Some time after I bought the Bartram mandolin, I had a call from a long-time musical compadre, accordionist Bert Santilly (I met him around the time we recorded the first Usual Suspects album). A pupil of his had composed an “Italian Rondo” for GCSE, and could we possibly record it with mandolin and accordion? We got together to do the recording, liked the sound that the instruments made together, and ended up fooling around with all kinds of other tunes as well. Neapolitan serenades*, opera arias, French cafe music, tangos, balalaika tunes …
“Cafe Mondiale” was the result and we started rehearsing, arranging and gigging in a very short space of time. Since then we have played at festivals, clubs and an awful lot of weddings and parties.
This music floats beautifully over a summer lawn, and we are absolutely “perfect for that special occasion”. We would love to play for you too, so do contact me if you would be interested in booking us.
We recorded two CDs, back in the days when people still bought CDs. They are called “An Orchestra in Two Boxes” and “World Tour“, and they both live on Soundcloud for posterity. Have a listen, and do play them through some decent speakers! If you want to invest in an actual CD of “World Tour” then just contact me and we can haggle a price (think how excited your friends will be when you tell them you own a real old CD from the turn of the century …)
* One of the very first tunes we played was the delightfully frivolous “Funiculi Funicula” and here we are nearly 20 years on, dusting it off for a YouTube clip: