INTERVIEW WITH AARON O’ROURKE
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27th, 2016
Once 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.
INTERVIEW WITH DUANE PORTERFIELD
Mountain View, Arkansas 9/22/16I 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.
NEW ENGLAND TO APPALACHIA
Joellen: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 Taylor, Cat Stevens, Crosby, 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 Seeger, Tom 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.
FROM CLOCK RADIO TO MOUNTAIN DULCIMER
Nancy 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...
TALKING WITH TULL GLAZENER
Joellen: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.
A TUNING FOR EVERY PALETTE
A 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.
JANITA BAKER - MOUNTAIN DULCIMER INNOVATOR
BUILDER, COMPOSER, RECORDING ARTIST, TEACHER, AUTHOR, INLAY ARTIST, VETERINARY TECHNICIAN
If 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.
LEE CAGLE OF MOSCOW, TENNESSEE
MOUNTAIN DULCIMER PLAYER, TEACHER, COLLECTOR,
FESTIVAL ORGANIZER AND BEE KEEPER
Lee 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”.