Our Busy Summer: CD, Mill Race, Westfield

What a busy summer we had!

We wrapped up production on our second CD, Little Sparrow, in July, just in time for the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music at the beginning of August: three days of great music and musicians, and we were thrilled to share the stage with a pile of them, including Sheesham and Lotus and Son, Eileen McGann and David K., and our new best friends from Scotland, Stevie Lawrence and Fiona Cuthill (with whom we sang Songs that Crossed the Sea on a rainy Sunday afternoon).

Just a few days ago, we played in the beautiful church at Westfield Heritage Village (Best Acoustics Ever!) as well as on the village green, where our dulcimers and voices did battle with the breezes and bees - and won. A lovely day.

Our dulcimers are taking a bit of a break, but stay tuned...

In the meantime, enjoy these scenes from our recent musical adventures. (Thanks Russ and Dale for the photos!)

Angie (far right) is enjoying jamming with Alfie Smith (far left)
and Sheesham & Lotus & Son in our North Americana workshop
on the Civic Square stage at Mill Race.

Playing some tunes during our solo set at Mill Race.

Rain forced us indoors on Sunday at Mill Race. David K and Eileen
McGann are up during our Songs that Crossed the Sea
workshop with Scottish duo Stevie Lawrence and
(hidden behind Eileen) Fiona Cuthill.

Mill Race is coming...and we have a new CD!

The Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music is a week away (August 3-5) and we are so ready to take the stage.

The past two months have been devoted to producing our second CD, Little Sparrow, a slew of mostly Appalachian songs we learned from some field recordings published by Musical Traditions in a collection called Far in the Mountains.

Some of the songs are silly and lightweight. Some are quite dark. And at least one is, well, raunchy! (Oh those traditional singers - they know how to please an audience...)

We're looking forward to sharing our new material and re-introducing the Mill Race audience to our old stuff, which we performed the last time we were at the Festival, in 2009.

And, to help us spread the word of traditional tune and song - especially dulcimer tunes and songs - we've started a Twitter account: JeanandAngie is the name, @dulcimergirlz is the address. Follow us! We're planning to Tweet from the stage (if we can do it without being rude, of course). Maybe you can be part of the act...?

So, to recap: Mill Race takes place Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 5 (and we will be there); we have a new song-filled CD called Little Sparrow to go with our previous instrumental offering, Southwind; and you can follow Jeanandangie on Twitter by searching @dulcimergirlz.

Got that? Hope so! See you at Mill Race!

We're Getting Ready for Mill Race!

Angie and I are busy building and tweaking our repertoire in preparation for the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music taking place in downtown Cambridge this August 3-5.

We've been listening to field recordings made by Mike Yates in the late 1970s on a trip to Appalachia. Some of these unusual tunes and songs are finding their way into our set lists. We debuted a couple of them the Spring Preview Concert in March ("Black is the Colour" and "Jerusalem Mourns") and will share more at the Festival. Lots of fun to play on dulcimer, and even more fun to sing.

Of course, we still plan to include lots of our trademark fingerstyle dulcimer duets as well. That's how we began performing together, and it's a hard habit to break. Besides, who would want to? There's nothing more soothing than the harp-like resonance of two fingerpicked mountain dulcimers.

Be sure to check out the list of performers coming to this year's Festival.  A big part of the fun for both audience and musicians is the mash-up of performers who share workshop stages, trading tunes and songs, offering accompaniment and harmony, and learning something new. Expect the unexpected!

We look forward to seeing you there! We hope to have our second CD completed in time for the Festival too...

And please remember - the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music is a FREE festival. Buy a program, throw some money in the buckets when the Morris dancers sweep the crowd, and support accessible, live traditional music.

Angie and Jean
at the 2012 Spring Preview concert.

A Great Day at Westfield Heritage Village

We had a great time playing for an ever-changing and enthusiastic audience at Westfield on August 28 for British Isles Day. Here are some shots of us in action  (thanks to our roadie and official photographer, Paul Stock!).

Singing "Soldier Boy" in the tavern

Hard to tell, but there really is an audience inside, listening...

We're Performing at Westfield Heritage Centre, August 28

Yup. That's us! Angie and Jean.
You can see us performing in the Tavern (1:30) and, in a real change of pace, in the Church (3:30) at the Westfield Heritage Centre on Sunday, August 28. It's British Isles Day, so come and hear us perform traditional music that lives in, lived in, or emigrated from Britain, Scotland and Ireland. Lots of dulcimer, we promise!

Check out the details here: Westfield Heritage Centre

Dulcimers in action: Step Back and Miss Casey

Just over a year ago, we performed at the Mill Race Preview Concert in Galt.  Here’s a glimpse of our dulcimers (and us!) in action.

We’re playing a set of two tunes.  The first is called “Step Back”, and Jean first heard it played – exquisitely on melodeon - by the amazing Richard Arrowsmith (of Crucible and other musical configurations) at the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music. The festival’s artistic director, Brad McEwen, subsequently found the dots for us, and Robin Harrison – a musician with the Toronto Morris Men – played it for Jean at the regular English session at the Golden Kiwi in Galt.  The second tune, “Miss Casey” was learned from Crucible too, from their first CD.  We’ve adapted them a bit for dulcimer to create one of our favourite sets.  Thanks to Justin Burnett for filming the concert and sending us the link. (And just so you know: Angie’s on the left, playing her Robin Jones dulcimer; Jean’s on the right playing her Celtic Heart dulcimer made by Terry Warbey of Saltspring Island).

Live at the Galt Room, Cafe 13 on April 9

An enthusiastic crowd turned out to see Robin Harrison & Robin Aggus (pipes, whistles, concertina and accordion) and us (dulcimers, dulcimers, dulcimers) play and sing our traditional tunes and songs at the regular Friday night Folk at the Cafe on April 9 in Cambridge.

DSC_2876 Ok, so maybe my voice wasn’t quite as sweet as I would have liked, and maybe there were a couple of glitches on the odd note or two, but hey, that’s live performance, right?  We had a lot of fun playing our favourite instruments and repertoire in front of a friendly, sing-along/hum-along audience who clearly love traditional music (and musicians!) as much as we do.  A great night, and thanks again to Brad McEwen of the Mill Race Folk Society for his ongoing efforts to keep traditional music alive – and traditional musicians performing. 

And hey – we even sold a few CDs!  It’s called Southwind, Dulcimer Tunes to Drift Away On… and you  can contact me at  jrmills (at) rogers (dot) com  if you’re interested in buying one.  Stay tuned – we’ll put up some samples for you to hear, soon.