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Cathy Barton & Dave Para - Cathy Barton and Dave Para this year released their 16th project since they started recording in 1978. “Carp Fishing in Missouri” features a variety of fiddle tunes and highlights the couple’s hammered dulcimer, banjo and guitar repertoire. They have created dynamic performances acclaimed for their variety and expertise in vocal and instrumental music and celebrated the musical traditions and folklife of Missouri and the Ozarks in festivals, clubs, concert halls, schools and studios across the U.S. and Europe. They present a range of music from dance tunes they have collected in their home region to old ballads to new songs. They have conducted several instrumental workshops as well as songs from the civil war, American rivers, old gospel songs, children's songs and Christmas music.

While it was duet singing that brought them together more than 40 years ago in a Missouri coffeehouse, they were also learning tunes from great old fiddlers and younger mentors. Cathy was one of the first hammered dulcimer players in the area as the instrument gained in popularity. Fiddle tunes have long been a substantial part of their performances and pastime. As contra dancing spread west across the U.S. reviving traditional square dance music, many players like Cathy and Dave were able to return their instrumental music to its most traditional setting. Playing tunes for three hours straight sustained the interest, expanded their repertoire, and made them better players.

Cathy found the autoharp in Mountain View, Arkansas, in the 1970s played by Jean Simmons and Lynn Young, and she also took up the mountain dulcimer there as well.

Lots of players make all-instrumental albums, but the couple has always mixed songs with tunes in their shows and has sung with some fine singers over the years. Seven years ago a friend loaned some live recordings from Carp Camp, a roughly two-week-long gathering of musicians at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. The music, the energy and the fun just bowled them over. They got home, Cathy pulled the hammered dulcimer up by the stereo, and they had about 15 tunes in them in less than a week. It was like the 1970s when the instruments were new and every tune was cool. They made it to Carp Camp that fall at Winfield, where they had performed 22 years since the 1970s and Cathy had helped introduce the hammered dulcimer there. It has been on their calendar ever since.

Since 1996, the couple has performed on riverboats in the U.S. The year 2018 will mark the 27th annual Big Muddy Folk Festival, which they started in their hometown of Boonville, Missouri.

Carey Dubbert - Carey Dubbert is known for his clean melody playing, beautiful harmonies, and delicate bass lines. The breadth of Carey’s musical interests go from O’Carolan to classical to bluegrass and to his newest love, fiddle tunes. He loves the fact that he gets to hold his autoharp against his chest and massage his heart with music. What he most likes to share is the fun of playing the autoharp, especially when playing with others.

Carey has performed and led workshops at the California Autoharp Gathering since it began, MLAG, Cambria Pickin’ in the Pines, the Willamette Valley Autoharp Gathering, and the Occidental Center for the Arts, as well as teaching and playing in local folk and old-time festivals. He is an International (Winfield) champion on hammered dulcimer as well as a Mountain Laurel autoharp champion.
In his workshops, Carey is known for his well-organized materials, patience, and gentle manner. He enjoys sharing his love of music and the autoharp with others, and he jams whenever and wherever possible.

This Californian is a long way from his Minnesota roots, but his classical musical background is evident in his music. His arrangements focus on clarity of melody with tastefully added harmonies. Carey’s cd Thanks Dad features his hammered dulcimer playing; One of Mine is a mixture of hammered dulcimer and autoharp with some cello; and Being Home has autoharp and hammered dulcimer with a touch of sax and drums.

There are YouTube videos at and audio clips at

Adam Miller - An artist whose kind has dwindled to an endangered species, Adam Miller is a renowned old-school American troubadour and natural-born storyteller. One of the premier autoharpists in the world, he is an accomplished folklorist, historian, and song-collector who has amassed a remarkable repertoire of over 5,000 songs. Adam is a masterful entertainer who never fails to get his audience singing along. He has distinguished himself as one of the greatest interpreters of American folksongs and as a storyteller par excellence. Traveling 70,000 miles a year, this 21st-century troubadour performs over 200 concerts annually. More than 1.5 million American K-12 students in 48 states have attended his Singing Through History! school assembly programs. He has released eight CDs of folksongs, stories, and autoharp instrumentals. 

“Between these ears are more songs than any of us have ever heard,” says Keith Anglemyer, Master of Ceremonies at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. George Winston calls Miller “one of the great autoharpists and folksingers of our times.” Pete Seeger admired his “wonderful storytelling!” NPR called him “a master of the autoharp.” A reporter for The Tennessean observed, “Exceptionally inspiring to witness this true master of eclectic art forms and keeper of the flame of endangered American traditions.” Says Adam, “Folksongs travel through History. And History travels through Folksongs.”

Doofus - Doofus is indeed a strange name for a band. It usually refers to somebody whose elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top but it stops short of being an insult when used as goodnatured banter between and among good friends. So while it might mean “village idiot” to some, it’s really a token of their affection for each other and the wonderful music they make together. Doofus is a lively old-time band consisting of two couples: Neal & Coleen Walters and John & Heidi Cerrigione. Together they play guitar, autoharp, dulcimer – mountain & hammered, mandolin, banjo, and acoustic bass. They play old time, traditional and sentimental songs and tunes as well as more contemporary music that sounds like it was written long ago. Each member of the band has years of experience teaching, playing with other groups, and writing/editing articles about folk music, including their specialty – old time music. In 1996, Doofus collaborated and produced a repertoire book of 30 Old Time Songs & Tunes for mountain dulcimer and autoharp. Neal edited and Heidi contributed to Music Hound Folk: the Essential Album Guide to Folk Music, published by Visible Ink Press. Doofus has been featured at events across the country including Augusta, Claremont, Dulcimore, Heartland, Cranberry, String-A-Long, Housatonic, Dulcimer Daze, Swannanoa and many others.

Doug Pratt - Doug Pratt has been playing chromatic autoharp for over 60 years, having first learned from his grandmother. He has a unique style that has grown from his roots in North Carolina, where he and his sister grew up playing Ian & Sylvia tunes, to encompass a wide range of genres, many of which are outside the usual “autoharp box.” His music is upbeat, lighthearted, and often described as “happy.” Having played mostly in ensembles, he has developed a bold style that can be heard in a bluegrass band. He often says “I don’t do sweet and pretty.”
Doug’s CD You Can’t Play THAT on the Autoharp!, which was produced under the first Cohen-Grappel Recording Grant, is a sampler of everything from bluegrass to pop to ragtime. Doug also plays dobro, and says, “It gets me past the Bluegrass Police so I can show them what an autoharp can do.” Doug was the International Autoharp Champion in 2006 and performed at the Northwest Autoharp Gathering in 2016. In “real life” Doug is a semi-retired ornithologist and bird illustrator who writes and illustrates books, mostly on birds of Hawaii and the tropical Pacific.

Ray Choi - Multiple award-winning champion autoharp performer and famed luthier Ray Choi will make another appearance at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp gathering in 2018. Ray initially gained recognition in the autoharp world by introducing his unique and difficult “hummingbird tremolo,” which he achieves by very rapidly striking the harp’s strings in a fluttering motion. While the tremolo is the highlight of his playing, Ray has an overall mastery of the instrument as well as a powerful, dramatic singing voice that includes an amazing yodel. Ray also designs and handcrafts autoharps unlike any others, using specialty woods and beautiful scrolling reminiscent of the designs one sees on other classical stringed instruments. Ray’s workshop and music store, Grace Music, is in Tustin, California. He can be reached at 714.508.3203, or through his website: Ray is currently finishing up his Ray Choi’s Autoharp Book published by the prominent music publisher, Hal Leonard, and the DVD that will act as a companion to the book. They are slated for release in 2018.


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