1. Pleasant Hill Neal Hellman
(Arranged by William Coulter, Neal Hellman, Steve Coulter, & Barry Phillips)
This song is in the voice of a Shaker woman who had recently joined the community and was longing for her daughter. When a family joined the Shakers, they were separated to better integrate each member into the Shaker fold. However, this was often emotionally disastrous for family members. I wrote this song shortly after staying at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village. I was housed in the restored building, known to the guides at the village as “the Crying House,” where women were placed after being separated from their husbands and children.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Cello: Barry Phillips; English Horn: Shelley Phillips; Hammer Dulcimer: Robin Petrie; Violin: Susan French.
2. Gabham Molta Bríde / Breton Tune Traditional Irish & Traditional Breton
According to legend, St. Bridget was the daughter of Dubhthach, a chieftain of Ireland, and Brocca, a slave at his court. Bridget was born in 452 A.D. near Dundalk in County Louth. She set up her famous Convent of Cill-Dara (Kildare) in 468. Bridget was lovingly called the “Queen of the South” and the “Mary of the Gael,” and according to The Book of Armagh, she enjoyed a wonderful friendship with St. Patrick. Bridget died February 1, 525.
I learned this hymn from Celtic diva Mary Mc Laughlin.
I learned the second piece, “Breton Tune,” from the Portals of Grace, recorded by inspired hammer dulcimer player Azam Ali.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Cello: Barry Phillips; Nyckelharpa: Olaf Johansson; Oboe & English horn: Shelley Phillips;
Electric Guitar: Shiloh Hellman.
3. Breton Lullaby (Kas Abarh) - Traditional Breton
From the playing of the Irish group Danú, who learned the tune from Ronan Pellen, a great bouzouki player who is a member of the exciting band Skeduz
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Celtic Harp: Kim Robertson; Wooden Flute: Lars Johannesson; Cello: Barry Phillips.
4. Liam’s March Neal Hellman
Written for my favorite uilleann piper, Liam O’Flynn. Liam was an original member of the group Planxty and has over fifty albums to his credit including The Pipers Call and The Brendan Voyage, an orchestral piece conducted by Noel Kelehan and composed by Shaun Davey.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Wooden Flute: George Grasso; Electric Guitar: Shiloh Hellman; Cello: Barry Phillips; Button Accordion: Seán Óg Graham.
5. Emma’s Waltz Traditional Finnish
This traditional waltz from Finland features the long-awaited Appalachian dulcimer and Swedish nyckelharpa duet!
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Cello: Barry Phillips; Nyckelharpa: Olaf Johansson; Wooden Flute: Lars Johannesson.
6. L’amour de moy Traditional French Song
This beautiful French love song is from the 15th century Le Manuscript de Bayeux. Our version is based on the arrangement by Charlie Haden and Hank Jones from their inspired recording Steal Away: Spirituals, Hymns and Folk Songs (Verve Records, 1995).
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Oboe: Shelley Phillips; Celtic Harp: Kim Robertson; Cello: Barry Phillips.
7. Heroes of St. Valery / Farewell to the Creeks
Pipe Major Donald Maclean / Pipe Major James “Pipie” Robertson
“The Heroes of St. Valery” is a retreat march, written by Pipe Major Donald MacLean from Lewis. He was a member of the 51st Highland Division, part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in 1939. Although the division fought with great gallantry against the German offensive, it was eventually forced to surrender at Saint-Valery-en-Caux. In 1944 after the Allies landed in Normandy, the 51st Highland Division was allowed the satisfaction of liberating Saint-Valery. The tune was first played at the Highland Brigade gathering in Edinburgh in 1947.
Pipe Major James “Pipie” Robertson of Boyne wrote “Farewell to the Creeks” while he was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War I. This melody was the inspiration for the Hamish Henderson song “Banks of Sicily,” also known as “The 51st Highland Regiment’s Farewell to Sicily.” In the early 1960s Hamish Henderson’s song “Banks of Sicily” inspired Richard Fariña to write the instrumental “Hamish,” which was my inspiration to record this tune with Scottish small pipes and autoharp. Isn’t music wonderful!
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Scottish Small Pipes: David Brewer; Autoharp: Karen Muller.
8. Sliabh na mBan (The Mountain of the Women) Traditional Irish
Sliabh na mBan is a mountain located in the southern part of County Tipperary, Ireland.
Legend has it that Fionn mac Cumhall (Finn McCool) sat at the top of this mountain, as many women raced up its slopes to gain his love. His favorite was a woman named Gráinne, and Finn told her of a shortcut up the mountain, which she took and won the legendary Irish hero’s love. The song “Sliabh na mBan” was written to honor the Irish who were slain on the mountain during the 1798 uprising against the English. On July 23, 1798, English General Sir Charles Asgill marched from Kilkenny and defeated and slaughtered a contingent of United Irishmen. Some sources credit poet Mícheál Óg Ó Longáin (17661837) as the writer of the lyrics for this song.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Cello’s & Arrangement: Barry Phillips; Button Accordion: Seán Óg Graham.
9. Polka Medley Traditional Irish and Finnish
“John Brosnan’s Polka” followed by “Daley’s Polka” and ending with “The Finnish Polka” Irish singer Éilís Kennedy taught William Coulter “John Brosnan’s Polka” and “Daley’s Polka.” “The Finnish Polka” is also known as “Leva’s Polka” and was recorded by a Finnish group called Loituma.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Wooden Flute: George Grasso; Fiddle: Deby Benton Grosjean; Button Accordion: Seán Óg Graham.
10. Lauda di Pomodoro Neal Hellman
I was raised in New York City, and the tomato was simply not my favorite fruit. However, my first bite of the dry-farmed Molino Creek tomato made me realize all the pleasure that lies within the tomato experience. Bella, bellissima, pomodoro!
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Celtic Harp: Kim Robertson; Wooden Flute: Lars Johannesson; Cello: Barry Phillips.
11. Tuileries Richard Fariña (Warner Brothers Music)
Poet, author, and musician Richard Fariña (19371966) was my initial inspiration to play the dulcimer. Fariña used the dulcimer both as a vehicle for his poetry and to create many of his inspired instrumentals. In 1965 Richard and his wife, Mimi Baez, recorded two wonderful albums for Vanguard Records: Celebrations for a Gray Day and Reflections in a Crystal Wind. Fariña wrote “Tuileries” while busking with his dulcimer in Paris at the Jardin des Tuileries.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Percussion: Marc Anderson; Mandolin: Karen Muller.
12. Periwinkle Neal Hellman
The color periwinkle is considered a pastel indigo and derives its name from the myrtle herb Vinca minor. I find this color to be quite comforting especially when it adorns a woman’s form. I wrote this one in New Zealand. I started composing it in Motueka and completed the tune on Stewart Island.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Fiddle: Deby Benton Grosjean; Cello: Barry Phillips; Harp: Verlene Schermer.
13. Pretty Saro / I Will Bow and Be Simple Traditional / Shaker
According to folklorist Dorothy Scarborough “Pretty Saro” might date back to 1747
and is related to the Irish song “Bunclody.” It also has a melody similar to the English song “Batchelor’s Hall.” I always associate the song with Jean Ritchie, who brought the dulcimer out of the Appalachians and into the early New York City folk scene.
“I Will Bow and Be Simple” is a Shaker song and a variant of the old song “Willow Tree.” This song was received at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village
(New York) in about 1843. Mary Hazzard transcribed this version around 1850.
Dulcimer: Neal Hellman; Guitar: William Coulter; Fiddle: Deby Benton Grosjean;
Cello: Barry Phillips; Autoharp: Karen Muller; Hammer Dulcimer: Robin Petrie.