I like to doodle around on the dulcimer and see what songs I can play. It is especially pleasing when I discover a song that is familiar and popular. The Jamaican folk tune, “Day O” or the “Banana Boat Song”, is one such song. It is American singer, Harry Belafonte’s, signature song. He recorded the song in 1956 and several others recorded similar versions around the same time. The song has a simple melody; it is a “call and answer song”. It is mesmerizing and is hard to stop playing once you begin.
After playing the mountain dulcimer for an number of years; it is challenging to branch out to learn new instruments. So I’ve taken up the penny whistle. The penny whistle makes a nice compliment to the dulcimer and the two instruments are similar in several respects. I found a beautiful Scottish tune, “Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonnie Doon” while browsing through tin whistle books and decided to arrange it for whistle and dulcimer.
Next year, 2018, marks our 20th year as a dulcimer organization. We celebrate the successes of our group at the next fête, March 8-11, 2018. The theme is “Bon Anniversaire, Lagniappe” or “Happy Birthday, Lagniappe”. Come and celebrate a birthday party with us. “Save the Date.” We are already making plans.
As a special feature, we’re asking folks to think back to our Lagniappe beginnings, and recall most memorable moments; especially pertaining to our club. What prompted you to learn the dulcimer; how have you received joy from helping someone else learn, what Lagniappe memories do you have. We will feature these stories throughout the festival. Continue reading
We took a trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia a couple of weeks ago. A side trip just a few miles off Interstate 81 at Dayton, Virginia, took us to a land which felt like another time zone deep in the heart of the valley. This was rural old-order Mennonite farm land and we seemed to go back in time several centuries; idealistic, scenic and surreal. The purpose of our visit was to stop at a country store which carried a collection of shape note hymnals.
While sorting through stacks and stacks of dulcimer tablature that I have accumulated over the years, I ran across a partially finished version of Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” This is one of my favorite Stephen Foster’s songs. It is very melodic, beautiful. And I see why I never completed the tablature — it is difficult to play on the mountain dulcimer.
Perhaps I’m a bit biased since I was this year’s co-chairman, but I thought that this was one of our best mountain dulcimer festivals ever. Lots of great music, workshops, concerts, food, vendors and companionship. Here are some of the highlights. We get started on Thursday with our “Yankee doodle Jam.”
Our Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete is in less that 2 weeks. Lots of great music with hammered and mountain dulcimers. Lets meet our featured performers and instructors. Continue reading
Our 16th annual dulcimer festival is coming quickly. It’s March 9- 12, 2017, in Port Allen, Louisiana. We have a great line-up of musicians and performers coming from all-over the country as well as many vendors. Our theme is “Yankee Doodle Dulcimer” Extravaganza and includes several special events. One is a music jam for dulcimers and acoustic instruments based on songs from the Revolutionary War Era on Thursday afternoon.
Ring in the New Year of 2017 by playing “Auld Lang Syne” on your dulcimer. Surprise your family and guests as you play and sing this song at midnight. It’s an easy song to play on the dulcimer. And it is much easier to play a song when you already know the melody and words.
Mike Anderson, the Dulcimer Guy from Illinois, is coming to Baton Rouge to the Main Library on Goodwood Blvd. on December 8 to give two performances, one at 10:00 am and one at 6:30 pm. Mike is a multi-talented musician; in addition to dulcimer he plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, jaw harp and much more. Plus he loves to tell stories to children and he is an author and emcee. A little known fact is that Mike has influenced my dulcimer playing more than any other person. Continue reading