A special 25th anniversary double album is to be reissued of Simon Mayor’s first two solo albums, The Mandolin Album (1990) and The Second Mandolin Album (1991), to mark the quarter century of his music.
“When Simon Mayor and I first conceived the Mandolin Album we approached major labels, then the smaller independents, then numerous arts funding bodies. Back came the answer, “A mandolin? Who’d be interested in that? There’s no repertoire for it.” So we decided to go it alone. We had analogue recording equipment not dissimilar from that used by The Beatles to record Sergeant Pepper, but armed with this, a family of mandolin instruments and the patience to record countless overdubs, Simon set about creating a mandolin orchestra…by himself. – Hilary James
Simon Mayor’s reputation as one of the world’s most renowned mandolinists has taken him on an impressive and diverse twenty five year journey. With his debut The Mandolin Album, he embarked on a series of recordings to realise his longstanding intention to give the mandolin a uniquely British voice. The CD was immediately made Recording Of The Week on BBC Radio 2, followed by huge popular and critical acclaim across the media from BBC Radio 3 and 4 to stations all over the USA, Canada and Europe.
“The CD was a brand new format and digital technology was about to transform the record industry so we had our analogue master tapes made into a thousand CDs. We’d acquired the details of every radio producer named in the Radio Times, and once we took delivery of the CDs we drove into London and deposited a hundred in the BBC internal mail, more or less one for every producer in the building. Fingers crossed: maybe one of them would play a track… the next day we went to the Channel Islands for a tour of primary schools!!” – Hilary James
The Second Mandolin Album followed soon after, underlining his signature mix of sparkling original compositions alongside arrangements of some of the great orchestral classics, all delivered with sensitivity, drive – and more than a little humour. His later albums, both solo and with his quartet The Mandolinquents have continued to garner accolades from BBC World Service (Recording of the Week) to stations all over the USA and Canada and magazines as diverse as Q, Cosmopolitan, Living Tradition, and Sing Out .
Simon’s passion for the mandolin led to a wealth of teaching books and DVDs, including New Celtic Mandolin and The Mandolin Tutor, which is now widely regarded as the standard work for the instrument. His off-beat humour surfaced in his own series for the BBC, Marooned with a Mandolin – “the best programme on Radio 2 this week” in The Independent on Sunday. In 2006 he became a regular columnist for Acoustic Magazine.
In May 2000, in a landmark move for a mandolin player, he entered the UK’s Classical Artist Top Ten with a major ‘best of’ release of his own compositions and classical works for Universal Records.
Since 1990 he has performed and given seminars at an array of international engagements from Vancouver Folk Festival and The Stephen Leacock Humour Festival (Canada) to Rudoldstat World Music Festival (Germany), Festival International Mandolines de Lunel (France), Cheltenham Literature Festival (England), and special guest appearance at the Classical Mandolin Society of America’s Annual Convention.
Aside from the mandolin, he played swing fiddle on the original cast album of the stage show Five Guys Named Mo. Oh… and something he’s won’t tell you ….. he played mandolin on a hit line dancing album from the illustrious cast of TV’s Emmerdale and also Simon appears on two singles by Mr Dracula himself, the late Christopher Lee.
For more information on the CD visit: mandolin.co.uk