Author: Bartlett, Regina

Harmony Road

Well welcome and howdy to all you travelers out on Harmony Road. So many festivals happening now. Physically, I canít do them all. I have to pace myself just to go to the festivals that I'm committed to. So I've been taking care of things like the annual doctor and dentist appointments and things around the house and garden. I realized that thereís no place like home and living in Santa Cruz is just fine with me. We have great weather and beaches and redwoods and thereís always music happening and many cultural events to attend.

Recently, I went to a Japanese Obon Festival at the nearby Watsonville Buddhist Temple. There were 2 women playing Koto which sounded like a dulcimer to me and with very beautiful melodies. Then there were the Taiko drummers who pounded out stories and rhythms just through their drumming. It was very exciting and dramatic. Beautiful women dressed in Kimonos and men dressed in happy coats danced around a decorated pavillon and honored past generations and people who had recently passed. How unique to remember someone thru a dance or a song. Then out of no where Elvis Presley is singing Heartbreak Hotel. The announcer said that they wanted to bring into the dancing more young people so they were changing the music. When they put Lady Gaga on, I got up and left. Thatís not tradition is what I was thinkingÖ

Awhile back at the Parkfield Bluegrass Festival, I met a young man Ryan McKinley and his parents, Lisa & Kelly. He can play the fiddle really well and heís going to help me out at the Good Old Fashioned Festival. Heís been touring the East Coast with the Jug Tucker Bluegrass band out of North Carolina.

Amaya Rose Dempsey is also going to assist with the Kids on Stage and will also perform. Amaya has been part of the CBA Kids on Bluegrass for many years and has grown into quite a musician. She plays fiddle, guitar and dances and sings. Hereís a video of her on You Tube:
She connected with Crystal Gayle at the MidState Fair last week.

Itís always exciting to think who will be there for the GOF=Good Old Fashioned Festival. Iím excited about it this year because I have directed the Kids on Stage for 15 years now. I love what I do and I like having folks that like working with kids involved too. Kay Wilkes, Larissa and Michael Pilatti, Joe Ash, Randy Hudson also will help me out with the Kids on Stage team. Last year Billy Pitrone stopped by on his way to the stage and talked to the kids about singing on stage and how fast the times go and then he sang a few songs and shared his talent. Pete Hicks also gave some pointers. Paul Knight also demonstrates how to use a microphone the kids really like it when professionals talk with them. Sometimes AJ Lee or Betsy Riger help me out too. Betsy is coming on Saturday with her Grandsons who now pick and play Bluegrass Music.

I break up the day with several rehearsals that the kids look forward to and I like having the other eyes and ears of musicians on the team too. We have a meet and great party Friday night with treats and we talk about music. What instrument do you play? Why do you play it? Whatís your favorite song? Whatís your favorite band? What festivals have you been to? The treats are good and the fun is too. For me the party helps everyone learn to listen to each other and since weíre going to be performing together for the next few days itís a great way to let go and work together and know each other better.
I break down how weíre going to do the work of putting a performance together. We time all the songs and put the show on Sunday afternoon. After everything is done, we have a monster water balloon battle. We laugh, we sing, we play.
You can learn a lot from kids.

Have you heard about the Pacific Rim Dulcimer Gathering?
Itís like the Grass Valley in the dulcimer world. People come from all over the country to attend this gathering of dulcimer players.
Did you know that besides me, Annie Cashner, Allen French, Snap Jackson, Alex Sharps, all play the Appalachian dulcimer? Itís a traditional old time instrument. It brought me to Bluegrass and Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, the Seldom Scene, and Sam Bush. The dulcimer opened up the musical world for me.
This festival has been going on for 40 years. I went to many of
these Gatherings years ago and plan to go this year.
August 15, 16, 17 -2014

Pacific Rim Dulcimer Gathering or

Pacific Rim Dulcimer Gathering
15501 N Highway 1 Caspar, CA 95420
707-964-4630 (SITE contact)
707-237-1348 (Cindy KG info)

Oh, and did you know that Bela Fleck will perform the West Coast premiere of The Imposter, his Banjo Concerto, dedicated to Earl Scruggs at the Cabrillo Music Festival on August 1st. On July 30th at 7:00pm at the Del Mar theater there will be a viewing of a documentary about The Imposter followed by questions and answers by Fleck. In an interview I read that Fleck said, ďWhy would anyone play the saxophone when they could play a banjo!ď Sounds like a classic to me!!

So I hope to see many of you fine pickers and friends at the Good Old Fashioned Festival. Itís really fun and lots of good picking.
Also you dulcimer players should check out the Kindred Gathering up near Mendocino.
But before that go and see Bela Fleck at the Cabrillo Music Festival and hear, The Imposter.

Until then, Iíll see you out there on Harmony Road.

Posted:  7/25/2014

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