Mebanesville has issued a new album, Town and Country, an eclectic mix of songs across regions and genres. On the whole, their delivery of these songs is as natural as though we are but witnesses of an evening of conviviality among musical friends, an especially difficult task when recording in a studio, without the energy of the audience or the spontaneity of live performance.
Personnel vary from track to track, but the essential sound of the group is evident from beginning to end. They are imbued with egoless optimism and egalitarianism—you can hear their pure enjoyment of the music and camaraderie and each song features a different member of the group. Undergirding the ensemble is a solid rhythm section that unassumingly unifies the ensemble from track to track. In nearly each of these, their own arrangements, Peggy Boswell’s pennywhistle countermelodies delight in places where you might least expect, not to mention some enjoyable solos.
A significant part of the disc’s unity can be attributed to the consistent contribution of Loreins (Larry) Vellani. But, do not interpret that as “sameness”—Vellani’s vocal timbre and temperament, like a chameleon, change with each new musical landscape. He blends with the other singers and instruments to reflect the idiomatic character of the songs and to match colors: here lyrical, there strident, with Sherry Lea’s gut-felt croon or Iryna Tkachenko’s edgy innocence, but always telling the story in song.
It is important work that Mebanesville does, to share—in their own voice—this patchwork quilt of songs, and I have long admired them as they tenaciously bring live music to disparate people and events. The disc memorializes these live performances offered in locations near and far, from around central North Carolina to Reggio-Emilia in northern Italy. It is a cross cultural rendering from (among others) Italian, Irish, Mexican, and Afro-American origins. This strength of the album spreads a healing balm over the aches of divisive, modern times.
Their realization of “Corazon Espinado” exemplifies an approach, not to analyze and authentically reproduce the ethnicity of each song, but to celebrate it – to enrich it— with each member’s accent. Over the rhythm section’s Latin underpinning, the track unfoldingly surprises throughout with solo riffs, from pennywhistle to electric guitar to xylophone in rapid juxtaposition, all interwoven with the voice of an Eastern European émigré singing in New World Spanish. In bringing themselves fully, they foster the music of foreign cultures to be collectively ours. Mebanesville reminds us that all humanity shares longing for love and peace, for contentment and justice, and sings through the struggles that get us there.
If you are looking for an album that showcases music from around the world decked in its own ceremonial dress, you will not find it here: It is much more important than that.
... for an example of Charles Hogan's work, visit http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Name/Charles-Hogan/Conductor/273219-3 ...
Wednesday midday market, serenading nei portici di Correggio ... July 17, 2019 ...
Thursday evening, Cafe Teatro, Correggio ... July 18, 2019 ... https://www.flickr.com/photos/loreins/albums/72157710035839126
Friday midday, Museo Cervi, Campegine ... July 19, 2019 ...
Friday evening, La Tana delle Rane, Novellara ... July 19, 2019 ... with 3/4 of Folkin' Po in the closing set ...
Saturday morning mercato, Guastalla ... July 20, 2019 ...
Saturday evening, i Vizi del Pellicano, Correggio ... July 20, 2019 ...
Beautiful! Thank you for your musical gifts.
All praises for Mebanesville, Town & Country that serves us a potent mixed brew of cultural entanglements that remind us over and over again how music tenderly invites us across both geographical and spiritual borders. Drink these songs slowly and fully as they open our hearts and arms wider!
... for more about Jaki Shelton Green, visit https://indyweek.com/culture/art/as-our-states-new-poet-laureate-jaki-shelton-green-amplifie/
I have known Larry (Vellani) for many years and I’ve always enjoyed the music making that he and his colleagues bring to Alamance County. And now they have a CD, Mebanesville Town and Country, and this, I have to say, is the real thing. Listening to the CD is almost as much fun as being there. The performances are personal, eclectic, and are real, performed with enthusiasm and love for the music. Spanish, Italian, pop, traditional, original, it all comes together in a unique sound that we should all love and be a proud of as they are from our hometown. This CD is just darn fun. Don’t miss it!
... for more about Don Oehler--musician, composer, educator--visit https://music.unc.edu/people/musicfaculty/donald-l-oehler/
I was really knocked out to get hold of a copy of “Mebanesville Town & Country” late one night at Faringdon's Folly Fest. Thank you. The next day I played it in my car on my way to a house party in the countryside nearby, and it fitted my mood so well as I was driving through the wheat fields. I was particularly taken by the Italian tunes and especially Mafia Maffia. But what made it really work for me was to hear some of the musicians on the recording playing in front of me at the very house party--that was a real treat. I have particularly enjoyed Jody McCall's song Blood. As another song says, “Give Me Wings” - may you fly high and spread your sounds around. Until we meet again nella taverna in some southern European village deep in the countryside, Bella Ciao, Ciao, Ciao. Grazie.
... for more information on Al Cane's work, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Artist/Al-Cane-Photography-340187176006196/
Your record is truly global music.
Five languages, multiple musical traditions, both secular and religious tunes, multi gender singing. The Beatles’ cover is the highlight for me.
I am enjoying listening to it.
... for more about Samu Pardini's work, visit
... send your reviews & comments to Info@Mebanesville.com
Larry, where do I start? Listening in order, the first time, I hit re-play about 6 times on Here Comes the Sun. Fantastic song. Fantastic rendition.
Two words come to mind as I listen to this CD: "Generous" and "Frolic". (And delightful and fun and charming and endearing.)
You have the ability to lead but you also, as a good leader, have the ability to follow. Everyone in your band has the ability and sense and the musicality to know: when it's my turn I take it and when it's not I'm out of the way but still part of the tapestry. Having played with you makes it all the more charming and endearing and generous because I know how you relate to each other and visitors. Something so fun as Here Comes the Sun, followed immediately by the haunting, Latin tune shows your depth and breadth and consciousness of music.
Then I got to the last track! Oh my word! Best track on the CD. What else is there to say? Who is that guy? I want to sing/play with y'all and that saint some day! (NB: Mr. Grace is referring to Mr. Joe Thompson. For more information about Joe, visit the "New CD" section, as well as "About Hawfields & Mebane" of this site.)
Again, a fun, eclectic frolic, showcasing your musical generosity, breadth, and passion for this art form.
Ben fatto! Bravissimo!
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