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Let the deep happiness of Christmas flow into your home and heart through these melodies.
These timeless carols sparkle with the strings of hammer dulcimer and Celtic harp, and are further enhanced by violin, pennywhistle, the traditional "button-box" accordion and more.
May the "Blessings of Christmas" fill you with warmth, love and deep joy.
Dimensions: 5" x 5.625"
Details: CD, 54 minutes
Artist: Tim Kretzmann and Rick Toles
Rick & Tim,
Just got a copy of "Christmas Blessings". Great sound! The dulcimer is perfect, but the harp is what makes the album sing!
Best of luck on future endeavors.
Thanks for your interest in Joyfull Strings. People often think the hammer dulcimer might be too difficult to learn to play, so I thought I'd tell you how I got playing. In the early '80s, I realized that a person could spend a significant amount of time in front of a television set and have nothing to show for it, so I determined to do something else with my precious spare time.
One day I walked into a music store to buy strings for my wife's guitar and there was a man sitting in front of this strange instrument, beating away at it. A magical sound filled the shop. I was transfixed! Shortly after, I carried the instrument home and was soon hammering out a few simple tunes, despite my scant musical background. I learned a few fiddle tunes and was soon occasionally sitting in with a friend's contra dance band. Wherever I played people loved the joyful sound of the hammer dulcimer. I was completely self taught up to that point. Then I came across some instructional audio tapes for the hammer dulcimer. These really helped to improve my playing by expanding my repertoire and teaching many techniques that I could incorporate into my playing. Through all of this I've had a family and a woodworking business taking up my time, so when I was lucky, I could practice my hammer dulcimer 15-30 minutes a day, but at other times I'd get that much time to play in a week.
A few years later Rick, already an accomplished musician, came along and we soon were working evenings and weekends trying to make a better-sounding and better-looking hammer dulcimer. More than one of our early experiments went into the wood stove to heat the shop. Now we feel like we've got a line of beautiful instruments that have a rich, full tone and are an excellent value. Nearly anyone can learn to play the hammer dulcimer, if you can commit 10-15 minutes of practice a day. It's very rewarding to learn to play an instrument that can so quickly fill your home with happy music.