I was never going to forget these five musical minutes of my life anyway, but I’m super glad that Laurie McCarriar captured it all on video. Maddie MacNeil, Tom White, Ken Lovelett and myself were all on stage together for the teachers’ concert at the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium, and our setlist consisted of things that each of us had brought to the table to share and be played on by everyone. So this was my contribution, my arrangement of Amazing Grace that I’ve been living with and working on for a year now (or more, if you count back to when I first started playing around with it back in Ireland). I think we’ve reached an all-new level of perfection with it now. What could ever be more beautiful than Maddie’s voice? And the rest of the band made us sound like we were some Irish super-band, like Altan or something. Love it.
There is a gathering of musicians that takes place every summer in the Adirondacks– every summer for the past 28 years. So it was quite an honor for me to be invited as the hammered dulcimer instructor for the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium this year. I had wonderful class, very opened minded willing-to-try-anything students! Two unusual instruments made an appearance at the week: Laurie McCarriar’s hammered mbira and Ken Lovelett’s orthagonal lap drum. Here they are, one clip from the sound check (with Tom White walking in and out of the frame as he set up the stage), and one clip from the performance, which was done in complete darkness while Laurie played with her light-up hammers. Oh man, that was cool!
Ken Lovelett and Laurie McCarriar at the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium, June 2009: