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Bart Brashers

We mourn the passing of Bart Brashers, ANA co-founder and boundless advocate of the Nyckelharpa in America

His family has graciously asked that donations be made to the ANA in lieu of flowers. Donations can be made securely via PayPal

You can learn more about Bart through his personal website, the ANA’s statement, and the public obituary below.


Bart Alan Brashers

Folk musician, scientist, husband, father, craftsman, and community leader, Bart Brashers was 56 when he died on June 2, 2021 in Seattle, WA with his beloved wife Margaret by his side. Nothing sums up Bart’s indomitable spirit better than his cheerful acquisition of new skis, just weeks after his diagnosis with metastatic melanoma in October of 2017. For the past five years, Bart worked, played, and took his children, Alice and Emmett, skiing, camping and on a road trip across Sweden to visit his many relatives there. To the end, Bart lived fully and entirely on his own terms, just as he had since he was born in Stockholm, Sweden on May 5, 1965 to Kerstin Brorson and Howard Charles Brashers.

Bart grew up in La Mesa, CA and earned his BS in Engineering Physics at UC Berkeley and his MS and PhD in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. As a well-respected atmospheric scientist and computer modeling expert, he consulted and testified on issues related to air quality and meteorology across the U.S. and around the world. He was also widely published in academic and industry journals relating to environmental science.

Bart was the embodiment of a Renaissance Man. Equally skilled as a scientist, computer programmer, musician and woodworker, he could build or fix anything, from crafting sophisticated musical instruments to completely remodeling a Ballard fixer upper that became the family’s gorgeous Seattle home.

It was vitally important to Bart to keep his Swedish heritage alive for both his family and the wider Swedish American community. An avid player and instructor of the Swedish national instrument, the nyckelharpa, he helped found and lead the American Nyckelharpa Association in 1995, which today has members from around the world. He also shared his knowledge of Swedish music and dance with a variety of publications and workshops. In recognition of his both his cultural contributions and his environmental work, Bart was honored by the Ethnic Heritage Council with the 2020 Pulakis Memorial Award.

In addition to his wife Margaret and children, Alice and Emmett, Bart is survived by his brothers Erik and Per Brashers of Mendocino, California. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the American Nyckelharpa Association via PayPal: @ANAharpa.

Bart Brashers