Page 1

Issue 1/14

Spring 2014

Nonsuch News The newsletter of the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club

Photograph of Jean Ritchie and John Shaw by John Crocker

Published by the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club 31 Fenham Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE4 5PB


Contents Editorial Chair's Corner Saddleworth Museum Revels Music John Pearse Dulcimer Vietnam & Cambodia Reg Reader Peter Verity Old Time/Trad Music Week Little Gems Dulcimer App. Review Message from Margaret 2013 Accounts Summary Loneliest Dulcimer Northern Nonsuch Wassailing

2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 10 11 12 13

Dulcimer World Congress Dulcimer World Day March CWA News Ana Alcaide CD Review Grahame's Book Reviews Trip to Gooik Message from Anne Wittman Hampstead Norreys Hayling Island For Sale Launde Abbey Diary Dates Regular Events Committee/Contacts

15 16 17 17 18 20 22 23 24 25 25 26 27 28

Editorial Greetings... I don't know about you but it barely feels like three months since we last did this. As I write though, spring is definitely peeping around the corner, ready to pounce. A time of fresh starts and new beginnings. Appropriately enough, I started a new job a few weeks ago. Whilst this was a welcome change after months of wondering whether a music degree was to render me unemployable for the foreseeable future (particularly in the 'current economic climate'), it has taken some getting used to. Now that I have a cast-iron reason to get out of bed before lunch again, it is amazing just how much more productive my free time has become. But no amount of this can compensate for the fact that I really need to sort out a new laptop soon, much as I am enjoying wearing my editorial hat (thanks for this expression Jenny!) Thanks go to Sally Whytehead for helping me out of a few editorial holes this issue... much appreciated, Sally! On a much more sombre note, the last couple of months have seen the passing of two legendary figures: Pete Seeger, and Mat Fox. I had met Mat when he taught workshops at Launde fairly recently; he struck me as a warm, funny, generous, highly-entertaining, and kind man. I was very much looking forward to experiencing his teaching again at the Spring Fling this year, so was shocked and saddened by his untimely passing. I have left it to Bruce to talk about Pete, as I know relatively little about his work and legacy. I'm inviting Nonsuch members to lead the tributes. There is a Mat Fox tribute page on Facebook: 'We will miss you...Mat Fox!'

2 also a moving video of Mat's goodbye ceremony here: Plans are afoot for a donation in Mat's memory, plus a bursary to encourage younger players. There is also a tribute concert being organised by Tamzyn French (Kinetika Bloco). Watch this space... If anyone has any memories of Mat, or photos, that they would like to share, please email them to me for inclusion in the next issue of Nonsuch News: Helen Edwards ******************************

Chair's Corner From memory, which has been a little shaky of late, I don’t think it has stopped raining down south since we aquaplaned home from Launde Abbey last October, and now it’s spring?!! Ah well, with a boat that can’t go anywhere due to flooding (that’s ironic), and a camper van that I don’t want to go anywhere in, due to flooding (also ironic), I’ll sit in and write Chair's Corner. It’s really good to see our website list of forthcoming dulcimer-related events for this year: some excellent items and venues, please support these where you can, and don’t be nervous to attend if you are just starting out in Dulcimer world! You will always be made very welcome, and you will never be judged on ability. All of you will be reading much about the exciting new venue in 2015 for our annual residential weekend, combined with the CWA Congress event, now re- named Dulcimer World Congress, being held at Malvern St. James School, Great Malvern, Worcs, Oct. 23rd right through to the end of the month. This venue looks fabulous, an event not to miss. With seven days of dulcimering, you might want some sightseeing respite and a few drinks to oil the way! It will be fascinating to see versions of the Gypsy or orchestral cimbalom in action, for many of us, generally rarely seen outside of the Hungarian folk opera Hary Janos by Zolton Kodaly. Kodaly intended to bring his national folk music into an operatic setting. The Hary Janos suite, extracted from the opera, hosts a vast array of instruments, including the orchestral cimbalom. In 1908, the now two great friends, Zoltan Kodaly and Bela Bartok travelled out into the Hungarian countryside to collect and research old Magyer (Gypsy) folk melodiesrecording them in situ on wax cylindrical records, expensive kit in those days! Bartok and Kodaly incorporated original folk melodies verbatim in many of their future compositions, including Bartok and Kodaly’s For Children, For Solo Piano, containing 80 folk tunes. Talking of records, I’m on a roll now. The music world will be mourning the loss of


Pete Seeger. I’ve been looking at his back catalogue and some personal memories. My first encounter with his work was The Seekers' album track gospel tune ‘This Little Light of Mine’. Pete Seeger wrote the new lyric for this (1964 I think?) I have been learning his composition ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone', on dulcimer. I remember The Kingston Trio recording of this- very appropriate this year, at the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, 1914 (we don’t seem to have learned much, do we?) The famous ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, words from the book of Ecclesiastes, adaptation and music, Pete Seeger- I always loved The Byrds version of this, I think 1968? Interesting Seeger albums, and quite valuable now, Guitar Guide For Folksingers (1958), We Shall Overcome (1963), I Can See A New Day (1965), but his most valuable album seems to be Pete Seeger And Big Bill Broonzy (1964). Check through your vinyl record collections folks, and celebrate his life and work. I’m going to finish this Chair's Corner on the recent sad loss of our dear friend Mat Fox, I personally had only recently, in 2012, started to get to know him better. We talked much, and I had taken great store and inspiration from his passion for teaching, and helping others with music. I’ll always remember Mat Fox’s wonderful workshop at Launde, where we all learned the Tom Waits spiritual ‘Take Care Of All Of My Children’. On behalf of Nonsuch, to all of Mat’s family and friends, ‘we’re going to miss you Mat, and your brilliant music workshops’. Mat will always remind us of how precious our music is, and how soon it is all over. Bruce Parry ****************************** One of Dick Siddall's dulcimers was donated to Saddleworth museum recently, accompanied by the following information, sent courtesy of Jenny Coxon - Ed. Hammered Dulcimer donated by the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club in memory of Richard (Dick) Siddall. Made by Richard Siddall from Blackpool (1937 – 2012), and given to the club by his family. The hammered dulcimer probably originated in the Middle East about 900 A.D. and is related to the much older psaltery. It spread across North Africa and came into Europe with the Spanish Moors during the 12th century A.D. It is possible that it was brought to England by men returning from the Crusades. There is a dulcimer-playing angel in Manchester Cathedral which dates from c.1485.


The name dulcimer comes from the Latin and Greek words dulce and melos, which combine to mean sweet tune or sound, and the dulcimer was later to provide much of the inspiration for the development of the piano. In England dulcimers were so popular during the late 16th century that the translators of the King James version of the Bible used the term "dulcimer" as the English translation for the Greek "symphonia." This term was actually a mistranslation for a type of Greek bagpipe that gave rise to the often quoted, but incorrect, belief that the dulcimer is as old as the Bible. Why the dulcimer virtually disappeared during the first half of the 20th century is something of a mystery, but possibly it was due to competition from the more fashionable piano. Fortunately, this beautiful instrument is now enjoying a revival. For the first time in many years, new dulcimers are being built, and the number of new players is increasing. Nonsuch Dulcimer Club website:, and the late David Kettlewell’s website:

****************************** Geoff Reeve-Black has a website and Facebook page, Revels music, 'UK Home of the Mountain Dulcimer':


John Pearse Dulcimer I wonder how many readers bought John Pearse's book Make and Play the Dulcimer when they first started out on MD? It may not be well known that John also had a dulcimer model on sale in the early 1970s. The early edition of John's book (see picture) had an advert for them on the back cover, though this was not continued in the later edition. This one turned up recently on eBay, in good condition with case and a copy of John's book. It eventually sold for ÂŁ117.00. As can be seen it was a three string model with a triangular body with round sound holes, and a plastic John Pearse label on the headstock. I have only ever seen one of these before- a friend of mine had one in the late 70s. His was actually an electric model, with a transparent blue plastic piezo sheet pickup in front of the bridge. As far as I can recall, it played well enough. Has anyone else seen one, or maybe owned one in the past? Grahame Hood


Dulcimers of Vietnam and Cambodia We visited Vietnam in 2013 and were fortunate to hear the Vietnamese hammer dulcimer, played with other traditional folk instruments, in several places. Our first encounter with live music was in the Literature Temple in the Palace of Confucius, Hanoi. We later heard the instrument accompanying a Water Puppet Performance which is an historic art form still evident in the country, and we also heard various interesting folk instruments accompanying dance performances. Vietnamese traditional music can be heard in many places there, and on YouTube. It is lively and pleasing and uses a mix of indigenous instruments. The đàn tam thập lục can be heard with other Vietnamese instruments on YouTube: (Traditional Vietnamese instrument group in Literature Temple, Hanoi). The đàn tam thập lục (also called simply tam thập lục, literally "36" in Vietnamese) is a Vietnamese hammered dulcimer with 36 metal strings. It is thought to have been influenced by the Chinese dulcimers. The Vietnamese use it in various genres of traditional music and drama, as well as in modernized traditional music. Each course has two unison strings and it is tuned chromatically. I’m the player with the hat! The hammer shafts were long (about 30 centimetres) and made from bamboo cane. The heads were also cane, but rubber bands were wound round the head to make a soft sound when struck onto the strings. I bought the hammers belonging to the player and they are shown on the right of the photo. Next to them are wooden hammers from Iraq, then a pair of carbon fibre hammers which I use with my German hackbrett, and a pair of traditional wooden hammers are on the left of the photo for comparison. We also heard the hammer dulcimer played when we were in Cambodia, though here though the performer usually sits on the floor, a custom adopted in India and Thailand. The khim is a hammered dulcimer from Thailand and Cambodia. It is made of wood and is trapezoidal in shape, with brass strings that are laid across the instrument. There are 14 groups of strings on the khim, and each group has 3 strings. Overall, the khim has a


total of 42 strings tuned diatonically. However the player here had several strings missing and I was disappointed that she only played non-rhythmic melodies, in octaves. In fact there seems to be little harmonic interest in music from Cambodia. Her instrument was played with two flexible bamboo sticks with soft leather at the tips to produce a soft tone. Margaret (Boo) Vernon

****************************** At the time of putting together this edition of Nonsuch News, I have received some sad news from Jenny Coxon, regarding a notice from Katie Howson appearing on Facebook (21/02/14): 'Reg Reader, dulcimer player, is gravely ill with an inoperable brain tumour. For those of you who know him but didn't know the situation, you might like to send a card or message.' ****************************** Some of you may remember Peter Verity's Balkan workshops at the Nonsuch Spring Fling event a couple of years ago‌ Further to these, Pav has devised a method that facilitates playing in the slightly more unusual modes that these tunes require, whilst not straying from traditional hammer dulcimer tuning layouts. I have not yet got around to testing it for myself, so cannot comment on its effectiveness or ease of use, but it appears intriguing and I am sure that Pav would welcome any comments and feedback from Nonsuch News readers. For a multitude of reasons (mainly space and time constraints this issue, plus an ongoing battle with old technology creating various editing headaches), I have taken the decision not to reproduce the document here in its entirety (sorry Pav!) The document can be accessed by emailing Peter at Ed.


Sally Whytehead emailed me to say she had received the following message from Linda Thomas, to which she commented: Hi Helen I do remember this visit! Perhaps you can put a mention in the newsletter. Regards Sally. Hi, SallyI'm hoping you remember a meeting when you graciously hosted a luncheon in your home for me to meet Fred Woodley! Years have passed but memories remain- Now, I want to let you and others know of a new camp for HD players; the prestigious Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamp in East Tennessee, long recognized for guitar instruction, has added hammered dulcimer to the line-up for '14. I will be teaching HD and Joe Collins will be teaching MD. Dulcimer classes will be offered June 8-14, 2014 during “Old Time/Traditional Music Week”. The location is Maryville College Campus in Maryville, TN (17 m. south of Knoxville) in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. For on-line registration, or for more details see: Hope you are well and and playing lots of tunes... I'd love to see you and other UK players in TN in June! Best, Linda G. Thomas Kansas City, MO ******************************

Little Gems in the British Museum Where did all the zither players go? I found one, although very tiny! This beautiful little statue in the porcelain section reads: “Soft-paste figure of a lady zither player, English, Bow factory, about 1755.” That’s a very long time before Anton Karas (Harry Lime Theme from The Third Man film) and Shirley Abicair (Little Boy Fishing on a Wooden Pier). Did you know that when Shirley Abicair first arrived in this country in 1953, from Australia, her luggage and zither got lost at London airport? They later found that everything had accidently travelled to Ireland with two nuns, muddled with their luggage!


Also in this museum display, “Hardpaste porcelain figures of a hurdygurdy player and a bagpiper, German Saxony Meissen, 1745”. Hope you enjoy the photos. Bruce Parry


A Dulcimer for £1.49! If it’s too good to be true then it probably is, and the catch is that you have to buy an iPad first. I’ve not found an equivalent for other tablets so it has to be a trip to an Apple retailer if you want this app. If you already have one and you play HD, then the Dulcimer HD app by GClue is well worth the £1.49 it costs. Here’s a screenshot so you can get an idea of the notes available –


You can turn the note information on or off – great for picking out tunes if your dot skills are a bit wobbly! The sound is also quite credible and must be a digital recording of a real dulcimer. There are 12 pre-recorded tunes, and the strings illuminate slightly when digitally ‘hit’ on playback so you can see where they are. You can play along, or make up a harmony, or just pretend that it’s you playing! You can also record your own tunes, which is great for committing your musical doodles to more than your own memory. It’s available from the iTunes App Store for £1.49, although you’ll probably have to Google search it, rather than search the App Store (Dulcimer HD for iPad). As HDs aren’t the easiest of instruments to cart around, it’s also quite handy to have this available on those occasions where you fancy having a bit of a play, but you wouldn’t normally have the instrument on or about your person. Luckily for the person sat next to you on the train, or at the Doctors surgery, iPads have a headphone socket. Eric Woulds [My doctor's always telling me to bring my HD into the surgery and play it to him. I do realise that he's probably the exception though... Ed.]


Message from Margaret: Membership and Newsletter Delivery Options Update Just to let you know that the current membership stands at 168, including 13 new members, and 2 returning members from earlier years. This is similar to other years, with around 40 people who have not renewed from last year. Only 3 of these do not have email. I have sent email reminders to the rest and they have not been returned as undeliverable. The numbers normally pick up to around 200, with late renewals and new members as the year progresses. Very few of those of you who pay by standing order have let me know your newsletter delivery preference, so have received this newsletter by post, by default. Please let me know if you would like to receive it by some other method i.e. email, or on the members' area of the website instead. Margaret Arton



The Loneliest Dulcimer in Brentford (Hammering Out a Problem!) Our narrow boat travels along the Thames and into the Grand Union canal brought us to the town of Brentford, where we spent a few days travelling, in and around London. We came across the very unique musical museum in Brentford, which holds one of the world’s foremost collections of ‘automatic’ musical instruments. The collection spans a vast array of self-playing items, from the tiniest of clockwork musical boxes, sophisticated reproducing pianos, orchestrations, orchestrelles, residence organs and violin players. The 1940s juke box is a real gem. Upstairs in the ballroom gallery is a ‘mighty Wurlitzer’; old fashioned tea dances are held here, along with big screen film shows throughout the winter months. Hiding away in a corner, near the electronic theremin instrument, (I’ve always been fascinated with these), was the lonely hammer dulcimer propped up against the wall. With the museum’s permission, we returned a few days later to do a photo set and quick study of this instrument. It had with it one surviving thin, flat wooden upturned end hammer. The string courses were triple strings, very rusty and hopelessly out of tune. The whole thing looked very Eastern European, but we could find no markings. At the top end of the dulcimer was an ornate drop- down foot, for table standing. Perhaps many of you can identify its origins from my photos? Not many staff knew much about this item. I gave the museum a brief write up about hammer dulcimers, along with a couple of ‘Nonsuch’ newsletters that I had spare, to get them in context, and donated a set of hammers that I don’t use very much to put with their dulcimer. I hoped they would eventually create a proper display for this in the future; it was a good opportunity for our mutual promotion. Additionally, the display cases included an auto-harp in amongst their fabulous display of children’s musical toys and oddities. Once again, I included a write up of my limited knowledge of the auto-harp and its prominence in American folk/old time music, and its connections with the famous Carter family.


This museum is a must-see, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, from its humble beginnings inside an old church, to a beautifully laid out modern building. 399, High Street, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 0DU. Tel. 020 8560 8108. £8.00 entry, £6.50 concession. Bruce Parry


Northern Nonsuch went a-Wassailing… On 8 December 2013 an intrepid contingent of Nonsuch Northerners headed for Red House, Gomersal, which is just south of Bradford for southerners who need a big city to find their way around Yorkshire, which is after all quite large… Red House is a rather attractive Georgian house, now a museum in the care of Kirklees Council. It’s called Red House as it’s built out of brick - most buildings of the period are local stone. Brick was the sign of someone who could afford something better than the hoi polloi. The Taylor family were wealthy cloth merchants and wanted everyone to know it. Little did they know that their daughter’s friend, Charlotte Bronte, would immortalise them as the Yorke family in her novel Shirley and the house as ‘Briarmains’. The house has been furnished in the style of the 1830s, and Charlotte would feel very much at home there today. Red House was decorated for Christmas, and to compliment the occasion we all entered into the spirit and got the mock-Victorian out. Just the occasion to dress up in frilly bonnets and bustles, and the ladies joined in too. Our ‘stage’ was the impressive landing that formed part of the large hallway. No one could get in or out without seeing or hearing us whether they liked it or not, and that was the plan.We had a set list that had been cunningly contrived to illustrate seasonal music through the ages, and what better instrument to play the tunes on than dulcimers. We managed to get through the set twice in the


afternoon with six HDs, one MD, an autoharp, a mandolin, and a psaltery. We opened with ‘Here We Come A-Wassailing’, appropriately a begging song although decorum restricted any monetary ambitions we might have had. The chronology then slipped back to medieval, as we played 'Angelus ad Virginem' ('Angel to the Virgin', for nonLatin scholars), segued into Dulci Jubilo. You could almost hear the monks chanting their appreciation. We moved on to a couple of well-known tunes that have early roots – 'Nos Galan' and 'Official Branle'. Better known as 'Deck the Halls' and 'Ding Dong Merrily on High', they’re a 16th C Welsh carol and a French dance tune of the same period respectively. Next came a couple of popular Carol tunes in 3/4 time which would have been familiar to the Brontes – 'Silent Night' (German, 1818), and 'Flow Gently Sweet Afon', better known as 'Away in a Manger'. Continuing the theme, we played some ‘new’ English carols of the period – 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and 'Angels From The Realms of Glory' - cracking dulcimer tunes that we had trouble containing to a respectable churchlike speed. Jenny Coxon then wowed the crowds with a Psaltery solo – 'In the Bleak Midwinter'. Pins were saved specifically to drop at some point to make sure we could hear them. Very atmospheric, but we returned to the rousing seasonal theme with a rendition of two traditional folk dance tunes – 'The Hogmanay Jig' and 'I Wish You a Merry New Year', both jigs, and seasoned favourite ceilidh tunes. What else could we finish with but a medley of modern secular favourites, so we launched into a trio of cheesy tunes that made us all smile – 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer', 'Frosty the Snowman', and (de rigueur) 'Jingle Bells'! The Red House hallway rang with the applause of the two or three visitors who’d bothered to turn out that afternoon. Well, maybe a few more, but it wasn’t exactly heaving. Anyway, we all got a plastic cup of mulled wine and a mince pie, so everything was OK. The main thing was that we did it and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. If no-one had turned up, we’d still have had a splendid time, and it was fun working up the tunes and playing with friends in such a gorgeous setting – a real privilege, and something a lot of people will just never do. Another notch on the bedpost of life, as they say.


When we’d finished, the Red House Manager asked if we’d like to come back in summer, so we have another visit coming up on the 29 June at the Summer Fayre. As it’s just before the Tour de France passes through the area, I’m thinking about turning up as Les Nonsuch Doulcemelliers, the distant musical French cousins of the Taylors, who taught the Brontes everything they knew about French literature, including the great classic Les Hauts de Hurlevant. Everyone welcome – contact me ( for details. Get the stripy T shirts and berets out and string up a few onions… Eric ‘The Top Hat’ Woulds


Dulcimer World Congress 2015 Update I have found a venue for the Congress and a date. After discussion with the Nonsuch committee, it has been agreed to use the same venue for the Nonsuch Annual Weekend, on the previous weekend. Both events will benefit each other: for example, we can get some very interesting tutors for the Nonsuch weekend. The venue is in Great Malvern, Worcestershire. The dates are:      

23rd - 25th October (Fri - Sun) Nonsuch Annual Weekend- 2 days 25th - 26th October (Sun - Mon) Extra Day Congress Preparation 26th - 29th October (Mon evening - Thurs evening) Congress- 4 days 30th October (Fri) depart unless sightseeing 30th October (Fri) Sightseeing 31st October (Sat) Sightseers departure.

Congress attendees can arrive from the 23rd October, and can participate in the Nonsuch Annual Weekend if they wish. A maximum of 8 days in all. Here is the website of the venue Look at all the links down the left hand side to see a lot of detail about it. It is opposite Great Malvern train station. The attendance fees are not fully costed but the venue is considerably cheaper than Launde, which will make it practicable for people to attend both. The accommodation is in mostly single/twin and generally non-ensuite – this is the main reason for the cheaper price. We had a glimpse of the food and this looked good, and the venue can run a bar for us at times we agree. There are lots of well-appointed classrooms for our Nonsuch workshops and congress activities, and a very good hall for performances. I hope a lot of Nonsuch members will be tempted to come to both - it will be a fantastic event.


World Congress 2015: Volunteers needed A lot of you have got in touch to offer to help. Now I want to add some specific items I hope you can help with. 1) Do you have an up-to-date First Aid at Work qualification? Or if not, would you be interested in taking a 3-day course? Please let me know if you can help. 2) Do you have accounting qualifications, or know someone who does and who might help? We may need an auditor. 3) Do you have experience of being a charity trustee or company director? Please call Sally on 01527 64229 or email:

Dulcimer World Day – August 2nd 2014, Redditch, featuring Mitzie Collins (USA) for both HD and MD Mitzie Collins has been playing the hammered dulcimer since 1970, and has been directing a performing ensemble, The Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble of the Eastman Community Music School, since 2008. This performing group presents programmes to a wide variety of audiences, ranging from Day Programmes for special populations, to formal concerts at the Eastman School of Music. Mitzie has long been interested in the tradition of building and playing hammered dulcimers in Western New York State (if you look at a map, it's the area of the state directly north of Pennsylvania - bordered on the north by Lake Ontario , and to the West by Lake Erie). She has produced 3 recordings with companion books about the traditional music of New York State: she serves on the board of the Cimbalom World Association, and has attended 5 CWA congresses. She was named 2014 "Musician of the Year' by the Rochester Alumni chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity. Mitzie Collins will be bringing a generous selection of tunes from the hammered dulcimer tradition of Western New York State. Appropriate for novice on up, this workshop will be an opportunity to expand your hammered dulcimer repertory. In her second workshop, she will share some of the international repertory that the Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble performs. "We like to mix familiar with the unfamiliar, and we are always looking for good tunes from around the world to include in our programs." Appropriate for novice on up. Mitzie has also offered to do a mountain dulcimer workshop on songs, particularly ones she learned from Jean Ritchie - using a more old-fashioned technique, with some emphasis on how to use the mountain dulcimer to accompany singing. Mitzie’s husband Tom Bohrer has offered a Powerpoint talk about Punch and Judy in America. There is actually a connection between hammered dulcimer and Punch in America - and he has a lot of nice visuals he has collected through the years. Tom discovered puppets as a boy, and found a Punch and Judy script in a library book when he was in college. Since that time, long ago, he has amassed a collection of Punch puppets and associated ephemera. He has visited Punch Professors in England, and presented his own Punch and Judy Show in a variety of settings, including birthday parties, historical recreations, and community celebrations. He has


been an annual fixture at the Genesee Country Village and Museum Agriculture Festival, (at an outdoor museum near Rochester) for more than 35 years. Lastly and not least, our very own John Shaw has promised to come along and run some mountain dulcimer workshops alongside the two hammered dulcimer ones, with similar themes of US and international repertoire. There’s also an option of one-to-one sessions in a third room. The venue is St. Andrew’s Church, Church Hill, Redditch and the workshops will be from 10:00 – 16:30 approx. If you want to make a weekend of it, then there will be more fun later on at Sally’s house. All the profits are going towards the Dulcimer World Congress 2015, and our fantastic tutors have agreed to waive their fees. The cost is £40 per person, including tea and coffee. For more details and to book a place, please contact Sally Whytehead: 01527 64229 or email: There will also be a form on the Nonsuch website; please look at the events page. ******************************

Message from Sally Whytehead: The March CWA news will be in the members' area of the Nonsuch website. If anyone is having problems accessing it, please email Sally – Ed.


Review: COMO LA LUNA Y EL SOL Ana Alcaide EUCD2483 ARC Music Ana Alcaide is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Toledo. She studied music at Lund University in Sweden, and discovered the nyckelharpa, which she has helped popularise in Spain. This is her third album. On it she explores her fascination with the music of the Sephardic Jews, and sings songs from Turkey, Bulgaria,


Morocco, Greece and one of her own compositions. The Spanish and Portuguese Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492, spreading around the Mediterranean fringes, so the sources for their songs vary accordingly. Ana plays a wide range of instruments on this album: nyckelharpa, santur, violin, rebec, harp, harmonium and keyboard. She is accompanied by Carlos Beceiro, Jaime Muñoz and Jose Manuel Castro on hurdy gurdy, assorted members of the lute family, and varied wind and percussion instruments from Spain, Portugal, India, Bulgaria, Greece and Africa. The santur is featured on four tracks, either as backing, or as a lead instrument used for multi repeats of themes and riffs. This repetition of phrases both in words and melody is a characteristic of the album, which helps to create its slightly hypnotic meditative and melancholy atmosphere, enhanced by Ana’s ethereal and haunting voice, floating over the accompaniment. I particularly like the way Ana uses the bass end of the santur on track 7, and on track 8 where she uses the treble end to subtly enhance her vocals. The music looks both backwards and forwards with its eclectic repertoire and instrumentation. It has the ancient feel of a music that has survived its travels and adapted and collected influences from each culture encountered, without losing its innate identity and quality. The album breaks new ground in instrumentation and in Ana and Carlos’s beautifully subtle arrangements; it makes for compelling and enticing listening. Jenny Coxon ******************************

Book Reviews I have recently bought three books which I hope may be of interest to Nonsuch members. All three are available on eBay. First up is Knights of the Road: the Autobiography of Gypsy Dave Mills, published by Wisdom Twins Books. Gypsy Dave is best remembered as being Donovan’s constant companion in the glory days of his career, and is now a respected sculptor. This book isn’t just a series of stories about Donovan, Gypsy making it quite clear that they were not joined at the hip. Donovan got in touch when it looked like he was about to make it in the music business and he needed a grounded person who would tell it like it was. Dave genuinely respects Donovan’s talent, comparing him favourably to Bob Dylan and considering him an infinitely better live performer. There are lots of good stories here, telling of life on the golden road to St Ives, and at the sharp end of Bohemia in the mid-sixties, with the business deals and drugs bust. This led to their period of exile on the Greek Island of Paros. Dave writes very well, albeit in a simple style, but the book could have done with a bit of editing and spell checking; passing round the hooker pipe, indeed! He makes


some good points though, pointing out how little real freedom the youth of today have, compared with the sixties, and his belief that his generation achieved change in a way that would not be allowed to happen now. The book is a bit like having a good chat with your old hippy uncle in a quiet pub, and nothing wrong with that! Wisdom Twins are also the publishers of The Music of The Incredible String Band by Chris Wade, intended as a guide through the labyrinth for newcomers to the band’s music. As he puts it, “the world of The Incredible String Band can at first seem to be a strange place. That is of course until you get settled in. And even then it’s still strange”. Unfortunately, I’ve been in that place for forty years and there is really nothing here I didn’t already know, and while it is always interesting to read his opinions (though he sorely under-rates Earthspan!), there is little sign of much original research. So, not one for the established fan, perhaps, but an adequate introduction for those new to the music of one of the most extraordinary bands in British music. This is the third book about the ISB, but there is still room for proper history of the band along the lines of Johnny Rogan’s epic book on The Byrds. Maybe someday! The third book, Folk in Cornwall- music and musicians of the sixties revival by Rupert White, published by Antenna, gets it exactly right. Rupert has done lots of original research, has spoken to almost everyone relevant (and still alive…), and uncovered dozens of previously unseen photographs, newspaper articles, adverts and gig posters. He starts with the beatniks coming down to Cornwall in the late 50s, notably the hugely influential Wizz Jones, who, barefooted and with incredibly long hair, graces the cover. The Cornish folk scene began at The Count House on the cliffs at Botallack, near St Just, where they used to stop the music so that the audience could go outside and enjoy the sunsets. This club launched the careers of John the Fish and Brenda Wooton, and when the club closed to become a disco (!), Brenda moved the club to St Buryans and renamed it Piper’s Folk Club. In the rural lanes near Mitchell was The Folk Cottage, a converted barn which became the spiritual home of Ralph McTell, Michael Chapman and The Famous Jug Band, among many others. By the late 60s there was a thriving folk scene in the county, particularly in the summer months. The Folk Cottage crowd were always a little more adventurous in their musical tastes, and from this evolved the hippie scene of the early 70s, spearheaded by the various bands formed by ex-Incredible String Band founder Clive Palmer, notably C.O.B.


In the mid-70s, there was a growing interest in the Cornish language, and Brenda Wooton took centre stage here, using new songs written in both Cornish and English by a local teacher called Richard Gendall. She became hugely popular in the Celtic countries of Europe. Later there was an instrumental revival by bands such as Bucca, who revived the extinct Cornish bagpipes, made by Clive Palmer, and based on a well-known carving on a church pew. The folk club scene gradually shrunk, both Piper’s and The Folk Cottage moving venues several times, but the music making and sense of tradition carried on, and still does. This really is an excellent book, and I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in the music of the period. Grahame Hood ******************************

Trip to Gooik, Belgium, August 2013 It was that week again, 20th – 26th August. The week for which we had aired and repacked our tents, rolled up our sleeping bags, serviced the car, practised and wrapped our dulcimers, and revised our few words of Flemish. Every year for the past seven years Jill Nicholas and I have packed our bags and gone over the sea to Gooik. Jan Maes is to blame – one year he told us all about it, so we tried it, and we got hooked and have been back every year since. This is the annual “Stage”, a concept of the traditional Flemish Folk Music world, run by Muziekmozaïek. This lively, colourful, action-packed event consists principally of a set of mostly musical workshops (calligraphy is the exception), covering all sorts of instruments, from percussion to voice, dulcimers, both hammered (“hakkebord”), and mountain (“hummel”), various Flemish bagpipes (“doedelzak”), musical ensembles, hurdy gurdy and nyckelharpa, accordions and melodeons, and others. Yet it is so much more than this. The workshops run all day for 5 days, and we learn a huge amount in this timeslot. However, at the end of the day’s workshops we can go on to spend the hour before dinner being introduced to the rudiments of a new instrument, or learning a new tune in one of the sessions open to all instruments, or trying out some Flemish dances in preparation for what comes later on. After dinner we all troop off to the grand Renaissance church of Saint Nicholas, where we enjoy a different concert every evening – a real eclectic mix of musical delights. Then we can go to the Bal, where often famous and always skilful musicians play all night for the dancing – lots of lovely wild and energetic Flemish and French dances, that everyone joins in, young and old. There are jam sessions too for all-comers, out in the evening air, or inside in the warm. This is all lubricated with palate-tickling Belgian beers of the finest order for those who enjoy such treats. There are workshops and activities for the “kinderen” to keep them busy and out of mischief – it is charming to be entertained by these youngsters playing their diminutive doedelzaks for us as we queue for our meals.


This year was the 35th, and, as always, it was even bigger than the year before. Herman Dewit began it all with a handful of friends, around 36 in all, in 1979. That was a huge success, and so it happened again the next year, with a few more friends, and the next … and so on. This year there were around 350 “friends”. The week begins on arrival in the village by registering in the busy office, then finding and claiming a camping spot and pitching our tents in the long, usually wet, grass. Greeting our pals that we haven’t seen since last year and catching up on their news, we hear strains of a familiar melody emerge through the canvas of a nearby tent. Somehow there must be around 200 tents packed into various small fields scattered through the village. There are washing facilities, too, though towards the end of the week I find myself going for my shower at 2 or 3 am after I emerge from the dancing, as the queue is non-existent then and the water still hot. The food is always wholesome and good, crowned by a fabulous BBQ on the last evening. And the accompanying Belgian beers are, of course, very special. We were very fortunate to have Karen Ashbrook come back over from the States again to teach our intermediate/advanced hammered dulcimer class, while Pieter Blondelle got the beginners up and running in a classroom up the hill. This worked very well and all benefitted from the undivided attention of our tutors. For several years now the intermediate/advanced dulcimer class has been held in the fascinating and atmospheric musical instrument museum which sits above the “Cam” – the café associated with the brewery in whose courtyard we mill about at coffee breaks and in whose bottling hall we eat our mattetarts and shelter from the rain or the heat, depending on the weather of the day. Karen followed on from her previous year’s classes, teaching us a range of tunes which she then used to introduce and illustrate the principles of harmony and accompaniment to embellish the main theme. The tunes ranged from the haunting 'Madeleine’s Wals' and the 'Manx Mannanan Song', to the rousing 'March de l’Archeduchessa' and the 18th century 'S. Jolen', and more in-between. The arrangements we learnt are something we can use to apply and build on back home. The culmination of the week is on the last day, when each of the multifarious classes grabs a spot during the tea and coffee breaks to perform their party pieces out in the open for the assembled company. We hope for dry weather, but not too hot (or our dulcimers will go flat as we play). On the last morning we are roused noisily from our tents at the crack of dawn, as the young musicians who have been playing all night process round the campsites playing their trumpets and drums loudly, while shaking the tents of those who haven’t stirred. Then it’s saying goodbye to our friends for another year over breakfast, before folding up the tents and packing the car. Finally, the race to the Dunkerque ferry and the thoughts of a real, soft warm bed tonight, but accompanied by all those fine tunes going round our heads until next year. Dorothy Leddy


****************************** A message from Anne Wittman: Dear Helen, I wanted to bring to your attention an Indiegogo campaign that is helping to raise funds for a concert and CD of the work of dulcimer player Jean Ritchie. The campaign is spearheaded by David Dusing, along with Jon and Peter Pickow. Almost 25 years ago the Dusing Singers made a recording of the works of Kentucky folk singer and composer Jean Ritchie. Considered the lead proponent of traditional folk music, Ritchie is also credited with popularizing the dulcimer. To give the music a variety of colors, David Dusing asked Robert de Cormier, Gil Robbins, Jon and Peter Pickow (Ritchie's sons) and David Ralph to write the arrangements, along with his own contribution. Describing the product of this collaboration, reviewer Alex Henderson stated: "Folk music enthusiasts should make a point of hearing this interesting CD." Jumping ahead a quarter century, David Dusing spoke with Jon and Peter Pickow about making a new recording of Jean's compositions, combined with some of her poetry. The idea is to have a live recording, with the audience becoming part of the concert. The concert would showcase the beauty and poetry of Jean's works, while imbuing them with a new energy for a new time.


If you can, please do help make this project possible by contributing to this campaign - and please share this email, and the Indiegogo campaign site with your members. If you have any questions, please email David Dusing on (If you have any questions, it is best to contact him directly). Very best wishes, Anne Wittman (and here.....for anyone not familiar with Jean Ritchie's music, is a selection "Hangman")


How Far To Bethlehem‌.Or Was It Hampstead Norreys?

As remote and as much a part of middle England as any scene from television's Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, The White Hart pub in Hampstead Norreys was a welcome sight on arrival for our Nonsuch Southern members Christmas gathering on Sat., Dec. 14th, 2013. This new event was superbly organised by Dorothy Leddy for a very enjoyable seasonal gathering of Christmas tunes, carols and old favourites, nicely set in a separate area from the main bars inside the White Hart. This venue is unique in that we were within earshot of the main pub - therefore, we


could be heard and seen, and be open to visitors. Dorothy had made some special posters, placed in and around the pub and village to attract attention to our visit. This room also housed all the equipment for the White Hart's open mic. nights, very tempting for some dulcimer solos in the future! Our ‘Dulcimer Ensemble’ included Dorothy Leddy (H.D.), Janet Brown (M.D.), Tony Brown (H.D./Recorders), Tim Miles (Plucked H.D.), Kate Brown (H.D.), Jill Nicholas (H.D.), Julie Beaven (H.D./Percussion), and myself (H.D./Bodhran/Percussion). Julie brought along a fabulous assortment of percussion instruments and bells for everyone to try out, and to increase our wall of sound. These percussion instruments are fantastic to enable lesser-skilled people to join in with, and play at, events. Julie also organised an impromptu Christmas quiz, another great fun idea for everybody to join in with, some ‘brain strain’ and no conferring! Good beers, bar snacks and main meals are excellent quality and well priced, keeping the wolf from the door. Dorothy played us out with 'Auld Lang Syne', reminding us that yet another year had almost gone. The afternoon went so quickly, some of us stayed behind longer to socialise and catch up. As the weather closed in with yet another impending storm, we all agreed to a speedy departure, no Midsomer incidents for us!

More Christmas…..On Hayling Island Just one week earlier, Avril Keyes hosted another Christmas music get-together and buffet, at Hayling, on behalf of the Chris Gray music group, Portsmouth. Avril, who is always a very enthusiastic supporter of Nonsuch, brought together Janet Henry (M.D./Ukelele) Chris Halliday (Guitar) Peter Richards (Violin) Avril (M.D./Guitar/Recorders) and myself (H.D./Bodhran/Electric Keyboard). We played some good traditional Christmas tunes, some Appalachian and old time favourites until quite late, great we didn’t even notice the time! Peter Richards on Violin, is a member of the ‘Portsmouth Light Orchestra’ who are just about to embark on a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard, officially my favourite G + S opera, such beautiful music. Peter and I will have much to talk about in the future. This was the first outing for my new electric keyboard. The hammer dulcimer has given me confidence to try something else, but I can still only serenade people, I can’t join in yet! Thanks Avril for a lovely day, got a feeling we’ll do it all again! Bruce Parry


FOR SALE DOVE BASS DULCIMER 9 / 8 With soft case, resonator board, keyboard stand, also 3 pairs of hammers in case. In excellent condition. ÂŁ500.

More info: Jenny Coxon. 01457 876731 Greater Manchester area. Buyer to arrange collection.


Launde Abbey Weekend As you were looking at your calendar for the year ahead, did you remember the dates for this year's annual Nonsuch Dulcimer Club weekend at the beautiful Launde Abbey in the depths of the Leicestershire countryside? It will be from Friday to Sunday, October 24th to 26th, with the usual mix of workshops from our guest tutors and members, not forgetting the warm welcome extended to everyone. There will be further details in the next issue of Nonsuch News, along with an application form. Fenella Howard (Bookings Secretary)


Diary Dates Event details will also be posted on the Nonsuch website ·

21st -23rd February 2014: Alcester Winter Festival. Singing and Music festival with Nonsuch Dulcimer ‘show ‘n’ tell’, plus performances by Sally Whytehead, John Shaw and Geoff Reeve-Black. Daytime dulcimer gathering, with informal beginners' workshops: ; contact Sally Whytehead to borrow an instrument: 01527 64229, email:


2nd March 2014: South-West members' meet, Bristol. Venue TBA – probably the Nova Scotia, Cumberland Basin, from 12 noon. Tunes and chat at a great harbourside pub with good food. All abilities and instruments welcome. Focus on unusual MD tunings – DGD, DAG, DF#A. Contact Geoff Reeve-Black: tel 01989 720242; email:


21st – 23rd March 2014: Spring Fling, Deneholme, Allendale. Guest tutors: John Shaw on MD, HD to be led by Richard Blake from Norwich (focus on Norfolk tunings and tunes). More info from Liz Conway: ; download a booking form from


23rd March 2014: Hammer dulcimer event, Gooik, Belgium. Venue: Music Mosaic, Wijngaardstraat 5, 1755 Gooik. 10-5. All players, beginners to advanced. Repertoire and playing technique. Organised by Jan and Pieter Maes Blondelle. Bring lunch, or buy food nearby. Contact Pieter Blondelle:


April 2014: Tribute concert for Mat Fox, Southbank Centre (TBC).


1st May (also 6th and 7th June) 2014: three concerts featuring HD at King's Place, London: Contact Tim Miles: 1st May, 10pm: ZRI - Brahms and the Gypsy (jazz/klezmer quintet featuring santouri). 6th June gig, 7.30pm, features cimbalom, and 7th June gig, 7.30pm, features spike fiddle and bass santur.


11th May 2014: Dulcimers in the Courtyard at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham. A splendid setting in a Tudor mansion. Contact June Perry: 0115 960 9221;


18th May 2014: South-West members' meet, South of region. Venue TBA. We've been having discussions with possible new venues around Bristol, including the Red Lodge Museum in Park Row. From 12.30 pm. Watch this space. Contact Geoff Reeve-Black: tel 01989 720242; email:


8-14th June 2014: HD and MD classes during 'Old Time/Traditional Music Week', Maryville, TN. Contact Linda Thomas:;


2nd August 2014: Dulcimer World Day. Workshops in Redditch with Mitzie Collins (USA) and John Shaw. All proceeds to go to the Dulcimer World Congress 2015. Contact Sally Whytehead: 01527 64229, email:


10th August 2014: Southern members' Picnic in the Park. The bandstand, Victoria Park, Newbury, Berks., 12.30-6.30 pm. Picnic and playing in a relaxed


atmosphere. All instruments welcome. Contact Bruce Parry: 023 9237789. ·

16th August 2014: Jim in the Garden. Put the date in your diaries for a great get-together. More information on the Nonsuch events page in due course.


22nd - 25th August 2014: Shrewsbury Folk Festival. Robin Clark and Geoff Reeve-Black will be leading MD workshops for ticketholders. See


11th October 2014 (TBC): Possible workshop and meet at the American Museum, Claverton Manor, near Bath. More details to follow. Contact Geoff Reeve-Black: 01989 720242; email:


24th - 26th October 2014: Nonsuch Annual Weekend – Launde Abbey, Leicestershire. See or contact Fenella Howard: 01205 750562; email:


23rd - 25th October 2015: Nonsuch Annual Weekend – Great Malvern. Contact Sally Whytehead: 01527 64229, email:


26th - 29th October 2015: Dulcimer World Congress – Great Malvern. Contact Sally Whytehead: 01527 64229, email: ****************************

Regular Events and Activities Midlands HD practise nights - Make & Play: 2nd & 4th Thursday each month. Can vary so please contact Sally Whytehead: 01527 64229, email: or Fred Woodley: 0121 706 5046, email: to check. Venue: Studley Baptist Church, New Road, Studley, 7.30 - 9.30 pm. Now open to anyone, but please let Sally or Fred know if you intend going along. M D practice night: First Thursday each month. Can vary so please contact Sally Whytehead (contact details above) to confirm. Venue: Sally's House, 7.30 - 9.30 pm. Contact Sally for directions. All levels. Meets: Fairly infrequently held, but when they are, they're likely to be at either Sally Whytehead's home in Redditch (contact details above), or Dave & Jenny's in Sutton Coldfield 0121 353 9729, email: Northern Meets: Contact Jenny Coxon: 01457 876731 email: or Chris Fitt: 01709 894347 email: Venues and dates vary, but details of meets will be posted on the website as and when they are arranged. Southern Meets: Meet monthly(ish), usually at Bracknell or Cobham. Southern Members have created a list of tunes that are often played at the meet. Contact: Jill Nicholas: 01344 423068;email: or Julie Beavan: 01932 867766;

27 If nothing is listed on the website, please get in touch for details about the next meeting (we can supply maps if needed), and let us know that you are planning to come along. ******************************

Committee/Contacts Chairman: Bruce Parry, 94, London Road, Widley, Waterlooville, Hants PO7 5AB; tel 023 92 327789; email: Membership/Finance: Margaret Arton, Osbaldeston House Farm, Higher Walton Road, Walton-le-dale, Preston PR5 4HS; tel 01772 314008; email: Club Admin: Geoff Reeve-Black (also contact for SW region), “Revells”, Linton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR9 7SD; tel 01989 720242; email: Newsletter Editor: Helen Edwards, 31, Fenham Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE4 5PB; tel 07788 992 060; email: President and Publicity Officer: Jenny Coxon, 36, Oaklands Park, Grasscroft, Oldham, Lancs OL4 4JY; tel 01457 876731; email: Mountain Dulcimer Rep: Liz Conway, Sunnybank, Station Road, Allendale, Northumberland NE47 9PY; tel 01434 683251; email Events Co-ordinators: Fenella Howard, Church View, The Old Main Road, Sibsey, Lincs PE22 0RX; tel 01205 750562; email: Chris Fitt, 20, Shepherd Lane, Thurnscoe, Rotherham S63 0JS; tel 01709 894347; email: Website Manager: Sally Whytehead, Apartment 10, Holmwood House, 6 Purshall Close, Redditch B97 4PD; tel 01527 64229; email:

Please send all items for inclusion in the next newsletter to Helen Edwards, (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF EMAIL ADDRESS) By May 10th 2014 When emailing committee members, please put ‘Nonsuch’ in the subject line.


Nonsuch News  
Nonsuch News  

Quarterly magazine of the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club (UK), the organisation for players of the hammered and mountain dulcimer.