One of the America's most exciting hammered dulcimer players recording today, Sansone performs on the extended range chromatic hammered dulcimer with damper pedals. The percussive melodious sounds of her wooden mallets dancing across over seventy wire strings brings a special beauty to her music. Sansone has wowed audiences for over twenty years and this, her most ambitious project and 11th recording takes the hammered dulcimer to a new level. Sansone's virtuoso playing techniques and diverse charms, a combination of great warmth and melancholy, spare lines and densely fascinating instrumentation has garnered much praise from the media. Women Today said "...Maggie Sansone Breathes Immediacy Into The Past...interprets the folk idiom on an ancient instrument with a modern voice, and retains the integrity of both."
As on the her last CD- A Traveler's dream, producer Bob Read brings his creativity as a producer and musician together, complete with his arsenal of instruments which includes bass clarinet, clarinet, alto flute, piccolo, soprano sax, accordion, piano, synthesizer, organ and percussion. Label artists Karen Ashbrook on hammered dulcimer, Irish flute and pennywhistle, Sue Richards on Celtic harp, Paul Oorts on guitar, cittern, mandolin and musette accordion and Robin Bullock on guitar and cittern make guest appearances. Other guests include Sarah Read on Irish fiddle and cello and Ian Lawther on Northumbrian pipes. In keeping with the album's theme of love and celebration, the music includes: 13th century medieval music by the two most famous French and German composers of courtly love; jigs, reels from ancient Celtic lands of Northumberland, Wales, Ireland and Scotland; mesmerizing improvisations on the Persian santur, duets with both dulcimers, Celtic harp music by legendary! Irish bards Rory Dall O'Cathain (1570-1650) and Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) and a Celtic Wedding Set.
"I wanted to take the hammered dulcimer to the edge of possibility." Maggie says. "With my producer Bobby Read, we created multi layer textures and explored sounds produced with the expanded range and versatility of both the chromatic dulcimer with damper pedals and the dense ornamentation, unique playing style, techniques and scales associated with the Persian santur." Her introduction in the CD booklet further explains, "Since recording A Travelers Dream, I have been exploring the interconnection music expresses between people of all cultures. Along my musical journey, I discovered how closely we're all drawn together by music's universal language. Mystic Dance, Persian Dialogue and Improvisation express an exchange between musical instruments from two distant cultures, related by a common mystical thread. The Celtic Wedding Set is a tribute to all the joyous occasions at which I have performed. Enjoy another chapter in my life-long musical journey. Read some reviews below...
"Steeped in tradition yet often wed to the contemporary, few CDs span the gap of generations so gracefully." -The Washington Post
"The instruments Maggie Sansone plays are a chromatic hammered dulcimer and a Persian santur. Both instruments are often used in Celtic music. Celtic music is the perfect language for her to express her feelings and to communicate between several cultures. Maggie released several albums where she impressively plays with Celtic cadenced music patterns and progressive World music, which reflect a mystical thread. Mystic Dance, her just released album, combines the past and the present on a captivating
musical journey, where she is assisted by many guest musicians who have also earned a lot of praise in this area, like Karen Ashbrook (Irish flute), Robin
Bullock (guitar and mandolin) and many other musical friends. On Medieval Set (1-2), the opening track, you hear her remarkable skills and intimate moods she creates on the dulcimer. On Mystic Dance rich harmonic patterns are used
in combination with a mystical moody scenery. Persian Dialogue is a question-
answer theme between the dulcimer and the Persian santur with a spiritual ambiance. Further highlights are Improvisation in 3 parts which is based on an Arabic scale, and Celtic Wedding Set which contains 4 separate pieces
which are divided into Jigs and Waltzes. All pieces have a very personal style and many variations are used with additional instrumentalists from fiddle and cittern, to guitar, flute and mandolin. Maggie Sansone and friends impress one with skilled techniques as well as their soulful approach to centuries of enticing music.
Henk te Veldhuis
Bridge Guitar Reviews
"Harmoniously walking the tightrope between ancient Celtic cadences and progressive world beat...a colorful modern dance." -New Age Retailer
"Despite the differing contexts which they are commonly found, the Irish-based hammered dulcimer and the Persian santur are two very similar instruments, both sonically and physically. With Mystic Dance, Maggie Sansone borrows elements from both the Irish and Middle Eastern idioms, as well as those from the medieval period, to create a sound that blends influences from multiple cultures and timeframes. As with many of Sansone's releases, the overall mood of the album is rather joyous and upbeat, especially the "Celtic Wedding Set," which is awash with happy energy. In addition to the hamered dulcimer and santur, the album also features backing accompaniment from an ensemble of musicians, including : Sue Richard on Celtic harp, Robin Bullock on guitar/mandolin and Bobby read on sax, woodwinds and percussion."-Music Design