Celtic musician Scott Williams will perform with his unique, hammered dulcimer Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Emma Kelly Theater. The event is sponsored by the Center for Irish Studies at Georgia Southern University.
Williams also visited local high schools and various classes at Georgia Southern explaining the historical hammered dulcimer and its origins.
During Medieval times, returning crusaders brought an ancient Persian stringed instrument, the santur, to Britain, where it was retuned with a Celtic influence and has evolved into the hammered dulcimer. Irish Celtic music is now the hammered dulcimer’s primary genre. Scotch-Irish settlers came to the Appalachian states where they used the mountain dulcimer, a closely related instrument, for parlor music making. When mechanized, the hammered dulcimer yielded the harpsichord, a precursor of the piano.
Born in Delaware and raised in Maryland, Williams took up the hammered dulcimer when he was a college student and spontaneously purchased one at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Williams’ music reflects colonial, medieval, rock, the Renaissance, and of course, Celtic music. Now based in Southern California, he performs around the country. His medieval renditions of Metallica are always a head-turning event, and an album titled ‘Dulcitallica’ consisting purely of Metallica songs will be available in Summer 2009.
Children, especially, find the hammered dulcimer mesmerizing.
“It’s perhaps the best part of this adventure,” Williams said, “…watching the expressions on children’s faces, talking to them, and the best is letting them play the dulcimer. There are always several that leave an impact on me whenever I play. It’s very heartfelt and magical.”
Many Bulloch County students met Williams this week as he conducted lectures and mini concerts at all public high schools.
Dr. Howard Keeley, director of the Center of Irish Studies, said the Center’s mission is “to be involved with public and private partnerships, and co-sponsoring events to bring new experiences and high quality to Statesboro.”
Each year the Center of Irish Studies tries to bring in someone to showcase Irish and Celtic music and 2008 marks the 13th Annual Irish Music Showcase.