Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dulcimerhead hosts Loretto Reid and Friends at "Jam for Pam! " November 14, The Grey Goat (upstairs) Newmarket Ontario

Dulcimerhead is very excited to be hosting a concert benefit THIS SATURDAY in Newmarket, Ontario -- the Jam for Pam!

Saturday evening at 7pm, join us upstairs at the Grey Goat Pub for music and fun with renowned Juno-nominated Celtic musician Loretto Reid. She has even invited some members of Glass Tiger to come and play with her! As you may know, Loretto Reid and Glass Tiger collaborated on Hawk One, music celebrating the theme of 100 years of powered flight in Canada. You can find the video on YouTube or by visiting the Glass Tiger website It sounds like Sam Reid and Al Connelly, keyboardist and guitarist with Glass Tiger, will be generously donating their talents to the cause.

The cause: to support our friend Pam during a difficult time. Anyone who has ever visited the Clean Food Connection on Main Street Newmarket has probably come away happier because of the uplifting spirit of this amazing woman. Now, we are given the opportunity to make her day a bit brighter, so we hope you will come and help out. Bring your intruments and jam with Dulcimerhead and friends, if you are inclined!

The Grey Goat Pub is located at 74 Main Street South, Newmarket. The concert begins at 7pm; tickets are a suggested donation of $25.00 for a whole evening of amazing musical entertainment. For more details, please visit www.davidrankineart.com/Pam.htm!

All the proceeds of the silent auction go directly to Pam -- you can see some of the amazing items below, and there are also many contributions of creative or healing services as well. To see more of the unique items available, please visit http://www.davidrankineart.com/Silentauction.htm

BIG THANK YOU to Loretto Reid, Sam Reid, and Al Connelly for their generous spirits in making this event happen. Also thank you to Dulcimerhead (David Rankine, Daniela Godina and Fernando Villalobos) for managing and hosting the event, and to Andrew for help with sound. Thank you to David Rankine for creating the web page, designing posters and facilitating the paypal donations. (Paypal donations can be received if you can't attend the event, by email to drankine9@hotmail.com, with "For Pam" in the subject line.)

And a big thank you to Katy, Lisa Christine, Bob at the Clean Food Connection, Mary Jane, all the silent auction donors and others who have come together to spread the word and support Pam.

This is a sample of Pam's Ketaya Celtstone work, approximately 5" in diameter, painted on stone with a copper spiral hanger attached so it can be displayed on your wall. Image depicts the seasons changing around the Tree of Life.

A glowing pink Himalayan salt lamp, with wooden base and easy-to-install electrical connection. Approximately 12" high and 6" in diameter. Available at the wonderful local lapidary store, Rock of Ages.

A beautiful set of "Community" silver-plated cutlery; an almost-full set of 7 teaspoons, 8 soup spoons, 8 dessert forks, 8 dinner forks and 8 knives.

Make a bid for clean, healthy, local, organic food!

Our friends at The Clean Food Connection have donated a Veggie Pak -- maybe you didn't know you can order their food directly from their website or at any of their stores, and have it delivered! For more details, please visit The Clean Food Connection If we are very lucky, the owner and founder, Bob Burrows, will be up there onstage jamming with us on Saturday. Because guess what? He is a Canadian music legend! Betcha didn't know THAT. Bobby Kris and the Imperials

Who knows what other secret identities will be revealed at this gig??

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Spiritfest II -- the experiment continues

Hey Folks,

Spiritfest II
was our second attempt at activating the manifesto that Art feeds mind, body and soul -- and that being our creative selves allows us to build community and overcome social obstacles that would overwhelm us in isolation.

Starting from the idea that nobody can be creative when their basic subsistence needs are not met, we once again joined forces with the great people at the York Region Food Network. The message is: creativity is the ultimate renewable resource, and together we can make sure nobody gets left behind or left without adequate food, shelter and right to human dignity. So yes, we had a giant party to celebrate art, music, performance, healing practices and whatever creative acts our participants wanted to bring -- but we tried hard to focus on raising awareness and funds to help people who experience hunger and food security issues in our community.

In York Region, Canada, which is our home base, the median income hovers around $90K per year; at the same time, we have been hard hit by layoffs and whole sectors of industry closing shop. Food banks are seeing a 30% increase in user rates -- and donations have dropped as people who once gave to charity are finding they need it themselves. It is a well-known fact that the average Canadian lives only two paycheques away from homelessness -- yet people feel shame and isolation and are stigmatized when they reach out for help. With York Region rents being very high and rental housing very scarce, many people find themselves paying over 50% of their income on rent -- making food sort of a luxury item. We wanted to use our event to highlight those facts, and be a platform to build a community for a day, focussed on sharing our gifts.

We were very happy that the York Region Food Network's Executive Director, Joan Stonehocker, spoke to us about the campaign to "Do The Math" -- looking at the numbers that low-income people and social assistance recipients have to juggle in order to survive. For more information about this campaign, please visit http://dothemath.thestop.org/

The York Region Food Network shows great creativity in their advocacy work: looking at the systemic causes of food insecurity on one level, and finding grassroots-level options to bring healthy fresh food to people who are relying on food banks. They help operate food banks; they offer school backpacks full of school supplies to families whose last dollar is not enough for their food bills; they offer community gardens to people who want to grow their own food in urban areas, and who send their extra produce to the food bank. They provide opportunity spaces for people to use human ingenuity to solve problems locally. That is why we love to support their work and spread the word about their organization.

More about Spiritfest coming soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dulcimerhead T-shirts are here!

Dulcimerhead T-shirts arrived today -- and they look fabulous!

These black T-shirts feature the design work of David Rankine, and cost CDN $25.00 each. Sizes: Large and Extra-large. Wear them to support the band at concerts! OR just hang them on your chair and trip on the dizzying "surface shimmer" at work in them.

Available at Dulcimerhead gigs (concert details), by calling (705) 435-9695 or by email at godwind@bmts.com.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dulcimerhead workshop -- "Sound Shamans" -- at Words Alive Festival, September 20, 2009

Dulcimerhead is back at Sharon Temple!

They are offering an "Open Space Spoken Word Creativity Workshop" at 2pm in the Sharon Temperance Hall, as part of the wonderful Words Alive Literary Festival. This festival is entering its third year, continuing the dream of founder Vali Stone to create a space where you can hear established writers, poets, and storytellers share their art and knowledge in performance and workshop. If you want to learn how to pitch a story idea, find a literary agent, or write non-fiction, this is the place! There is a very full schedule designed to engage anyone who is interested in "putting themselves out there" -- including an all-day Open Mike under the Maple Tree. Admission is only $5.00 per person. The Festival and Temple are located at the corner of Leslie Street and Mount Albert Sideroad in Sharon, Ontario.

Dulcimerhead's workshop showcases the rhythmic talents of Fernando Villalobos and the dulcimer melodies of Dave Rankine -- but unleashes their new secret weapon in the form of powerhouse poet and vocalist Daniela Godina. The combination of sound shapes and spoken word will recharge and open up your creative mojo! Her recent Sonic Journey performance in Nobleton gave her audience an absolutely indescribable experience of sound as vehicle for consciousness.

The Sharon Temple is a wonderful venue for the Words Alive Festival, and worth a trip in its own right. It is a jewel of history and spirituality -- the entire design of the building -- every window, every door -- is an expression of the values of the Children of Peace, an originally Quaker sect lead by a charismatic mystic named David Willson. They practised ideals of social justice, equality, unity and democracy long before those terms were part of Canadians' daily life. In the Illumination Ceremony, every window has a candle lit: a truly awesome sight.

When Dulcimerhead played the 2008 Illumination Ceremony, they created original music just for the occasion, and recorded a CD called "Sacred Sound: the Illumination of the Sharon Temple 2008" which is still available in the Temple's gift shop.

The Sharon Temple is an important landmark in the local history of the area -- and thanks to Words Alive, also a site for cultural community! Now you have TWO excellent reasons to be there this Sunday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Going to Indie Week Indie Week Indie Week !!!

Dulcimerhead is thrilled to be taking the stage on October 8, 2009, around 9:15pm at the Free Times Cafe to take part in Round One of the Indie Week 2009 Showcase!!!

Dulcimerhead is putting the call out to all their fans to spread the word far and wide -- Free Times Cafe is a great venue, it's a reasonable time slot and Dave, Fernando and Daniela are ready to show their stuff to the industry and the Toronto scene.

Street teams will be mobilized -- so if you want to pick up the coolest band swag you ever saw (these ARE professional artists, you recall) and be part of a triumphant evening of awesome music, be sure to email dulcimerhead@gmail.com -- and git on board. This is a tangible and concrete way to Assist The Breakthrough that we all know is going to happen...

Details about Indie Week can be found at indieweek.com and we'll be passing them on via Twitter twitter.com/dulcimerhead and Myspace www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1 and heck, probably Facebook too, why not?

Can barely wait. All these fantastic bands playing Toronto the same week. This is THE festival for up-and-coming indie outfits to try to convince industry judges that they are The Next Big Thing. Bound to be high-energy, envelope-pushing music. For those lucky enough to witness Dulcimerhead's latest gig in Newmarket July 29, there is no doubt that this is a band ready to play large, loud, INTENSE gigs.

Video unfortunately failed to capture the surprise hits of the evening -- one after another, old favourites reworked into concentrated burst of energy and melody -- outrageous drum solo by Fernando -- ringing dulcimer riffs by Dave -- and the evocative lyrics and voice of Daniela -- one particular song called "Try So Hard" is a solid hit, and all the more astounding because it comes from a band that hardly has had time to play together yet! So no wonder their gigs are totally fresh; their approach to the music is somehow relaxed and intense at the same time, with total communication onstage.

Spontaneous and totally seamless, this is a band of three awesome musicians who are creating alchemy and new magic every time they play.

Check out this fan video for one of their slower, more reflective songs, Invocation of the Norns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqy_cbur7HE

On October 8, you have the chance to see it happen. And on October 9th, you'll be able to say "I was there, the night when Dulcimerhead broke through!"

PS: Thanks to SonicBids, too -- all submissions went through them and certainly be proved to be worth the membership. :)
View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 29! Catch the next underground Dulcimerhead gig with NEW lineup!

Newsflash: here is a chance to catch Dulcimerhead performing awesome new material, now with the addition of the vocals and lyrics of newest member, chant poet Daniela Godina.

Since their amazing collaboration on the Western Voyage, Eastern Shore CD (available now at www.davidrankineart.com), all three Dulcimerhead members are eager to play their experimental material onstage at Theatre on Main, Newmarket, on July 29, 2009. Tickets are $20 each, or $30 a pair if you want to bring a friend!

Audiences at the June 13 & 14 Windfall Ecology Festival in Newmarket were astounded to hear what sounded like a contemporary Jefferson Airplane take the stage with the triumphant anthem "Cup of Plenty." Since then, Godina has used her poetry to bring the right words to the haunting melodies and mystical rhythms of bandmates David Rankine and Fernando Villalobos.

Godina has also done solo gigs in the area and collaborated on creativity workshops with Rankine and Villalobos. She is consciously aware of her use of music, sound, word and voice as healing modality and intuitive process. Her drum circles are legendary events for community music and myth-making.

Her words about working with Dulcimerhead:

"Thoughts on songwriting …performance…Dulcimerhead

The wise sleep with open eyes-
enhancing the creative void…

Songwriting began with an insomnia driven quest at times
connecting with other imaginative surrealistic souls here…
to maintain a flow of the psychic juices
or just staring at the wall till something happened-
and heard the words that struck an internal cord

The words resonate on an abstract soul level
then thankfully get traced back to automatic writing

A process which saves me"

This band is constantly extending itself creatively and taking its listeners through a portal, into a space where they can access authentic meaning. Don't take my word for it though. Visit this gig July 29th and experience it for yourself!

View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ushering in the Summer Solstice -- Music, Dance, Dulcimerhead!

Join Dulcimerhead and a group of dedicated Viking cultural re-enactors as they co-create music, dance and ritual to celebrate the coming of the Summer Solstice!

Festival coordinator Nesrin Meral is hosting the Vinland Viking Market and Summer Solstice Celebration event and decided Dulcimerhead music would add a new dimension to the ceremonies. In ancient European pagan cultures, this was the most important day of the calendar.

Dulcimerhead -- David Rankine, Fernando Villalobos and Daniela Godina -- were inspired to launch a musical project that would capture the spirit of Viking exploration, their strong connection to the spirit world, and the importance of HOME to these seafaring adventurers. You can hear more of this haunting and melodic music at www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1

The June 2009 CD entitled "Eastern Voyage, Western Shore" is meant to evoke a sense memory of Viking emigration and settlement in North America. Click below to view the first live performance of their anthem "Cup of Plenty" -- a song about the triumph of creativity in adversity, and the celebration of homecoming. (Performed at Windfall Ecology Festival, Newmarket, 2009!)

You can take part in the festivities this weekend! June 20th, come visit the Vinland Viking Market, see artisans at work and their authentic handicrafts, battles, food, entertainment -- then stay the evening for the magic of the Solstice Celebration! Dulcimerhead brings exciting new music to accompany traditional Belarusian dance in celebrating the longest night of the year.

For more details about the event -- which takes place in Wainfleet, Ontario on private land -- please visit www.vinlandvikingmarketandsummersolsticecelebration.com/

See you at the Viking Village!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

See Dulcimerhead at the Windfall Ecology Festival, Newmarket!

OK, Folks!

Dulcimerhead's latest incarnation opens Windfall Ecology Festival in Newmarket at 10am, June 13 & 14, 2009 on the Solar Powered World Music Stage. They have an exciting new CD full of triumphantly rocking anthems, totally in sync with the forward-looking positive energy of this fantastic festival. David Rankine, Fernando Villalobos and new bandmate Daniela Godina will be rocking out with their "Western Voyage, Eastern Shore" material.

YOUR task is to take a blanket and a picnic and prepare to bask in the grooviness of the Windfall Ecology Festival, in Newmarket's Fairy Lake Park. It is a well-organized, eclectic gathering of musicians, exciting presentations, all-natural and organic treats, geese (they come with the park), and everything you might want to know about technology available to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably.

There's just too much to tell you about, so get complete details of the events in store for you, at: http://www.windfallcentre.ca/index.php?st=2&s=Home&p=Homepage
Want to try the hot new "instant-networking-for-the-environment" initiative -- Green Drinks?? Mike Nickerson -- activist, educator and author of "Life, Money and Illusion: living on earth as if we want to stay" -- will be hosting one Saturday Night. For a sneak preview of his fascinating work, check out http://www.flora.org/sustain/book_open.html

To hear Dulcimerhead's new powerhouse track "Cup of Plenty" -- which contains my new personal mantra and a powerful antidote to our current Recession Panic -- you could visit Dulcimerhead's press kit on Sonicbids.

View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

Imagine starting every day by looking in the mirror and saying "If you can make something out of nothing, you're already there!" A gathering like Windfall is the same kind of encouragement. It's good to get out there and see each other, doing our best to make the world a better place. And Daniela Godina's powerful voice and lyrics are the best Feng Shui for your brain. :)

So, we'll see you out there! And be sure to get some henna from Dave Rankine, while you're there!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Super-Secret Semi-Century Gig

Musical Co-Conspirators David Rankine, Fernando Villalobos, Jason Pfeiffer and Daniela Godina; photo graciously provided by D. Draper; thanks!

Dulcimerhead's David Rankine was celebrated in word and music by his friends and co-conspirators in a secret location in Newmarket. Mayhem ensued: including a high-energy drum circle, new music composed in his honour by bandmate Fernando Villalobos, the haunting intuitive vocals of Daniela Godina, and being joined for an all-out jam with flutist extraordinaire Jason Pfeiffer. And then there was cake!

Dave's nearest and dearest were treated to an evening of new music, improvisation and song, plus his now-legendary rendition of "Frank Sinatra sings Dark Side of the Moon" -- a rare treat considering no alcohol was served at the event. Then they returned the favour by standing up to tell the whole crowd about what a low, objectionable character he is.

No, really, as usual for a Dulcimerhead gig, there was a lot of positive energy and love in the room, and this was a suitable occasion to express it toward a man who has made it his mission to use music to create community for the lost creatives among us, giving us all a feeling of "home" during turbulent times.

Thanks Dave, and we're all looking forward to the next adventures!!!

View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

Friday, April 17, 2009

A utopian vision of intentional community!

Thanks to D. Draper for the photos!

Oh, we were dreaming in technicolour THAT day -- wow, what an amazing event. The energy was awesome. Dulcimerhead had the Old Town Hall rented anyway for their triumphant "Dark Mandala" CD Launch Party and Concert -- so, there was this big ol' space just asking to be filled with art, music, energy work, networking with great people, stories, food --

So it was an intentional community today, to encourage us all to stay creative and keep the focus on what's really important. These were all people who know how to make things: the skill to take materials and impose a vision on them, and to create something that didn't exist before. THAT is much more real than a fixation on the electronic ebb and flow of cycling financial data around the world. When people connect, it strikes a blow against the anomie of the modern age. Opportunity spaces pop up where none were before. And we are creative enough to SOLVE the problems we have generated ourselves.

That is why Dulcimerhead spent time during this event to raise awareness of and funds for the York Region Food Network. Those people are raising the alarm in this affluent area, and using creativity to increase the healthy food available to food banks. They do this via community gardens where people can be mentored in the lost art of vegetable growing, or if they are already good gardeners, they plant an extra row for the Food Pantry. YRFN also runs cooking classes in their new offices on Penrose Avenue. They fill backpacks with school supplies in September, knowing that it is almost impossible for some families to find the money to do it for their kids. In this day and age of instant food and separation from the land, it is wonderful to go to a community garden, to see a vacant lot turned into a place where people can create food with knowledge and their own efforts, connecting with the soil again, and with each other.

Then, after a day of meeting folks and talking ideas and looking at art and hearing stories and drumming and eating and just generally feeling that our neighbours, friends and kids were MUCH more interesting than we'd ever have believed -- it was time for the BIG CONCERT!

After an electrifying performance by opening artist Daniela Godina, Dulcimerhead rocked the stage with their new "Dark Mandala" tunes -- using full drum kit for many of them.

Fernando's solo piece "Why Not" was so perfect, a jazz fusion number that almost sounded like a drum machine in its precision, except no WAY could that sound be automated.

The beautiful, spiralling "Deep Blue Star" featured an awesome flute improvisation by guest artist Jason Pfeiffer. There were hard-hitting tracks that showed Dulcimerhead fully at home with their progressive rock sound, such as the brilliantly reworked "Persian Trance." In contrast to the driving energy of the drum kit tracks, was the slow and lovely "From a Hill" with Dave's solo dulcimer. Both Daniela and Jason joined Dulcimerhead later in the show for a joyful improvisational jam -- honestly, this is why you have to see this band live. :)

At the end of the evening, we knew this thing was not over.

"Dark Mandala" was properly launched and celebrated, and we had built our intentional community -- what adventure would be next?

View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spiritfest is NOT over!

Still feeling the resonance -- the Dulcimerhead Spiritfest is NOT over! We weren't 100% sure what we were doing with that festival, but WOW -- now it's clear. It was a one-day intentional community start-up. Some of our exhibitors have put it into the words we did not have: that now we have connected, we remain connected and that space can be re-opened any time. There will be other Spiritfests. For Sure.

Wherever people gather in little pockets with the intention of opening a space for each other's talents and creativity -- it stopped being a craft show, or an art show, or a concert or a non-profit organization fundraiser. It became a big home, a mini-utopia, a transpersonal experience. But it wasn't a participation mystique -- we didn't at any point lose ourselves. We all became MORE our own sweet selves.

I was permanently changed by it.

I can barely wait to tell you more about it. :)

And there will be photos!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dulcimerhead and Daniela Godina on Nik Beat's "Howl" show, April 7, CIUT 89.5FM

This is an exciting experiment -- improvisational music and spoken word poetry, blended together in a spiritual crucible. The result: ECSTATIC ALCHEMY!

Tune in April 7, 2009 to hear Dulcimerhead (David Rankine and Fernando Villalobos) perform live on radio for the first time with chant poet Daniela Godina. They are hosted by Nik Beat on "Howl" -- a radio show on University of Toronto's radio station CIUT 89.5FM. You can also listen in on digital cable, or on your computer by visiting www.myspace.com/nikbeatradiopersonality at 10pm TOMORROW.

Godina is also opening for Dulcimerhead's April 11th "Dark Mandala" CD Launch Party Concert and will be leading a drum circle at their all-day free family Arts Exposition, Spiritfest: Celebrating Creativity in support of the York Region Food Network. Her work is powerfully essential in its impact, carried in her resonant voice, the mythic images she weaves into her words, and her djembe self-accompaniment.

So, tune in for the big experiment. You will not believe these people have never played together before. Witnessing their live performance in concert is absolutely necessary. For more details, please visit www.davidrankineart.com/Events.htm Tickets for the "Dark Mandala" concert are $20 each; Families $40; kids under 10 free! Silent auction in support of York Region Food Network. Please consider bringing a non-perishable food donation! And of course, admission to the all-day Art Exposition -- with free workshops, performances, art projects and a wonderful vendors' market with artisans, henna body art, intuitive readers and energy workers, is completely FREE.

View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Awesome Opera House gig -- see the video!

View Dulcimerhead's Sonicbids EPK
View Dulcimerhead's EPK

March 18, 2009 -- a showcase at the Opera House in Toronto -- an unprecedented opportunity to see Dulcimerhead and Skorched on the same stage. Dulcimerhead was sounding heavy that night! Quite a different venue for the band, but they filled the old vaudeville hall with a wall of big sound as pink and green smoke swirled around their heads. Fernando played a full drum kit for 3 of the 4 tunes -- including Dark Mandala, the title track from their new CD. He returned to the djembe for Circles, for a truly awesome solo that has been captured on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjGU3VNTFVk&feature=related

Although Dave's dulcimer remained melodic, it never sounded badder than it did this evening, powerchords pounding out of the huge stacks. Smashing through Persian Trance, Axis of Love -- gentle crowd favourites reworked into super-velocitized progressive rock tracks. Hard to believe this band got started in coffeehouses! Definitely ready for the concert stage, armed with a CD full of fresh new material, Dulcimerhead is launching their Dark Mandala CD with a huge party and concert at the Old Town Hall in Newmarket, April 11th. Tickets are $20 and include a copy of Dark Mandala! They are also featuring some exciting special guests: poet percussionist Daniela Godina and Jason Pfeiffer. This is going to be an extremely intense concert where certain portals are sure to be opened... Not To Be Missed.

What can I say about Skorched? They took the stage. No, I mean they TOOK it. Like when you say "The Huns took Asia." There is some video evidence, but their sheer power completely overloaded the camera mike and left the YouTube videos just a pale vestige, basically only raw white noise left. And that is why I bought the demo, folks. Because they can really play! You should check out their tunes at www.myspace.com/skorchedmetal


If you are in a groovy creative mood and want to see a rich pageant of artists, healers, activists and performers, be sure to take in the Spiritfest: Celebrating Creativity event earlier the same day, same place. This is Dulcimerhead's salute to Cultural Creatives, in support of the York Region Food Network. It's an all-day free festival. For details, please visit www.davidrankineart.com/Events.htm

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creativity Feeds People!

Spiritfest: Celebrating Creativity with Dulcimerhead
in support of the York Region Food Network

April 11th, 2009
Old Town Hall, Newmarket
11:00am to 4:30pm

Dulcimerhead is the musical art project of David Rankine, a well-known local artist. You can see and hear more about this original independent Canadian band at www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1

Dulcimerhead does more than just create music; it is a cultural manifesto which says that creativity is very important to people, and that we are building community via music and art. We value the York Region Food Network because quite simply, you have to feed the body before you can feed the mind or the spirit.

Creativity is the ultimate renewable resource, and with creativity, we can feed people. Community gardens are only one example of the ways YRFN takes “nothing” and uses creative human activity to generate healthy food and awareness of the hunger issue in York Region. We do not accept that people should be hungry in this affluent region, nor that hungry people should be marginalized and made to feel that they have to hide in shame.

In 2006, Dulcimerhead represented the YRFN with an information booth and promoted your work on Rogers Daytime television and in performance at the Windfall Ecology festival. Dulcimerhead also collected food donations and had a silent auction for one of Dave’s paintings at their concert in June in support of YRFN. The auction raised funds and gave us the opportunity to promote YRFN’s work during the concert intermission.

In 2007, Dulcimerhead had a December concert which collected food donations and had a second silent auction in support of YRFN – sadly there was a severe weather warning so attendance was quite low.

But we are trying again! And this time, we have a number of very creative people working with us to create an event to celebrate art, creative activity AND the importance of feeding people’s bodies, minds and spirits during challenging times.

We want to work with the York Region Food Network to make this festival a community-building occasion, focussed on raising funds and raising awareness of hunger issues in York Region while celebrating human creativity.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Dulcimerhead and some very special friends are launching a BRAVE CREATIVE MANIFESTO and you're invited! It's a HAPPENING. Be part of it. Details in two days!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Join the Dulcimer Revolution: Meet the Dulcimer in Dulcimerhead

Joni Mitchell's Blue album made the Appalachian dulcimer super cool in the sixties. Its “voice” gave clear notes and emotional texture to her most personal album. Today, Dulcimerhead takes the instrument to electric realms it has rarely seen before, inspired by sources like Persian and Celtic dance, sixties psychedelia and the rebellious mod hopping of the mighty Who.

It's a fact that dulcimers are closely associated with traditional Appalachian folk music. It is actually one of the only musical instruments indigenous to North America. Here is a fact I did not know: Pete Seeger's father Charles was the first musicologist to consider the dulcimer to be worthy of attention in its own right, but only as recently as 1958. That puts Joni Mitchell well ahead of the curve on that trend. She always was an iconoclastic type. :)

So let's take some time to really get down and intimate with this simple yet emotive instrument -- also known as the "hog fiddle" or "music box." With only four strings, it can still sing a melody that will move your heart.

I learned more interesting history from Lucy M. Long's site http://www.bearmeadow.com/smi/histof.htm

Dave's dulcimer has stood up to all kinds of punishment over the years -- it was constructed by noted Canadian luthier Peter Cox. You can find Cox at music festivals like the Celtic Roots Festival in Goderich and Summerfolk in Owen Sound. He handcrafts a variety of less well-known stringed instruments such as citterns, bowed psalteries, mandolas and of course guitars and mandolins. http://www.petercox.ca

Dave’s dulcimer is even more beautiful because it was hand-illuminated… by Dave. He does harps and drums too, folks!

One amazing dulcimer player we just found on YouTube is Bing Futch, from Orlando Florida. He hosts a podcast called Dulcimerica and just clearly loves to play! He praises the “progressive and emotive” sound of the electricized dulcimer. You have just got to hear his original tunes -- and check out the cool little dulcimer rocket at the beginning of each podcast. Just great uplifting music. I'm a subscriber! http://www.youtube.com/user/dread66mon

What’s great about the dulcimer is you can make a nice sound on one without a lot of training, which is why it probably became a mainstay in group music making -- you can pick up new songs fast in a community setting, and it's very portable. Dave says you can't make a bad note on one – which goes along with his art philosophy that “there are no mistakes.” With four strings, you can start strumming happily right away; in the Appalachian folk tradition, people used boiled goose quills as picks, to create a kind of droning accompaniment for the vocal melody line. You can't play all the notes and chords of a guitar, but you can embellish with grace notes and slide notes -- very similar texture to Dave's Highland piping experience.

So -- add some electric powerchords and some feedback, some heavy duty percussion, some synergistic musical influences and you have -- Dulcimerhead! True to the dulcimer tradition, they are building community through music.

Check Dulcimerhead's latest sounds out at http://www.davidrankineart.com/Dulcimerhead.htm today!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dulcimerhead Drummer Speaks! Or, How Inferno Got His Name

Hey Folks!

Today: a rare look at Fernando Villalobos, high-energy percussion engine of Dulcimerhead and man of many genres. You'll find him playing with Dulcimerhead at the Sharon Temple one day, and playing with Skorched at the Kathedral's “Glory Through Steel” Metalfest event the next.

“I don't know what made me want to play drums,” he says. “All of a sudden when I turned 14 I decided I must play the drums. I'm happy that I came to that conclusion. It's helped me get through a lot of times that I wouldn't have gotten through otherwise.” His parents gave him his first kit for his 15th birthday on the condition that he take lessons. He's come a long way since then, adding a djembe a year later, and recently acquiring a digital kit which he says is making it a lot easier to record demo CDs with both his bands.

Skorched is bringing out their first demo this month!!! Go get one at their gigs. And Dulcimerhead is releasing Dark Mandala this month!!! Just don't try listening to them at the same time...

So, the obvious question is – Dulcimerhead and Skorched sound um, extremely different in their musical approaches. Are they? Fernando laughs. “Aside from the obvious – that with Skorched I am pounding the shit out of a drumkit and with Dulcimerhead I am playing a djembe in kind of a trance – with Dulcimerhead I tend to be very relaxed, while playing with Skorched is like an electrical charge and I'm really revved up. The crowds may look a little different, but they do mix back and forth a bit!”

A Skorched gig is like taking a blast from a firehose of sound – they can really play! But I have to ask, on behalf of all the moms out there, what the heck is up with “death metal” and “black metal” as a musical genre. It sounds morbid. Should I be worried? Fernando laughs some more. “The music is extremely abrasive and lyrical content does tend to be violent and obscene, but typically the people who listen to it are very nice people! It's like watching a very gory horror movie or reading a graphic horror book. It's almost like poetry; it's pretty cool but to the outsider it's scary.To those who understand it, it's another form of art.”

Fernando says the metal community is the best he's been in, because the bands all tend to support each other. “They like to come out and see each other play, enjoy good music and good company. If a band needs a replacement member in an emergency, people will pass the word in the community and make sure they find what they need. His philosophy is basically “Mutual respect among musicians and enjoyment of the music.” His preferred music includes Slayer, Pantera, Chimaira, Meshuggah, Arch Enemy, Strapping Young Lad, DevilDriver, Fear Factory and many others.

His first band was Toxic-Culture, which he started up at age 17. Then at 19 he started playing with Heavily Medicated, a band that played regularly and got an enthusiastic following locally, opening for Strapping Young Lad in 2006. He met the two guys he would soon be playing with in Skorched – Tim (guitar) and Darryl (bass) – in a band called Shangrila. Fernando spent some time going between the two bands, but eventually he and Tim and Darryl formed another band called Krakatoa, which then morphed into Skorched. Their singer Sid and Devin on guitar rounded out that lineup.

To find out more about the whole Skorched phenomenon, check out myspace.com/skorchedmetal.

“What's great about Skorched is that we get along great and enjoy playing loud, heavy, fast music together,” says Fernando. The band members all bring skills to the band that make it work, he added. Many of the band members have day jobs or families that make it tough to find practice time and recording time. However, they are getting some good shows and the demo is a real milestone for them because they did it all themselves.

See them in Toronto at Lee's Palace February 25th!

Fernando's plan for world domination: “conquer the world through music, make my living through music! I promised myself that one day music would free me from my day jobs.” His day jobs have not just been tough, they've been dangerous. He is a certified welder with 4 years experience, and after 4 years he's had enough. “I've been set on fire about 13 times,” he laughed, and began reminiscing about a particular day when his not-so-fire-resistant overalls went up in flames. “I felt hotter than usual and smelling smoke, but I was running a bead and I couldn't stop – when I was finished, I took off my mask and found the front of my overalls had caught fire and the flames were creeping up my chest...maybe thats why I was given the name INFERNO.” He moved to working in home renovation which was going well until the recent economic downturn hit his employer hard. To bounce back financially, he is currently planning to explore even more new musical territory when he launches a kick-ass rock cover band with Skorched bandmate Tim – their working title is End of Silence.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Synaesthesia -- an amazing perspective!

Hello Folks!

At David Rankine's workshops and concerts, he often talks about synaesthesia -- the mind's ability to intake information from one sense but experience it via another -- to give only two examples, he will talk about the "colour" of a note, or how to "play" one's mandala. Now here's some exciting stuff about why we would bother doing this, and what is means to try.

I was very grateful to Andrew M for tipping me off about the CBC interview with George Stromboulopoulos and Daniel Tammet. (link below). This person, Daniel Tammet, describes himself as an autistic savant, but happily because of his own insight and powers of observation, he has trained himself to interact and communicate with others. The reward for his efforts has been the ability to communicate about his way of processing information and memory -- via synaesthesia. He shows a great gentleness and generosity of spirit, even though I am sure his struggle was not easy.

When you consider the brain is constantly accepting millions of bits of information from our "sensor array" (I try to resist using machine metaphors for this miraculous organ, but it's hard!) -- and the fact that we really can't process more than a couple of thousand via conscious mind, it makes sense that the unprocessed information is still available to us somehow.

Both Tammet and Rankine comment frequently that synaesthesia is available and normal when we are infants, but it is "beaten out of us." Our mind discriminates between what is useful and not useful, gradually screening out less useful info and losing the capacity to deal with it. And of course our early learning opportunities can frequently accomplish this process MUCH faster and unpleasantly, giving us a sort of unasked-for aversion therapy to synaesthetic processing or reflection. I belong to probably the last generation where teachers could force you to stop using your left hand in favour of the right hand in kindergarten! (And don't even get me started on the issue of learning disabilities -- that is a blog or 100 blogs in itself. I have one, and also an MA in Applied Language Studies. Dumb luck, and don't I know it.)

The implications for synaesthesia for people with so-called learning disabilities and neurocognitive processing problems are HUGE. I am off to obtain a copy of Tammet's book, Born on a Blue Day, and Embracing the Wide Sky. He is saying that he believes anyone can relearn their capacity for synaesthesia, and I mean to find out!

Tammet also has applied what he knows of his own process, to learning languages via patterns that he sees. His most famous ability helped him do a record-setting recitation of Pi to several thousands decimal places, which took over five hours to say -- but what REALLY knocks me out is the PORTRAIT he has painted of how he SEES the number Pi. As you know, this is a fairly mystical number representing the relationship between the circumference and diameter of a circle -- it is an irrational number, running to an apparently infinite number of decimal places with NO repeat or pattern in digits.

Coupled with recent studies in the brain's ability to "be plastic" -- to relearn or redirect processing in a way nobody believed possible -- this is the most fascinating thing!

So when you hear Dulcimerhead music, or attend a David Rankine workshop, or view David Rankine's art -- this is a big part of his project too. When he talks about playing a "blue" note on his dulcimer -- or "playing a mandala" -- this becomes more than creative play. It is tapping more of the creative potential of the brain itself! And I thought it was just fun. :)

Check out David Rankine's ever-expanding playground of music, art and ideas at

CBC 'The Hour' Interview

CBC's 'The Hour' with host George Stroumboulopoulos:


I got this off Daniel Trammet's blog Optimnem at http://www.optimnem.co.uk/blog/index.php

Don't you just love this excerpt from the Telegraph (UK) -- I gotta get his book!!!

Tammet quotes from the Borges story “Funes the Memorious”: “He remembered the shapes of the clouds in the south at dawn on April 20, 1882, and he could compare them in his recollection with the marble grain in the design of a leather-bound book which he had seen only once.”

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fund Radical Peaceful Art Happenings Today!!

This is a very timely message from the someone who has spent more than 20 years making the world a more beautiful and creative place! I am talking here about artist, musician, educator and writer David Rankine, founder of progressive rock band Dulcimerhead.

It ain't just the music that's progressive.

I cannot resist passing on this blog cribbed in its entirety from his site at www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1:

"Getting Comfortable with Creativity"

Hello Folks!

A few years ago I had a showing of my art in a public gallery. It was the largest display of my visual art to date and the gallery room looked marvelous. The show was set to last a month and the Gallery decided to hold a second "meet the artist" day on the final Saturday of the show. This day happened to coincide with an Anniversary of D-Day (June 6th) so the Gallery had set up extra displays of wartime memorabilia in the same room as my art. Talk about contrasts!

On the day of the event, I observed many people looking at the displays of memorabilia- (photos, ration books, helmets, rifles, gun and howitzer shells, bullets etc) but very few people looked at the art on the walls. I overheard some comments like: "oh look -a 20mm cannon shell" but I did not talk to anyone about my art. In fact most people seemed a bit intimidated by the art on the walls...yet they seemed comfortable with the artifacts of war and extreme violence and hardship in the display cases.

Indeed, this was VERY interesting! I was observing the fact that we (as a society) are more familiar and comfortable with acts of violence than acts of beauty. Our media is full of it and often references it while art- has little place in it. Generally people are uncomfortable in art galleries - as Art has been sold and promoted as something "professional" artists do- just as music is something "Musicians" create and the rest of us listen to.

So perhaps that is where the problem lies - not that we "like" war (or violence) or are comfortable with it, but that we no longer seem to have a reference point for acts of beauty or acts of creativity. We are so often told that Humans are a violent species- that violence, and therefore war, is inevitable. But, how often do we read that we are a creative species- that acts of beauty and creativity are inevitable? So, instead of accepting that violence and warfare are human, let us focus on and accept that it is our creativity that makes us human and divine and our acts of cruelty and violence that take us further from our humanity.

For more of the art, music and philosophy of David Rankine, please visit www.davidrankineart.com -- a feast for the eyes, heart and mind!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Dark Mandala is not yet finalized, but here is a tantalizing tidbit of info we discovered on the newly revamped website: www.davidrankineart.com -- the liner notes sound trippy, full of natural imagery and lyrical experimentation. :) Enjoy! PLEASE TAKE NOTE: you can order the CD at a pre-sale special price!!!

For Dark Mandala song samples, please visit www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1

Track List

Dark Mandala
Courting Song
From a Hill
Last Year and Today
Waves on the Point
Persian Trance Dance
Deep Blue Star

Song Descriptions:

The Crucible is already a concert favourite and is the lighter side of Duclimerhead's "medieval stomp" sound. You'll want to dance, shake and laugh to this one

Dark Mandala
is a quick tempo dance Eastern dance groove - that makes you feel as if you were riding a horse head-long towards a thunderstorm. Dark and brooding, full of the pregnant potential of All That Could Be.

is a mid -tempo stomp that evokes the images of thunderheads piling up in the distance on a hot summer day

Persian Trance Dance
has long been our concert opus - slow of tempo and relentless in its forward motion - full of power chords and rock rhythms melded with a Eastern Dance spin with a taste of a Scots Hornpipe thrown in.

Deep Blue Star
Another one that comes to a boil slowly- almost at a slow walk and then soars into the realms joy. A tip of the hat to Jazz -Rock meisters Deep Purple.

From a Hill
is a gentle finger picked air that was inspired by a walk through a sun drenched forest right after a rain fall- light sparkling on wet leaves and drops of rain. The simplest of all the tracks on this CD, this tune is the one most structured like a bagpipe tune (Dave's first instrument)

Full of soaring voices and climbing chords. Dancing in a forest clearing.

Waves on the Point
What more can we say- wind and waves on the point. Clear skies and sun and nothing to do all day but play. Listen for the Ebb and Flow of the various Dulcimer parts.

Last Year and Today -
a tune that starts off as a introspective slow air and then morphs into a rolling finger-picked celebration. It is a tune about how we all gain perspective about past events

Courting Song -
is the last tune on the CD - a lullaby - a gentle fingerpicked sign off and a reminder that the "Dark Mandala" is a place of healthy change that reflects the All That Is and All That Was and the All That Will Be

PRICE: $25 presale price: $17

ALSO CHECK OUT THIS excellent special offer for Dulcimerhead CDs (save over $20)
  • Awakening the Heart (a guided meditation with Reiki Master Chantal Garneau)
  • Sacred Sound (music played for the Sharon Temple Illumination 2008)
  • Revealed Structure (an instrumental CD by David Rankine designed for healing and meditation)
Details are at: http://www.davidrankineart.com/sale.htm

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New CD Dark Mandala almost here!

I love the title of Dulcimerhead's newest CD: Dark Mandala.

In this world, consciousness is symbolized by light.

But the dark is where the creative elements ferment and exciting new things come to life.

It reminds me of the Dark Madonna. Quite the archetypal counterpart to the traditional light-and-purity version. This earthy, chthonic elemental goddess was represented with dark skin. She was worshipped as a source of fertility, maternal nurturing, compassion and justice. Here is an interesting interpretation of the Black Madonna, which I have plagiarized wholesale from Wikipedia:

Black Madonnas express a feminine power not fully conveyed by a pale-skinned Mary, who seems to symbolise gentler qualities like obedience and purity. This idea can be discussed in Jungian terms. The "feminine power" approach may be linked to Mary Magdalene and female sexuality repressed by the medieval Church. In France, there are traditions affirming that some statues are of Mary Magdalene and not of Mary, the mother of Jesus, but these traditions and related theories are generally rejected by theologians. The suggestion that Black Madonnas represent feminine power may be linked with the earth goddesses and attributed to the archetypal "great mother" who presides not only over fertility, but over life and death. These ideas overlap with "feminist spirituality" or "women's spirituality". (Chiavola Birnbaum)

The Dark Mandala music has this undercurrent of powerful and intuitive knowledge -- primeval rhythms and layered vocals, almost reminiscent of a Gregorian chant or some kind of kirtan -- a devotional voice. There are also some beautiful melodies that stir feelings of homesickness in me -- sad, but in the good way.

It is an aural journey that rewards any listener. Check out www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1 for some samples!