Rest in Peace, Larkin Bryant
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Here is a lovely and lovingly written tribute to Larkin posted on facebook by a dear music friend of mine, Kim, and used with permission here: Most everything I know about the dulcimer I learned from Larkin Bryant. Almost every Friday afternoon for five years, I would go to her house for a dulcimer lesson (with an old-time fiddle lesson thrown in occasionally). We'd sit in straightback chairs in her front room across from her piano with our backs to the windows so the sunlight could shine in onto our sheet music. The sheet music was for me, as Larkin could play anything from her heart and memory. Her elderly black and white cat, Sweetie Pie, would snuggle in on Larkin's lap in the space between her dulcimer and stomach. Ariel, Larkin's beloved Weimaraner, would sit directly on top of my feet, chewing her heavy-duty blue rubber dog bone until she fell asleep. Mr. Kitty and Hannah, her two other cats, usually found spots in our instrument cases to curl up and snooze. We'd usually start our lessons catching up with news in each other's lives. Larkin always took time to ask and genuinely cared about what was going on my life. She was a fantastic listener and always spoke carefully and with wisdom.
After talking a bit, we'd play music! She was a wealth of repertoire and music history, and she loved telling me the stories behind the songs. I soaked up everything I could. She would often walk me out to my car after my lesson and we'd talk about the many beautiful plants and flowers she had growing in her front yard. It seemed she even knew everything about those as well! A couple times, when I'd go back to my next lesson, she would have a clipping of one of the plants or a cutting of some of the flowers I had admired to give to me.
updated by @robin-thompson: 05/05/21 01:14:55PM
Her house was filled with wonderful antiques and instruments, and after our lessons she would tell me their stories or demonstrate one of the instruments. (I'd never heard of Cajun triangle until I had met Larkin!
) She even generously offered to let me display some of her precious antiques at my wedding, and I gladly took her up on that offer. But even more special to me than displaying those beautiful antiques at my wedding, was having her play at my wedding. She played her mountain dulcimer during the lighting of the unity candle and then she played several Celtic and fun old-time tunes on her hammered dulcimer and fiddle at our reception. Most memorable of all was a surprise she had planned. As Jon and I were walking to our car to leave town, Larkin followed behind us and began playing a farewell fiddle tune for us. That was so special to me.
Larkin wasn't just my dulcimer teacher; she was a true friend and I will miss her dearly. During our last phone call together a few weeks ago, even though she was ill and extremely tired, she took time to ask about me and my family and offer words of encouragement. She was always thinking of others before herself. I am thankful for and will always cherish her friendship and memories I have with her.