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Dance Of The Comedians  
The Mandolinquents captured live at New Greenham Arts.  

"If the test for any live album is whether it makes you wish you had been present, this sails through with distinction."
The Daily Telegraph

"a stunning acoustic tour de force, played by a quartet at the top of its game."
Sing Out!

"Folk, jazz, swing, Grieg, Rimsky-Korsakov, John Clare, Smetana - plus funny intros, wit and sparkle in this live set from the eclectic, virtuosic quartet."
BBC Radio 2 website

"This album is a dazzling display of musicianship that will leave you open-mouthed in incredulous silence."
folking.com

"Another delicious CD crammed with excellent musicianship."
fRoots

"... this in-concert recording is a joy. One of those intriguing albums that almost defies classification."
South Hams Newspapers

"a marvellously civilised evening of inventive musicianship. "
County Times

"there's 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."
Musician Magazine

"This live CD captures both the wit and uncanny dexterity of this most versatile group... doing things with mandolins that most people didn’t think possible."
Dirty Linen

"... warm and intimate live recording. Refreshingly different."
Burton Mail

"Their musicianship is abundantly excellent, while the music itself is intelligently arranged and always leavened with an equally delicious sense of fun."
Netrhythms

Dance of the Comedians

Mandolinquents (first album)  

This debut album features 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 and 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.

Mandolinquents CD

'A delightful disc."
Rob Cowan, BBC Radio 3

"a must for any mandolin player and will appeal to all afficionados of fretted instruments for its sheer musical artistry, And if you can't stand the mandolin just listen to Hilary James."
Traditional Music Maker

"As I'm reviewing this album I can't help but be transfixed by the sheer brilliance of all the musicians and the exquisite vocals of Hilary James. If you hadn't guessed already (stop the superlatives from flooding through...) this is a more than worthy contender for album of the year!"
Steppin' Out

Concert reviews

 
Lindsays & Friends Series - Crucible Studio, Sheffield  

Mandolins have been associated with informal music-making down the centuries and the bottom line is that this widely-acclaimed mandolin quartet don't change that.

There was nothing remotely hit and miss about their playing, however, because underpinning the laugh-a-minute informality was virtuosity and accomplishment.

Solo mandolin music is virtually nonexistent. It's most famous exposure is probably in Don Giovanni's Serenade in Mozart's opera, followed by two Vivaldi concertos, one of them for two mandolins. We had movements from both concertos here and a combination of Vivaldi and Sheffield's Simon Mayor, the most famous mandolin player in the world - except Captain Corelli who happens to be at the Crucible Studio currently - showed its potential as a solo instrument.

Its range and resonance might be limited but Mayor's string plucking had flow, and even diminuendo and crescendo in the opening allegro of the single mandolin concerto.

Elsewhere, items ranged from a Brazilian tango to Rachmaninov, Dvorak (Slavonic Dance No 1) to Irving Berlin (Cheek to Cheek, The Piccolino), and two Chinese tunes arranged by the group's superb guitarist Gerald Garcia to Mozart (Rondo all Turca, first movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik).

The two Fred and Ginger numbers featured the plaintive soprano voice of mandobass player Hilary James and Richard Collins, the second Mandolin player, wowed with his banjo-playing, especially in Little Rabbit (an Appalachian tune) in which Simon Mayor picked up the fiddle. That seemed to be an impromptu addition to the programme and, like everything, worked extremely well.

Sheffield Telegraph

 

 
Guildford International Festival  

MANDOLINQUENTS EXPERIENCE WAS SHEER JOY

Imagine an experience that takes you on a musical journey from the folk songs of the English/Scottish border to Hong Kong to the court music of Vivaldi to a melody reminiscent of the Dukes of Hazard and to an Irish tune - The Dark and Slender Boy - apparently Ireland's ode to a bottle of Guinness.

It's not easy, but at the Electric Theatre on Monday evening these diverse musical genres combined in a captivating performance by the Mandolinquents.

One of the highlights of the Guildford International Music Festival, the audience left with senses sated by the energetic and atmospheric sound of the mandolin, expertly accompanied by the classical guitar and the banjo.

Humourously led by Simon Mayor, the Mandolinquents gave Carmichael's Hong Kong Blues a subtle airing, while Vivaldi's double mandolin concerto was given new life. The list goes on and one fears that simple adjectives will fail to explain the sheer joy of the Mandolinquents experience.

This was a wondrous evening of perfectly executed music from mandobassist Hilary James, classical guitarist Gerald Garcia, Richard Collins on mandolin and 5-string banjo, and Mayor, the undisputed mandolin king."

Guildford Advertiser

 

 
Hereford Concert Society  

AUDIENCE MESMERISED

THE Simon Mayor Mandolin Quartet, more appropriately known as the 'Mandolinquents', mesmerised a capacity audience at the Courtyard last Thursday with superb musicianship and a zany sense of fun.

Simon Mayor, Gerald Garcia, Hilary James and Richard Collins gave a highly impressive demonstration of their individual and combined skills on mandolin, mandobass, guitar, violin and banjo, while Hilary's vocal and dancing talents added even more variety to the programme.

The music, ranging from Vivaldi to 'Fred and Gingery bits', was performed with respect and affection whilst humorous introductions added to the delightfully laid-back atmosphere of the occasion.

Gerald Garcia even interrupted the proceedings long enough to take a photograph of the audience.

The encore - a spoof on 'Home, Home on the Range' and entitled 'The Spider in the Shed' - was gruesomely hilarious and reminiscent of Belloc's 'Cautionery Tales'. A great evening - let's hope this marvellously entertaining ensemble will return to Hereford soon.

The Hereford Times

 
     
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