La Mandragore distinguishes itself in two ways: its energic and contagious dynamism and its approach to the music Đ equal parts musicological rigour and modern creativity. The group presents unique arrangements of ancient melodies and of world folk music on a panoply of heterogeneous instruments, from the crumhorn to the nay, from the ud to the bouzouki and the gaida, and a whole range of percussion instruments.
La Mandragore has produced 4 recordings: Miracle! (2001) and Gibraltar (2002) explore Christian Spain of the 13th and 14th centuries. Barbarossa (Fidelio, 2005) is dedicated to Frederick BarbarossaŐs Germanic "Holy Roman Empire." This recording was recognized two years in a row by the Son et Image Festival. Lastly, Convivencia (Fidelio, 2010) examines the peaceful cohabitation of 10th-century Andalusia, which allowed for Arabs, Jews, and Christians to live harmoniously side by side. This recording was nominated by ADISQ in 2011 in the "Best World Music Recording" category. The corresponding concert was chosen by the Conseil des arts de MontrŽal on Tour and received the OPUS "Concert of the Year, World Music" Prize by the Quebec Council for Music.
La Mandragore and its musicians play in Canada and Europe. They traveled to France in 2010 and 2012, and to Denmark in 2014, for various medieval festivals.close
The musicians of THE LARKSONG TRIO, Peggo Horstmann Hodes, soprano, Jennifer Yeaton-Parris, flute, and Calvin Herst, piano, began playing together more than a decade ago on a lark. From that happy accident, they discovered their signature sound - elegant, playful and stunningly beautiful. From Celtic to Copland, from Beatles to brand new, the Larksong Trio dazzles with surprising arrangements and breath-taking musicianship. Each member of the trio is a classically trained, expressive, world-class musician. Together, they enjoy an engaging irreverence and spiritual connection that tugs at your heart and brings you home.close
Thomas Lee is a founding member of the Oscuro Quintet. He studied piano at the Julliard Pre-College division in New York with Richard Fabre and Antonio Fermin, and later at Yale University with Elizabeth Parisot. From 2005–2006 he studied carillon with Eddy Mariën at the Royal Carillon School “Jef Denyn” in Mechelen, Belgium, where he was only the fifth student in the school's history to graduate with “Greatest Distinction.” He received his carillon accreditation with the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 2006, and has been a regular performer in the United States, Belgium, and the Netherlands since then. He is also half of the carillon duo "Campana Nova" with Eddy Mariën. Lee has composed and arranged many pieces for carillon, and has begun to study tango music with Juan Martín Fernandez of Buenos Aires, Argentina.close
Pianist Laura Loewen is a long-time colleague and collaborator at the University of Manitoba's Desautels Faculty of Music in Winnipeg. Loewen is one of Canada's most expressive collaborative pianists, performing with leading singers and instrumentalists across the country. Her ongoing work with saxophonist Allen Harrington led to the recent Ravello Records release of METROPOLIS, a recording of new compositions for saxophone and piano. Loewen teaches collaborative piano and coaches singers at the Desautels Faculty of Music, where her "Passionate Diction" approach to language has inspired a whole new generation of language enthusiasts. Together, Mel Braun and Loewen have toured Canada and commissioned numerous works, always evolving as recitalists and collaborators.close
A native of Chicago, composer, multi-instrumentalist, author, and educator Alex Lubet has lived in Minnesota since 1979. While having written works in many idioms, he has long devoted himself principally to performing his own music, as a solo acoustic guitarist and in collaboration with artists including Maja Radovanlija, Swiss free jazz pianist Guerino Mazzola, and his wife, taiko and fue (Japanese drums and horizontal flute) player Iris Shiraishi. In addition to guitars and ukuleles, Alex plays electric and double bass and mountain dulcimer. Alex has received hundreds of performances of his works on six continents. His album Spectral Blues: New Music for Acoustic Guitar (Ravello) received unanimously excellent reviews in the US, Italy, and Brazil. Well known critic and author Ted Gioia named it a "Best Album of 2013." Alex joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1979.
Alex plays a Taylor guitar, a National Steel Guitar, and a Kamaka ukulele.
Lifelong guitarist Alex Lubet has created a unique niche, combining his instrumental experience with his traditional studies of composition. On SPECTRAL BLUES, a full album of his works for steel-string acoustic guitar, Lubet combines the characteristics of blues and Eastern styles with classical methods of composition to create remarkably unique pieces that push the boundaries of the instrument. Combining natural harmonies with single-string multiphonics and dyads, Doppler bends, and more, Lubet presents multi-layered guitar music with an edge.