Chantilly Mae
David & Dari Michael
Port Townsend musician and recording artist David Michael has produced this new CD featuring the compositions of his wife Dari. This is their debut release as a musical duo. Dari composed the melodies for the CD on the hammer dulcimer, bowed psaltery and piano and David provided the arrangements. He accompanies her primarily on guitar and also with Celtic harp.
The eclectic music of Chantilly Mae utilizes many modes, with genres ranging from Medieval to Klezmer ... sometimes sounding Irish or like the soundtrack to an American western. The title piece which Dari wrote for her grandmother, sounds to David like a Ladino (medieval/Spanish/Jewish) melody, and with the addition of an esraj (a 19-stringed bowed instrument from India), the piece falls squarely into the realm of World Fusion .... David's specialty
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Some Stories and Samples
Hasita’s Dance (Mixolydian mode) is named in honor of Hasita, our neighbor at the old Sotavento Hotel in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, who started dancing on the terrace when she first heard me play it. She said it reminded her of dancing in her youth in Italy.
Millie’s Lark erupted from a riff when I was first learning to play the hammer dulcimer. In jam sessions, it became a game of “last musician standing” as we increasingly picked up the pace. It was a lot of fun and the joy I felt in my heart playing it reminded me of Millie, a woman who was like a mother to me in my early twenties.
Chantilly Mae was another Zihua lesson in modes. I had journaled that morning about my beloved Grandma, who lived a life of unwaivering faith and in service to others and though she passed in 1998, she continues to guide me in the depths of my heart. Before leaving for town, David suggested I write something in Phrygian. When he returned I was playing this composition through streaming tears. David picked up his guitar and we were soon surrounded by our terrace mates, all of us crying while we played. 
Prairie Lullabye. One morning in Zihua, I awoke humming the tune that became Prairie Lullabye. I’d been reading William Least-Heat Moon’s book PrairyErth and was having recurring dreams about the plains of Kansas. I recognized the melody as the soundtrack to my dreams.
Klezmerelda started out as Esmerelda, but when Paul Becker joined our Thursday night jam on clarinet, it morphed into a rollicking Klezmer (Jewish) sounding piece.
Bhakatay? What does it mean to you?
Here's a hint: follow the melody line on a piano

DARI MICHAEL
Hammer dulcimer, bowed psaltery, piano.

DAVID MICHAEL
Rhythm guitar, Celtic harp, zither.

RANDY MEAD
Turkish clarinet, recorders, soprano & bass flutes, synthesizer.

GWEN FRANZ
Viola, violin.

Benjy Wertheimer
Frame drum, tambourine, esraj.

Michael Mandrell

Guitar (tracks 2, 5 & 6).


ROBERT RUSHING
Drums (tracks 8 & 11).


PAUL BECKER - Clarinet


JOE BRESKIN
Guitar (tracks 1, 5 & 11).


FOREST SHOMER - Pennywhistle.