Karen Ashbrook | Starry Starry

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Starry Starry

by Karen Ashbrook

A Fantasia of American, Celtic, Asian and classical lullabies on solo hammered dulcimer. Music for relaxation.
Genre: New Age: Solo Instrumental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. First Star
2:08 $0.99
2. Westlin Winds
3:56 $0.99
3. Manx Milking Song
4:01 $0.99
4. Mist Covered Mountains of Home
5:45 $0.99
5. Carolan's Cup
4:29 $0.99
6. Land of Dreams: Toraji Taryong/ Arirang
3:44 $0.99
7. Jasmine Flower
2:29 $0.99
8. Japanese Lullabies
6:06 $0.99
9. Gartan Mother's Lullaby
3:52 $0.99
10. Sweet Bridgets
5:37 $0.99
11. Pretty Little Horses
4:55 $0.99
12. The Water Is Wide
4:16 $0.99
13. Fais Dodo, Lola Ma Belle
3:33 $0.99
14. Jupiter
3:29 $0.99
15. The Swan
2:50 $0.99
16. Starry Starry
6:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Starry, Starry annotated LINER NOTES
Starry Starry
Celestial Music from the Heart
A Fantasia of American, Celtic, Asian and classical lullabies on solo hammered dulcimer

1. The First Star – just a glimpse of Starry, Starry (©2012 Dave Wiesler)
2. Weslin Winds (Robert Burns, 1759-1796) is a song of many birds and hunting.
We'll gently walk and sweetly talk
Till the silent moon shines clearly

3. Manx Milking Song Arrane Ben-vlieaun (traditional Manx)
I found this in a collection of songs from the Isle of Man, Ree ny Marrey, edited by Fenella Bazin, Nelson Press Co.Ltd.,1994.

4. Mist Covered Mountains of Home (Scottish). This was a song written in Scots Gaelic in 1856 by John Cameron. You can read about it and the lyrics here. It was used in the movie Local Hero (1983).
In more recent years there is a beautiful set of lullaby lyrics about the Highland clearances written to this melody “Hush, Hush” by Scottish singer song writer Jim McLean.

5. Carolan’s Cup (Turlough Carolan, 1670-1738).
This was the title track on my 2006 live recording “Spring Will Come” with lyrics I set to it. I had the great fortune to play weekly at our local veterans hospital the first few months of 2015, thanks to the tireless dedication of Carolyn Surrick. She played this in a different key and I discovered new delights with the melody. Learn more about Carolyn and Ensemble Galilei here.

JASMINE DREAMS: Lullabies from the Far East
6. The Land of Dreams --Toraji Taryon / Arirang (Korean)
Just as there are many stars in the clear sky,
There are also many dreams in our heart.
Whenever I am providing therapeutic music to people from other cultures, I always ask if they have a favorite song from their country of origin. That is how I came to learn these two very well known and loved folksongs. When I play for Koreans, their children and grandchildren will sing along the songs that were sung to them as children, bringing smiles through tears to all who hear them!

7. Jasmine Flower Mo Li Hua (18th century Chinese)
The hammered dulcimer was introduced to China from the west and thus earned the name “zither from the West” or yang qin. It is a standard folk and classical instrument and is factory made in both Mainland China and Taiwan. This version of the melody of Mo Li Hua came from Kim Murley’s book Purple Bamboo. Kim is an American who studied yang qin in a music conservatory in China.

8. 'Kōjō no Tsuki” (The Moon over the Ruined Castle) by Rentarō Taki (1879-1903) / Itsuki Lullaby/ Takeda Lullaby (Japanese)
My world travels have brought me to Japan many times. I made friends playing Appalachian music, who were developing an interest in hammered dulcimer. Despite the dulcimer’s spread round the world north of the equator, it never developed in Japan. On two separate trips, I left in Japan Chinese yang qins that I had bought in a department store in Hong Kong. On returning for a tour in 2013, I was amazed and delighted to teach and play with dozens of dulcimer players, some inspired by meeting me long ago! Itsuki no Komoriuta (lullaby) is from the southern island of Kyūshū. My friend Mutsumi Hagiiwa (a famous manga artist and dulcimer player) suggested the other two. The two lullabies in this medley both have poor, unhappy protagonists who are nannies to rich people, making one think that the concept of a lullaby in Japan might be quite different than in the west (where we sing about things like babies falling from trees, broken gifts and wreaking havoc)!

9. Gartan Mother’s Lullaby (Irish)
Gartan is a small town in County Donegal in the north of Ireland. This old melody was collected in the early 20th century by Herbert Hughes and then had lyrics written for it by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil. It was first published in 1904 in Songs of Uladh (Ulster).

10. Sweet Bridgets: Bridget Cruise - Third Air/ Bridget O’Malley (Irish)
Two melodies devoted to beloved but unattainable Bridgets. The first by Turlough O’Carolan and the second traditional, learned from Connie McKenna and Sue Richards, in Ceoltóirí, my Celtic trio on the Maggie’s Music label.

11. The Water is Wide - the melody and various lyrics were collected from a Mrs. Cox by Cecil Sharpe in Somerset, England, some dating back to the Scottish broadside song “O Waly, waly” and popularized as an American folk song by Pete Seeger. For more on the history visit http://www.justanothertune.com/html/wateriswide.html. This was another tune favorite when I was subbing with Trio Galilei at the local veterans’ hospital!

12. Pretty Little Horses an American folk lullaby I learned from the late harper, Kira Davis, a former band member of King David’s Harp.

Hush-a-by, Don't you cry
Go to sleep, you little baby
When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses
Dapples and grays, pintos and bays
All the pretty little horses
Hush-a-by, Don't you cry
Go to sleep, you little baby
When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses

13. Fais Dodo, Lola Ma Belle (Breton) learned from “Folk Lullabies of the World” Barbara & Michael Cass-Beggs, Oak Publications, 1969. This book has given me several pretty tunes to use in my therapeutic music work!

14. Jupiter (Gustov Holst, 1874-1934) Thaxted was Holst’s home village in England and his name for a melody that he later used for the Jupiter theme in his Planets Suite. It was later used as the melody for the popular British hymn God and Country as well as other hymns.

15. The Swan – Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) wrote Le Cygne as part of the Carnival of Animals Suite.

16. Starry Starry (©2012 Dave Wiesler)
The first time Dave brought this tune to our dance band Cabaret Sauvignon (motto - “We’re a party not a drink!”), I found myself swept away by its beauty and harmonies. In performing round the globe I find it touches the heart of all who hear it. Dave wrote it in honor of Warren Argo, a beloved contra dance caller and old-timey musician on the West Coast.

All tunes are traditional unless otherwise noted. All arrangements ©2015 Karen Ashbrook.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow, Takoma Park, MD.
Production help Charlie Pilzer. Help in the studio Elizabeth Benforado
Recorded on a Nicholas Blanton Compact Chromatic Hammered Dulcimer with Ashbrook tuning
Graphic Artist: Orion Weiss

This CD is dedicated with love to my mother Patricia Ashbrook – a truly great woman and my greatest support and friend. I hope this music brings you peace.

Special thanks to my friends: Dave Wiesler for his beautiful tune; Mutsumi Hagiiwa, Kenji Komatsuzaki, Atsushi & Michiyo Iguchi and the committee that organized my 2013 Japan tour; Jonathan Jensen for bass line help with The Swan; the Music for Healing and Transitions Program (mhpt.org) and Bob Flory for introducing me to MHTP; Orion Weiss who has been very generous with her time, talent and friendship; Studio Wizard Charlie Pilzer; friend and Right-Hand Woman in the Studio Elizabeth Benforado; Connie McKenna and Sue Richards of Ceoltóirí; Maggie Sansone; and my patient husband Paul Oorts who holds my heart and is my home.

Note from the Artist
The first time I saw the dulcimer I was enchanted, but I began playing dulcimer because I wanted to play Appalachian dance music with friends – and I was able to build a dulcimer, so I could afford it. I loved dancing and the music was fast, rhythmic and hypnotic! Later, through travels and hearing other traditions, I expanded my repertoire, inspired by an instant, deep, lifelong love with Irish music. The search for Irish music led me to travel round the world and eventually to move to the Washington, DC area. Through the dulcimer world, I was introduced to the Music for Healing and Transitions Program (mhtp.org) and became a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) in 2013, providing therapeutic music at the bedside for the sick and dying. My music was changing, deepening, slowing down, breathing and inspiring a different kind of movement-relaxation, letting go, sleep. As the music simplified and I began playing for patients one on one, a strange thing happened. Almost 40 years into playing the dulcimer I discovered a new love- the beauty of the instrument. After all my years dancing and delighting in the many textures and ways to play in ensemble with it as a percussion instrument, I was falling in love anew! And so I offer you the gift of beautiful music for rejuvination and healing. Not a bad way to celebrate my 40th anniversary of playing this delightful companion!
Karen Ashbrook, Certified Music Practitioner (CMP)

Visit my webpage for Music for the Spirit- Healing Hammered Dulcimer Music.
For my public performance schedule visit my calendar page.

Thanks to my webmistress Roberta McClimens for setting up this webpage!



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