|NOCTAMBULE: The Waking|
|THE WAKING, released in 2015, is mostly poetry-set-to-music again, with a couple of original tunes thrown in for good measure.|
While we did not set out to write a ‘theme’ album in the same way as we did our first album, it wound up being one, ne’ertheless. It is entitled THE WAKING, from Theodore Roethke’s poem of the same name. The poems that we selected for this album address the vicissitudes, the inscrutability, and the ultimately indomitable nature of time. And, but for Roethke, it’s a whole different crowd of poets this time: W.H. Auden, Stephen Vincent Benét, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Jenny Joseph. The offerings range in tone from direly sombre to provocatively giddy; the offerings include a waltz, a slow air, many of our usual tough-to-categorize songs, and one that could even get filed under R&B. There is the usual panoply of voices and instruments: mandolin, mandola, Greek bouzouki, accordion, cittern, tenor guitar, and the usual array of 6, 10, and 12 string guitars in various tunings and stringing sequences. And there are some new additions as well -- whistles, flutes, violin, viola and cello -- courtesy of a few very special guests.
|NOCTAMBULE: Travel in the Shadows|
|Noctambule is myself and Bruce Victor. We take our name from one of the songs on the album -- our setting of a Robert Service poem about a nocturnal ramble through the streets and less savory back alleys of Paris. The music is all original, save one traditional song. With the exception of two instrumental pieces -- a reel and a waltz -- all the songs are settings of poetry from a variety of poets-- Tennyson, Neruda, Roethke, St. Vincent Millay, and a bunch from Robert Service. |
Released in 2013, our Album is about night journeys -- but if the night is its usual metaphor, then this project is really about the process of attempting to get from one place to another, from here to there without the usual, obvious and dependable sources of light. It means we must use other guideposts t0 re-orient ourselves. There is the implicit necessity to put our faith both in ourselves as well as in unseen forces and hands, given the absence of the usual progress markers. Destinations can become elusive, unexpected or nonexistent. At the end of the day (so to speak), it is about the journey and how we conduct ourselves through it.
The absence of the obvious sources of light will stimulate or unleash any number of emotional states: exhilaration, loneliness, love, and especially shifting degrees of trepidation, anxiety, and terror. Sadness is de rigueur for many reasons, none of which will be elaborated upon here. Perhaps the idea is to shift our perspective from looking at these states not merely as reactions to the journey, but also as one's assigned traveling companions.
The songs that we have selected seem to be about solo journeys. The night journey is a mucky trek through the marshes of one's own soul, with the annoying squishy sounds of one's own faltering boots as the principal soundtrack. The sense of isolation certainly darkens the shade of the darkness. But perhaps the journey resolves once we make a peace with loneliness, and in so doing, find new sources of connectedness. It is a journey that we all make alone together.
And getting our Night Journey Program under way, we start with Insomnia, untethering ourselves from our usual biological rhythms so that we can be more facilely hurled into The Night. But with any modicum of luck we return (con) Recuerdo, and like the inadvertent singing passengers, we are very tired but very merry, having emerged from waters that otherwise might have engulfed us. We return to the safety and familiarity of the ground from which we left; but it is more sacred ground for having made the Night Journey. Pack something warm, and come prepared for adventure...
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Praise for Travel in the Shadows...
'The irregular phrases, unpredictable meters and strangely beautiful harmonies...overlapping voices, guitars, and mandolins conjure a nocturnal world in which the words of some of our finest poets take shape and snap together magically like recently discovered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Travel in the Shadows is folk music at its best--hand made, without a template.' - Alex DeGrassi
'...sweet plucked string textures and wonderful vocal layers!' - Mike Marshall
'..deeply moved and impressed! Ambitious and evocative theme, wonderfully chosen texts, beautiful and intricate arrangements, and highly polished performances, both musically and sonically.'
-Neal Stulberg, Director of Orchestral Studies, UCLA
|MARLA FIBISH & JIMMY CROWLEY|
Marla teamed up with Jimmy Crowley to create a unique and delightful recording of Irish music played only on double-strung instruments. Though the world knows Jimmy as a great singer, this is an all instrumental album featuring traditional tunes of all sorts, along with an original or two from each of them, played on mandolin, mandola, mandocello, bouzouki, and a big bass bouzouki called a dordįn. The project was hatched over an evening of playing tunes together at Marla’s house on one of Jimmy's trips through the Bay Area back in 2009. It was recorded in three busy days in April 2010, and released in April 2011.
"Absolutely stunning...a thorough winner." - LiveIreland
"Great recording by two of the best; a must have CD for any mandolin or bouzouki player in Irish music." -- Dennis Cahill
"unique and delightful...a joyful romp" --Fiddlefreak Folk Music Blog
"a must for all who are interested in the mandolin family of instruments, in Irish music in general, and in exquisite duet playing." --Folkworks
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|THREE MILE STONE|
|Three Mile Stone is Marla Fibish, Erin Shrader, and Richard Mandel. Three Mile Stone serves up traditional Irish music with lift, drive, and sparkle. On their debut album, produced by Grammy-nominated guitar virtuoso/producer John Doyle, tight mandolin and fiddle duets with driving guitar backup give way to poignant airs, traditional songs, or poems set to breathtaking melodies by Marla. Their signature sound is all strings: fiddle, mandolin and guitar, with infectious playing, and inventive tune and song arrangements, in which any instrument might take the melody or play backup. Their repertoire includes familiar tunes and odd ones, a melding of Erin, Marla, and Richard’s repertoire across the decades and the miles. Driving reels, lively jigs, and catchy polkas from Ireland, not to mention a smattering of Quebecois and other styles, come together with a sound all their own.|
Buy the CD here - Three Mile Stone Website
“A wonderfully played album...performed by a tasty trio of real musicians and singers. If you really like Irish music, and don't just say you do, get this album. A total winner, front to back. Your ears will thank you. A very thoughtfully and tastefully presented stunner.”
—Irish American News
“Three Mile Stone members... play Irish Traditional Music with the respect and love that it deserves. They've created a work of art....And the songs are a delight. I love this stuff.”
—Billy McComiskey (Irish accordion legend)
“...an excellent recording of Traditional Irish music and song. From the quality of the recording to the standard of musicianship, coupled with the choice of material, and the lovely playing and singing has produced a delightful recording.”
—James Kelly (legendary Irish fiddler)
“The tunes are delightfully tastefully managed..., with a joyous inherent gusto....As purveyors of Irish music go, Three Mile Stone are indisputably in the top bracket, and you’re seriously unlikely to come across a much more elegantly persuasive and genuinely uplifting small-ensemble record than their eponymous debut."
—David Kidman, The Living Tradition magazine
“An elegant small-ensemble recording. Some the best mandolin playing in Irish music.”
—Dennis Cahill (guitar virtuoso, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill)
|Marla Fibish - Irish Mandolin Basics; Instructional DVD|
Irish Mandolin Basics - Tunes and Technique
The DVD gives practical instruction on right and left hand technique, rhythm, phrasing and musicality, taught through nine session-friendly traditional tunes. Each tune is first played at a lively tempo, then taught phrase-by-phrase shot close-up, and finally played three times through at a moderate practice pace.
Price $30. To order, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
"...a great addition to the mandolin instruction I’ve seen out there! Well done!"
--Dan Gabel, Acoustic Guitar Magazine
"Fibish provides excellent principled direction that emphasizes groove over flash. Ultimately, this is the best lesson a new player can learn...this DVD will cement her growing and already sterling reputation and will help better define the mandolin’s role in traditional Irish music..."
--Dan Neely, The Irish Echo
"This DVD is a delightful way to learn to play this style. I certainly hope it is only the first of more to come from Marla on Irish mandolin instruction!"
--Annette Siegel, Folkworks
REELS: Dan Breen's, The Sunny Banks, Paddy's Gone to France, Jenny Pickin' Cockles
JIGS: Connaughtman's Rambles, Boys of the Town, Old Man Dillon, The Miller's Maggot
WALTZ: ¨ Pretty Maid Milking a Cow
|The Parting, written by Cyril O'Donoghue, played in a parking garage in Berkeley, CA|
|Bruce Victor and I perform "Noctambule" at a house concert in Berkeley, CA in November 2012.|
|Marla & Jimmy Video|
|San Francisco House Concert|
|Mandolin duet: The Ameliorator / Gigue a Medee|
|A mandolin duet with the wonderful Tim Connell at a house concert in Hood River, OR in April 2013|