Mandology: The Players
Ken grew up in NM (Hobbs, Los Alamos), was gone for 35 years, and has been back awhile. He has enjoyed music since the age of 10, when he began study of the violin. In his 15 years in Maine (while not practicing psychology at The Aroostook Medical Center) he performed regularly with the Northern Maine Chamber Orchestra, and the string quartet comprised of the four principles of that group. To their horror, he was also very active in Celtic and folk circles on fiddle and mandolin in Maine and New Brunswick, playing with A Celtic Weave, the Aroostook Ceili Ensemble, the ensembles at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Presque Isle Congregational Church. He played with The Ramblers, a Celtic/Folk/Cajun band in Belgium during his years there.
He now plays regularly with the folk ensemble at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Albuquerque. He joined the staff of St. Michael’s as director of that group & choir in 2005. Aside from Mandology, he also plays with A Pint Short, a Celtic/Renaissance music ensemble/ceili band, and the Albuquerque Mandolin Orchestra. Current instrumentation typically includes mandolin, tenor & octave mandolin, bouzouki & bass mandolin.
Maria began playing violin when she was 4 thanks to her older brother, mom, and the Suzuki method. She began to dabble in improvisation adding obligato to church music at age 10 and had her first contact with mandolin in 7th grade Irish Band. She grew up hearing and dancing to international folk dance music, thanks to her family’s typical Saturday night pastime. She benefited from Klezmer music influences in high school and went on to study biblical Hebrew, Greek, and western religions in college, keeping classical violin and folk fiddle in her back pocket throughout.
She now works as a physical therapist at the University of New Mexico Hospital in acute care. She has performed as a substitute with the Santa Fe Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra/New Mexico Philharmonic, the Roswell Symphony, and the San Juan Symphony. She currently plays violin with the Health Sciences Orchestra at UNM, the Loose@9 ensemble at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church, and the Albuquerque Mandolin Orchestra in addition to Mandology. She enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and traveling, and is excited to bring her singing voice to the band.
Louis sings and plays the mandolin, bouzouki, and guitar among other instruments, though he started out on the cello. His music is most strongly influenced by the folk music of Scotland and Ireland as well as contemporary American Folk. He has been playing traditional music since the age of eleven and has been a regular session player and a member of several bands, most notably as the lead singer of Celtic Waves, the premier Celtic band residing on Oahu, Hawaii.
Louis grew up in Albuquerque, NM, and now resides there again after over a decade away. He studied physics and astrophysics in college and graduate school, specializing in extrasolar planets, planetary sciences, and the planet mars. He currently teaches physics at Bosque School, a local independent school in Albuquerque.
The Mandolin Family and Friends-Our Instruments
- Mandolin: An instrument with eight strings tuned like a violin (GDAE), but in matching pairs. Played with a pick. Related closely to the Lute, the Mandolin played a large part in early classical music.
- Mandola: Larger cousin to a mandolin, but tuned like a viola (CGDA). This instrument actually predates the mandolin itself, and developed from the Lute in the 1500s or earlier.
- Irish Bouzouki: Originally a Greek instrument, it was brought to Ireland by Johnny Moynihan of Sweeny's Men in the mid 1960s. Later popularized by Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, and many others. Tuned either GDAE or GDAD an octave below the mandolin.
- Octave Mandolin: A relative of the Irish Bouzouki, there seems to be little agreement on what differentiates the two instruments. Usually, however, an Octave Mandolin is a smaller instrument. Also similar to, but distinct from, the Cittern and the Mandocello.
- Bass Mandolin: A large instrument tuned two octaves below the mandolin. Distinct from the rare historical Mando-Bass in that it has four single strings instead of eight paired strings.
- Fiddle: Same instrument as a violin, just depends what you play on it.
- Guitar: Another Lute-descended instrument from a separate branch with six single strings. Usually tuned EADGBE, though in this band you're more likely to find DADGAD.
- Tenor Guitar: A smaller, guitar-shaped instrument developed in the 1920s. Four-stringed and tuned like a Mandolin (or Fiddle).