Beautiful Dreamer

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.
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Best Ever Dulcimer Fête

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.”

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Revolutionary War Era Songs for our Fête

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.patriotic-quilt-img_2837_1

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Auld Lang Syne on Dulcimer

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.times-square-img_1219_1r-r

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Galax-Style Dulcimer: Playing the Appalachian Dulcimer in DDD Tuning

I recently visited my mother, who lives in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and was fortunate to sit in on a Galax-style dulcimer and old-time string band jam. I was told that the dulcimers would be tuned to DDD — all the strings pitched to the same note — for this jam.Galax Dulcimer and Old-Time Fiddle Jam - IMG_9103 Continue reading

Library Book Comes Alive to the Music of the Dulcimer

Last summer our librarian dulcimer member, Bonnie, lead a very successful community out-reach program, “Teaching Children to Play the Dulcimer.” This summer she had the creative idea of reading a book to the children and adding dulcimer music to go along with the story. She selected the book, “Giraffe’s Can’t Dance,” by British author, Giles Andrease, with illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees.Bonnie and Book - IMG_9483_1

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Meet the Performers: Joe Collins

Our annual Lagniappe Dulcimer Fête in March brings dulcimer players from all over the country to teach workshops and perform in concert. It’s a good way for local members and dulcimer players to become introduced to new music, ideas and techniques. As always, I am impressed with the talented musicians that come join in our festival. I’d like to share some of what I learned.  Meet Joe Collins.Joe Collins - 1 - IMG_7870 Continue reading

Classic Vinyl Dulcimer Records – What a Treasure!

Several days ago, a gentleman walked into one of our local libraries and handed the librarian–a dulcimer player–a stack of 22 classic dulcimer records from the 1970’s. All were in stellar condition. The man had seen an article in our local newspaper about a dulcimer class at the library and decided to donate his entire collection of records to our dulcimer club. As we looked through the record jackets, what a treasure this was!Record Player and Ralph Lee Smith - IMG_7362

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Paul Andry’s Mardi Gras Music for the Dulcimer

Mardi Gras comes early this year–February 9, 2016. This is carnival time in south Louisiana — parades, pageantry, costumes, balls, parties, king cakes. We play many of the traditional Mardi Gras songs on the dulcimer and I credit the tablature for the music to Paul Andry of Mandeville, Louisiana.
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Joe Besse is Jamin’ at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park

Longtime Lagniappe club dulcimer member, Joe Besse, is our “Cajun Dulcimer Ambassador.” He lives in Scott, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun country of southwest Louisiana and grew up listening to Cajun music. If fact as a child he lived down the street from a corner bar, the OST Club. He heard Happy Fats play guitar and upright bass and listened to the strains of Cajun fiddlers and musicians play long into the night.Joe Besse Playing Dulcimer - photo (2)Here is Joe with his dulcimer sitting on a sculpture of a Cajun triangle, a musical instrument often used in Cajun music for rhythm, at the Lafayette Visitors Center on Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette, Louisiana. Continue reading