Mark Barnwell | Mandala

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World: World Fusion Latin: Latin Jazz Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Mark Barnwell

Passionate, exotic, fiery and emotive, "Mandala" takes you on a Spanish guitar journey around the world. Featuring captivating performances from some of the top musicians in the world.
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tierra del Fuego
3:47 $0.99
2. Surco Latino (feat. Jean-Pierre Durand)
3:48 $0.99
3. Incendio (feat. Incendio)
4:49 $0.99
4. Moonstone (feat. Al Marconi)
4:50 $0.99
5. Sundance
1:57 $0.99
6. Moroccan Skies (feat. Jim Stubblefield)
5:31 $0.99
7. Potchka
2:37 $0.99
8. Endless Rain (feat. Jean-Pierre Durand)
4:42 $0.99
9. Sahara (feat. Arrizza)
7:38 $0.99
10. Mandala
5:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
1. Tierra del Fuego
The opening track to the cd is fuelled with passion, fire and energy, living up to its name which translates as ‘land of fire.’ The addictive riff will have you humming long after the track has finished and the dynamic rhythm section, Bryan Brock on percussion and Liza Carbé on bass, gives this track a ‘live’ feel.

2. Surco Latino
A laid back, rhythmic Latin Jazz number, a vibrant soundscape with just the right balance of bass from Liza and Mark on lead guitar with Jean-Pierre who provides a great gypsy-jazz style solo. Sultry saxophone from Helen and subtle percussion from Ramon complete the picture whilst the inimitable piano parts from Chris are the icing on the cake.

3. Incendio
A fiery, uplifting number that builds up gradually with the layering of guitars, then blazes out of control with a climactic key-change section before being brought under control again for a strong conclusion. With 3 musicians from the South West of England and 3 from California, this Latin Jazz fusion is a prime example of how people can work incredibly well together while being 6000 miles apart.

This song is dedicated to the World Fusion band “Incendio”. I discovered their fabulous music back in 2003 when I bought their cd in the local Cornish seaside town of Looe. It was the start of my musical journey that took me to where I am today as a guitarist and composer, opening my eyes and ears to a whole new genre. Jim, JP, Liza and Bryan from the band “Incendio” all play on this track and I am truly honoured to be playing with them on a song, something that 13 years ago was simply beyond my wildest dreams! They have all since become good friends, and I was lucky enough to hang out with Jim in Cornwall when he visited in 2015, an amazing experience!

4. Moonstone
After the heat and excitement of the last three songs, ‘Moonstone’ is a cooling serenade - gentle, romantic and contemplative. Not too dramatic, yet mildly emotional, inviting the listener to take a moment’s solace and reflection.

5. Sundance
After the calming serenity of the moon comes the dawning of a new day with ‘Sundance.’ Awakened by the early morning rays, the listener is invited to celebrate with a gentle but lively Spanish dance. An interlude between cooling ‘Moonstone’ and the adventures that are yet to come.

6. Moroccan Skies
A long, mournful introduction (by the Armenian Duduk) defines the track and sets the mood for a daunting, yet mystifying trek across the Maghreb, witnessing a miraculous sight along the way – the sky capturing the deep red, purple, yellow and orange hues. This song was inspired by Ramon, who plays percussion on it, when he simply posted a short video from the stage of his Moroccan festival appearance with J-Lo, with the caption “Moroccan Skies.” I saw this, and knew immediately that I had to translate those two words into music. Jim also joins me on guitar for this one, playing the harmony guitar parts to the main melody and chorus, along the climax of us each playing a fiery guitar solo towards the end of the song.

7. Potchka
The word “Potchka” is a Yiddish word that means “To fool around; to be busy without a clear goal”, which I thought perfectly befitting of this song as it’s a fun, light-hearted ditty that goes nowhere in particular but has great fun whilst doing so. The main melody and chorus line on this is given that added “Klezmer” vibe by the violin and guitar playing together.

8. Endless Rain
Inspired by the weather in the South West of England, and how it can make you feel. Reflective, melancholy, yet with a glimmer of hope for that illusive sun that you know will one day return. This track combines the passionate and emotive violin playing of Jonathan Stromberg, who I met a few years ago when he and his partner, Dolly, started ballroom dancing to one of my Salsa style tracks in a Tapas bar in Plymouth. I love how the chance meetings like this turn into something special.

9. Sahara
My most epic track to date, inspired by my love of exotic Eastern melodies and using to inspire the listeners imagination in a “film soundtrack” type way. This starts off with a deep drone and myself and Jonathan taking it in turns to improvise away on our respective instruments (Spanish guitar and violin). In both the intro and the outro sections, all the of the parts played are “on the spot” improvisations, which can bring a certain magical element to music. The guitar and violin continue to share the melodic roles, accompanied by the superb percussion of Bryan and bass playing of Liza. The icing on the cake for this piece is the addition of the Turkish Saz (doubled tracked along with Spanish guitar) of Yannaki, which adds a finishing touch of mystique and magic to the overall journey.

10. Mandala
Inspired by the likes of Prem Joshua and Omar Shokran, this is very much a foray into “New Age” territory style of music – which although often much maligned, can be fabulous if done well, and with real instruments (as with the two aforementioned artists). The magic of this piece is created by the addition of Jude’s haunting flute melodies that compliment and interplay with the guitar, and the sprinkling of magic from the piano of musical genius Chris MaGrath. Every note he plays on this piece is so inspired and so perfect – yet he recorded the whole thing after just one listen in about 10 minutes at 2am one morning. A perfect end to a magical journey.



to write a review

Steve Sheppard

Review from One World Music Radio
I have been a fan of Incendio for countless years, the energy and passion over flows with abundance and now on this brand new Mark Barnwell release we have a collaboration that is so sweet it’s beautifully and dangerously addictive.
Barnwell has pulled out all the stops here, and on Mandala we have an album that has all the flame, fire and passion you would expect and a great deal of excellent musicianship to guide us on a brand new musical journey.
That journey starts with the opening offering called Tierra del Fuego; here we have a real rhythmic and fluent composition that also employs the wonderful talents of Incendio’s Liza Carbe on bass.
Surco Latino is now upon us and this one is as smooth as Santana and Rob Thomas put together, this is a composition that oozes class all the way, from the piano of Chris Magrath, to the sax of Helen Rimmer and of course the over flowing subtleties of brilliance by Mark Barnwell on Spanish guitar.
Incendio is our third track and another outstanding moment of musical prowess, especially when you have the band with you, with Jim Stubblefield, J.P Durand and Liza Carbe all in top notch form, you can imagine dear reader and listener this was indeed a fiery composition.
Mandala as a subject has fascinated me for years and can be found in many cultures across the planet, here Barnwell captures that energy brilliantly on this album, listen to Moonstone and see for yourself, the skill and talent here is just simply delightful to close your eyes and enjoy, the guitar by Barnwell is simply mystical in musical proportions, Barnwell is even joined by the masterful Al Marconi on guitar as well, and yes, this was one of my favourites pieces from the release.
On this next arrangement called Sundance, Mark Barnwell grasped this solo opportunity with both hands and created something powerful, global and classical within the same moment.
As we move deeper into the second half of the album we come across a really intriguing composition that has a really spectacular build and progression within its composition and called Moroccan Skies. The slow and careful beginning was sublime, but to be able to listen to both Stubblefield and Barnwell in tandem on this piece was nothing more than truly spectacular.
A short but regional and almost village styled track is up next and entitled Potchka which I believe is Yiddish, so that’s not too far away from the island of Cyprus, where I now live and filled with some of the same vibrancy and fun that one can find in the local music, that resides in our village as well.
Another personal favourite of mine was the sumptuous and sultry Endless Rain, something here in Cyprus we would be praying for! You really have to listen to the sublime skills of both Barnwell and J.P Durand on guitar here, its pure quality of the highest order. A tip of the hat also to Ramon Yslas on percussion and Jonathan Stromberg on violin for helping manifest a real rain felt moment.
This time last year it was virtually lights out in Nicosia as a huge sand storm made its way over from the Sahara and we had nearly a week of twilight. This track would have been perfect for that freak weather occurrence. Sahara is the longest track on the album at well over 7 minutes and also the penultimate piece off the release and contains stylish performances from Barnwell and his team, especially so Yannaki Arrizza on Turkish Saz, creating the feel of the area with such skill and passion.
The last offering on the album is the title track and of course called Mandala, listen to the piano of Chris McGrath here as well as Barnwell’s superb guitar, its performance is light and almost has a little jazz motif too, the flute of Judy Whitlock was both delicate and poignant on this composition and when the guitar of Mark Barnwell danced with her flute musical magic was created, what a beautiful way to leave the album.
We must not forget the ultra-sensitive, but purposeful work on percussion by both Bryan Brock and Ramon, there skills in the engine room of this album were totally outstanding and added a whole new level of talent to this already brilliant album.
Mandala is easily Mark Barnwell’s best work so far, the decision to include Incendio band members was a move of pure genius and the added instrumentation and collaborations have created a truly stylish and extremely listenable release, that I for one will be playing for many years to come, if you’re a fan of acoustic guitar based music, that has both passion and flair, you really need to get Mandala by Mark Barnwell, it’s guaranteed to brighten your day and lift your spirits and leave you totally chilled.