For almost four decades now Pam and Philip Boulding, aka Magical Strings, have been delighting audiences around the world with their unique take on Celtic music created on hammered dulcimer and Celtic harp. They are on tour supporting their latest CD “Fairy Wind” and will come back to Maine for a show on April 9 at River Arts in Damariscotta.

To that end, I arranged a phone interview on March 12 that found them at home in Olalla, Washington. It had been close to 30 years since the three of us had spoken, so I was excited about reconnecting with these talented instrumentalists.

Q: Let me begin by saying that I’ve been enjoying your 2016 album a lot.

Pam: Oh, good.

Philip: Glad to hear it.

Q: It’s very reminiscent of your earlier albums with one surprising and delightful change-of-pace tune, “The Blue Irishman.” It starts off very traditional and then it begins to bend a bit. It’s just too cool.

Philip: I had fun with that. I really had a lot of fun creating that arrangement. It was something that started a few years ago, when I was playing around with this Mixolydian jig riff and I went, “You know, this could easily turn into blues.” So, in my mind, this whole thing sort of emerged: this traditional Irish-sounding jig morphing into a 12-bar blue. It came out exactly as I had wished and hoped and dreamed when I finished arranging all the parts and putting it together in the studio. But then my challenge was how do I turn this thing into a live performance on stage? I had to do three over-dubs, although I did the guitar and harmonica parts together at the same time in the studio. That’s how I play it live, as well.

Pam: You should have seen us last night. We had a sold-out show in Merryville Opera House and Philip is doing this solo and I’m like the angel above, and the guitar descends into his lap as I lower it in and then I have to take it away (laughter). It takes an extra set of hands to have him go smoothly from one instrument to the next. Anyway, it’s fun.

Philip: When the harmonica comes in, and I’ve got it on the brace the whole time, that’s when Pam takes the guitar away and then I deftly slip on a pair of sunglasses and go into the full-on blues. It gets a nice rise out of the audience every time.

Pam: Oh, you didn’t ask us any questions yet. We just started talking, so now we’ll be quiet and you can ask us a question.

Q: Well, seeing you’ll be coming to Maine to perform, I should probably ask things about the concert in Damariscotta. You’ll be performing as a duo, correct?

Philip: Right.

Q: I wish I could tell you about the venue, but it’s not one I’ve been to as of yet.

Pam: Oh, we have. We know all about it.

Q: You know about River Arts?

Philip: Yeah, this will be our third time.

Pam: Our fourth time there. It’s fun. And you may remember that I have family that lives in Maine permanently. My sister lives in Lincolnville Beach in my grandmother’s home that became my family’s home and is now her home. I’ve been coming to Maine in the summer since I was a baby, so it’s like home to me.

Q: Now, as you’re out touring, when do you put together a set list: before the tour starts or as you go along?

Pam: Actually, I’m sort of the one that creates the set list. When we tour the East Coast, we’ll be playing for five weeks and doing concerts anywhere between Maine and Virginia, but each audience and each venue and the mood of the day or the experiences, I mean, it always evolves. I might have notes of what the set list is going to be, but it’s not necessarily what we’re going to follow, and Philip just gets to figure out what we’re doing next when I announce it or I tell him what’s next.

Philip: And that’s what keeps me on my toes.

Q: I was just about to say that.

Pam: But it’s a creative process, and I think, for touring and performing for 39 years now, that it has to be exciting, it has to be new. You have to bring in the spontaneousness of each moment to make every performance feel so alive to us as performers that it ignites the audience to receive something unique and special that’s never been done before. So every concert that we do is completely unique. We tell stories about the songs and where they come from, the inspirations behind our music.

Philip: I just had a thought, Lucky. Because Pam and I don’t sing — we’re instrumentalists — the story-telling is a very important part and it engages the audience. They become a part of your life, a part of your story.

Pam: And they know you. We’ve been doing this for so many years that the audiences know us and our family. They’re a part of all this and it’s so much fun.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Pam: Well, one of the things that I think is kind of unique about what we do is that Philip is also an absolute master instrument builder. He plays on his own hand-made harp, and my dulcimer he made as well. He has musicians all over the world that play his instruments, so I think people are fascinated to come to the concert where they can see these beautiful instruments that not only can he play and compose on, but that he designed and handcrafted to sound the way he wants them to and to be beautiful to look at as well.

Q: Philip, is there anything you’d like to add before we close out the interview?

Philip: I think Pam pretty well covered the ground there. In listening to her talk, what came to my mind is this over-arching theme of our life and our work, and I think it all has to do with human connectedness and family across generations and keeping the story-telling alive. Our music spans four generations: from our parents to us, to our children, to our grandchildren. The stories are inclusive and the music is inspired by all those people. I think that’s what brings people together and helps us to realize artistically our human journey together. It’s been a grand experience for Pam and myself.

Lucky Clark has spent 48 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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