July-August 2017

SARAH KATE MORGAN

By Joellen Lapidus

Sarah Morgan stage sm

I met Sarah Kate Morgan at the Kentucky Music Festival in 2014 where we were both teaching. Her clean, beautiful, rich chord melody style grabbed my attention. The more I listened, the more I knew she was an imaginative, technically sophisticated, whimsical and deeply thoughtful young talent to watch develop. And that she has!

Joellen: What are your earliest recollections of hearing music?

Sarah: I remember first hearing classical music. We had a lovely classical CD and just wore it out. We listened to that CD while matching socks or out on the porch snapping and stringing beans from the garden. I remember those beautiful amazing classical pieces.

JL: When did you start hearing other kinds of music?

SKM: My parents loved the mountain dulcimer. They bought a couple of cassette tapes and I first heard Appalachian music from them. I was 6 or 7 years old.

Read more: SARAH KATE MORGAN

May-June 2017

EVIN ROTH

A Spiritual Journey with the Dulcimer

By Joellen Lapidus

Kevin cover photo

In the 1960s and 1970s, many dulcimer players developed their style in an isolated vacuum. Maybe we had heard Jean Ritchie or Richard Farina play but most of us developed styles of playing without other dulcimer players around us and without a family tradition. Kevin Roth, living in Pennsylvania, developed a rich chord/melody style of playing with four equidistant strings as opposed to the usual three or four, with the melody string doubled, configuration. He recorded multiple albums on Folkways Records starting at 15 years of age on dulcimer accompanying his deep expressive voice. He then went on to have a prolific and successful career writing and performing children’s music in concerts and TV.

Read more: INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN ROTH

March-April 2017

INTERVIEW WITH PAM SETSER

Carrying on a Rich Tradition

By Joellen Lapidus

Pam SetserMany years ago, in the early 1980s, I received a package with a record and a letter from a Jean Simmons from Mountain View, Arkansas. She had purchased my mountain dulcimer instruction book, Lapidus on Dulcimer, and enjoyed it. She wanted to send me her record and say hello. I wasn’t that familiar with traditional dulcimer music but was mesmerized by the richness of her voice and the depth of feeling in her songs. Over 36 years later I would meet her daughter, Pam Setser, while teaching dulcimer in Mountain View, AR at the Ozark Folk Center’s July Dulcimer Jubilee. Pam is a powerful music force unto herself, with a deep earthy sense of rhythm, rich voice and an immense repertoire of traditional music that she plays on dulcimer, guitar, autoharp, and spoons. She performed with her mother, Jean Simmons, from the age  until her mother’s death in 2005. I’m very pleased to introduce her to you.

Read more: INTERVIEW WITH PAM SETSER

January-February 2017

INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27th, 2016

By Joellen Lapidus

CD Cover Unaccompanied001Once you hear Aaron O’Rourke play Hi Mom or Spoon on the mountain dulcimer, your past concepts of what a dulcimer sounds like will change forever. His melodies, rhythms, playfulness, and exceptional finger technique bend your recollection of the sound of the mountain dulcimer into a new shape. Take a listen and judge for yourself.

Read more: INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE

November-December 2016

INTERVIEW WITH DUANE PORTERFIELD

Mountain View, Arkansas 9/22/16

By Joellen Lapidus

Joellen Arkansas Mary Jack Duane1
Photo by Cindi Porterfield.
I met Duane Porterfield on my first visit to Mountain View, Arkansas in November of 2015. I went there to meet Judy Klinkhammer, a very special human being, dulcimer player, composer and teacher. She was in hospice and I came six months earlier than I had planned, so I could meet her in person before she passed away. I picked that weekend because Patricia Delich and Wayne Jiang, the film makers of the dulcimer documentary: Hearts of the Dulcimer, were going to be there that weekend filming the abundance of talented dulcimer players in the Mountain View area.

Read more: INTERVIEW WITH DUANE PORTERFIELD

September-October 2016

AUBREY ATWATER:

NEW ENGLAND TO APPALACHIA

By Joellen Lapidus

AubreyAtwater-smallJoellen:What musical paths led you to the Appalachian dulcimer? You’re from Rhode Island. That’s almost as far away from Appalachia as California.

Aubrey: My parents each married three times and there were a lot of older kids. One sister policed my record collection and required me to listen to artists like The Youngbloods and Joni Mitchell. So I started following Joni Mitchell, James TaylorCat StevensCrosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and Stevie Wonder. My mother listened to Peter, Paul, and Mary, and my step-father played ukelele and sang wonderful, corny, sentimental songs. He listened to folk music like Pete SeegerTom Lehrer, and The Kingston Trio. Those were some of my folk music beginnings. At 11, I learned some guitar chords, but for a long time didn’t do anything with them. At 15, I got a Beatles book and had a moment that was a huge turning point. One song only had two chords and showed an easy way to play them. I started to sing and play instantly. It was a defining moment because I didn’t know I could sing yet. That was 37 years ago and I’ve been playing and singing ever since.

Read more: AUBREY ATWATER

May-June 2016

SAM EDELSTON

FROM CLOCK RADIO TO MOUNTAIN DULCIMER

By Joellen Lapidus

Sam simply playingNancy Barker, who runs Kentucky Music Week, a mega one week dulcimer festival in Bardstown, Kentucky, sent me an email with the link: a mountain dulcimer arrangement of She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel.

My mind was blown, and I wrote Nancy, “Who is this guy?” After contacting him through Facebook, I spoke with him and discovered his road to dulcimer innovation...

Read more: SAM EDELSTON

July-August 2016

TALKING WITH TULL GLAZENER

By Joellen Lapidus

photo1 Tull-Glazener-275Joellen:When did you begin playing music and when did the dulcimer come into your life?

Tull: I took obligatory piano lessons but got to play different musical instruments in the high school band and orchestra. I started out as a flute player. My first choice was really French horn but I had braces, so I couldn’t play anything with a cup mouthpiece. By junior high the braces came off and the band needed a tuba player so I switched. Lugging around a 40 lb. sousaphone, I thought it would have been a nice idea to stay with the piccolo.  I played trombone, baritone and tuba. I still play with a brass ensemble at my church.

I had never heard or seen a mountain dulcimer. After college, I moved from Buffalo, NY to Indianapolis, IN for a job. A friend gave me a mountain dulcimer as a present. I was convinced it was just a toy because half the strings and half the notes were missing. I said “thank you” and put it in the closet.

Unbeknownst to me, there was, and still is, a fairly active dulcimer club in Indianapolis. They put on a festival at a local park and I happened to ride my bike in the park that weekend. I went over to see what was going on. The guest artist they had that year happened to be David Schnaufer.

Read more: TALKING WITH TULL GLAZENER

March-April 2016

A TUNING FOR EVERY PALETTE

By Joellen Lapidus

Dulcimer-Lapidus-peghead-smA dulcimer, unlike a guitar, does not have all the frets. Its fret spacing is called diatonic. That means that starting at the 3rd fret, if you play the fret sequence 3,4,5,6,7; the intervals or musical distances between one fret to the next result in the player playing a major scale, otherwise known as do re mi fa so la ti do.

Read more: A TUNING FOR EVERY PALETTE

January-February 2016

JANITA BAKER - MOUNTAIN DULCIMER INNOVATOR

BUILDER, COMPOSER, RECORDING ARTIST, TEACHER, AUTHOR, INLAY ARTIST, VETERINARY TECHNICIAN

By Joellen Lapidus

JanitaBaker performing hi res picIf you haven’t heard Janita Baker play the dulcimer or if you haven’t seen her stunning dulcimer inlay, listen to her composition, Snowy Owl then go to her website and view her inlay before reading on.

Read more: JANITA BAKER - MOUNTAIN DULCIMER INNOVATOR

November-December 2015

LEE CAGLE OF MOSCOW, TENNESSEE

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER PLAYER, TEACHER, COLLECTOR, 
FESTIVAL ORGANIZER AND BEE KEEPER

By Joellen Lapidus

Joellen Lee 11 2014-2Lee Cagle, dulcimer player, teacher, festival promoter, dulcimer collector, bee keeper, grew up in Blount County, Tennessee, (pronounced Blunt). “I grew up surrounded by guitar, banjo and dobro music. My uncle took me up to the mountains and sang old ballads to me. But a school teacher told me I had no musical talent and should try other things so I didn’t get an instrument of my own or play music until I was grown”.

Read more: LEE CAGLE OF MOSCOW, TENNESSEE