Bare Fingers-The Solo Autoharp Artistry of Adam Mi
Bare Fingers The Solo Autoharp Artistry of Adam Miller Folksinging.org FS 1004 The autoharp (or chorded zither) was invented in the early 1880's by an instrument builder named Karl A. Gutter (1823-1900), in Markneukirchen, Germany. It became one of the best selling instruments in the United States in the 1890s. The autoharp has 36 (or 37) strings made out of copper, steel and brass. When you play them all at the same time, it isn't very musical. But when you depress one the many different chord bars, the felts attached to the chord bar stop all of the strings from ringing - - except for the three or four notes you need to make the given chord. Most people play the instrument with metal or plastic fingerpicks. Instead of picks, I prefer to play it with my fingernails. Many years ago a friend allowed me to borrow his Sears Silvertone autoharp over the winter holidays. In the ensuing years I spent as much time as possible attending autoharp workshops and festivals. These experiences brought me into contact with some of the greatest living autoharp luthiers, players, and teachers, and I am deeply indebted to them for their inspiration, generosity, and support. I was fortunate to discover the autoharp at a time of genuine Autoharp Renaissance. Today, Autoharp Quarterly Magazine has over 2,400 subscribers worldwide, there are several well-established autoharp festivals on both coasts, and many excellent luthiers are producing exceptional autoharps. As a twenty-first century troubadour, it is my privilege to introduce audiences from the Everglades to the Arctic Circle, to the unique and inspiring sound of the autoharp. The instrument makes friends wherever it goes, and I feel that I'm fortunate to be the guy sitting behind it. -Adam Miller February 15, 2008 Biography of Adam Miller Legendary Folksinger, Storyteller and Autoharp Virtuoso Adam Miller is one of the premier autoharpists in the world and a natural-born American folksinger and storyteller. He is renowned for his extensive repertoire of over 2,500 traditional and contemporary folksongs. His highly entertaining performances at festivals and concert halls across the United States have won him fans of all ages. A masterful entertainer who never fails to get his audience singing along, he has distinguished himself as one of the great interpreters of American folktales and folksongs. 'Along Came a Giant - Traditional American Folk Songs for Young Folks' is both educational and entertaining, featuring sing-along folk songs arranged with traditional American acoustic instruments (autoharp, guitar, banjo, mandolin, concertina, and bass), as well as highly informative and detailed liner notes about the history of each song. Miller is a familiar face to hundreds of thousands of parents and children who have attended his acclaimed "Singing Through History" folk music programs. These programs aid in the development of cultural and historical literacy, emphasizing the importance of history as a story well told. A native of Northern California, Adam grew up a few blocks from historic Cannery Row on the Monterey Bay. As a child he listened to the recordings of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Oscar Brand, Cisco Houston, Marais and Miranda, and the Weavers. When he was eleven years old, his parents took him to hear folksinger Sam Hinton perform at the Grange Hall in Big Sur. He credits Hinton as his mentor and his greatest inspiration. Hinton says of Miller, 'Since I've stopped performing, I've thought more and more highly of you and your work, and I feel that the traditions I have followed are in good hands.' A nationally recognized presenter of folklore and folk music programs, Adam has been a featured performer, master of ceremonies and workshop leader at many American folk festivals. He is a captivating storyteller and gifted instrumentalist, and is recognized for his ability to interpret traditional American folksongs with warmth, humor and remarkable scholarship. Miller performs nearly 300 concerts a year at folk festivals, theaters, schools, libraries, and museums, from the Everglades to the Arctic Circle. He accompanies his baritone voice with lively fingerpicking acoustic guitar, and stunningly beautiful diatonic and chromatic autoharp, using only his fingernails for picks. (His custom-built autoharps are manufactured by Fladmark Woodworks, Orthey Instruments and the Oscar Schmidt Company.) Miller has recorded four CDs. His albums receive airplay all over North America and Europe. Frank Hamilton, a former member of The Weavers, is a fan of Miller's work. "You are doing a real service for folk music," says Hamilton. George Winston calls Miller, "one of the great autoharpists and folksingers of our times." The San Francisco folknik describes Miller's autoharp playing as, "...superb and imaginative." Maine Public Radio has called him, "...a master of the autoharp."