Sam Edelston is one of the few mountain dulcimer players actively focusing on bringing that sweet, traditional instrument into contemporary music. With just 3 strings, playing either acoustic or electric, he covers every stage of rock music from the '50s to today, plus country, bluegrass, blues, a smattering of older "standards," and assorted other styles -- and makes the songs sound like they were written for the instrument. His videos have been viewed over 400,000 times, in over 190 countries.
In addition, he sings, plays guitar and 5-string banjo, and will occasionally break out some of the several hundred songs he has written.
Price Range: Let's talk.
Sam Edelston believes that dulcimers are among the world's coolest musical instruments, and is on a mission to make them as well-known to the general public as harps and ukuleles.
He draws his musical inspiration from rock bands, symphony orchestras, modern a cappella, and anything else that crosses his path. His mountain dulcimer repertoire ranges from Gilbert & Sullivan to Sousa, African to Andrews Sisters, bossa nova to bluegrass, and especially all over the rock & roll spectrum.
His music videos have garnered over 400,000 views and been watched in more than 190 countries. He has performed or taught at a variety of festivals and other venues around the northeast United States. and as far away as Kentucky and Minnesota.
Sam started out in his early teens, playing guitar, singing, and making up songs. with a 10 song/month writing habit, he wrote his 400th song before finishing high school. (His major songwriting influences were Tom Lehrer, Shel Silverstein, and Dick Feller -- which probably explains a few things.) Over the years, he performed a lot on guitar and banjo, and occasionally hammered dulcimer, before getting hooked on the mountain dulcimer.
He says, "A guitar has 6 strings, you have 5 fingers. You're outnumbered. A dulcimer has 3 strings, you have 5 fingers. Nice student/faculty ratio. Paradoxically, having only 3 strings can be an advantage." In fact, he adds, the dulcimer is a natural rock & roll instrument, even though most other players stick close to its folkie roots.
WHAT HAVE OTHER PEOPLE SAID ABOUT HIM?
"Displaying a frightening amount of rock mojo for a guy who seems fairly quiet and unassuming, Edelston used his amplified three-string mountain dulcimer to roar his way through ‘Whole Lotta Love’ without so much as breaking a sweat. After watching this, we’re ready to jump in a van and follow Edelston around on tour."
"'You can't do that on a dulcimer!' Well, maybe you can't but Sam Edelston can. Sam has taken the mountain dulcimer from its backwoods Appalachian origins to places most players never dreamed of. From Sousa to Sinatra to Led Zeppelin. His instruments range from the traditional diatonic 3-string to a fully chromatic electric with wah-wah pedal. Sam is a brilliant and innovative player, and no slouch on the guitar either."
-- The Folk Project
"Wow. Beautiful version."
-- Chris Frantz. Talking Heads drummer, commenting on Sam's cover of Psycho Killer
"Connecticut resident Sam Edelston is a dulcimer wizard who has used the old-time instrument to cover classic rock songs in the past. We're in awe of one of his most recent covers as he does a bang-up job of tackling Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love.'"
"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
"I've never heard a dulcimer sound so much like a guitar before."
-- Jose Feliciano.
"Rosie's daddy came in and sang to us today. He was so much fun. Can he be my daddy, too?"
-- Rebecca, age 4
Past Booked Events
|March 26, 2018 • 7:30pm - 7:45pm||Concert|
|October 14, 2017 • 9:00am - 10:30pm||Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, Milford, CT|
|October 13, 2017 • 3:30pm - 10:30pm||Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival, Milford, CT|
|August 12, 2017 • 9:00am - 10:00pm||August Dulcimer Daze, West Dover, VT|
|June 30, 2017 • 8:45am - 5:00pm||Kentucky Music Week - 4 week-long classes|
|June 29, 2017 • 8:45am - 5:00pm||Kentucky Music Week - 4 week-long classes|
|June 28, 2017 • 8:45am - 5:00pm||Kentucky Music Week - 4 week-long classes|
|June 27, 2017 • 8:45am - 5:00pm||Kentucky Music Week - 4 week-long classes|
|June 26, 2017 • 8:45am - 5:00pm||Kentucky Music Week - 4 week-long classes|
|May 27, 2017 • 3:15pm - 4:15pm||Folk Project Acoustic Getaway Weekend, NJ|
|May 20, 2017 • 4:00pm - 5:15pm||May Fair, Cos Cob School, Cos Cob, CT|
|May 06, 2017 • 12:00pm - 2:00pm||North Mianus School Pow-Wow, Riverside, CT|
|March 05, 2017 • 9:00am - 12:30pm||Mountain Dulcimer Music Festival, Latham, NY|
|March 04, 2017 • 9:15am - 10:00pm||Mountain Dulcimer Music Festival, Latham, NY|
Influences & Inspiration
Beethoven symphonies ... Looney Tunes soundtracks ... Tom Lehrer ... Elvis ... American Top 40 ...
Bobby Bare's "Lullabyes, Legends & Lies" album ... NJ folkie Mike Agranoff ...
little-known hammered dulcimer genius Nick Krukovsky ... Guy Van Duser ... Stanley Jordan ...
Kazuhito Yamashita's classical guitar rendition of "Pictures at an Exhibition" ... Ernie Kovacs ... modern a cappella ...
Robert Force, who first put an electric mountain dulcimer in my hands.
And my parents, who, no matter how awful I sounded in the early days, either never told me, or never realized it.
Depending on the situation, I can be an acoustic act with a vocal mic and instrument mic ... or an electric dulcimer with two pedalboards ... or a soloist who sets up like a 3-piece band.
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