With Mundi, the concept of time dissolves. This band of may take its name and sound from the Old Europe of peasant dances and mossy cathedrals, but Mundi's spirit is contemporary and vibrant. For all their kettledrums, bells and strings, they can make 800 year-old dance tunes sound brand new.
This all-instrumental group, with violin, cello, guitar bass and percussion, formed in 1999 in Austin, TX. They called themselves the Mundi Emsemble, and drew inspiration from the boundaries of the Mundi (or "world" in Latin) around the Mediterranean of ancient times. A curious weave of medieval, Celtic, minimalist and folk sounds became their hallmark. "Philip Glass goes to the Ren Fest," commented one critic.
In early 2004, winds of change swept through the group. In came a brilliant new string section from the Austin Symphony: Carolyn Hagler - cello, Bruce Colson - violin. In came the new, snappier name -simply Mundi. Three founding members remained: upright and electric bassist Mario Gonzalez; quirky orchestral percussionist Ric Furley; and Mundi's devoted leader, composer and guitarist Darrel Mayers.
By early summer with a terrific revamped sound including intensified percussion and a dash of Middle Eastern influences, this convergence of talent had thrown itself into a tight schedule of rehearsals and recording sessions. And early in November, beneath the thatched roof of Austin's Barr Mansion, Mundi threw a grand party and released their new CD "Apple Howling" to a packed house.
On this ambitious recording, the listeners are treated to a variety of moods. The players swoop up into the jubilant Macedonian folk tune "Ramo Ramo", and then down into the introspective "Women of Ireland" and Lonely House." On their light hearted "Clippers", garden tools such as clay pots, a sythe and hedge clippers are heard working throughout the tune! They conclude with "Sagefire," a homage to a local firedancing legend. All the stops are opened for this one, with Hagler's celestial singing and Mayers's picturesque poetry playing out against a fiery percussive backdrop.
Peter Bay, conductor of the Austin Symphony says their current release, "Apple Howling" is "a wonderful hours journey through the ages." John Aielli of Austin's public radio station, KUT says enthusiastically that he is "very fond of this band...they are really, really good". PBS's "Central Texas Gardener" just filmed a segment with MUNDI performing "Clippers" in the garden of their cellist for an upcoming show and Michael Barnes ,editor of The Xlent section of The Austin American Statesman gave "Apple Howling" 4 stars with his glowing review.
The immediate future looks bright for this progressive, instrumental group with performance dates filling briskly, exceptional CD sales and a West Coast tour planned for the new year!