Growing up in a folk revival household in New York City in the 1950’s, it was natural for Mark Gilston to gravitate to traditional music. He learned to play guitar at age 5 from his sister, and started piano lessons later that year. His parents acquired a dulcimer from Homer Ledford in the 1940’s. In his youth, Mark gained a love of traditional American ballads and Old-Time songs and instrumentals from recordings and from his father, who often sang the old ballads which he had learned in his youth in Appalachia. From his early years in college, Mark was often playing these tunes and accompanying himself on the mountain dulcimer.
He bought his own dulcimer in college and began performing in public in 1971 singing and playing dulcimer, guitar and Bulgarian bagpipes. Two years later he added English concertina to his instrument repertoire. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Folklore, Mark went to graduate school at SUNY Binghamton and ended up settling there until 1994. Sometime in the early '90's he discovered Swedish spelman music and fell in love with the traditional fiddle music of Sweden. Rather than trying to learn yet another instrument, he began playing this music on concertina which he found was capable of playing the intricate harmonies of multiple fiddle parts. In 2004, Mark began adapting many of these lovely tunes to mountain dulcimer as well.
Mark has given concerts and workshops for numerous colleges, folk music organizations, clubs and festivals throughout the United States as well as England and Canada.
Mark has published fourteen CD’s and eight books of dulcimer tablature which can be purchased at his website: MarkGilston.com
Erin Mae Lewis
Carol Walker’s formal training includes a degree in Music Education, with majors in piano, harp, and voice. She was an active high school choral director in northern NJ for 32 years, and in 2003 was a recipient of the NJ Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award.
In 2008 she retired and moved on to her next adventure: Getting better acquainted with her Appalachian dulcimer! She began teaching dulcimer workshops, and soon became a popular workshop leader at festivals across the United States.
Carol’s six books of arrangements for mountain dulcimer are in wide use throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her first two books (Tailless Tunes and Tailless Tunes 2) contain dozens of traditional Manx melodies. Her arrangements of these unfamiliar Celtic-flavored tunes from the Isle of Man have been enthusiastically welcomed on this side of the Atlantic.
Next, she published a trilogy of instructional books (DNA* Dulcimer Ditties), designed to guide players from their very first simple tunes all the way up to advanced show-stoppers. Her long-awaited book of classical arrangements appeared in 2017: Classical Dulcimer for Wascally Wabbits, in which dulcimer players discover that they are already familiar with the best classical melodies, thanks to Bugs Bunny cartoons! Visit Carol's website at www.MusicLadyCarol.com.