Featured Teaching Artist
Sam Edelston is on a quest to make dulcimers as popular as flutes and fiddles. His mountain dulcimer videos have been viewed more than 900,000 times as of this writing, embracing much of the rock and pop spectrum, plus bluegrass, bossa nova, Sousa, opera, and more. On acoustic and electric dulcimer, he often makes his three strings sound like more than one instrument, and has gained a reputation as an innovative arranger. Sam has performed and taught at a variety of festivals and other venues around the Northeast, and is becoming a popular performer in other parts of the country, with his 2020 schedule including the Colorado Dulcimer Festival, Delta Blues Dulcimer Revival (MS), Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering (CA), FabFest (a Beatles festival in North Carolina), and Kentucky Music Week. He is chair of the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival in his home state of Connecticut.
“This is one of the 5 coolest things I’ve ever seen/heard on dulcimer … and the other 4 were all with Sam as well!” — Dulcimer master Tull Glazener, after seeing a video of Sam performing “I Can See Clearly Now” with Nicki Parrott’s jazz trio.
“With his complex layered arrangements of so many genres of music for the dulcimer, Sam has added a huge chapter to the development of the mountain dulcimer as a versatile and ever growing musical American folk instrument.” — Dulcimer legend Joellen Lapidus, writing at Folkworks.org
“As zany as Sam is, he is a patient, knowledgeable, caring teacher also experienced, smart, creative, etc.” — Workshop student
Celebrating 40 Dulcimer-Filled Years, Steve Eulberg continues to produce the “Smile inducing, toe-tapping, thought-provoking folkgrass” which is how reviewers describe this award-winning instrumentalist and songwriter’s music. He weaves together age-old songs and tunes with new melodies and contemporary lyrics accompanied by dulcimers and more. His 2019 recording, Between the Tracks, has him returning to his guitar roots with a collection of original fingerstyle compositions.
“I live for the ‘aha!’ experiences that people have and am dedicated to helping people enjoy their musical explorations on their instruments and share them with others,” Eulberg says. Students respond enthusiastically to his engaging style and warm sense of humor, making him in demand at festivals across the USA.
Award-winner in the national mountain dulcimer contest at Winfield, he is also a multiple finalist in the national hammered dulcimer contest. His music has been included in the Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Compilations, Great Players of the Mountain Dulcimer, and has been featured on PBS’ RoadTrip Nation, United Airlines Inflight Audio and NPR. He tours as a solo performer and with the duos Fiddle Whamdiddle (with Vi Wickam) and Steve & Erin Mae (with Erin Mae Lewis).
Active in the San Francisco Chapter of NARAS (Grammys), Locals 6 & 1000 AFM (Traveling Musicians), Eulberg owns Owl Mountain Music, Inc., was the first guitar instructor on JamPlay.com, plus co-owner and teacher at dulcimercrossing.com.
Deborah “DJ” Hamouris
Executive Director & Founder
Deborah (DJ to her friends) is a performer, songwriter, teacher, recording artist, choral director, and community music organizer. She teaches mountain dulcimer classes at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse; directs the singing group Women & Song; and teaches mountain dulcimer, and songwriting. Deborah founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering at The Freight in 2013, continuing to its 8th annual event in May, 2020. With Steve Eulberg, she co-founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra in 2014, currently in its 8th season. Musically versatile, she performs as a jazz vocalist as well as a traditionally-influenced songsmith on her dulcimer.
DJ has seven recordings, the most recent being a collaboration with renowned guitarist, Mimi Fox — “1 in 8,” songs written during her year as a breast cancer patient. This music accompanies their theatrical show of the same name, including personal stories from a patient’s perspective. Indian Summer, a book of her original music and arrangements was released in 2019, celebrating her 40th year with the dulcimer.
DJ lives in her Oakland craftsman cottage with Buffalo. When time and the cat permit, she knits. Learn more about DJ at djhamouris.com
Dusty grew up strumming guitar and singing “Kum Ba Ya” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” before it was a cliché. A professional historian, Dusty discovered the dulcimer several years ago and has been doing his best to make up for lost time. He founded River City Dulcimers, a group of musical friends that meets monthly in Sacramento and is also a Moderator at the popular website Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer. Dusty has been a regular at folk music events around Northern California, currently offers private lessons at The Strum Shop in Roseville, and has completed two books of mountain dulcimer tablature: Lullabies from Around the World for the beginning player and Songs of Old Albion & Erin: Ballads, Airs, and Dances from the 16th to the 18th Centuries with intermediate-level arrangements of tunes from the early modern British Isles. His lessons, arrangements, and compositions combine a respect for traditional sounds with a modern, blues-influenced sensibility.
Holly Tannen was given a dulcimer by her first boyfriend for her seventeenth birthday. It helped her get over her adolescent shyness, and she adapted the dulcimer to backing up traditional ballads and fiddle tunes.
She moved to England in 1974, playing and singing around the folk clubs. She returned to Berkeley in 1980 and went on to get her master’s degree in folklore. Holly now specializes in English and Scottish ballads, seasonal songs, and her own satirical songs about life in Mendocino.
Holly’s CDs include Between the Worlds, Rime of the Ancient Matriarch, and Crazy Laughter: Seven Years with the Spirit of Arthur Rimbaud.
Kay has been involved with music all her life. She started out with flute and got her bachelor’s degree in music education. When jaw issues made playing flute a problem she went looking for a new instrument. A few years on the celtic harp and then a few on the hammer dulcimer ended when Kay found her true love, the mountain dulcimer. She began teaching dulcimer in Los Osos (near San Luis Obispo) when she couldn’t find people to play with. Now there is a thriving small mountain dulcimer group meeting weekly on the California Central Coast! Her fellow dulcimer players range in age from 3 to mid-80s, though the seniors definitely tip the scale.
Laura Devine Burnett
Laura Devine Burnett (Santa Cruz, CA) has been playing dulcimer, and singing for over 40 years. Her first teacher was Joellen Lapidus, at McCabes Guitar studio, in Santa Monica, Ca. Laura enjoys teaching, and passing it on to students, ranging in ages from 10yrs – 80+! She started attending Redwood Dulcimer Day 20 years ago in Bonny Doon, CA, where she began to hold a dulcimer jam circle in between. That tradition is anticipated each year by students of all levels and abilities.
Laura and her musical partner, Jayme Kelly Curtis, formed the band “Dulcimer Girls”, playing together in mixed modes for 10 years at the American River Music Festival, Don Quixote’s Music Hall, and Santa Cruz Musem of Art & History. Watch their video of Old Ways, here.
Laura was featured in the documentary, Hearts of the Dulcimer. She plays Capritaurus and Folk Roots dulcimers.