Joellen Lapidus is one of the pioneers of contemporary mountain dulcimer playing, songwriting, and instrument construction and is the author of the dulcimer instruction book “Lapidus on Dulcimer”. Joellen blends the Appalachian, Indian, Arabic, jazz, classical, and pop musical styles to give the dulcimer a new range of rhythmic, melodic, and tuning possibilities.
As a dulcimer maker, her work influenced many of the dulcimer builders of the 70’s and 80’s. Her instruments were known for their innovative shapes and exquisite soundhole and peghead inlay work. She introduced the dulcimer to Joni Mitchell and made three instruments for her between 1968 and 1976. She has also made instruments for David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Wendy Waldman and Garth Hudson. The March 2004 concert, recorded on her album, Joellen Lapidus In Concert, marked her first performance in over 10 years.
Joellen teaches dulcimer in West Los Angeles. She has also returned to her original musical loves – the clarinet and the accordion. She performs with the band “Extreme Klezmer Makeover” and with violinist Yvette Devereaux. Joellen’s newest album is called Dulcimer Music for the Pelican Ballet.
Recently, KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with Joellen, about her unique dulcimer influences, her musical upbringing living in New York, and how her musical horizons broadened as she traveled across the United States. They also talk at length about her unique dulcimer instrument creations, and the inspiration behind Pelican Ballet.
Listen To the Interview Here:
Downlad the interview here: Interview: Joellen Lapidus, 5/10/2016.
Music from Joellen Lapidus on KC Cafe Radio:
Multi-instrumentalist James Woolwine has been blessed with a rather heterogeneous musical life up to this point. From Classical to Jazz, Rock and even Heavy Metal interests, his background in music certainly offers the potential for great things to come.
James began studying piano at the age of 7. He immersed himself in Classical music, with dreams of composing symphonies and concertos. (James used to “air-conduct” Beethoven’s 9th symphony). By the end of high school he was winning scholarships and competitions, seemingly on track to a conservatory education. However, his adolescent urges to “rock out” overwhelmed his Classical inclinations. At the age of 16 James added guitar lessons to his piano studies. Dreams of composing symphonies were replaced by dreams to form the next great Heavy Metal band. He carried this ambition to Berklee College of Music, as a guitar major.
James threw himself into his college studies; adding Jazz harmony and contemporary songwriting to his Classical skills. Ultimately, his Heavy Metal aspirations were not achieved; but he discovered a new fascination in acoustic fingerstyle guitar. James graduated from Berklee cum laude with degrees in Performance and Music Business.
After college, James played in several bands; but found that working in groups can be frustrating. He sought refuge in his roots, composing and performing more frequently as a soloist. In 2009 he began a songwriting collaboration with a talented singer. Together they completed a large catalog of original material, but after three years the partnership fizzled out. Unwilling to give up on their songs, James began singing them himself; while continuing to compose new solo music. However, after three more years experimenting as a singer/songwriter, he ultimately realized his true musical voice is not sung; but played. With renewed focus he committed himself to his (by now) large catalog of solo compositions.
James’s diverse musical upbringing is reflected in his debut album, Solo Piano Destruction. Featuring a rather bold and daring album cover, Solo Piano Destruction offers up a couple of Katy Perry cover songs as well as 8 of his original compositions. It has been a Menu Favorite on KC Cafe Radio since November, 2015.
Recently KC Cafe Radio Music Director Kathy Forste talked with James via Skype. He describes his diverse music background, and the influences that shape the music that featured on his album. They also touch on the business of making music, including working as a session musician, performing live and recording.
Listen to the interview here:
Download the interview here: Interview: James Woolwine, 1/5/2016