Starry Starry Extended Liner Notes

1. First Star 

Like the first few stars that start to shine in the night sky, this tune is just a glimpse of the title track Starry, Starry by Dave Wiesler).

2. Westlin Winds (Robert Burns, 1759-1796) 

This is a song of many birds and hunting.  We'll gently walk and sweetly talk, till the silent moon shines clearly. 

3. Manx Milking Song -  Arrane Ben-vlieaun (traditional Manx) 

I found this in a collection of songs from the Isle of Man, Ree ny Marrey, edited by Fenella Bazin, Nelson Press Co.Ltd.,1994. 

4. Mist Covered Mountains of Home (Scottish) 

John Cameron wrote this song written in Scots Gaelic in 1856. You can read about it on Wikipedia.  It was used in the movie Local Hero (1983). In more recent years there is a beautiful set of lullaby lyrics about the Highland clearances written to this melody called  "Hush, Hush" by Scottish singer song writer Jim McLean

5. Carolan’s Cup (Turlough Carolan, 1670-1738) 

This was the title track on my 2006 live recording Spring Will Come with lyrics I set to it. I had the great fortune to play weekly at our local veterans hospital the first few months of 2015, thanks to the tireless dedication of Carolyn Surrick. She played this in a different key and I discovered new delights with the melody. Learn more about Carolyn and Ensemble Galilei. 

JASMINE DREAMS: Lullabies from the Far East 

6. Land of Dreams: Toraji Taryon / Arirang (Korean) 

Just as there are many stars in the clear sky, There are also many dreams in our heart. 
Whenever I am providing therapeutic music to people from other cultures, I always ask if they have a favorite song from their country of origin. That is how I came to learn these two very well known and loved folksongs. When I play for Koreans, their children and grandchildren will sing along the songs that were sung to them as children, bringing smiles through tears to all who hear them! 

7. Jasmine Flower Mo Li Hua (traditional Chinese) 

The hammered dulcimer was introduced to China from the west and thus earned the name 'zither from the West' or yang qin. It is a standard folk and classical instrument and is factory made in both Mainland China and Taiwan. This version of the melody of Mo Li Hua came from Kim Murley's book Purple Bamboo. Kim is an American who studied yang qin in a music conservatory in China. 

8. Japanese Lullabies - Kōjō no Tsuki (The Moon over the Ruined Castle) by Rentaro Taki (1879-1903) / Itsuki Lullaby/ Takeda Lullaby (traditional Japanese) 

My world travels have brought me to Japan many times. I made friends, playing Appalachian music, who were developing an interest in hammered dulcimer. Despite the dulcimer's spread round the world north of the equator, it never developed in Japan. On two separate trips, I left in Japan Chinese yang qins that I had bought in a department store in Hong Kong. On returning for a tour in 2013, I was amazed and delighted to teach and play with dozens of dulcimer players, some inspired by meeting me long ago! Itsuki no Komoriuta (lullaby) is from the southern island of Kyushu. My friend Mutsumi Hagiiwa (a famous manga artist and dulcimer player) suggested the other two. The two lullabies in this medley both have poor, unhappy protagonists who are nannies to rich people, making one think that the concept of a lullaby in Japan might be quite different than in the west (where we sing about things like babies falling from trees, broken gifts and wreaking havoc)! 

9. Gartan Mother’s Lullaby (tradititonal Irish) 

Gartan is a small town in County Donegal in the north of Ireland. This old melody was collected in the early 20th century by Herbert Hughes and then had lyrics written for it by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil. It was first published in 1904 in Songs of Uladh (Ulster). 

10. Sweet Bridgets: Bridget Cruise / Bridget O'Malley (Irish) 

Two melodies devoted to beloved but unattainable Bridgets. The first is by Turlough O'Carolan and the second is traditional, learned from Connie McKenna and Sue Richards, in Ceoltóirí, my Celtic trio on the Maggie's Music label.

11. Pretty Little Horses (traditional America ) 

I learned this folk lullaby from the late harper, Kira Davis, a former band member of King David's Harp, my Jewish band. 
Hush-a-by, don't you cry. Go to sleep, you little baby. 
When you wake you shall have, all the pretty little horses. 
Dapples and grays, pintos and bays , all the pretty little horses.

12. The Water is Wide 

The melody and various lyrics were collected from a Mrs. Cox by Cecil Sharpe in Somerset, England, some dating back to the Scottish broadside song O Waly, Waly and popularized as an American folk song by Pete Seeger. For more on the history visit This was another tune favorite when I played with Trio Galilei at a local military hospital! 

13. Fais Dodo, Lola Ma Belle (traditional Breton) 

I found Fais Dodo in  Folk Lullabies of the World by Barbara & Michael Cass-Beggs, Oak Publications, 1969. This book has been a source of several pretty tunes to use in my therapeutic music work!

14. Jupiter (Gustov Holst, 1874-1934) 

Thaxted was Holst's home village in England and his name for a melody that he later used for the Jupiter theme in his Planets Suite. It was later used also recycled as the melody for the popular British hymn God and Country as well as other hymns. 

15. The Swan - Le Cygne (Camille Saint-Saëns, 1835-1921) 

Saint-Saëns wrote Le Cygne as part of the Carnival of Animals Suite. 

16. Starry Starry (©2012 Dave Wiesler) 

The first time Dave brought this tune to our dance band Cabaret Sauvignon (motto - "We're a party not a drink!"), I found myself swept away by its beauty and harmonies. In performing round the globe I find it touches the heart of all who hear it. Dave wrote it in honor of Warren Argo, a beloved contra dance caller and old-timey musician on the West Coast.

Note from the Artist: 

The first time I saw the dulcimer I was enchanted but I began playing dulcimer because I wanted to play Appalachian dance music with friends - and I was able to build a dulcimer, so I could afford it. I loved dancing and the music was fast, rhythmic and hypnotic! Later through travels and hearing other traditions, I expanded my repertoire, inspired by an instant, deep, lifelong love with Irish music. The search for Irish music led me to travel round the world and eventually to move to the Washington, DC area. Through the dulcimer world, I was introduced to the Music for Healing and Transitions Program (MHTP) and became a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) in 2013, providing therapeutic music at the bedside for the sick and dying. My music was changing, deepening, slowing down, breathing and inspiring a different kind of movement-relaxation, letting go, sleep. As the music simplified and I began playing for patients one on one, a strange thing happened. Almost 40 years into playing the dulcimer I discovered a new love- the beauty of the instrument. After all my years dancing and delighting in the many textures and ways to play in ensemble with it as a percussion instrument, I was falling in love anew! And so I offer you the gift of beautiful music for rejuvenation and healing. Not a bad way to celebrate my 40th anniversary of playing this delightful companion!  -Karen Ashbrook, Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) 

Visit my webpage for Music for the Spirit - Healing Hammered Dulcimer Music