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Jim Bell

Inspired by the sound of the Breton steel-strung harp, Jim designed and built his own dulcimer in 1981.  His first publicly heard music was an original soundscape for a CBC radio drama, The Leavetaking of Cadwallader Bull (1982), directed by Ewan (Sudsy) Clarke.  The same year, he added dulcimer tracks to several songs in a CBC-produced collection of original material, Take It to Heart, by songwriter/composer Brian Vardigans.

Jim was a founding member of the Celtic folk group, Swallow’s Tale (1988 - 1992).  The band performed at the Lunenburg Folk Festival (Lunenburg, NS), the Festival by the Sea (St. John, NB), and the Irish Festival (Chatham, NB).  The group also regularly played conventions and highlighted yearly Amnesty International Benefit concerts.

Dulcimer parts were included in the musical scores of the Ship’s Company Theatre’s productions of Spring Planting (1996) and World Without Shadows (1997), both composed and arranged by musical director Greg Simm.  In the fall of 2000, composer Sandy Moore invited Jim to add the unique sounds of the dulcimer to the score of the feature length, made-for-television film, Raising Cain.

Since 1998, Jim has been working with fellow ex-Swallow’s Tale member Greg Simm with the goal of continuing to play music in the Celtic tradition.  Currently, Jim’s two main musical endeavours involve playing dulcimer, guitar, and bass in Finnan Haddie, and providing bass accompaniment for Brian Vardigans at his public performances.