702 S. 24th Street
South Bend, IN 46615
David James’s musical and political activism dates back forty years. He was a draft counselor and draft resister from 1967-72, beginning as a student at University of Notre Dame (B.A. 1970) and continuing as a South Bend, Indiana resident. He sang with, and backed up, the legendary Phil Ochs at the Anti-Military Ball in ’68 at Notre Dame. David sang for and marched with the freedom marchers in South Bend in the summer of 1968, when Milwaukee’s Father Groppi spoke on the South Bend courthouse steps; he was a member of the NAACP Youth Council. He sang with a group of four others for Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 appearance at Notre Dame’s Stepan Center. He was one of the “South Bend Seven” tried for antiwar activism during the Vietnam War era. He marched with Dick Gregory in Chicago in 1968 during the Democratic Convention, and participated in 1969 in the Washington Vietnam Moratorium march. His music (and sound gear) has been heard and seen regionally on behalf of civil rights groups, Central and South American democracy movements, the anti-Apartheid movement, the Great Peace March, women’s liberation, and many disarmament struggles, progressive political rallies, and most of all, union rallies, strikes and demonstrations. David performed all over Chicago and the Gary, IN, area with the activist music group Common People.
David was a founding member in the 1980s of the South Bend chapter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; he performed alone and with others at the first, and five following International Women’s Day Celebrations in South Bend. David has sung on many picket lines and rallies for locals of United Auto Workers (South Bend, Anderson, Kokomo, Elkhart), United Steel Workers (Gary, East Chicago, Chicago), American Federation of Teachers (Chicago) NEA South Bend, Teamsters, A.F.S.C.M.E., and P.A.T.C.O. (Chicago, South Bend, during the famous strike). He marched in Solidarity Day in Washington in 1981. He was musical director for the Miles Coiner play Sit-Down 36, and sang and played as a member of the cast for many performances, including a show for one of labor’s great historical figures, Victor Reuther, and performances at the UAW Summer School at Black Lake, Michigan, and the South Bend Center for History. He registered over 400 voters in South Bend during the ’84 and ’88 elections, was an Indiana state convention delegate for Jesse Jackson. He knows all six verses of Solidarity Forever by heart.
Many times in the ‘80s he performed, in New York City, Northern California, Texas, Illinois, and Indiana with the “Last of the Old-Time Black String Bands,” Martin, Bogan and Armstrong. He performed with regional Bluegrass bands and appeared during the 1970s and 1980s at the Indiana Fiddlers’ Gatherings.
He traveled to Indianapolis to perform the music and song for a pageant on the life of Mother Jones in front of a regional I.B.E.W. women’s convention. In 2011 he performed at the Indianapolis state capitol rotunda on behalf of the state's beleaguered teachers and in opposition to the "right-to-work (for less)" laws.
As a graduate student, he travelled with Prof. Monica Tetzlaff and eighteen undergraduates of Indiana University South Bend on a Freedom Summer ’08 tour of the southern Civil Rights sites in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. While on the tour he sang with activists in Mississippi and Albany, Georgia, including three members of the original SNCC Freedom Singers, and marched with student activists over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. He returned the next year for the Mississippi Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement's annual convention, and helped plan the 2011 Freedom Summer tour as participants followed the members of the 50th anniversary Freedom Rides through Alabama and Mississippi. His name is on the wall of remembrance at South Bend's Engman Natitorium Civil Rights Heritage Center.
David is a Master Folk Fellowship recipient, 1990, from the Indiana Endowment for the Arts. He has been the subject of feature articles in Arts Indiana and Notre Dame magazines; he was included among the Hundred Fascinating People of the Century by the South Bend Tribune newspaper. He is 1986 U.S. National Champion and 1989, 1995, and 2002 All-Ireland Champion on the hammered dulcimer. He currently teaches and performs Irish and American dance and folk music, and earned a master’s degree in 2009 (MLS-master of liberal studies) at Indiana University South Bend. David is proud to be a member of Local 1000, American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO.
David performs using that unique hammered dulcimer, also guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonicas, bodhráns, and sometimes just a loud voice.
For much more—music resume, news clips, photos, sound samples, songs, tunes, civil rights resources, music instruction, see the rest of the Web site, http://www.tiompanalley.com.
“James's music is rich, complex, daring and innovative, yet springs from and is part of an old tradition, Irish and American. Not only a champion dulcimer player, but a jack-of-all-instruments, a singer, and an activist, James's life and work form an anthem to the ideal of ‘making things right in the world.’”