjin is a multi-instrumentalist, academic, artist and storyteller who has toured with a number of experimental ensembles over the last 15 years. Taking inspiration from the UK’s unique maritime heritage, his solo compositions use classical guitar, cello, harp, clarinet, vocals, nyckelharpa, field recordings and found sounds. Aside from regular concert performances, benjin's music has been featured on BBC Radio 6 and BBC Radio 3, and at the TATE and Serpentine Galleries.

Programme Description

Music for Cello and Nyckelharpa, benjin’s 9th solo album, is a musical conversation between the cello and its lesser-known cousin, the nyckelharpa. Translated into English as a ‘keyed fiddle’ or literally a ‘key harp’, the nyckelharpa is a bowed instrument with three melody strings, one drone and twelve sympathetic strings (which give it its unique ethereal sound). The left hand operates three (or four) separate rows of keys which then press directly onto the strings and change the notes. This keyed mechanism means that all ornamentation on the ‘harpa’ is without vibrato and imbued with a distinct percussive aesthetic.

Over the last two centuries, the nyckelharpa has been primarily upheld as the national instrument of Sweden where it is generally played in a variety of folk-dance music contexts. However, from decorative carvings found on the entrances to 14th Century churches in Lower Saxony, through to fresco paintings adorning halls in Renaissance Siena, traces of premodern iterations of the keyed fiddle can be found across Europe. Given this pan-European lineage, the music contained in this concert/seminar seeks to expand our ideas of the nyckelharpa and to reach beyond discrete national boundaries and ‘traditional’ repertoires. Amongst original compositions, a Bach violin sonata and dense free form improvisations, you will also find minimalist arrangements of the Swedish lament ‘Vem Kan Segla Förutan Vind?’ (Who Can Sail Without the Wind?) and the Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance, a British folk song which can be traced back to the 1200s.


The suggested donations helps us cover the resources & time needed to put on these events. If you can afford to pay a bit more, it helps us subsidise attendance for those with less money and ensures we can keep running these types of events in the future.


This event is hosted at The Margate School, 31-33 High Street, Margate, CT9 1DX.

Accessibility - There are accessible toilets and a baby changing station on the ground floor.

Getting here - We are located on Margate’s High Street in the old Woolworth’s building.

Bike - There are some public bike racks down the High Street and around Margate. We have some room to accommodate bikes, please ask us before chaining up! You can send us a message and any further questions here.

Train - We are a 10 min walk from Margate train station, just head along the seafront, enjoy the view, and visit the local businesses along the front.

Car - There is paid parking in Morrisons Carpark or along the seafront near Turner. You can find free parking in Cliftonville if you don’t mind a walk!

Cafe - Grab a tea or coffee before the event begins.

The Margate School is dog friendly - bring your pup along. We also have a cafe serving hot and cold drinks.

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