About David James


David James is the 2002 All-Ireland Champion, the only American to win solo senior All-Ireland Championships in the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (Festival of Irish Traditional Music) on the hammered dulcimer. This is his third championship (Listowel, Co. Kerry, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, 2002 ). The first was in Sligo in 1989, the second at Listowel in 1995, where he also performed in the International Concert and was featured in the official Fleadh video. He is the 1996 Winfield (KS) Walnut Valley Festival National Hammered Dulcimer Champion. He received a Master Folk Fellowship award from the Indiana Arts Commission in 1990, and another Individual Artist Award in 2000. He has won many US Midwest Fleadh titles on the dulcimer, fiddle, in trio competitions, in traditional singing and newly composed song categories. He was included among 100 Fascinating People of the Century in Michiana (northern Indiana, southern Michigan) by the South Bend Tribune newspaper. In 2008 he graduasted with the Academic Achieveent prizeand a Masters of Liberal Studies from Indiana University South Bend.


David was the Saturday night headliner at the first dulcimer festival ever held in Ireland, the Cork dulcimer Festival (see the festival web site, and FolkWorld Home of European Music, the On-line Music Magazine, for a review).

This, from the review by Adrian Scanlan:

"Jack Bethel (again on dulcimer) was joined by Colin McAllister on bodhrán and Gearóid O Laoghaire on fiddle. Colin, passionate about his native Co. Antrim, sang some incredibly haunting and beautiful tunes and all three played like they had been born with an instrument in their hands. A short break, and then David James took to the stage. Twice world champion on the dulcimer, David performed a solo set with an extraordinary range, not to mention some mind-boggling use of the instrument itself. While the traditional method sees twin hammers used to ring the strings, David enjoyed swapping one hammer for a fiddle bow or even plucking the strings with one hand while using a hammer with the other. His instrument is also specially fitted with a dampener; the long sustain associated with a dulcimer makes some tunes difficult to play. So he had pedals to work with, too."


David has performed and conducted workshops from California (e.g., Lark In The Morning Music Celebration, Mendocino) to Maine (Song of the Sea, Bar Harbor). Recent standouts were the 2005 Goderich, Ontario, Gaelic Roots Week, 2005 St. Joseph County Firefly Festival, the 2004 Evart, MI Funfest (over 150 workshop attendees), 2002 Cork (Ireland) Dulcimer Festival, 2000 and 2001 Kentucky Music Weeks where he taught dulcimer and fiddle, and the 2001 Indianapolis Irish Festival where he and occasional partner Kim Hoffmann demonstrated Irish music and song styles with over 300 children.


Created by AccuSoft Corp.

1981 - first trip to Ireland -

the "Buck" of Oranmore

(after the famous Irish reel)


David performs on the hammered dulcimer, fiddle, 5-string banjo, guitar and Irish bouzouki, concertina, bodhrán, and harmonicas. He sings and plays Irish tunes and songs, liberally laced with American old-time music, social justice songs, and his own compositions. He has joined others to create groups and especially ceili bands for Irish social dancing at places like Milwaukee Irish Fest (three years of appearances), Chicago's Gaelic Park and Irish-American Heritage Center. David teaches in Chicago at Lesson Factory Chicago at 10936 Western Avenue, and by arrangement in South Bend, Indiana. David is proud to be a member of Local 1000, American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO.

David is available as a solo Feis musician on the fiddle (or hammered dulcimer, if you're adventurous!). I keep a metronome going in my ear so my tempo is exact for the dancers, and I can perform ALL THE SET DANCES, including the "new ones," and, of course, all the reels, jigs, slip jigs, treble jigs, hornpipess you may need at your dedsired tempo. In fact, I wrote the book, the one everybody's using for the set dances. I read music, so send me your "special tunes." I have a stage amp if needed, and have worked for Trinity, World Academy, Michigan, Pat Roche, Milwaukee, the great Michigan schools, etc. Want to do a 2-person Championship or PC stage? I can "back" on the piano also (I own an Alesis keyboard), or play fiddle and bring a pianist.



1989 with All Ireland Shield - First Win

1995 with All Ireland Shield - Second Win

2006 with fiddle and dulcimer

2007 with dulcimer (color)

2007 with dulcimer (B&W)



Read what others say:

1997 David James profile, Rockin' and Reelin', in Notre Dame Magazine

1988 David James profile, David James: Hammering and Plucking, in Arts Indiana


Hear David James, from his ground-breaking dulcimer CD, Tiompán Alley:

Paddy's Rambles Through the Park/Grania's Welcome Home (March, Jig, Reel) - hammered and plucked dulcimer in David's unique style, David, dulcimer & piano

Allegro (by Fiocco, 1810)- David, dulcimer, with Kim Hoffmann, keys - we "Irished-up" the second half

Tribute to John Rea - Jackson's Slippers/John Rea's Jig - two tunes recorded by the great Glenarm, Co. Antrim dulcimer player, David, dulcimer, Kim Hoffmann, bodhrán

Kitty gone A-milking/Turnpike Gate/Killavil Fancy - 3 reels - David, dulcimer, Kim, piano, Dan Gellert, bouzouki, Michael Clancy, fiddle


From his most recent CD, The Lone Man's Path.

Bridget Cruise, Fourth Air - (Turlough O’Carolan) (excerpt) She was Carolan’s first love. David: two dulcimers, one hammered and plucked

Cards - (song, by David James, all rights reserved) David, vocals & guitar, Ethan James, guitar & 2nd lead, Dan Broder, guitar & 1st lead. I wrote this song in response to a TV program about the Great Famine in Ireland, during which it was a bigger social faux pas for a gentleman to cheat at cards than to let people starve.

Kim's Song - (David James) (excerpt) A birthday present for my sweetheart. David: vocals, guitar, dulcimer; Ethan James: guitar and lead; Kim Hoffmann: vocals, bodhrán.

Miss Noble - (Turlough O’Carolan) (excerpt) this tune, found in O’Sullivan’s Carolan, challenged me with its strangeness. While some think it was mis-transcribed long ago, I chose to take it as presented and make a go of it. David: dulcimer, fiddle, harpsichord.

Night Winds - excerpt of: Row On (trad.)/ Night Winds (trad, new words by David James) The first, learned from John Townley, was found by musicologist Gail Huntington in an 1846 journal from the New Bedford whaler, Three Brothers. The second I learned from Gary, Indiana, folksinger Danny Mack. I loved it so much I wrote the middle verse so I could sing it longer. David: vocal, dulcimer, guitars, bass; Kim Hoffmann: vocals.


Also check out Paddy's Racket'’s "live" sound.


David James

Tiompán Alley Music


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