Deborah “D.J.” Hamouris and I both got swept up in the California dulcimer revival of the 1970s. And while I left California and went a different direction, she stayed in the Bay Area with its nurturing folk music community, involved with and for some time living in the mingled music/arts/Pagan semi-commune called Annwfn. Over the years she has performed, written, and even directed some amazing dulcimer music, much of it captured on seven albums, the latest of which, “1 In 8” she wrote and recorded with collaborator Mimi Fox to celebrate her passage through breast cancer and in honor of all the women – one in eight – who get it.
Indian Summer is a music book, but so much more. It’s a distillation of the life of a musician. Sure, it has both standard musical notation and dulcimer tablature for 23 songs plus – this is so cool! – links to recordings of most of them you can listen to or download. What a great way to learn the songs if like me you can read the tablature but not the musical notation, or even if you play only by ear. Or if you read music but want to learn the nuances of Deborah’s version. But it also has several short essays – what they used to call “think pieces,” accompanied by photos, with such titles as “On Being a Late Bloomer” and “10 Practice Tips” (very good, those!) and “On Practice.” My favorite is “On Messing Around,” Deborah’s thoughts on the process of composing music. There are a few bugs in my copy, things only a perfectionistic writer like me would notice, but I'm assured they've been addressed in later printings.
Indian Summer is a lovely to addition the libraries of lovers of folk music, especially dulcimer music, whether or not you play. It took me back to a happier, gentler time in my life.
Dana Corby 2/7/2020
I was given a copy of Indian Summer by the author. The fact that it was a gift has not influenced my opinion.
I like this book because some songs use the middle and bass strings for the melody. Also some of the duets have complex harmony parts -- and are not just written to be a melody back-up.