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!