Mandy had no formal training in music but had taught herself to play guitar
from the age of 13 accompanying herself to various folk songs. However, her
musical career only really began in earnest at The Glastonbury Music and
Dance Festival in1987 when she went to a Balkan Dance music workshop with
Dunav (a well known London based Balkan Folk Dance Group). She came away
from this workshop inspired to play for the dance and with some sheet music
for Circle Dances that she already knew.
However, it was not possible to be a one woman band, but low and
behold in the following January (1988) she met Tony Wrench, who
came to a day workshop that Mandy was teaching. Tony, a talented
and versatile musician - who now lives in Wales and plays with a
Circle Dance band called Rasalila - had also been a founder
member of the group Prana who sang chants from the Native
American Tradition and also composed their own chants. Tony,
however, was also very enthusiastic about learning to play music
for Circle Dance, and he and Mandy started to meet to learn some
tunes for future events that Mandy was organising.
In the Summer of 1988, Linda Rhodes, an extraordinary
professional violinist and teacher, who also had a passion for
playing folk music, came to a Summer Solstice event that Mandy
was leading with Tony and joined in with the live music making.
It was a great combination and after this event Linda was keen
to join Mandy and Tony and so they started to meet regularly to
build their repertoire.
After a couple of years playing live music for the dance, this
trio, joined by drummer friend Dave Starkie, recorded the CD Full Circle under the
name Ta-Vo-Koki (a Native American word chosen by Tony meaning
'social dance'). However, not long after they completed this
album, life circumstances changed and Tony and Dave moved away.
this point Mandy and Linda decided to form their partnership as
Parampara - a Sanskrit word which they chose for its appealing
rhythmic sound and for its many layered meanings. It alludes to
'tradition' but also roughly translates as 'one foot on the
ground, the other moving'.
Mandy and Linda worked successfully as a duo for a short while
and then a chance encounter at a dance camp in 1990 introduced
Mandy and Linda to Bob Minney - another talented and independent
musician, composer - best known for his accordion playing, but
also playing many other instruments with great skill. There was
an instant rapport, and for the next ten years Bob joined
Parampara regularly, playing for many circle dance events
locally and around the country.
Mandy and Linda went on to
produce many albums under the Parampara label - on three of
these recordings Sidetracks
1, Sidetracks 2 and
Footnotes) they were
joined by Bob.
However, Parampara is now probably best known for the two albums
Heart of the Wood
and Crock of Gold - two
unique collections of original music composed by Linda and
choreographed by Mandy. These creative albums were the outcome
of a very natural development of the many wonderful hours of
music-making and dancing that they had shared together. The
music is played by Linda and Mandy for Heart of the Wood and
they are joined by Mandy's Partner, Judy King, for some of the
tracks on Crock of Gold. Judy had always wanted to play the
flute and had learnt some basics, but had never had the
opportunity to develop her musical skills until now. She was
greatly helped and encouraged by Linda and Mandy and was soon
playing regularly at events as well as contributing to the Crock
of Gold album.
However, in 2002, life's events meant that Mandy's musical
journey with Linda came to an end. From this point Mandy and
Judy were joined by Chris Hall, a close friend, known for his
lovely singing voice but who was also developing his skills as
an accordionist ... and a new musical partnership emerged under
the name of Serendipity.
This current trio is now well known playing for the dance both
locally, around the country and also abroad and has produced
three albums to date. And so the musical journey continues - for
more about Mandy's current band please go to the
One other recording that you will find listed is
Close Harmony by
Musaic. Here Mandy has joined forces with Bob (see above), Nawal
Gadalla and Dee Voce. Nawal and Dee live in Chester and are also
Circle Dance teachers. This band came together over a period of
two years for a week long residential event called "Unplugged" -
a first in playing Circle Dance music live over this length of
time. This album was the result with a collection of favourite
tunes and dances from Musaic's repertoire.