dances, Persian improvisations, Gaelic airs, jigs and reels, music
for a Celtic wedding. Includes: 13th century medieval music by French
and German composers of courtly love, jigs, reels, processionals from
ancient Celtic lands--a true Celtic celebration.
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"A virtuoso with a world-class gift as both a player and arranger,
Sansone interprets the folk idiom on an ancient instrument with a
modern voice and presents the listener with a unique opportunity
for mystery and mysticism."
- Women Today
" Harmoniously walking the tightrope between ancient Celtic
cadences and progressive world beat sounds, Sansone easily fuses
the best of past and present musical styles… lovely as it is
stirring…a colorful modern dance…"
- New Age Retailer
"Despite the differing contexts in which they are commonly
found, the Irish-based hammered dulcimer and the Persian santur/santoor
are two very similar instruments, both sonically and physically.
With Mystic Dance, Maggie Sansone borrows elements from
both the Irish and Middle Eastern idioms, as well as those from the
medieval period, to create a sound that blends influences from multiple
cultures and time frames. As with many of Sansone's releases, the
overall mood of the album is rather joyous and upbeat, especially
the "Celtic Wedding Set," which is awash with happy energy.
In addition to the dulcimer/santur, the album also features backing
accompaniment from an ensemble of musicians, including: Sue Richards
on Celtic harp and Robin Bullock on guitar/mandolin."
Sue Richards ~ Celtic harp Bobby Read ~ clarinet, bass clarinet, alto flute,
piccolo, soprano sax, accordion, piano, synthesizer, percussion Karen Ashbrook ~ Irish flute, pennywhistle Paul Oorts ~ Musette accordion, guitar Sarah Read ~ Fiddle, cello Robin Bullock ~ cittern, mandolin, guitar Ian Lawther ~ Northumbrian pipes
to samples of tracks 2, 3, 4, 15,16 and 18.
Since recording A Traveler's Dream,
I have been exploring the joy and interconnection music expresses between
people and cultures. Along my musical journey, I discovered how closely
we are all bound together by music's universal language. Mystic
Dance, Persian Dialogue, and Improvisation express
the intercourse between musical instruments from two distant cultures
related by a common mystical thread. Also in this recording The
Celtic Wedding is a tribute to all the joyous celebrations I have
performed for. This recording is a celebration of my life long journey
and is a gift for all of your special celebrations. Enjoy! Maggie Sansone
Medieval Set (1-2): 4.55
1. Maienzit ane nit. Neidhard von Reuenthal (c.1180 - 1240).
2. Douce Dame Jolie. Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377) 2:27 Hammered dulcimer, cello, fiddle, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo,
shakers, hand drums.
These tunes were composed by the two most famous medieval composers
of music of courtly love. Reuenthal was a German knight, poet, and
singer of courtly love. Maytime speaks of banishing sorrow and the
joy of spring. Machaut's music conveys a sense of modernity, with its
short melodic riffs and syncopation that lends itself to improvisation.
3. Give Me Your Hand (Gaelic: Tabair Dam Do Hamh). 4:43
Hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp, Irish flute, fiddle, accordion, flute,
clarinet, guitar. A beautiful 17th century air written by Irishman
Rory Dall Ó Catháin, (1570-1650)--a well-known Celtic
harper, Catháin emigrated to Scotland where he wrote this
tune around 1603.
5. Bonny at Morn 3.23
6. Goddesses 1:54
Hammered dulcimer, Irish flute, guitar (Paul), musette accordion, cittern,
Northumbrian pipes. Both of these are traditional tunes from Northumberland-a
region northeast of England. Popular as a lullaby, Bonnie at Morn was
printed in 1882, in The Northumbrian Minstrelsy. Goddesses is from
John Playford's collection The English Dancing Master, printed in 1651.
Ian joined in on this tune using my favorite Northumbrian smallpipes
set in the key of "D"--I bought these pipes from Colin Ross.
7. Carolan's Quarrel with the Landlady 3:47.
Hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp, guitar.
Honored as the "Chief Musician of Ireland", 18th century
Irish harper and composer Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) is an inspiration
to me; I always include at least one of his tunes in my recordings.
[More of his music can be heard on the recording Carolan's Gift (MM304,
Maggie's Music) which is dedicated entirely to Carolan's compositions.]
Celtic Reel Set (8-10): 4:37
8. South Uist Reel 1:12
9. Hunter's Purse 1:35
10. Otter's Holt 1:46 Hammered dulcimer, cittern, Irish flute, bass clarinet, clarinet,
flute, piccolo, hand drums, jembe, bells, high hat, shaker. This is
the first reel from the Isle of South Uist--one of the Western Isles
of Scotland. The next two reels are popular Irish session tunes-I learned
Hunter's Purse from Karen Ashbrook. Otter's Holt (translated Otter's
nest) was written by Junior Crehan (1908-1998), the legendary Irish
fiddler from County Clare.
12. Welsh March 1:29
13. Ffaniglen 1:15 Hammered dulcimer, clarinet, accordion (Bob). These are traditional
Welsh folk dances that I learned from Sue Richards. Wales, located
Southwest of England, is one of the seven Celtic nations that still
retains its Celtic heritage, culture and language. The other Celtic
nations are Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Brittany (France)
and Galicia (Spain).
15. March of King of Laoise 5:38
Hammered dulcimer, cittern, guitar, musette accordion, soprano saxophone,
piano, synthesizer, fiddle, Irish flute.
(Ruairí Óg Ó Mórdha or Rory of the Hills),
is a traditional Irish march. Celtic harp is the national instrument
of Ireland and captures the beauty of this haunting melody. This is
one of the all time classic Irish tunes that I learned nearly 20 years
ago. I learned this version from Sue Richards-Sue and I agree that
it's a perfect processional march.
Jigs (16-17) 3:21
16. Bridal Jig 1:34
17. Random Notes 1:48 Hammered dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, cittern, Irish flute,
whistle. Here are two jigs; one from Ireland and the other from Northumberland.
Random notes is attributed to James Hill, the 19th century fiddler
who was born in Scotland but spent most of his life in Tyneside, Northumberland.
Hill's tunes have become part of the Northumbrian tradition.
Waltzes (20-21) 4:20
18. Draper's Maggot 2:03
19. The Waterfall Waltz (Caerdroea) 2:16 Hammered dulcimer, fiddle, cello, guitar, musette accordion,
clarinet, flute, bass clarinet, bass drum, bells, shaker. Here are
two traditional English country-dance tunes from the John Playford
collection. I think this is a lovely conclusion to the Celtic Wedding
Set and to this recording as well. Enjoy this jubilant celebration!
About the Hammered Dulcimer
The instrument I play is a chromatic hammered dulcimer with damper
pedals; it's a variation on a 16/15 which is 16 treble courses, and
15 bass courses, but with six bass and chromatic notes on another bridge
to give more range and versatility.
My beautiful hammered dulcimer was hand made by Nicholas Blanton,
of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. My Persian santur was made in Iran.
It's smaller and has 72 strings in sets of four strings per course.
Two sets of nine movable bridges allow for tuning into the various
eastern modes. Santur is the national instrument of Iran. Both the
santur and the hammered dulcimer are trapezoidal in shape and are played
with wooden mallets. Musicologists have classified them as chordophones
- their sound is produced by the vibration of strings stretched across
Thought to have originated in the Middle East around 900 AD, there
is some evidence that links the whole hammered dulcimer family to the
first production of inexpensive, but strong, metal strings circa 1350
AD, in northern Europe.
Today, hammered dulcimers are made in many shapes, sizes and tunings,
and are played worldwide.