Traditional instruments take center stage at the Blue Crab Coffeehouse in St. Michael’s at 7pm this Saturday night, July 13, 2019.
This music performance will feature the hammered dulcimer, guitars, a 1921 mandolin, a bouzouki, banjo, harmonica, pennywhistle, and bones, all providing the underpinning to songs from the 1700s to the present.
“The hammered dulcimer was often used in place of a piano at early American barn dances – it keeps a lively beat and can be heard above the crowd, even before the advent of amplification,” says Beth Lawton, one of the core members of the group Ampersand. “On the other hand, the dulcimer sounds almost like a harp on early tunes such Planxty Fanny Power by the 18th century composer Turlough O’Carolan.”
The bouzouki, a traditionally Greek instrument introduced to the Irish folk scene in the mid-20th century, provides a rich sound in the hands of Topher Lawton. Topher notes that this instrument’s 8 strings, tuned an octave lower than a mandolin, “strike a balance between the sweet tones of a guitar and the twang of a banjo, providing a driving rhythm to underpin Irish jigs and a full sound underneath our songs.” Topher also plays the bones, a traditional percussion instrument – originally actual bones, but now made from slightly curved wooden pieces – and the Irish pennywhistle.
The 1920s were a vibrant time for stringed instruments and this group brings both a 1921 Gibson mandolin as well as a 1921 Vega Whyte Lady banjo. These older instruments have a deep, resonant sound that mixes well with the sound of the modern guitars.
For this event, Ampersand’s core duo, Beth Lawton & Dick Hogle, will be joined by Dave Moore (banjo, bass, guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Topher Lawton (vocals, bouzouki, percussion) for this evening of songs and tunes.
Blue Crab Coffee is located at 102 S. Fremont Street, Saint Michael’s, MD. Food, wine, and local craft beer will be available during the performance. Please see Ampersand’s website for more details: www.ampersandmusic.org.