2024 Musician-in-Residence

Renee Vaughan plays traditional Scandinavian music on the nyckelharpa, an instrument that has been around in one form or another for over 700 years. She effortlessly captures the rustic charm and ethereal essence of the Nordic tradition. We are excited to host Renee as our 2024 spring Folk Musician-in-Residence in Madison from March 18–May 5.

Renee Vaughan stands with a nyckelharpa against a red wallRenee’s dedication to nyckelharpa and traditional Swedish folk music earned her a prestigious fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation in 2022, providing her the opportunity to study extensively under the guidance of master nyckelharpist Cajsa Ekstav.

In addition to her regular performances at American Swedish Institute, Norsk Høstfest, and the Nisswastämman (now DuluthStämman), she has led numerous workshops aimed at fostering interest, participation and ultimately connection to Scandinavian folk music.

A versatile collaborator, Renee lends her talent to a diverse array of musical projects throughout the northern heartland area, ranging from intercultural and intergenerational bands to educational presentations and storytelling performances.

Beyond her artistic endeavors, Renee is deeply committed to community building within the Scandinavian folk music scene. She co-hosts the monthly Nordic social dances along with the annual Twin Cities Nordic Ball, and she organizes many concerts and workshops for touring Scandinavian Artists.

During her residency, Renee will focus her research on uncovering the contributions of previously unknown first-generation Swedish immigrant musicians (1885–1910) to Minnesota. Another project will be to trace the journey of the nyckelharpa from its Swedish roots to the Upper Midwest. Finally, Renee has a keen interest in creating a resource of Upper Midwest Scandinavian Allspel tunes to facilitate learning and preservation of this rich musical tradition.

Check back often for upcoming events and other opportunities involving the residency.