Friday, February 3, 2012

Music is Life

On Wednesday I was turned onto folk musician and duclimer player Claudia Schmidt, and I enjoyed viewing the YouTube videos of her performing. Of course I checked out her website, her wonderful and long history as a folk and jazz musician, and her long list of CD's to choose from. I had never heard of her before, and I was thrilled to find this dragon's treasure of folk/jazz goodness.

Just out of curiosity, I checked out her calendar. Sometimes you come across something really cool only to find the band or musician moved on a few years ago and has never been heard from again. Not so with Claudia! In fact, I saw that should would be playing locally on Thursday night! I immediately contacted my sister and invited her out to dinner and Claudia's show at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior. Talk about serendipity!!

We got there an hour before the show so we could get settled and get something to eat. The food was very good, with all kinds of yummy options on the small menu. I officially love Guac with tortilla chips, as an example. And they even had a couple of my favorite Surly Beers to choose from! I chose Bender for the evening, and it was definitely a good choice.

When Claudia got on stage in front of a crowd of about 50 of us, the mood in the room turned to joy. She really puts on a great show, and I've signed up for her update list. She mentioned that she has a new album coming out this Spring that she recorded with Sally Rogers, the first album they've done together in 22 years. I picked up their "While We Live" and I have yet to find time to listen to it. Maybe Saturday when I'm cleaning the house will be good.

Something fun to look forward to while doing drudge work anyway. It will be a good way to start the weekend, I think.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bass String & Cardboard Dulcimer Update

Well, thanks to my trusty wine opener I got my cardboard dulcimer strung with the bass string so it is now playable! It's a three string which is how I play anyway, and I think I found where it originally came from. It looks just like the barn red simplicity dulcimer from Backyard Music. The picture here is from their website, so I wanted to share where it originated.

Now that I have it actually playable, I went through my songbook and had a little fun tonight. I could not play one of the newest songs I have been learning, Edelweiss, as this dulcimer does not have a 6 1/2 fret. The action is fairly good, and while it's not as nice as my lovely FolkCraft dulcimer, it does an admirable job. When I pick out a melody with just one string, it rings out loud and clear. Strumming chords is a little trickier and I have to play with how I use the pick to get the best sound. It is a good learning experience, and I might just break out some art supplies and decorate it a bit. Giving it my own personal touch seems like the right approach for me, as I'm just so darned visually oriented.

Finding a company like Backyard Music is also exciting for me. Learning the dulcimer has been such a joy, it's great to see folks who make it possible for anyone to learn to play this wonderful instrument. They even have banjos and harps too!