In the early 1980s the four of us played music on weekends at the Portland Saturday Market. We'd put a hat or a guitar case on the ground and play for tips. We'd have a case of cassette tapes for sale, at one point I think they sold for $6 a pop. Mostly they were recordings of dulcimer & fiddle tunes, dance music and hoedowns and such.
Many a cold December day we huddled under the Burnside Bridge playing Christmas tunes for the chilly folks stompin' their feet to stay warm. The hammer dulcimer is a great instrument to play and listen to outdoors. The high percussive tones ring through the air in a delightful way. This album was recorded in 1985. We sold it for years through stores and through a couple of distributors, most notably Lifedance and Burnside Distribution, both located here in Portland. This album sold year after year. Now CDBaby has located here in Portland, and we all have other recordings available through CDBaby, so here's one more, vintage '85.
Check out other recordings by the band members:
Dan Compton: (http://www.glencottagemusic.com/)
Mick Doherty: http://www.oregonshadowtheatre.com/
Steve Einhorn: http://www.artichokemusic.com/kateandsteve/
Lawrence Huntley: http://cdbaby.com/cd/lhuntley
The Hammer Dulcimer
The hammer dulcimer is a tuned percussion instrument thought to be an ancestor to the piano. The basic concept is a trapezoidal pattern of strings tuned on two sides of a bridge. At the wider end of the trapezoid one finds the lower pitches, and vice-versa. In most traditions the strings are struck with mallets of some sort, though in some cultures they are plucked as well. Variants of the dulcimer have been played across the northern hemisphere for centuries. Historians haven't pinned it down, but the origins seem to lie from ancient Persia to Eastern Europe. The Persian name "santoor" is used in India as well, whereas in Greece it is known as "santouri". In China the instrument is called "yang chin" which I read means "foreign zither." In eastern Europe the name ranges from "cymablom" to "tzimbaly", and it is played from Hungary to the Ukraine. In Germany it is called "hackbrett", which means "chopping block." In Mexico it is called "salterio." In the English speaking world it is called "hammered dulcimer." Lawrence & Mick prefer "hammer dulcimer", 'cuz that's the way they say it.
Check out the artist's website:
1. The First Noel
2. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella
3. There Comes a Vessel Laden/Angels We Have Heard on High
4. O Come All Ye Faithful
5. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
6. Joy to the World
7. Companions All Sing Loudly
8. Noweigian Christmas
10. In Dulci Jubilo
11. March of the Three Kings
12. O! Infant Jesus
13. Jingle Bells/Liberty/Lady of the Lake
14. Silent Night