This is what happens when you stay up too late vainly googling yourself. I found this mp3 that my friend Paul Beck had posted in the CWA (Cimbalom World Association) online forum sometime after the 2003 congress in Appenzell, Switzerland. It’s a clip from my solo performance, where I was simultaneously representing Ireland and the USA. I do recall the stagefright I was experiencing at the time. I do recall Kalman Balogh watching me from the wings. I don’t recall the names of some of the tunes that wriggled their way into this mad medley, but I do know that the first one is “Flying to the Fleadh” (a longtime favorite), and the second tune is “Bear Island Reel”. “John Stenson’s” is the final tune. I also know that my playing style has changed a lot since this performance. For one thing, I NEVER play this fast anymore when I’m on my own. And even though I’ve all but lost my grip on Irish tunes these days, I know that I play them with far more swing… Anyway, it’s a rare recording that captures me, on stage, solo, stringing together tunes willy-nilly, improv and all. And what’s with the long airy intro at the beginning? I don’t remember doing that, or even thinking of it. But heck, I think I oughta use it from now on!
Christie Burns, on stage at the CWA congress in Appenzell, Switzerland, October 2003:
There’s a funny thing happening around Chattanooga these days. There are hammered dulcimer players living on streets across from other dulcimer players, the sole dulcimer players’ magazine in the USA is published on Signal Mountain, dulcimer players can be found on the street and in churches all over town, at festivals, parties, art galleries… And now we even have a guy who’s building them. It’s been fun teaching dulcimer lessons to Ned Smith, because not only do I get to see his musical progress with the pieces, but every time he comes for a lesson, I get to try out a new dulcimer he’s just built. And they’re really nice!! Ned and I are highly critical of one another’s work (and we wouldn’t have it any other way, right Ned?), so I’ve been offering opinions and perspectives on his instruments all along. Today he walked in with the one I love the best so far, so I decided to record a quick piece of music on it and post it to the blog. Ned has his own website about his instruments: http://www.creekhilldulcimers.com/ and he’ll also be taking orders for new instruments at the Chattanooga Dulcimer Festival this summer. I almost didn’t let him take this dulcimer home with him today… It’s pretty, and it sounds great–and will sound even better once it’s broken in. This tune I recorded is “Flying to the Fleadh” by Patrick Davey, a tune I seem to have gotten a bit rusty on, and I really did not tune the B on the bass bridge as well as I should have… but still, I think the beauty of the instrument comes out.
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