Based in South West England, Griselda Sanderson is a musician and producer who plays traditional fiddle, violin, Norwegian hardanger fiddle, viola and nyckelharpa – a Swedish bowed, keyed fiddle with sympathetic strings. One of six musical children of violin-maker Derick Sanderson she grew up in Clackmannanshire, Central Scotland, attending the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama as a youth as well as playing in the National Youth String Orchestra of Scotland. She went on to study at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, attaining a 1st class BA Hons degree in Music and Composition and a PhD in Musicology on the subject of traditional Scottish and Irish folk music and its integration onto the internet.
In 2015 Griselda recorded, produced and released four albums on her Waulk Records label: Westcountry mandolin player James Dumbelton’s ‘Houmet Paradis’, her own second nyckelharpa album ‘Radial’, young Irish/Breton trad. duo Freya Rae & Louis Bingham’s ‘Curlicue’ and the third album from Moroccan Gnawa master Simo Lagnawi entitled ‘The Gnawa Caravan: Salt’. She also performed on three tracks on this album as well as guesting on one of Freya & Louis’ tracks.
2014 saw the release of ‘The Gnawa Berber’, Simo Lagnawi’s second album.
In 2013 Griselda produced and released new albums on her Waulk Records label by fellow World Music Network winners; Senegalese singer Amadou Diagne’s second album ‘Yakar‘ and Simo Lagnawi’s debut ‘Gnawa London’. On ‘Yakar’ Griselda also played violin and nyckelharpa. Griselda first began producing with her band Waulk Elektrik, with whom she set up the label Waulk Records. The label now specialises in projects related to the traditional music of the British Isles and Northern Europe and West and North Africa.
The group Waulk Elektrik produced two albums, UM-Di-UM and House Music. After the band’s demise Griselda produced a solo album Harpaphonics featuring the nyckelharpa and fiddle, which was released in 2009 to great critical acclaim. Guest musicians on the album included Max Moya Wright (Ojos de Brujo/Man Ex Maquina), James Dumbelton (Jackie Oates Band), Samuel Yeboah, Louis Bingham, Josh Stopford (Yes Sir Boss) & bassist Riaan Vosloo. Harpaphonics was listed at number five in the Top Ten Best World Music Releases of 2009 in the Sunday Times.
Griselda’s interest in oral traditions led her to work alongside African musicians, and in 2010 she joined forces with Gambian riti player (a one-stringed West African fiddle) Juldeh Camara to form the group Julaba Kunda. In 2011 she produced and released a collaborative album Traders on the Waulk Records label that combined and contrasted their fiddle traditions from three thousand miles apart. She has written published articles on cross-cultural music collaborations.
Live performance work
Griselda’s current live project is her band Radial, touring with music from her latest highly acclaimed album of the same name. Members are guitar/cittern player Louis Bingham, violinist Michalis Kouloumis and percussionist Jim Palmer. For more information visit the ‘performance’ page.
In 2015 performance projects included ‘Tithonus: 46 minutes in the life of the Dawn’, a piece for spoken word and nyckelharpa (a Swedish bowed keyed fiddle) by poet Alice Oswald, which was performed at Darlington International Summer School’s concert series. Griselda also performed in a season at Shakespeare’s Globe in London in their latest production of ‘As You Like It’ starring Michelle Terry. In this production she played nyckelharpa and hardanger fiddle.
From 2012 to 2014 she toured with the Amadou Diagne Band and also worked with Moroccan gnawa master Simo Lagnawi in his group Gnawa Blues All-Stars. In 2013 Griselda performed on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company (The Winters Tale directed by Lucy Bailey with music by Jon Boden) alongside actors Tara Fitzgerald, Rakie Ayola and Pearce Quigley. Other music theatre work includes The Devil’s Purse by Angelheart Theatre (2012).
She has also performed in films, including Mike Figgis’ Miss Julie starring Peter Mullan & Saffron Burrows (1999).
Griselda’s first band Waulk Elektrik, formed with her brother Larry, toured extensively in the 1990s playing at festivals such as Cropredy, Towersey, Sidmouth and WOMAD. They combined traditional Scottish jigs and reels with more contemporary dance beats.
Griselda has taught folk fiddle and nyckelharpa. A keen advocate of the benefits of community music Griselda has promoted traditional music in her locality, running fiddle groups, folk music sessions and workshops as well as giving individual lessons to all age groups. She taught music performance to undergraduates at Dartington College of Arts for ten years. In 2009 she co-wrote a Popular Music degree course for University College, Falmouth, which has now been implemented.