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Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario

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black walnut 17 Jun 00 - 09:49 AM
Mooh 17 Jun 00 - 12:45 PM
black walnut 17 Jun 00 - 01:06 PM
Rick Fielding 17 Jun 00 - 01:08 PM
black walnut 17 Jun 00 - 01:43 PM
Mooh 17 Jun 00 - 07:50 PM
black walnut 18 Jun 00 - 09:07 AM
Mooh 18 Jun 00 - 10:42 PM
black walnut 19 Jun 00 - 07:37 AM
catspaw49 19 Jun 00 - 10:19 PM
black walnut 20 Jun 00 - 08:21 AM
black walnut 20 Jun 00 - 10:50 AM
black walnut 22 Jun 00 - 04:17 PM
Pinetop Slim 23 Jun 00 - 11:41 AM
Willie-O 24 Jun 00 - 01:11 AM
black walnut 04 Jul 00 - 11:21 PM
black walnut 05 Jul 00 - 02:28 PM
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Subject: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 09:49 AM

Larkin Bryant Cohen, one of the world's most famous dulcimer players and teachers, will be leading a dulcimer workshop for a small intimate group in Guelph, Ontario, this Wednesday evening, June 21. Participants in the workshop will vary in ability and experience with the instrument, and there will be a few extra dulcimers available for those without their own. If you are interested in attending the workshop, you can message me for details...

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: Mooh
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 12:45 PM

Oh man, do I wish I could go. Let us know how it goes. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 01:06 PM

larkin and andy are performing in toronto monday and tuesday (june 19, 20) as well. could you make it to either of those, mooh?

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 01:08 PM

Yup. They'll be on my radio show at seven and head off for a house concert right after.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 01:43 PM

oops. i knew that about the radio appearance, but forgot to mention it. sorry, rick. i'll be at the house concert....

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: Mooh
Date: 17 Jun 00 - 07:50 PM

black walnut, no time off work, damn day job, some musician I am working a day job when I should be refining my craft, or just musing...that calls for a beer, where'd that beer thread go? Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 18 Jun 00 - 09:07 AM

I've actually created a work life for which I can claim a dulcimer workshop as a deduction! Oh, and if you're going for beer, mooh, bring me a 'harp'.
~'nut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: Mooh
Date: 18 Jun 00 - 10:42 PM

black walnut, I believe such a deduction would be a reach for me, even if I could get the time off work, but I'll have a beer for you, by proxy. Any chance you can share the workshop afterwords? Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 07:37 AM

you mean report back here? fer sure....

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: catspaw49
Date: 19 Jun 00 - 10:19 PM

BTW....I called in to Rick's show and ask that he plug her instructional book and cassette, which is excellent. If you missed Rick's show, she was just superb!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 08:21 AM

I heard them on the first part of the show at home, spaw....up to Larkin's 'Mary Suite' on dulcimer (which was stunning), and finished listening to the programme in the house concert living room. Larkin and Andy arrived surprisingly soon afterward, and gave us a great concert til 11. I had a bit of a talk after the concert with Larkin about our dulimers and technique; her technique is not only vastly better, but also quite different from mine (for instance, Larkin quite often uses her thumb as the noter, whereas I use my pointer finger, and Larkin's 2 dulcimers both were set up as 3, yes 3, not 4 in a 3 configuration, string setup, as opposed to my 4 equi-distant string setup). Larkin is an amazing dulcimer player, and I look forward to being at the workshop on Wednesday....

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 20 Jun 00 - 10:50 AM

I don't think you Americans can grasp the thrill it is to have a dulcimer player/teacher of Larkin's stature come north and visit across the border. And I just got invited to be with them and other friends for supper tomorrow night. I'm in dulcimer heaven!

~'nut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 04:17 PM

I just returned this afternoon from Guelph. My mind is still too full of good thoughts and memories to try to sort it all out right now, but within a few days, I'll tell you about the marvellous workshop with Larkin yesterday evening. When I arrived in Guelph yesterday afternoon, I was immediately met by a reporter of the local paper, who was interviewing my friend Jean in her house, about the dulcimer visitor coming from Tennessee. He took a lot of photos of Jean and I playing our dulcimers, and for the first part of the actual workshop, another reporter was taking notes and many more photos for the same paper. This morning I had breakfast with Andy and Larkin Cohen, and Jean. Then we spent a few hours jamming at the kitchen table.....3 dulcimers, guitar, fiddle....great fun!

More anon....

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: Pinetop Slim
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 11:41 AM

'Nut: In this part of the states it would be a thrill to have Larkin come to play. I hear wonderful things about the instructional book and tape 'spaw mentioned. I got a taste of dulcimer heaven myself last week at Appalachian Family Folk Week at Hindman Settlement School; Jean Ritchie played one concert and in a couple less formal settings. Simple old tunes like Over the River, Charlie and Goodbye Girls I'm Going to Boston are elevated to something like a raga when she plays. And she does it all with a noting stick and a square of plastic instead of a pick. Wish I could have heard her late sister Edna perform; based on 'spaw's prior comments, that must have been quite an experience.


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: Willie-O
Date: 24 Jun 00 - 01:11 AM

Just got home from seeing Andy and Larkin play in Fiddleheads, a strange but interesting bar in Perth. She is a very good dulcimer player (OK that's an understatement) and I sort of noticed her fretting with her thumb (but with much more style and grace than certain ape-fingered guitarists, like, uh, me). Lovely clarity of tone. And Andy is a terrificfingerpicker playing possibly the greatest-sounding AND most terrible-looking old Gibson I've ever laid eyes on--says it went through a fire sometime.

I gotta get some sleep. I like NEVER go out at night this late anymore...

Yours aye
Willie-O
Ramblin Rake (ret'd)


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 11:21 PM

I said I'd say some things about Larkin's workshop in Guelph. Life is a tad mad here, even moreso now that both of my children have started summer holidays, but I'll just try to sit for a minute and share a few of my memories about the workshop.

Two things come immediately to mind. The first is that Larkin's playing is so quiet compared to any other dulcimer playing I've heard. Quiet, gentle, intricate, delicate, lace-like. Yes, lace-like. Complex, thoughtful, perfectly executed playing, reminding me of one of my grandmother's beautiful hand-crotcheted tablecloths.

The second thing that comes quickly to mind is how Larkin's playing style is such a true image of her personality. She exudes both warmth and clarity, and she responds to all queries, be they about the dulcimer, or about aspects of her life, with thoughtfulness, intelligence, politeness and nary a hint of judgementalism. Whether she is playing, singing or conversing, her eyes make music. She's one of those people that you feel honoured to have been able to spend time with.

Larkin is a fabulous teacher. She avoided 'handouts' until the end of the workshop, preferring that we listen and watch carefully instead. She knew that we were a mixed group of players, from beginner to advanced, but she kept us together as a whole group through the whole workshop, and each one of us was kept actively participating throughout our 3 hours session....no small feat! The first thing she asked us to do was to play a song together, and she watched each of us carefully, as we played verse after verse, so she could ascertain our individual styles. Having heard and seen our playing, without putting us on the spot, she then compared our various styles to our own.

Most of the workshop was a lesson on fingerpicking. I was thrilled to watch a master dulcimer player use a fingerpicking style, and hear her explain her techniques. She discussed the difference between 'folk' and 'classical' fingerpicking, and led us through some 'folk' patterns on some familiar tunes.

Larkin's left hand uses a slide technique on the first string which splits between the thumb and the pointer finger. All of her chord patterns are derived from this position. She almost always plays a 3 string dulcimer. She does not double the 'melody' string, because doing so diminishes the clarity of some of the special ornaments she plays with such grace and glorious musicality.

The whole workshop was a treat, but the highlight for me was the 1/2 hour concert she gave us at the end. When Larkin plays live, there is in intense rhythmic drive and play which for some reason just doesn't come through well on her CD 'Lark in the Twilight'. She has an incredible way of arranging familiar tunes, such as 'Wondrous Love' by bending and twisting them rhythmically and harmonically to make them feel like brand new friends. I can hardly describe what I am thinking about here....I just can tell you that I was totally rivetted by her creativity. She has a bluesy jazzy soul, I'll tell you!

Larkin told me that she likes her workshops to include three things...a. things that you can learn and do right away, b. things that you can learn and figure out how to do when you get home, and c. things that are way too difficult for you to do in the foreseeable future, but will inspire you to see the dulcimer as a limitless instrument, and be inspired to continue to learn and to grow with the instrument.

Larkin was first attracted to dulcimer when she heard it's magnicent bagpipe-like drone. She has taken the dulcimer to new heights, but continues to love and respect the ever available drone of the dulcimer. Her approach to both teaching and playing the dulcimer is as complex and as simple as a woodland garden.

My thoughts.... ~black walnut


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Subject: RE: Larkin Dulcimer Workshop in Ontario
From: black walnut
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 02:28 PM

I didn't have opportunity to proofread that yesterday....so please forgive the blatant typos. Today I have been thinking a bit about the things I could/should have included in the above synopsis, such as....

~ Larkin talked about in-strumming. It interested me very much, because I was taught to strum outwards, in order to create more volume on the 'melody' string. Larkin and Andy both felt that it would greatly improve the pain and numbness crisis I've had with my dulcimer playing, if I were to strum in instead of out. It will take some getting used to, but certainly worth a try...

~ Larkin plays strums and picks quite high up on the fingerboard, not over the strum-hollow, for a clear and delicate sound.

~ Larkin has 13 dulcimers in her collection, if I remember correctly. She usually travels with 3....one tuned to DDD (bagpipe tuning), one tuned to DAD, and the other a fourstring, usually DDAD. She uses the capo with ease, as well as bar-chording, so she can whip in and out of various major and minor keys like a hummingbird. On this trip, she was travelling only with 2 3-string dulcimers.

~ Larkin said that 2 of her dulcimers are so old and fragile and historic that they are (almost) never played. One of them has 2 hand-wound original strings.

~ Larkin almost never performs without artifical amplification.

~ Larkin is an incredibly fun and patient person to jam with. Ever the teacher, but never making you feel second-class...not at all!

~ Larkin played my Bear Meadow 4 string black walnut dulcimer, made 6 years ago by Dwain Wilder, and she fell in LOVE with it!!!! She said she wanted one just like it! Andy loved it too... Now, THAT made my heart sing!

That's all I can remember for now. If anything else important comes to mind, I'll include it later....

~black walnut


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