The music performed by singer and hammered dulcimer player Phil Passen reflects the story of Illinois, which has been shaped not only by its land and natural features – the prairies, lakes, and rivers – but also by the many cultures that have flourished here: those of Native Americans, French, Germans, African Americans, Latin Americans and numerous others.
Songs of the Underground Railroad, which ran through Illinois, will also be featured. So will selections representing farmers, workers, labor struggles, disasters, and tragedies, as well as a few blues and rock-and-roll songs. Passen will provide commentary about the histories of the selections and the contexts in which they have been sung and played in Illinois. This will be an informative and entertaining look at Illinois, its history and its people. The word dulcimer means “beautiful song.” Audiences are fascinated by the uncommon, trapezoidal-shaped hammered dulcimer.
In recognition of Illinois achieving statehood on December 3, 1818, we are celebrating the bicentennial.