Hearts of the Dulcimer

This podcast is dedicated to everything about the mountain dulcimer: the dulcimer’s history, dulcimer music, dulcimer builders, dulcimer communities, dulcimer culture, and much, much more! If you’re interested in mountain dulcimers, this is the podcast for you.
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Hearts of the Dulcimer



All Episodes
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Jan 11, 2017

Episode 021: With the unusual combination of two American and one Chinese instrument, the trio AppalAsia bridge the Appalachian and Chinese music traditions to create music that is soulful, sophisticated, and genre bending.

Dec 1, 2016

Episode 020: From a contemporary jazz folk original to holiday staples and medieval music, we present tunes that are joyous, reflective, and capture the essence of winter. With music by Linda Brockinton, Heidi Muller and Bob Webb, Lance Frodsham, Jack and Mary Giger, Mark Gilston, Jessica Comeau, Bing Futch, and AppalAsia.

Nov 20, 2016

Episode 019: One of the best places to hear new talent in the mountain dulcimer world is at the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship. This annual event takes place at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. We spoke with 2016 winners Mark Gilston, Cassandra Damper, and Wendy Songe, as well as Jim Woods from McSpadden Dulcimers.

Oct 8, 2016

Episode 018: Singapore seems to have only one performing mountain dulcimer player. He’s a 24 year old busker named Ivan Ng Sheng Kai. Hear what it’s like to be the lone dulcimer performer in Singapore, and the extraordinary measures he’s had to take to find and learn how to play it.

Aug 28, 2016

Episode 017: This episode features stories told by Neal Hellman about celebrities who encountered the dulcimer at the Renaissance Faire.

Jun 6, 2016

Episode 016: On the surface, it seems that the mountain dulcimer is not an instrument created for playing the Blues. The impression of the dulcimer’s sweet simple sound seems that it would be too gentle to express the raw feelings evoked with the Blues. Additionally, the dulcimer’s diatonic fret pattern often doesn’t have the notes that are in the pentatonic Blues scale. Needless to say, it takes creativity and persistence to play the Blues on the dulcimer.

May 2, 2016

Episode 015: Steve Eulberg is a multi-instrumentalist who plays and sings traditional songs and fiddle tunes; weaving together Celtic, Old-Time, blues, and jazz on both the mountain dulcimer and hammered dulcimer. He runs the website Dulcimer Crossing, which provides hundreds of online video dulcimer lessons by several known dulcimer teachers.

Apr 6, 2016

Episode 014: Neal Hellman has played the mountain dulcimer for more than 40 years and is the founder, director, and one of the primary artists on the Gourd Music record label. Gourd Music recordings are known for lush arrangements often pairing the dulcimer with folk and classical instruments. With music by Gourd Music artists.

Feb 27, 2016

Episode 013: Linda Brockinton is known for playing a full chord fingerpicking style on the mountain dulcimer. In 2001, she was the first woman to win first place in the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship as well as the first to win playing a full chord fingerpicking style.

Feb 6, 2016

Episode 012: The second in the two part celebration of Judy Klinkhammer’s life. She was a well-loved dulcimer player and teacher who lived in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Many people credit Judy for introducing the dulcimer to that part of Arkansas in the early 60s. She truly lived with the dulcimer in the center of her life.

Feb 6, 2016

Episode 011: The first of a two part celebration of Judy Klinkhammer’s life. She was a well-loved dulcimer player and teacher who lived in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Many people credit Judy for introducing the dulcimer to that part of Arkansas in the early 60s. She truly lived with the dulcimer in the center of her life.

Jan 19, 2016

Episode 010: Howard Rugg is the master luthier behind the well-known CapriTaurus and early Folk Roots Dulcimers. The thousands of dulcimers built in his workshop are being played all over the world by amateur to accomplished musicians. Howard has recently started making dulcimers again under the name CapriTaurus. With commentary by Lance Frodsham and Laura Devine Burnett. All the music in this episode was played on dulcimers created in Howard’s workshop.

Dec 29, 2015

Episode 009: Singer and multi-instrumentalist Bing Futch has embraced the mountain dulcimer as his first and foremost instrument. Known for touring around the US in his RV, Bing plays many diverse styles from traditional folk to rock to original compositions to the blues -- all on the dulcimer.

Dec 12, 2015

Episode 008: Holly Tannen is a singer, songwriter, and dulcimer player who lives on the edge of a primeval forest in Mendocino, California. Holly is known for writing contemporary folk songs about personal stories and current events using the melodic and lyrical structure of Appalachian and British Isles folk tunes.

Nov 29, 2015

Episode 007: Erin Mae is a young, innovative mountain dulcimer performer and teacher from Kansas who gives old time music a fresh spin on her chromatic dulcimer.

Oct 21, 2015

Episode 006: Dulcimer player, storyteller, actor, and singer songwriter Rick Scott has been playing the dulcimer for more than four decades. Rick has received several awards and honors for his work with children’s music.

Sep 30, 2015

Episode 005: We focus on the melodic and rhythmically complex music Fariña created on his dulcimer and explore how his heritage and world travels influenced his music. We talk with Fariña’s relatives, people he knew, and two dulcimer players he influenced. We present intimate stories and letters from him to show how his music was ultimately the result of his zest for life.

Aug 29, 2015

Episode 004: We begin our tribute to Richard Fariña with Jerry Rockwell and John Blosser, two dulcimer players influenced by Fariña's dulcimer playing. With music from two Fariña tribute albums: one released in September, 2015 from Plainsong called Reinventing Richard: The Songs of Richard Fariña and Caroline Doctorow's 2009 tribute album called Another Country ... The Songs of Richard and Mimi Fariña. Richard's cousin Omar Lugones shares insights into Fariña's music.

Jul 31, 2015

Episode 003: We continue the exploration of the scheitholt, the predecessor of the mountain dulcimer:

What kind of music was played on the scheitholt?

Why did it fade into obscurity?

And why is there a surge of interest in the scheitholt?

Jul 18, 2015

Episode 002: Two stories about Joni Mitchell’s dulcimers. Joellen Lapidus tells the story of selling a dulcimer to Joni at the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival. Rick Scott recalls being picked up by Joni while hitchhiking in Canada in 1971.

Jun 30, 2015

Episode 001: Folklorist Lucy Long and luthier Ben Seymour talk about the mountain dulcimer's predecessor, the German scheitholt. Plus, Dulcimer Week in the Wallowas in Oregon.