Near the end of the 2nd to last set in the concluding Saturday night concert at the Lagniappe Dulcimer Society’s annual Fete in Port Allen (Baton Rouge), Lousiana, there was a loud pop(!) and the sound system stopped working.
Ken Bloom and his new friend, Charlie Patton of Mississippi, were playing a duet of bowed dulcimers on Klezmer Tunes and everything went suddenly….acoustic.
These were acoustic instruments, however, so the music didn’t stop.
My set was the final one of the night and because it was clear that they high school gymnasium was going to be an unplugged venue, I launched into my set, reminding people that this is how Old Time Music was always played.
The mountain dulcimer isn’t a loud instrument, but it did just fine with She Thinks My Dulcimer’s Sexy, and then the Dulci-bro (a resonator instrument that uses the first “amplification” technology of the twentieth century) sang out loud and clear.
Sharrie George‘s Taylor guitar did just fine with my fingerpicked version of Didn’t Know I Was Lost (Until You Found Me), and Ken Bloom joined me for a Galax Dulcimer / Bowed Dulcimer duet on Miss McLeod’s Reel, (thanks for the instrument loan, Bob Magowan!) and I ended the set with our planned trio: me: hammered dulcimer (thanks Peggy Carter!), Ken and Charlie Patton on bowed dulcimers dancing up the fine Ragtime Annie tune. (See photo on right.)
Reviews from those in attendance were that the sound was fine and well-balanced.
It is a little bit anachronistic that we players of old-time musical instruments have come to depend upon modern electronic sound systems, and we listeners of live music have come to expect that that amplified sounds are “better” for listening…when in this instance, those leaning in to listen had a fine experience without the electronic support!