The Insiders: The mandolin – it’s so in vogue, bro
The Punch Brothers perform at the 11th annual Americana Honors & Awards, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012, in Nashville. Members are Chris Thile (mandolin), Gabe Witcher (fiddle), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge (guitar) and Paul Kowert (bass). (Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP)
Concord Insider's Ben Conant and Keith Testa
(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
Feast your ears on a finger-pickin’ good time tonight at the Concord Community Music School – the March Mandolin Festival is in full swing! The lessons and workshops are sold out, but you can still get your fill of good old-fashioned down-home folksy mandolining at tonight’s concert. The show features performances by Matt Flinner, Robin Bullock, Will Patton and David Surette, with special guest Susie Burke. We caught up with Surette, the CCMS mandolin teacher/folk department chairman, to find out a little more about the mandolin.
The mandolin has suddenly made a splash in newer pop music by folks like Mumford & Sons. Why the mandolin and why now? It seems like there is a resurgence overall of roots music and folk music influence, with people like Chris Thile from the Punch Brothers or the Avett Brothers. I think the mandolin is more easily blendable into the music than some other instruments, like the banjo. When people think banjos, they think Earl Scruggs or a guy with three fingers.
You’re quite a proficient mandolin player. What drew you to it? I started playing guitar at 14. When I was in college, a friend of mine had a cheap mandolin kicking around that she let me borrow. As soon as I picked it up, I had that comfortable feeling. It just fit into what I was getting into at the time: roots, folk, bluegrass. The mandolin just felt good.
Is the lead singer of Mumford & Sons really the rest of the band’s dad? Yes! Absolutely. That’s an industry secret – I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but yes.
The concert takes place in the recital hall at CCMS, 23 Wall St., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 228-1196. Admission is $12 for students and seniors, $15 for adults.
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