Keith Prairie Submitted photo

Hammered dulcimer player Keith Prairie will perform  at the Oasis of Music beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at Trinity Commons in Lewiston.

Folk music got its hooks into Prairie early on playing guitar and singing in high-school. For decades his fans have enjoyed his rich voice and mastery of the hammered dulcimer and guitar. He has a wide-ranging repertoire, from instrumental folk tunes, classical, to silly covers and his own compositions. He started playing guitar in the 1970’s with influences of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchel, Peter Paul and Mary, and Ian and Sylvia during the era of burgeoning folk and protest songs with a touch of Pete Seeger, and Malvina Reynolds thrown in. And let’s not forget The Limelighters, The Kingston Trio and Tom Lehrer.

He first heard a hammered dulcimer at a coffee house in Bar Harbor played by Alexandra Brown in 1975 and the next summer he was building one. His hammered dulcimer influences have been Bill Spence, John McCutcheon, Howie Mitchell, Trapezoid (Sam Rizzetta), Bob Zents, Malcolm Dalgish, and Dorothy Carter, to name a few. He has been performing solo, with old friends Nor and Eli Dale who, with Keith, made up the Salem Street Trio early in the 80s and have recently reformed. He also performs regularly with friend John Paynter, who plays banjo and tenor ukulele.

Prairie spent a summer as a deckhand and sharing music on the schooner Mercantile out of Camden. He has also provided healing music at the Reiki Tent at Common Ground Fair, and music for the Maine Artisan Bread Fair in Skowhegan and is a regular performer at Men’s Gatherings in Maine.

The Oasis of Music is a weekly music series of performances of roughly thirty minutes, running from September to May. Admission is free, with donations accepted. The musical genres vary greatly, in largely, but not exclusively, acoustic formats. Trinity Commons is located at 247 Bates St., Lewiston. For more information, call 207-344-3106.

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