Britain's first modern mandolin quartet with mandolins of all shapes and sizes, and the superb voice and mandobass(!) of Hilary James. Their infectious fun and off-beat humour influence everything they play, from lively reels to traditional airs, hot swing and ragtime, plus the occasional Chinese or Brazilian tune.
The Mandolinquents feature everything from hot swing and ragtime instrumentals from the mandolin orchestras of the 1930s: Irving Berlin, Mozart, Ravel and Tchaikovsky to lively reels and beautiful traditional Irish airs to Chinese and Brazilian folk tunes. All this played with infectious fun, off-beat humour and stunning virtuosity on mandolin, mandola, mandocello, mandobass and classical guitar, with the occasional burst of song or fiddle.
In the 1930s mandolin orchestras were all the rage - every self-respecting town had one. Today the mandolin is undergoing a revival in folk and indie bands as well as in classical circles, with Captain Corelli's Mandolin adding to the interest. In the USA it ranks alongside pizza and Frank Sinatra as one of Italy's greatest exports, while back in Europe, despite Hitler's attempt to ban it (he considered the tiny instrument a threat to Third Reich!!!) there are now 476 German mandolin orchestras. The UK has been a bit slow on the uptake, but years of confinement to back bedrooms, where legions of enthusiasts have been hiding away, are at an end.