Hammered dulcimer concert Sunday, April 16

Of his many musical talents, John McCutcheon’s mastery of the hammered dulcimer may stand out as most surprising.  Few other players anywhere can draw the shimmer, bounce and harmonies out of this percussive stringed instrument as well as he does.  Treat yourself to his “Hammer Dulcimer!” online concert on Sunday, April 16, and hear the range of music he plays.

As appetizers, check out McCutcheon’s Leviathan or his medley of Loggerman’s Breakdown and Dulcimer Reel.  Use caution; you might suddenly get up and dance.

The April 16 online show will begin at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.  A ticket also gives you unlimited replays within 48 hours after the live show. This could be handy if a later time is more convenient or if you want to hear some particularly dazzling tunes again.

Get tickets at links from this page.  Standard price is $20 plus a $4.60 processing fee.  Other options in the drop-down menu are discounts for students or unemployed people and premiums for a family/household ticket or music supporter ticket.  A bit of the ticket money goes to the Pasadena Folk Music Society, which will help us present in-person shows in future months.

While you’re at it, consider getting tickets for the final show of this McCutcheon series:  “Jackpot!” on Saturday, May 13 billed as “a wild card show.”  The series is presented in collaboration with our Pasadena Folk Music Society and other organizations.

Other events

Whenever you have a hankering for folk music in the Pasadena area, please check the upcoming schedule at Coffee Gallery Backstage, barely a quarter-mile into Altadena up Lake Avenue.  Just this week, for example, your choices include Diane Hupka and the Sun Country Band on Thursday evening, the Salty Suites on Friday evening, and Pat Nason and friends on Saturday afternoon.  They are all highly recommended, and your attendance helps keep this wonderful venue in business.

The Renaissance Pleasure Faire, at the Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area (about 15 miles east of Pasadena), will begin its weekends-only run on April 15 and continue to May 21.  Lots of music, food, and fun.

The 13th annual South Pasadena Eclectic Festival will be held April 29, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., so mark your calendar.  The musical acts have not yet been announced, so check back from time to time.  It is a great, free festival with many stages.

The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles have set their 39th Spring Concert for Saturday, April 15 in Hermosa Beach.  A fiery program of marches, strathspeys, reels and jigs in the rousing Scottish tradition will be performed by the 30-member orchestra featuring fiddles, cellos, basses, drums, piano, harps, accordions, whistles, bagpipes, dancers, and Gaelic and Welsh song.  This year’s special guests will be Stepwise, with Liam Lewis and Olivia Breidenthal.  The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Hermosa Beach Community Theater, 710 Pier Ave.  Tickets are now available online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5716757.   For adults, they are $15 plus a $2.39 service fee for general admission, or $25 plus a $2.99 fee for preferred seating.  Children under 18 get in free.  For more information, email [email protected], or call 310-266-8080.

The Hollywood Bowl’s 2023 events schedule has quite a diverse line up of concerts from this month into November.  Can you get more “Americana” than Willie Nelson (April 29 & 30) or Buddy Guy (Sept. 6)?  Perhaps: The L.A. Philharmonic will be playing songs by Duke Ellington on July 13 and will team with Chris Thile to debut a new mandolin concerto by Thiele in an Aug. 22 program that will also include Aaron Copland‘s Appalachian Spring suite and the world premier of a composition by Jonathan Bailey Holland.  You may be familiar with ace mandolinist Chris Thile as Garrison Keillor’s successor hosting “Prairie Home Companion” on public radio or as a founding member of the bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers.  He delighted a Hollywood Bowl audience in 2020 teaming with Yo-Yo Ma on cello, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and Edgar Meyer on bass, in the “Goat Rodeo Sessions.”  Single tickets for the Aug. 22 concert go on sale May 2 or can be purchased now as part of various Hollywood Bowl packages through this linkThile grew up a child bluegrass phenom with the San Diego-based group Nickel Creek, and will reunite with bandmates Sara and Sean Watkins on a national tour starting this month.  They won’t reach California until October, when they play a pair of shows at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.  Their new album, Celebrants, has just been released.

At L.A.’s other famous outdoor amphitheater, the Greek Theater in Griffith Park, some singer-songwriter shows that are not yet sold out include Dwight Yoakum and Emmylou Harris on May 18, Elvis Costello on June 16, and Van Morrison with Taj Mahal on Sept. 17 and 19.

OK, so if the hammered dulcimer music by John McCutcheon makes you feel dancy, but you’re shy about your terpsichorean skills, help is on the way.  Find information at this link about signing up for a free introductory class in “freestyle flatfoot clogging,” via Zoom, on Monday, April 17, at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.  Aubrey Atwater will lead the lesson, presented in collaboration with the John C. Campbell Folk School and Lessonface.  If you enjoy that class, or if you miss it, you can follow up with a not-free series of freestyle flatfoot clogging classes on Wednesdays in May.

Joni Mitchell was awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize in a program on PBS this past week, with a fine cast of singers and musicians presenting a healthy dose of her fine songs, along with words of high praise.  You can watch it here.

Caltech has some fine programs coming up, most of them free.  The Caltech Jazzfest will be outside in the Hameetman Patio on campus on Saturday, April 15.  Find out about the other programs here.