I have recently listened to several videos with a tune for mandolin composed by Mark O’Connor – – A Bowl of Bula.
Mark O’Connor is today mainly known as a violin player and teacher. He has recorded many great CDs, including Appalachia Waltz which he recorded together with bass player Edgar Meyer and cello player Yo-Yo Ma.
Until 1997 Mark O’Conner did also play the mandolin and the guitar, but then he had to stop this due to problems with his health.
In 1984 he composed A Bowl of Bula:
One of Mark O’Connor’s mandolin signature pieces! “A Bowl of Bula”
Mark O’Connor’s mandolin playing in this video from 1991 features the deft dexterity of both hands and powerfully loud strumming. O’Connor wrote this mandolin piece in 1984 while in Figi. To hear a group version of this song, link here to a 1987 video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxe7ugrRZZo
O’Connor became the World Mandolin Champion in Kerrville, TX as a teenager in 1982.
Mark plays violin exclusively as of 1997, giving way to a bursitis and tendonitis condition in his right arm that would not allow him to play the mandolin or guitar any further at his top form. But the condition allows Mark’s violin bow arm technique to operate free from injury, with no hindrance.
Mark O’Conner has provided two youtube videos with performances of A Bowl of Bula, a solo version and a version with a complete band with Bela Felck (banjo), Jerry Douglas (dobro), guitar and bass.
I have looked for other versions of this great mandolin tune and I have found several very interesting videos.
A great version of A Bowl of Bula has been filmed by the Saline Fiddlers, the fiddle group has also made a great choreography for the performance:
Gilles Rézard plays a solo mandolin version on his Absynthe mandolin built by Hervé Coufleau:
Head for the Hills with Michael Chappell on the mandolin is a great young band that plays the tune with a lot of energy:
Finally this is a great version played by some Berklee students, together with Mark O’Connor and John McGann who died very early this year:
Mark O’Connor concert, December 2009, Berklee Performance Center, featuring students and faculty in the American Roots Program.
Cast includes Mark O’Connor on fiddle, John McGann on octave mandolin, and many incredible students including Jacob Jolliff, Sierra Hull, Eric Robertson (mandolins), Courtney Hartman, Julian Lage (guitars), Noam Wiesenberg (bass).
Solos: John McGann (octave mandolin), Sierra Hull (mandolin), Courtney Hartman (guitar), Jacob Jolliff (mandolin), Julian Lage (guitar), Eric Robertson (mandolin), Mark O’Connor (fiddle)
Composition © Mark O’Connor
Playlist “A Bowl of Bula”
Website Saline Fiddlers: http://www.salinefiddlers.com/
Website MarkO’Connor: http://markoconnor.com/
New Blog von Mark O’Connor: http://markoconnorblog.blogspot.de/
Website Head for the Hills: http://headforthehillsmusic.com/live/
Website Gilles Rézard: http://www.gillesrezard.com/
Website Hervé Coufleau: http://www.creationgo.net/coufleauguitars/
Appalachia Waltz (amazon partnerlink)