Tag: Willimantic

Backyard Music

Last March, I traveled to Backyard Music in Willimantic, Connecticut, to pick up my first handmade folk harp.

(Short audio at the end.)

Willimantic is famous for its frogs, which greet you as you travel across the town’s main bridge.
True to its name, the Backyard Music Shop is behind the owner’s colorful Victorian home.
Owner and musical instrument maker, Dave Magnuson, has been creating harps, banjos and dulcimers here for 35 years.
Dave has a wide variety of unique instruments in his shop, both old and new.

An hourglass shaped dulcimer hangs beside a plainer trapezoidal dulcimer. On the far left, a banjo is fashioned from a wooden box.
Dozens of harp necks stand ready to have strings added. Note the circular banjo soundboxes on the far left.
Here’s my new harp. The wooden neck is strung with 22 strings, and the soundboard is made of heavy duty cardboard. I’ve named it Maeve, which means “she who rules”. In Irish Mythology Maeve is a queen.
All harpers learn “Scarborough Fair”. Here’s my early recording of that famous folksong from the Middle Ages. Maeve and I were getting to know each other at that time.