Britain's first modern mandolin quartet with mandolins of all shapes and sizes, and the superb voice and mandobass(!) of Hilary James. The Mandolinquents feature everything from hot swing and ragtime instrumentals from the mandolin orchestras of the 1930s: Irving Berlin, Mozart, Ravel and Tchaikovsky to lively reels and beautiful traditional Irish airs to Chinese and Brazilian folk tunes. All this played with infectious fun, off-beat humour and stunning virtuosity on mandolin, mandola, mandocello, mandobass and classical guitar, with the occasional burst of song or fiddle.
The Mandolinquents are...
Simon Mayor is widely regarded as one of the world's leading mandolin players, as well as fine fiddle player, guitarist, composer and wit. His highly acclaimed Mandolin Albums have gained him an unequalled reputation in classical and folk circles alike and have been heralded across the media from Radio 3, Classic FM, Radio 2 (Album of the Week) and World Service (Recording of the Week) to magazines as diverse as Q, Vox, Cosmopolitan and Folk Roots.
His off-beat humour surfaced in his own series for BBC Radio 2 Marooned with a Mandolin - "the best programme on Radio 2 this week" in The Independent on Sunday. Aside from the mandolin, he played swing fiddle on the album Five Guys Name Mo and has written four music books including a collection of children's songs for Faber Music.
“Britain’s leading hot-fingered mandolin virtuoso” Cosmopolitan
"A pedigree musician" BBC World Service, Recording of the Week
"Simon Mayor is a real find" Daily Telegraph
Hilary James may be best known for her fine singing, but she takes her place in the Mandolinquents line-up pounding the mighty mandobass. Her superb voice defies categorisation and has featured everywhere from Classic FM to Radio 1's Andy Kershaw. Covering everything from traditional folk music to blues and swing her three solo CDs have been played on radio stations from Los Angeles to Latvia and brought an invitation to make a video with MTV award winning editor/producer Dan Lebenthal in Hollywood. Hilary James presented music education programmes for national BBC Radio for six years and has illustrated a children's song book forFaber Music. Together with Simon Mayor she has written over 60 children's songs, as well as topical songs for news programmes.
"One of Britain's finest voices" BBC Radio 4
"As a singer of folk songs Hilary James has no peers" Rock 'n' Reel
"One of the most stirring voices in British folk music" The All Music Guide
As well as playing with the quartet Richard has his own 'A Band Like Alice' which has just recorded an album for EMI's new world music series. Highly regarded as a mandolinist and guitarist, Richard is also one of the the hottest (and subtlest) 5 string banjo player this side of the Atlantic He first picked a guitar at the age of nine and within a couple of years was stunningly adept at a number of stringed instruments. By his mid-teens Richard was much in demand at bluegrass festivals and arts centres in his native Hampshire. He is now in demand as a session player, not only in the UK, but in the home of country itself, Nashville. Apart from his consummate skill as a musician, Richard has reputedly the largest repertoire of self-deprecating banjo jokes in the world.
Three-time UK banjo champion. Nashville to the Royal Shakespeare Company
Gerald Garcia is equally at home at the Wigmore Hall or Glastonbury Pop Festival. One of the world's finest guitarists, he's toured with the likes of John Williams and Paco Peña, appeared with such diverse talents as Michel Legrand, Barbara Streisand, Larry Coryell and Wayne Shorter, has six solo albums out on the Naxos label... and has the wackiest sense of humour! Gerald's rich and varied musical career has included playing with the Chilean group Quimantu, and collaborations with Asian and oriental artists, notably the Pipa virtuoso, Wu Man. His wider travels have found him as far afield as Borneo, the Arctic Circle and China, where he was the first British guitarist to play in recent times. In September 1995 he toured four Chinese cities in a duo with guitarist John Williams. Gerald studied Chemistry at Oxford University and now lives in Oxford where he enjoys cycling, cooking, computer music,Taoist Yoga and conducting the odd chamber orchestra.
"A rare combination of excellence and natural feeling" Melbourne Sun"
"Great natural gifts" Daily Telegraph
From the Glastonbury Festival to China, Gerald has toured with the likes of John Williams and Paco Pena...
and has the wackiest sense of humour!
‘Folk, jazz, swing, Grieg, Rimsky-Korsakov, John Clare, Smetana – funny intros, wit and sparkle from the eclectic, virtuosic quartet.’
BBC Radio 2
‘Wicked and wonderful’ BBC Radio 3
‘serious musicianship at play… truly uncategorisable: a bracing alternative to boxed-in listening.’
The Irish Times
‘one of those groups that defy pigeonholing… effervescent… exotic… comically creepy… altogether it’s just plain fun.’
The Living Tradition
‘top quality musicianship and accompanying humour… a find of true class… highly recommended to anyone seeking a 21st - century example of British wit and skill.’
‘underpinning the laugh-a-minute informality was virtuosity and accomplishment.’ Sheffield Telegraph
‘A stunning acoustic tour de force, played by a quartet at the top of its game.’