Traditional Irish Music
The start of the recent revival of interest in the Hammered Dulcimer, was triggered, back in 2002, when Christie Burns organised Ireland's 1st ever Dulcimer Festival in Cork. It was such a success that Christie ran it again the following year, before returning to her home in America.
In April of 2003 I did my bit by organising a concert in the large kitchen of Glenarm Castle, Glenarm being the home of Antrim's most famous Dulcimer player, John Rea. I was absolutley delighted that the last three of Antrim's Hammered Dulcimer players, Nat MaGee RIP, Barry Carroll & William Rea, turned out to play at this event.
In June of 2003 I included the Hammered Dulcimer in a small festival I organised in Ballycastle, at which Hammered Dulcimer players Nat MaGee from Larne performed as did Rick Davis from America & myself.
Going a stage further, in 2005 I organised Antrim's 1st Hammered Dulcimer Festival & once again I was honoured to have Nat MaGee, Barry Carroll & William Rea all perform at it.
In 2006, due to lack of funding, I was unable to run the festival again, but thanks to enthusiasm from Dulcimer players Rick Davis from America & Jenny Cox from England, we had a weekend of sessions at which we all played our Dulcimers & we were once again joined by Nat MaGee & William Rea.
Since 2006 I know that Seamus Brady down in Waterford, Barry Carroll now in Dublin & myself in North Antrim, are all playing out & about as often as possible, in sessions, at events, on Radio & on TV, in an effort to promote the Hammered Dulcimer here, whenever & wherever we can.
All the above events did serve to help raise the profile of this instrument, but the future of this instrument, I believe, lies in whether or not young musicians can be encouraged & or persuaded to take an interest in it. Time will tell .....
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