New Video: “Mountain Laurel” from Woodland Dance

“Mountain Laurel” (from “Woodland Dance”), was inspired after a breathtaking hike to Craggy Pinnacle (Asheville, NC). The lush forests, cute wildlife, and epic vistas were the characters of this celebration story. The video brings you closer to that experience and my imagination. I’m hopeful you can relate with your own story. This is the soundtrack of our stories, helping us remember and celebrate the good things of life.

New Album Released!

A soundtrack for your imagination, Woodland Dance is an acoustic instrumental collection of originals and favorites expressing the spirit of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Experience the lush forest, soul-stirring overlook, and refreshing stream in this modern musical portrait which draws inspiration from Celtic, World, Renaissance, and Classical music.

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Hammered Dulcimer on “Mary and The Witch’s Flower” Soundtrack

Joshua Messick played hammered dulcimer on the soundtrack of Mary and the Witch’s Flower. His performance is woven throughout the score. He appears on 20 of the 26 tracks.

This featured animated film is the first work created by Studio Ponoc based in Tokyo, Japan. They are the continuation of the legendary Studio Ghibli which is known for classics such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

A note from Joshua
Soundtrack music is what I listen to the most. I love it! I was 10 years old when I began dreaming of playing on a movie soundtrack. While practicing, I would often envision myself surrounded by an orchestra recording on a film score. I feel this is why my style developed with a flare for the cinematic.

The hammered dulcimer has an ethereal, ancient sound. It can take us to a place of peace, but it can also be powerful and exciting. It has many colors, making it a perfect instrument for soundtrack music.

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Mr. Takatsugu Muramatsu composed music that displays the strengths of the hammered dulcimer. There are many passages with driving percussive energy, but also whimsical and mysterious phrases. He used the entire five-octave range of my instrument. While reviewing the score, I kept on saying “this is amazing music”! I could feel the music come alive inside of me with a personality and spirit.

Studio Ponoc brought me to Tokyo to record. It was my first visit to Japan, and I was given the absolute best care. I met many amazing people and enjoyed my visit!

I worked closely with the composer, Mr. Takatsugu Muramatsu. He is genuinely friendly and humble, and he expressed his enthusiasm for my performance on his film score. It was encouraging to receive his support.

Gift from Director Mr. Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Gift from Director Mr. Hiromasa Yonebayashi

I was also introduced to the Academy Award-nominated director, Mr. Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and producer, Mr. Yoshiaki Nishimura. They were very kind and said they enjoyed listening to my CDs and YouTube channel. I understand that it was the director’s vision to feature the hammered dulcimer on the film score. Mr. Yonebayashi said he wanted to share the hammered dulcimer with the world. He also designed the wand of the character Flanagan after my dulcimer mallets.

Flanagan’s wand is a dulcimer mallet

To my knowledge, Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first featured film to highlight the hammered dulcimer in a significant role. I hope this soundtrack music helps many people appreciate the art of hammered dulcimer music.

A special thank you to Studio Ponoc for making my dream of playing on a movie soundtrack come true. This is a memory I will treasure forever.

MP3 (Japan Only)

CD Japan (English website)
Amazon Japan (Japanese website)

New Video! Woodland Dance

Amazing, driving cinematic world music on acoustic instruments (hammered dulcimer, percussion, & cello). You won’t believe how epic this sounds with only 4 musicians! Woodland Dance was composed by Joshua Messick and inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC. Listen with headphones. Please comment, like, and share.

Joshua Messick ( ~ Hammmered Dulcimer
JOSHUA, based in Asheville, NC, is a National Hammered Dulcimer Champion and breathes new life into an ancient, enchanting instrument. Creativity flows with dynamic passion as he weaves progressive, cinematic stylings & modern techniques into traditional melodies, original compositions, & powerful improvisations. You will be inspired as Joshua plays World Fusion, New Acoustic, Folk, & Traditional Favorites. Joshua has released 5 albums: Hammered Dulcimer Christmas, Honest: Songs of Hope, The Entrance of Sound, Desire for Departure, and Stillness.

River Guerguerian ( ~ Frame Drum, Drum Kit,
RIVER has been inspiring audiences with his ecstatic and versatile percussion for over 30 years. Whether collaborating with world-class artists, supporting symphonies or creating his own dynamic explorations of rhythm, River’s devotion and attention to the vibrant life of the drum reverberate through the mind and soul of the listener. In 1988, just before graduating, he began working with Grammy and Oscar-winning composer, Tan Dun. Over the next several years he continued performing with several artists, which placed him in the prestigious concert halls of most major cities of the world, including Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House and Lincoln Center. As a highly regarded studio musician, River has recorded on over 200 albums and film soundtracks, including the John Cage documentary film, “I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It.” Over the span of his prolific career, he has performed and/ or recorded with such groups as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, New Music Consort, Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble, Paul Winter Consort, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, Lizz Wright, Chuck Berry, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Ziggy Marley and The Gipsy Kings. He often engineers his own percussion tracks for artists at his studio.

James Kylen ~ Percussion
JAMES, based in Asheville, NC, is a gifted composer, improviser, and is a groove machine. A current member of the BJ Leiderman (NPR Theme Composer) band, James brings an intuitive, creative approach that allows him to play in diverse settings ranging from classical, jazz, world and folk. James is a session musician in Asheville, and has recorded on dozens of albums including BJ Leiderman’s new release.

Max Dyer ~ Cello
MAX plays cello in every context from opera and chamber music to folk, jazz, and world music. He looks forward to playing with Cantiga each year at the Texas Renaissance Festival, as well as at various concerts. He works behind the scenes producing Cantiga’s recordings. As a classical cellist, he performed for three years with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and has played with Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet Orchestra since 1984. During the summer of 2004, he was solo cellist with the Broadway musical “The Lion King” and has also been selected to join the performer’s roster for Cirque du Soleil. As a studio musician, he has recorded for many major labels as an orchestral player and as an improvising cello soloist on Grammy nominated albums. Max holds a Masters Degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Shirley Trepel. Max has recorded on over 400 albums in the following categories: Classical, Early Music, Folk, Rock, Alternative Rock, Jazz, Contemporary Christian, Children’s Music, New Age, Country, Latino, R&B, International, commercial scores and film scores. – See more at:…

Composed and Produced by Joshua Messick in Asheville, NC
Video by Tony Lee Glenn and Joshua Messick

–Special Thanks–
Tony Lee Glenn, Randy Wills, Katie Moritz, Song of the Wood, and all the good folks of Asheville and Black Mountain.

Reissued – Desire for Departure: A Hammered Dulcimer Journey

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Desire for Departure: A Hammered Dulcimer Journey

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