Category: Mandolin

electronic devices

The Loop Station – a Powerful Tool for Mandolin…

I have started using a loop station about two years ago, and today I could not miss it any more. The loop station is a powerful tool for every musician, ane I recommend it for everybody who wants to add more color and diversity to his/her musical life.

My first video using a loop station was this:

Last year I have presented the loop station at the Mandolin Academy by Carlo Aonzo in Sorrento. In this post I will write about how to use a loop station with the mandolin and guitar for practicing and recording.

What is a loop station?

A loop station (or looper) is an electronic device which can record tracks, playback the recorded tracks, and record additional tracks over the first track. Loops can be stopped and started again, with some loopers you can use several different loops and switch between them for different parts of your song.

Loop stations have become very popular in Pop Music, Artists like Ed Sheeran use them a lot. Typically a short sequence of chords, a baseline, a riff are mixed up with rhythm to prepare a background for a song.

A nice example by CATT a singer from Germany is this:

Setup

You need:

  • A loop station with direct input for a microphone: I am using the Boss RC 30 (ca. 200,- €); another option is the Ditto Mic Looper (ca. 99,- €); the new Boss RC-500 does also have a microphone plug, but it is more expensive.
  • An amp – any acoustic / keyboard / guitar amp – will do – get a used one or a new one from ca. 50,- € 

So for little more that 300 € you can get a working solution.

You can also use any looper without a plug for the microphone – I have used the Ditto X2 looper first. In this case you need a small mixer for your microphone and an extra cable to go from the mixer to the loop station. You can use any cheap mixer, you can get something from ca. 40,- €. The cheapest looper by Boss is the RC-1. 

But I would recommend a looper like the Boss RC 30 which has the option to store up to 99 tracks. And it makes the setup much more easy compared to an extra mixer.

Additional information: https://www.boss.info/us/community/boss_users_group/1317/

Link collection: https://pinboard.in/u:mandoisland/t:looper/

You can find many youtube videos explaining how to work with a looper for live looping and using a looper for performances. There are also many videos explaining special loopers like the Boss RC-30. I have compiled many of the best videos in the following playlist.

Read more “The Loop Station – a Powerful Tool for Mandolin Players and Guitarists”
historical recordings

Rudy Cipolla – An American Original

I am currently preparing a program with Italian mandolin music. On my search for more music I have found some tunes by Rudy Cipolla and started listening to music by Rudy Cipolla.

The music from the CD Rudy Cipolla – Portrait of an American Original (Acoustic Disc) is available as youtube playlist and also on Spotify.

Playlist Rudy Cipolly – Portrait of an American Original

Spotify Playlist – Rudy Cipolla – Portrait of an American Original

One of my favorite tunes is the Study for two mandolins played by Radim Zenkl, a beautiful little duet.

I have made my own transcription of this duet and now have my own video:

This is another study for two mandolins – this one was recorded by Carlo Aonzo, David Grisman and Beppe Gambetta on the album “Traversata”

In the Mandolin Cafe you can find additional information in a discussion with pictures and also a link to a shared Dropbox folder by Sheri Mignano-Crawford with recordings from the Rudy Cipolla Memorial Tribute Concert and sheet music transcriptions of many Rudy Cipolla compositions.

Additional information

Discussion in the Mandolin Cafe with link to a collection of recordings and sheet music by Rudy Cipolla

Bio (Acoustic Disc)

Portrait of an American Original (Acoustic Disc)

Rudy Cipolla – Portrai of an American Original (discogs) with detailed information about all the tracks

LP – The World of Rudy Cipolla (Discogs)

festival

The 4th Mando-Fest in India 2020

In February 2020 the 4th mando-fest of India took place in Goa. This made me very curious about the situation of the mandolin in India. I have tried to collect information about the mando-fest and the most important mandolin players in India.

I have got the following information from Pradipto Sengupta who is one of the founders of this festival.

MANDOLIN FESTIVAL IN INDIA

HI, I am PRADIPTO SENGUPTA from Mumbai India. I play mandolin since my childhood. When I decided to learn Mandolin, it was very difficult to get good teacher then in Kolkata because this instrument is not very popular even today in our country. I took this as my profession and shifted to Mumbai in 1988, and started playing in the Mumbai Film Industry as a studio musician. Every time a thought was in my mind that, I must do something for the promotion and propagate about Mandolin in our country, and it drives me to meet Mr. Anil Pendse from Pune who is a founder member of Mandolin Lovers Club. MLC formed in 2002, that time there were 10/15 members. I am happy to state today that we have more than 100 mandolin lovers in our forum.

 I approached him about the concept of Mandolin festival in our country. He has appreciated the idea and with the love and support of Mandolin Lovers Club the idea took off and we could start our first Mando-Fest in Loni, Pune in 2017, and with each passing year we have had three very successful fests already and this year 2020 we have organized our 4th festival in Goa and we have added another feather to our cap by making this fest a grand success. The special attraction of this festival was the presence of maestro Carlo Aonzo and Maestro Lorenzo Bernardi from Italy. My sincere thanks to both of them for accepting my invitation and it was an honour for us to have both of them with us. They have conducted workshop, performed, and it was a great pleasure for me to share the stage with them.

This year Carlo Aonzo (mandolin) and Lorenzo Bernardi (guitar) had been invited to the Mando-Fest. I have asked Carlo Aonzo for a short statement about the Mando-Fest:

I am very impressed for the level of passion and interest around the mandolin in India, many good players, amateurs and professional musicians and the surprise of the very young mandolinista like the Warna girls. The mandolin is completely integrated into the Indian musical culture.

4th Mando-Fest of India 2020 – Playlist

The Warna Girls – a mandolin ensemble of 12 young girls – played at the Mandofest and got a lot of applause from the audience. Other videos: “Dr. Avinash Damle – -Playing Mandolin at Mando fest of india” and “Mandolin -Mere Rashke Qamar-TipTipBarsaPani-Bulleya”

3rd National Mando-Fest of India 2019, Bangalore

The playlist contains a trailer with information about the 3rd Mando-Fest, the video “PRADIPTO SENGUPTA PLAYED Huttidare Kannada on Mandolin” and the performance “50 Ragas| Aravind Bhargav| Chowdiah Hall”

3rd Mandofest – First Day

Read more “The 4th Mando-Fest in India 2020”
CD

Carlo Aonzo Trio – Mandolitaly

Carlo Aonzo has published a new CD with Italian music – Mandolitaly. In this album the Carlo Aonzo Trio plays a set of Italian tunes in very entertaining way, with a light mood and jazzy influences. The mandolin has a beautiful tone, and the accompaniment by guitar and double bass prepares a colorful base for the mandolin.

You can hear selections by Raffaele Calace and Carlo Munier, songs like the Genoese song “Ma se ghe penso”, the Neapolitan song “Voce ‘e notte”, the song “Nebbia’a la Vall” from the Abruzzi, a Sicilian Tarantella joined with Taranta Steps by John Coltrane, and a classical Toccata in A.

Carlo Aonzo has a compiled a great and entertaining album for everybody who loves the mandolin, with lovely tremolo serenades and jolly tarantellas. Some of the recordings remind me of the great Dave Apollon.

For the recording Carlo has added some great guest musicians to add more colors to the unique sound.

Claudio Bellato (guitar) 

Tommaso Bellomare (sicilian jew’s harp)

Rudy Cervetto (drums) 

Antonio Marangolo (sax) 

Ismaila Mbaye (african percussions) 

Fabio Rinaudo (bagpipes, flute) 

Daniele Sepe (sax) 

Ike Stubblefield (hammond organ)

Riccardo Tesi (diatonic accordion) 

Riccardo Zegna (piano)

The album can be ordered directly from Carlo Aonzo, it will be available soon on all other platforms.

Mandolitaly

You can hear some of the songs of this new CD as a live performance of the Carlo Aonzo Trio in the following podcast:
00:00 Indifference (short version)
06:35 Polke
11:53 Mazurka Sentimentale
18:13 Voce e’ Notte + Taranta Steps
25:00 Arrivederci Roma + Roma nun fa la stupida stasera
32:09 Mazurka (Calace)
38:06 Receita de Samba
43:46 Splitting it up
49:38 Vivaldi in New York (L’Estate 3° mov.)
54:30 Minuano (short version)

Playlist Mandolitaly

CD presentation on the website of Carlo Aonzo:

https://carloaonzo.com/mandolitaly-the-new-album

After “A Mandolin Journey”, musical tour through the continents, the Carlo Aonzo Trio – Carlo Aonzo on the Italian mandolin, Lorenzo Piccone on the acoustic guitar and Luciano Puppo on the double bass – is back, this time travelling along the Italian tradition to rediscover its peculiar soundtrack. Once again the main character is the mandolin which, in the personal unique modern and eclectic style of Aonzo, makes such repertoire surprisingly catchy and contemporary.

Additional Information

Review of “MandolItaly” in the Mandolin Cafe – including the track “Taranta Steps” from the album.

Review of the album (ondamusicale.it – Italian)

The previous album by the Carlo Aonzo Trio:

A Mandolin Journey at Spotify

Wikipedi about the song Ma se ghe penso