Category: folk


Mimi and Richard Farina – The Mountain 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:

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:

Wikipedia (English) about Richard Fariña:

Wikipedia (Engl.) about the Appalachian Dulcimer:


Fraunhofer Saitenmusik – Magic Strings – Hackbrett / Hammered…

The time around christmas is a time to listen to music like the music by this German group – the Fraunhofer Saitenmusik. The group is named after a location, an old guesthouse in Munich and was founded in 1978 by Heidi Zink and Richard Kurländer

Das »Fraunhofer« – eines der ältesten und schönsten Wirtshäuser Münchens – hat bei der Namensgebung der »Fraunhofer Saitenmusik « im Jahr 1978 Pate gestanden.

Hier haben sich Heidi Zink und Richard Kurländer kennengelernt  und die »Fraunhofer Saitenmusik « gegründet.  Zusammen mit dem Bassisten Gerhard Zink hat dieses Trio – zwischenzeitlich auch immer wieder mit dem Gitarristen Michael Klein zum Quartett verstärkt – seit nunmehr drei Jahrzehnten den Status einer musikalischen Institution.

The group uses traditional instruments from the Bavarian folklore, especially the Hackbrett, a hammered dulcimer, the harp, the guitar, recorder and double bass. The repertoir includes traditional music from Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, own compositions and old music like the following Hoboeckentanz by Tilman Susato recorded more than 20 years ago in 1986:

Fraunhofer Saitenmusik Hoboeckentanz (1986)


The group has recorded many CDs, including some special CDs for winter and christmas time. The arrangements of the Fraunhofer Saitenmusik are very special and very beautiful and create a very magic atmosphere.

I have collected the videos that I have found in the following playlist – just relax and enjoy the music!

Addtional information

Homepage: Fraunhofer Saitenmusik

Wikipedia: Hammered Dulcimer

CD recommendation (Amazon partenerlink)

Nordsud – Fraunhofer Saitenmusik

Fraunhofer Saitenmusik zur Weihnachtszeit Christmas Music


Ferenc Sebö – Music from Hungary – Music for…

Many years ago I bought a record with Hungarian music for my parents – a record with title La Hongrie – Musique a Danser by the Ferenc Sebö Ensemble. I made a copy on a cassette for me, and this cassette became one of my favorites. And I have played many of the tunes on my mandolin.

Today I found a couple of videos of Ferenc Sebö and his ensembles, with many of the songs that I know from this record. There are videos from as early as 1975, but also many videos from more recent concerts, including many of the songs that I know from my old record.

This music is also used for dancing, in some videos you can see people dancing to the music.

Ferenc Sebö plays mostly the guitar and sings. Other instruments used in his ensembles are the violin, different plucked instruments from Eastern Europe like the tambura and the bouzouki, the jew’s harp, hurdy gurdies, flutes and reed instruments and drums. The singing of Ferenc Sebö and some other singers, including Sebestyén Márta, is very typical for the Hungarian music.

The following is a video from 1975, with a selection of songs to poems by Sándor Weöres. In this video you can see and hear a tambura, a small plucked instrument with 5 strings:

Sebő ensemble by Márta Sebestyén sings Sándor Weöres poems

One of my favorite tune is Rejtelmek – a very simple tune, composed of just the first 5 tones of a scale – but a really beautiful tune.

Here is a version with Koncz Zsuzsa and Sebestyén Márta and Ferenc Sebö on the guitar:

Koncz Zsuzsa, Sebestyén Márta- Rejtelmek

Read more “Ferenc Sebö – Music from Hungary – Music for Dancing”


Sedi Donka ❀ 7 + 7 + 11 =…

Mike Marshall and Chris Thile played one piece during their woodsongs duo concert named Sedi Donka. This is a Bulgarian folk dance tune in 25/8, divided in 7 + 7 + 11 eights.

Before they played the tune Chris and Mike demonstrated this rhythm to the public.

The rhythm goes like this:

ti – ke – ti, tam, tam
ti – ke – ti, tam, tam
ti – ke, ti – ke
ti – ke – ti, tam, tam

Today I have searched again for this tune and I found the sheet music as an ABC file, but also as a pdf. The best place I found this is the following (you can use see and hear to see the music and hear it):

Much more interesting is it to view the dance with the music, and the steps made by the dancers:

Sedi Donka Bulgarian Folk Dance Dansuri Populare Bulgaria

A great version of Sedi Donka with Clarinet:

Sedi Donka Bulgarian Music Woytek Mrozek – clarinet, conductor, composer

Now the version by Mike Marshall and Chris Thile:

Sedi Donka – Mandolin Duet – Mike Marshall & Chris Thile

It is not so difficult to play – go and try it!

CD tip (Amazon partnerlink):

Live Duets Mike Marshall and Chris Thile