TAMPA - To hear his harp music is to be touched by the wings of an angel.
That's what one fan said of Erik Berglund, an internationally
known harpist who travels the world weaving heavenly tunes on his harp and reportedly
healing those who come to hear his music.
Berglund has released four CD's of harp music that have found an
audience with New Age and classical music buffs alike.
"Angels want their music to be heard by all," he said.
He feels his recently released CD, "Elysium," has more potential in a wider
market than his previous three because he sings on every piece. "My voice is one of
my main means of healing," he said. After all, "healing" is the mission
behind Berglund's music.
It's a calling he has followed since 1989, when he gave up his
life as a performing artist in New York City to travel the world as a musician aiming to
heal people. He's coming to the Bay area for concerts later this month.
His first reported healing was something he stumbled upon while
on a trip to the Andes Mountains in Venezuela in June, 1989. A person he met there asked
Berglund to help him with a physical affliction. "I said, 'I can't do anything, but
let's ask God and we'll see what he can do,'" he said.
Three months later, the group paid Berglund's way back to
Venezuela for what Berglund thought was a harp concert, but to his amazement, found a
crowd lined up outside his door, including doctors and lawyers, wanting to be healed.
When Berglund returned to the states, he moved to Oregon, then
California, where he lives when he's not touring the globe with his harp.
After the Venezuela trip, he said, the gates were opened for his
work and there was no stopping. He continued to help people through touch, prayer and
music. He said people come to him with physical and emotional afflictions alike, but most
people come to be relieved of guilt they carry from being the victims of child abuse of
having an abortion or some other emotional trauma.
A Tampa psychologist, Nancy Billingsley, uses Berglund's harp
music in her office as clients, many of whom have been sexually abused as children,
remember the traumatic events from their past. "I use it to calm everyone. His music
is very calming and healing," said Billingsley. "Many of them ask me where I got
the music and they go buy it and play it at night so they can sleep," she said.
Although Berglund has always been a performing artist, he was not
always a harpist. He said he learned his craft from the best of the best, Mildred Dilling,
the same woman who taught Harpo Marx. At the age of 32, Berglund studied with her in New
York for the last two years of her life. "She set the track for me. She introduced me
to a lot of people and watched me perform," said Berglund.
His performances included venues in New York City: Carnegie Hall,
United Nations, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Lincoln Center, Bloomingdale's, Macy's,
gallery openings and weddings.
The harp Berglund takes on tour was designed by Dilling. The size
of a folk harp, it has special levers on top that allow him to switch keys so that he can
travel with the scaled-down instrument without losing the versatility of a large harp.
Berglund has acquired a large network of friends worldwide, who
put him up while he plays concerts in Hawaii, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, England,
Scotland, Switzerland and Germany.
One such friend is Arch Thomas, a Harbour Island resident who
arranged some of Berglund's Florida appearances and opens his home to Berglund during his
Bay area concerts. "Erik is truly an angelic being and when you're in the presence of
him, you just feel good about helping," said Thomas.
~ Nona Edelson, Tribune Staff Writer