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"Dulcimerhead’s music of myth and magic will set the stage for Summer Solstice Celebration"

By Alison Brownless
Arts and Entertainment
June 10, 2009

“With our music, we’re trying to capture the Norse experience of 1,000 years ago when they journeyed across the ocean,” said Rankine of his band, Dulcimerhead, which will be performing at Summer Solstice Celebration 2009 in Wainfleet.

The three-piece band includes percussionist Fernando Villalobos, lyricist Daniela Godina, and Rankine, who plays an hourglass-shaped stringed instrument called a mountain dulcimer.

While Rankine describes Dulcimerhead’s music as progressive rock, he said it incorporates musics from the Persian, Hungarian, Celtic and North American Aboriginal traditions, all of which were absorbed into Norse music when the Vikings encountered those peoples on their voyages in the 11th century AD.

“Nobody knows what Norse music sounded like a thousand years ago, but folk music is the same the world over,” said Rankine. “So the music we’re producing belongs to the human metaculture.”

He said he’s also interested in showcasing a softer side of the Norse people.

“Nobody’s really approached the social aspects of the culture,” he said. “People don’t think about the Norse farmers, or that it was Europe’s first democracy. The Icelandic community was also very egalitarian and balanced between the genders.”

To balance the genders in the group, chant poet and songwriter Godina joined Dulcimerhead less than a month ago.

“With our new record, we’ve tackled a more feminine side of the culture, especially with Daniela’s lyrics,” said Rankine.

The new album, Western Voyage Eastern Shore, highlights the myth, magic and exploration of the Norse people, and will be performed at the festival, said Rankine.

Festival organizer Nesrine “Nessie” Meral said Rankine and his music are a perfect fit for the event.

“There’s a beautiful connective feeling you get from his music,” said Meral. “Dulcimerhead has a very rich cultural and historical influence, and we’re thrilled they’re on board.”
- www.niagarathisweek.com

"Everett musician/artist hits the festival circuit"

by Rosaleen Egan
June 10, 2009

The alternative world music of Dulcimerhead invites visitors to experience a closer connection to themselves, each other, history and the Earth at two events this month - the Windfall Ecology Festival in Newmarket and the Vinland Viking Market and Summer Solstice Celebration, in Wainfleet, Ont.

David Rankine of Everett on mountain dulcimer is joined by percussionist Fernando Villalobos and chant poet Daniela Godina at the Windfall Ecology Festival, Fairy Lake Park in Newmarket, on Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14. Dulcimerhead opens each day at 10 a.m.

Rankine, also a celebrated visual artist, will have a booth at the Festival creating original works of wearable art in the form of hand-mixed natural henna tattoos designed to reflect the individual. His manual, Sacred Skin - Committing Intentional Acts of Henna, will be available for purchase as will his colouring books, CDs, art cards and other items.

Using his knowledge of old-world music, Rankine has produced a special Dulcimerhead CD, "Western Voyage, Eastern Shore", for the Solstice Celebration and Viking Feast, Sat., June 20, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., in Wainfleet Ont. The band will be performing live along with the Belarusian Viking Dance Troupe.

"Western Voyage, Eastern Shore", is the first Dulcimerhead CD to include the powerful voice and words of Daniela Godina of Bolton. The CD was intended to reflect the Norse exploration of Vinland, and the Norse Experience and interaction with other cultures. It has received interest from the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

Rankine said that while recording it, he became aware that "Western Voyage, Eastern Shore" represents "a new way of looking at the human experience - a new way of how we interact with ourselves, others, and the world around us."

- www.allistonherald.com

"A creative force"

Rosaleen Egan
April 30, 2009

Excerpt from "A creative force"

David Rankine is a professional creator. In a world of creators, he is distinguished by his extraordinary expression of original art and music. To experience either, is to be transformed.

Rankine is continually creating in one form or another, often multiple forms. He says, “The centre of an act of creativity is an expression of feeling. The longer I am an expressive artist, the more I see it is less about the tools. The cross-over into music doesn’t seem any different than expressing through art. Each holds patterns, colours, synthesis - the painting and the song are slightly different expressions of the same feeling. Every song and every painting has a feeling.”

A painting or a piece of music begins when Rankine is pulled to create and he is guided intuitively. He sits down with the intention - “I wish to create - and the mandala opens.” With a painting, he may start out with a small sketch that he takes to his drafting table and begins mapping out the larger patterns and then fills in. To have something fully planned out, Rankine considers to be death to the creative act.

He always paints while music is playing - often loud, rock music such as The Who. The movement toward expressing through music seems a natural progression or flow.

When he played bagpipes, it was always someone else’s music. He is not interested in that any more, and only plays his own music. Rankine composes strong pieces that contain echoes of rock, eastern sounds and Celtic rhythm.

In 2006, he and local musician and drum maker, Billy Fairley, formed East by West and recorded a CD, Trancemhor.

Rankine went on to various collaborative projects. Under Arathusa Records, he released All That Is (EP 2007), Gnosis (2007), Revealed Structure (2008), Sacred Sounds (2008), and Awakening the Heart (2008).

Since 2007, his band, Dulcimerhead, has been comprised of Rankine (mountain dulcimer) and Fernando Villalobos (percussion).

Villalobos and Rankine do not share any reference points when it comes to a musical background. Rankine grew up in the classic rock era, and learned Irish and Scots folk dancing. Villalobos is into speed and thrash metal rock.

The mix brings unexpected sound that works. They play against each other resulting in a very powerful experience of music. Rankine says playing with Villalobos, “Is like jumping off a precipice and landing together on a ledge”.

Dulcimerhead engaged audiences at the Illumination Ceremony at the Sharon Temple (Sacred Sounds CD music), at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Windfall Ecology Festival, Newmarket and several coffee houses and events in Southern Ontario. They are now recording a new CD, Dark Mandala.

The recording includes Villalobos moving from the djembe, to a full drum kit, making sound that seems like much more than two musicians. The songs, a collection about paradox, continue in the Dulcimerhead tradition of not manipulating audiences but rather “playing with pure intent so the emotions being expressed will resonate with the audience.”

The fascination with how things work, and the interconnectedness of all things, carries through all of Rankine’s work. His active paintings around a quiet centre are reflected in the meditation CDs, Revealed Structure and Awakening the Heart, that serve as guides to inner knowing and to finding a balanced centre amid the busy-ness of life.

Because of the inherent integrity of Rankine’s workshops, his art and his music, the observer is given open space to deepen a sense of self and the sense of belonging to, and influencing, a larger whole - to be a creator.

To commission pieces, buy paintings, CDs and other products, arrange or attend a workshop visit www.davidrankineart.com.

- www.southsimcoesideroads.com

"Everett musician releasing CD April 11"

BY Rosaleen Egan, Special April 02, 2009 17:04

Dulcimerhead, featuring David Rankine on mountain dulcimer and Fernando Villalobos on percussion, releases its newest CD, Dark Mandala at 7:30 p.m. Sat., April 11 at The Old Town Hall, Newmarket.

Earlier that day, Dulcimerhead is hosting a free event at the same location (11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) called Spirit Fest: A Celebration of Creativity.

It features interactive creative opportunities for the whole family with guest artists, musicians, healers, and a storyteller. Proceeds from a silent auction go to the York Region Food Network. A vegetarian dinner for $5 is available between events.

Rankine, recently featured in Sideroads of South Simcoe, is a visual artist and musician from Everett. His visual art explores the creative self and the interconnectedness of all things.

The term "sound art" comes to mind when experiencing the 11 tracks of Dark Mandala. Each track is a complete piece of music in itself, but there is no pause between them. One is connected to the other in a 58-minute continuous ride on rhythmic sound waves - stormy, calm, rolling, crashing, smooth, gentle, challenging, still. It is an unpredictable journey of discovery.

"This album is all about tension - the tension between things seen and unseen, heard and unheard, perceived and unperceived. It is about the pulse of expansion/retraction modelled by a mandala - a pulse that reflects personal growth and experience. The theme of penetrating the veil (illusion) is visited, as is the theme of existing and flourishing inside a duality (light and dark)," said Rankine.

Reflecting a certain duality that works, Villalobos and Rankine create a cohesive sound while coming from different musical and generational backgrounds.

Rankine played bagpipes for years and danced to Irish and Scots folk music. Other musical influences include Indo-Persian music, folk-prog, The Doors, Pink Floyd and The Who.

Villalobos has been part of the Toronto metal scene for several years since starting his first band at 17. He is drummer for the thrash metal group, Skorched and until co-creating the Dark Mandala pieces, played a djembe and other hand drums when playing with Rankine. With this CD he works his full drum kit.

Tickets to the release party are $20/person, $40/family. The cost includes a copy of the Dark Mandala CD. The Old Town Hall is located at 460 Botsford Street, Newmarket.

For more information about both events visit: www.davidrankineart.com/events. To purchase a CD: email godwind@bmts.com or call 705-435-9695.

- Alliston Herald


Western Voyage, Eastern Shore (June 2009)
Dark Mandala (April 2009)
Sacred Sound (September 2008)
Revealed Structure (October 2007)
Gnosis (June 2007)
All That Is EP (March 2007)

Also at http://radio3.cbc.ca/
For samples of music and LIVE video performance, please visit www.reverbnation.com/dulcimerhead.
Other music and info about the band at www.myspace.com/dulcimerhead1



Dulcimerhead invite their listeners on a fantastic journey.

Their exciting new "psychedelic folk" sound was made for Festivals.

The surprising synergy of dulcimer and djembe is powered by vocals and lyrics that make listeners think of Jefferson Airplane, or even The Doors, with a totally original and contemporary world beat.

Dulcimerhead offers a beautiful fusion of dulcimer, drums and soaring voice.

Progressive anthems like "Cup of Plenty" involve festival audiences in a vision of creative community. This music gives an intimate feel to even a large scale music event.

Dulcimerhead's music captured on recordings like Western Voyage, Eastern Shore marks a new direction for their psychedelic folk sound. But their true calling is live performance, often spontaneously improvised, speaking directly to the audience on many levels.

Drummer Fernando Villalobos, who also plays drums thrash-metal style in the band No Assembly Required, is known for his spontaneous djembe solos and inspired drum kit improvisation.

David Rankine, the band's founder and well-known Celtic artist, takes the traditional mountain dulcimer to electrified heights complete with wailing feedback, influenced by eclectic sources ranging from Ravi Shankar to Jimi Hendrix.

Daniela Godina, poet, artist and healer, pulls lyrics together with a voice that is described as "dark, haunting, and captivating, almost like a female Jim Morrison."

It all works; and when Dulcimerhead plays, people get happy.

To sum up: Dulcimerhead delivers original progressive rock/folk with a heart of pure thrash energy; equally at home in the coffeehouse with traditional-sounding original melodies, or unleashing a rocking stomp to rouse festival crowds.

The music is powerful, uplifting, joyous; often improvised, NEVER compromised.

This band has been a crowd-pleaser at festival venues such as the Words Alive Festival, Windfall Ecology Fest, Burlington Earth Art Festival, the Sharon Temple Illumination, and at more intimate venues like coffee houses, art galleries, schools and large private functions.

Dulcimerhead sends a strong message of positive, creative community-oriented action.

This band is a favourite of socially-conscious and arts-oriented groups, and has done fundraising work for the York Region Food Network.

Dulcimerhead also offers sound/rhythm workshops suitable for creative groups, corporate retreats and schools of all kinds.