Friday, April 27, 2012

Still Point

Every once in a while you come across a rare and wonderful piece of work. Since 2009, I have been taking lessons on the autoharp and then on the dulcimer from Karen Mueller. During that time, I have been slowly collecting her albums. Still Point was released in 2000, and like most folk/world albums it is timeless. I was looking to listen to her play the dulcimer, since that is the instrument I am concentrating on learning right now. As a zither enthusiast, I just love to hear someone with her skill level play. This has some dulcimer tunes, but it also features other instruments that she plays as well, including autoharp.
The album opens with "30-Year Jig" which sets the tone for the entire work. On that song, Karen plays both the mountain dulcimer and the autoharp. The title for the album is a quote:
"At the still point, there the dance is..." - T.S. Eliot
For me, it emphasizes the listener. While we are still, her fingers do their lively dance on the strings of multiple instruments. This is the magic of recording, where Karen can play multiple parts on a single song. I think everyone should have this album. It has a good amount of Celtic classics along with some contemporary tunes. There are fourteen wonderful tracks, with the final song being "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" which is a joyful way to end the album, finishing everything with a statement of her incredible talent. Years of music making went into this, and it shows. Sometimes the magic is in the dedication. Being willing to focus on being the best you can be at whatever instrument you pick up. It's a great inspiration to me, and I'm looking forward to buying her newest CD Landscape of the Heart next.

The oddest part of all this for me is, right now I'm not even taking lessons! For the next few months I'm pinching pennies to pay for my Dream Autoharp, so I'm really starting to miss my visits with Karen at Homestead Pickin' Parlor. But I'm keeping myself busy with practicing my mountain dulcimer, and listening to some good music while I'm at it!

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