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Accomplished Dulcimer Expert Joellen Lapidus Joins Joni Mitchell Project At Bogies

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Accomplished Dulcimer Expert Joellen Lapidus Joins Joni Mitchell Project At Bogies

Jazz vocalist Kiki Ebsen and Bogies Bar at the Westlake Village Inn have announced that Joellen Lapidus, quintessential artist who introduced the dulcimer to Joni Mitchell, will make a guest appearance with the band on Mitchell's composition, "Carey," Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 pm at Bogies at the Westlake Village Inn. Kiki Ebsen's Joni Mitchell Project is returning to Bogies after a sold-out show at Bogies in April this year in time to celebrate Mitchell's 76th birthday with an evening of her iconic music.

The song "Carey," from the singer's iconic "Blue" album released in 1971, has a legendary status among Mitchell compositions. Fresh from heartbreak over singer Graham Nash, Mitchell and a friend set out for Greece for some healing time. As journalist Marc Myers made it his mission to track down the story behind the song, "Carey," in a story for the Wall Street Journal, he revealed the song's inspiration was a gentleman named Cary Radlitz, at the time a restaurant cook in the fishing village of Matala on the south coast of Crete.

The relationship between Mitchell and Radlitz was sufficiently complex to wind up in two of Mitchell's compositions as the story goes, but the most famous is, of course, "Carey," recorded by Mitchell using a custom "Princess" dulcimer, made for her by iconic dulcimer artist, Joellen Lapidus of West Los Angeles.

Actually, Lapidus made "three instruments for Joni Mitchell between 1968 and 1976" in addition to introducing the dulcimer to Mitchell. When Joni met Cary, she told Marc Myers, "I had my dulcimer with me from the States. It was lighter and less bulky than a guitar, and I took it with me everywhere. I used it to write 'Carey' over a period of weeks in different locations in and around Matala as a birthday present for Cary." Radlitz's reaction to the song was underwhelming and it wasn't long before Joni was off for Paris where she could further contemplate Graham's and Cary's impacts on her life and future. More songs would come from that.

Kiki Ebsen, who plays multiple musical instruments, decided she'd enjoy learning to play the dulcimer on some of Joni's songs and met Joellen Lapidus, who was pleased to introduce Kiki to the dulcimer. Ebsen was delighted when Lapidus accepted her invitation to attend her Joni's 76th Birthday Bash on Nov. 7th and Bogies, and as Kiki sings "Carey," Joellen will accompany her on dulcimer.

It's a lovely way to bring Joni, Joellen, Kiki and the dulcimer full circle from the song Joni wrote for Radlitz debut in 1971 to 2019 for Ebsen's group's Joni's birthday concert. Speaking of present day, Radlitz, former ad agency copywriter and ersatz cook, long ago left the caves of Matala and returned to the States, where he is now a DC-area "institutional investment strategist" for international nonprofits, per Myers' Wall Street Journal 2014 story.

Acclaimed musicians of Kiki Ebsen's Joni Mitchell Project include: Kiki Ebsen (vocalists, piano, keyboard, guitar); Grant Geissman (guitars, sitar, vocals), Terry Wollman (guitars, vocals), Bernie Dresel (drums), and Steven Lawrence (bass). More on Joellen Lapidus and her magnificent dulcimers is found here.

Writer Andrew Tonkovich, in his review of Kiki's band for OC Weekly recently said, "More than mimicry, this is a true fan's thoughtful, sophisticated interpretation of the enduring work of the original lady of the canyon...presented with the insights of devotion and careful consideration only another chanteuse can deliver."

Tickets ($20-$35) to Thursday's concert are available at; Bogies is located at 32001 Agoura Road, Westlake Village, CA 91361. Music starts at 7:30pm. For more information, call 818-889-2394.

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