Mimi and Richard Farina – The Mountain Dulcimer / Appalachian Dulcimer

By a tweet I was led to a blog post about the music of Richard and Mimi Fariña.

In this blog post Neal Hellman tells about his passion about the Mountain Dulcimer or Appalachian Dulcimer, whow he wrote his first book about the dulcimer and after some time also found a publisher for this project. And the about Richard Fariña, who during the early sixties brought the mountain dulcimer from the Appalachians to the cities and to the young generation.

Richard George Fariña was born in 1937 and brought up in Flatbush Brooklyn on Linden Boulevard less then a mile from my parent’s house. His father Liborio Ricardo was from Cuba and his mother Theresa Crozier was from Northern Ireland.

He took the dulcimer out of the Appalachians and made it accessible to city kids like me. To anyone over 40 who plays the dulcimer Richard Farina has earned patriarchal status.

The idea to write a book about Richard Fariña and the Dulcimer, but he did not find a publishing company for this. So Neal Hellman decided to publish the book by his own. He printed 5000 copies, and did not sell very many books in the beginning.

But years later the interest in Richard and Mimi Fariña began to rise, and a website about Richard and Mimi Fariña was created by Douglass Cooke, and a book about Richard Fariña was published. Mimi Fariña – by the way – was Joan Baez’ siter and died in 2001.

Last year the last of the 5000 copies of the Book about Richard Fariña and his dulcimer have been sold.

Shorty after hearing a Richard and Mimi recording of “Reno Nevada” Douglass Cooke (yet another Brooklyn native) created a Fariña web page, and a book on his life. Positively Fourth Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña by David Hajdu was published on Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In December of 2009 I sold my last copy.

Neal Hellman has decided to make his book available, you can find a download link at the end of this blog post:

Blog post by Neal Hellman about Richard Fariña: http://gourdmusic.blogspot.com/2010/05/liberating-richard.html

Richard Fariña died in April 1966 by a motobyke accident. Just some month ago Pete Seeger had invited Richard and Mimi Fariña to a TV show named Rainbow Quest – and it is great that this is availale at youtube. Those videos give a great impression of the time in 1966 when the folk revival was at its height.

Mimi and Richard Farina Bold Marauder

Here are some examples of those videos:

Mimi and Richard Farina – Raven Girl

from the album ‘reflections in a cristal wind’ in 1965

Mimi & Richard Farina – The Falcon

Playlist Mimi and Richard Farina

Additional Information

Homepage about Richard und Mimi Fariña with a lot of information: http://www.richardandmimi.com/

Wikipedia (English) about Richard Fariña: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Fari%C3%B1a

Wikipedia (Engl.) about the Appalachian Dulcimer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_dulcimer

Scroll to Top