Featured Artists - 2018
Rob Brereton workshops:
Thomasina Levy workshops:
In honor of Nutmeg's 15th year, we look back at our heritage. Before Nutmeg, Connecticut had the Housatonic Dulcimer Celebration, and two of its organizers were Thomasina Levy and Rob Brereton. We're thrilled to have them together as featured artists this year.
Rob Brereton is considered one of the pioneers in contemporary mountain dulcimer playing. His years of studying classical guitar have polished his playing style while his degree in music theory and composition has given him a fresh approach to arranging.
He was one of the first dulcimer players to arrange extensively in chromatic and other alternate tunings. Although he specializes in the standards and early jazz tunes of Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and the like, Rob is equally adept at playing the more traditional Celtic, Appalachian, old time, and other dulcimer repertoire.
Rob has taught all levels of dulcimer at most major music festivals and folk schools across the country, and even organizes occasional Dulcimer Cruises. In addition, he teaches K-6 music and has many private students. He also composes, arranges, and he directs several choirs near his home in CT. His album, "Someone to Watch Over Me," is available for download on iTunes, CD Baby, and most other music download sites.
Thomasina Levy is an award-winning songwriter, internationally recognized mountain dulcimer player, singer, poet, and songwriter who has been passionate about the instrument ever since she first encountered one in West Virginia at age 18.
As a teacher with a masters degree in education, in addition to teaching dulcimer at festivals all over America, she has been the Connecticut Commission on the Arts "Master Teaching Artist Program" for nearly 20 years. She was Connecticut's State Troubadour for 2005-2006. The song, "Out of Many We Are One," which she co-wrote, won the 2011 NAMA Award for Best Song Single of the Year. And her brand new CD, of original and traditional songs, "Parallel Universe," was just released in August.
You've probably never heard of Marina Albero. A year ago, we'd never heard of her, either, but then we saw a video of her and ... Come to Nutmeg, and see this woman.
She started playing music on stage as a child with her family, while they toured all around the world playing traditional music and creating new shows. In her early years she studied in Barcelona’s Conservatory (El Bruc) and later in La Havana (ISA), where she finished her classical piano degree. Her music is steeped in such diverse genres as jazz, flamenco, early music, Andalusian, and Latin (son & Latin jazz). And, four years ago, she moved to Seattle.
Along with hammered dulcimer, Marina performs extensively on piano, keytar, and vibraphone. She's been to a handful of dulcimer festivals and has represented Dusty Strings at the music industry's prestigious NAMM show, but more frequently jazz festivals. Additionally, she has been the piano chair at Seattle's Teatro Zinzanni, which has been described as "the Kit Kat Klub on acid."
We're thrilled to be introducing Northeast dulcimer audiences to her. Click the video link below, and within a couple of minutes we think you'll be thrilled, too.
Jeff Berman workshops
Mimi Jong workshops
Susan Powers workshops
APPALASIA was formed in 2009 by Jeff Berman (dulcimer), Mimi Jong (erhu), and Sue Powers (banjo) in Pittsburgh, PA. They are simply unique.
Jeff Berman is the unusual combination of mountain dulcimer player and percussionist. He writes a lot of AppalAsia's tunes. He has a unique dulcimer style based on DAA tuning and often using the middle string to play the melody.
He has performed internationally both as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles. With much of his percussion work being in the jazz and improvisational worlds, he plays in a lot of places that other dulcimer players don't get to. A small sampling of the artists Jeff has performed, recorded, and toured with include Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, Robert Een, Susan Mckeown, Osei Koranke, and Linda Thompson. In addition, his music was used in an Academy Award nominated documentary called "In Our Water."
Jeff taught at Nutmeg several years ago, earning rave reviews. We're thrilled to have him back this year, and even more thrilled because he's bringing his friends this time!
Mimi Jong has a diverse musical background acquired from growing up in Indonesia, being educated in Germany, and immigrating to the United States. Since age eleven, she has been performing on the erhu, an ancient, Chinese, two-string, bowed instrument. By moving beyond tradition and embracing the erhu's versatility, Mimi has performed with jazz, folk, classical, and international musicians, conducted educational workshops, and performed at music festivals.
Her bio includes collaborations with Persian santur master Dr. Dariush Saghafi, tabla master Samir Chatterjee, and various jazz musicians. Mimi was a recipient of 2014 "Master Artists and Tradition Bearers Award" from Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. In addition, she is the board President and founding member of “HarmoniZing,” where her contributions include recruiting renowned artists for local concerts and residencies and providing a platform to encourage diversity in Pittsburgh’s music scene.
Susan Powers comes from deep musical roots. Both of her parents were sacred singers, and both her grandfather and her great grandfather were fiddle players who performed for local square dances in the Appalachian "old time" tradition. She, herself, has been playing banjo since her teens, and has adapted her clawhammer style not only to Celtic music, but to blues, rock, and pop music, as well.
Susan writes many of AppalAsia's songs. In addition, she is a founding member of the Celtic band, Devilish Merry. Her music has been used in modern and traditional dance, performance, theater, and film, including the Smithsonian exhibit “Lewis and Clark: Clash of Empires”, Roger Sayers documentary about “outsider” folk-artist Howard Finster, and Jerry Starr's stage play “Buried: The of the Sago Mine Disaster.”
Other Artists - 2018
Rich Carty has been teaching hammered since 1992 and also playing mountain dulcimer for 35 years, and is one of the founding members of the Greater Pinelands Dulcimer Society. He is also co-owner of Pinelands Folk Music Center, located in Mount Holly, in south Jersey.
Cliff Cole has been playing hammered dulcimer since 1985. His background is in percussion, and he has studied various types of music including rock, blues, jazz and folk. His folk group, DayBreak, has been performing together for over twenty years and has produced six CDs. Cliff is a founding member of the Quakertown Area Dulcimer and Autoharp Society (QUADAS), serves on the board of Perkasie Patchwork Coffeehouse, and is a member of the Nutmeg Team.
Sam Edelston is on a quest to bring both mountain dulcimers and hammered dulcimers into widespread public awareness. While he may be best known for his mountain dulcimer arrangements of many kinds of modern, "mass-appeal" music, before that, he was playing rock, pop. and classical music on the hammered dulcimer. He has performed and taught (mountain dulcimer) at festivals as far away as Kentucky, Minnesota, and Louisiana, and his music has been heard in over 190 countries. Sam also plays guitar and banjo, and is chair of this festival.
Ron Ewing has been playing mountain dulcimer since 1970, and has built over 1,700 during that time. He is especially known for his innovative designs, including the baritone, dulcimette, dulcimer capo, the 1½ fret; and his lively renditions of Irish, Appalachian, and Euro dance tunes. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
This is Rudy's fifth time as a workshop leader at Nutmeg bringing his love of blues and classic rock to the Mountain Dulcimer. Rudy has been playing piano, harmonica, mountain dulcimer, and djembe for close to five decades Rudy lives in Maine where he gives music lessons, plays piano weekly at the Muddy Rudder Restaurant, performs regularly in several bands, and is Music Director for the Royal River Community Players theater group. His Grandkids call him "Grand-dude." During the day he is Chief Procurement Officer for the Maine University System.
George Haggerty is an accomplished dulcimer builder, teacher, and player. He and his wife, Mary, are sponsors of their annual festival in Vermont, “August Dulcimer Daze,” which recently celebrated its 25th year. George now teaches mountain dulcimer playing and building at The Putney School in Putney, VT. He has one CD, “Just Friends...One More Time.” And for the first time, we welcome him to Nutmeg.
Deb Justice has been playing hammered dulcimer for over 25 years. She plays mostly old-time and Irish music, but has also had fun with everything from Balkan to klezmer to '30s swing. She currently lives in Ithaca, NY, where she teaches and manages the Cornell Concert Series.
Marya Katz is a retired National Board Certified music teacher who still lives and breathes music in her daily life. She has led dulcimer workshops at many festivals, teaches private students, composes, and performs with the folk group Simple Gifts of the Blue Ridge. She recently taught a week-long workshop at Perelandra in NC; she will be teaching there again in June 2019. And somehow, she still finds time to direct the choir at her church and pull weeds from her gardens at home in Blacksburg, VA. She has had her original compositions published in Dulcimer Players News and online for the dulcimersessions.com magazine, and has published several books of traditional arrangements and original compositions. Her newest venture is a book of "practical" theory for hammered dulcimer players, titled "Building a House of Basics."
Dian Killian, who performs as DK and the Joy Machine, is a championship-winning, New York City-based mountain dulcimer performer and singer-songwriter known for "rocking out" on dulcimer and playing in innovative ways -- plucking, strumming, sliding, and bowing. Her debut album, Shy One, was lauded by Curve magazine, Alt-Country Forum, and other blogs as "rootsy Americana that directly touches the heart" with songs that are "quirky and smart and with sultry vocals and intricate dulcimer playing." She has performed widely in the Eastern US, and Europe, and recently performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Ellen Pratt has been playing mountain dulcimer since 1999, and has been writing her own music since 2004. Her style of playing is a mix of traditional and contemporary. She enjoys the hard fast strumming old time music and jam tunes with both the dulcimer and banjo, but also enjoys the quieter, more contemporary chord style with fingerpicking on dulcimer. Ellen has taught at the Albany Mountain Dulcimer Music Festival and the Pocono Winter DulcimerFest, and she teaches and co-coordinates Vermont's August Dulcimer Daze.
Don Moore is the leader of Connecticut's Dulcimer Folk Association (DF#A), which has been bringing together dulcimer players and other folk musicians for over 20 years. Don was instrumental in the founding of Nutmeg.
Brett's philosophy is that "anyone can make music, regardless of age, musical ability or knowledge!” He is a full-time musician who teaches hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, bluegrass banjo, clawhammer banjo, beginner acoustic guitar and mandolin. Brett has created a series of instructional CDs for hammered dulcimer, has a lesson series available on YouTube, and also teaches lessons via Skype and FaceTime. He had the largest class at the 2016 Dulcimer Funfest in Evart, MI, and the largest classes at the Ohio Valley Gathering for the last two years. Brett tours promoting traditional American music. He has released a total of eight recordings, of which seven are currently available. Additionally, his original composition, "Gettysburg Rain," is featured in the soundtrack of “The Path of the Wind,” a 2010 movie which features Wilford Brimley.
Sally Rogers is renowned not only in the dulcimer world, but also in the broader worlds of folk music and children's music. She is an award-winning recording artist with over a dozen albums, and also has released a children's video and a children's picture book. Sally has performed all over the USA and widely in Europe, plus China and Lake Wobegon. In recent years, Sally has focused more on teaching and as a Master Teaching Artist for the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, she has brought music into the lives of thousands of Connecticut's young people. Her latest CD, with Claudia Schmidt, is "We Are Welcomed."
Bill Ruyle is a hammered dulcimerist-percussionist-composer-collaborator who has been in the NYC new music and dance scene for over 30 years. He was introduced to the hammered dulcimer by his dad, who built one for fun as a woodworking project. Bill has played hammered dulcimer for numerous theater productions, film soundtracks, and recordings, including Last Forever, Frida, Sin Nombre, Big River, The Secret Garden, and the Broadway production of "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark" -- as well as ensembles such as Mitra Sumara (Persian pop) and the Locrian Chamber Players. He's also done productions of La MaMa Experimental Theater Club's Trojan Women Project around the world over the past four decades.
Carol Walker is a happily retired high school choral teacher (recipient of the NJ Governor's Teacher of the Year Award in 2003), and performs on mountain dulcimer, piano, harp, and upright bass. Her folkloric research singlehandedly brought traditional music of the Isle of Man to the mountain dulcimer, leading to a CD of Manx tunes, "Alas, the Horse Is Gone," as well as two books of "Tailless Tunes." Carol's instructional works include the three "DNA* Dulcimer Ditties" book/CD sets, as well as DVD on the Homespun label. Her newest book, Her newest book, "Classical Dulcimer for Wascally Wabbits," which draws on her early musical tutelage under Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny -- and which may have been partly inspired by her own video success with an instructional dulcimer DVD, directed by Happy Traum of Homespun Tapes. Carol is married to professional, world-class touring guitarist Toby Walker.
Jon Weinberg has been playing hammered dulcimer and guitar for contra dances, concerts, wedding ceremonies, and coffee houses throughout New England for over 25 years. He teaches hammered dulcimer lessons to students both in person and online via Skype. A regular performer and workshop leader at dulcimer festivals across the country, Jon created and leads week-long Hammered Dulcimer Chord Camp workshops in New England and North Carolina each spring and fall. Jon is a founding member of the contra dance band Wild Card, and released his first CD "About Time" in 2013.
Dwain Wilder, founder of Bear Meadow Folk Instruments, has been building mountain dulcimers since 1991. He regularly gets orders from as far away as Europe, Great Britain, and the Far East. Dwain is also one of the few dulcimer builders who takes on apprentices and teaches them the craft. In addition to his instrument building, Dwain has also published poems in various periodicals and collections, and writes occasional essays on Zen practice.
Shirley Wong is a Boston-based yang qin (Chinese hammered dulcimer) performer and teacher who has been playing the instrument since the age of five. She has studied traditional Chinese music extensively with Zhen Tian Zhang, who was renowned in China before he moved to the US.
Nina Zanetti is the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. She comes to the mountain dulcimer from a diverse musical background, including choral music, violin, viola, piano, and shape note singing. She plays regularly at churches, historic sites, and community events and has taught at dulcimer festivals throughout the country. She has published nine books of tablature arrangements for mountain dulcimer, and is featured on Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Play Music for Christmas (CD). She has recorded a CD of solos and duets with Bill Collins, as well as two solo CDs, Beside Still Waters and Winter’s Light.
Dwain Wilder - mountain dulcimers
Ron Ewing - mountain dulcimers & capos
Folk Craft Music
George Haggerty - mountain dulcimers, and more
Rich & Mary Carty - hammered dulcimers, mountain dulcimers, and more