Tears of Laughter

(mixed programme)

‘Just fantastic to go and see live’   BBC Radio 3

‘Deliciously uncool’   The Daily Telegraph

An evening of magical music and merriment with Britain’s leading ‘hot-fingered mandolin virtuoso’ Simon Mayor, and silver-voiced songstress Hilary James.

It’s probably the diversity of their repertoire that surprises people most: from folk songs to Berlioz, blues, classical mandolin show-stoppers, swing fiddle and maybe a couple of their own infamous comic songs – all spiced with Simon’s unique brand of off-beat humour and Hilary’s honey-dripping voice. Oh, and Hilary might even manage a step dance if the wind’s in the right direction.

The Guardian described the show as ‘a witty and captivating mix of folk, swing, blues and classical showstoppers’. There can’t be many who can slide easily from a beautifully evocative Irish ballad into a mandolin and guitar version of Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and finish with everyone singing one of their own notorious comic songs (reminiscent of Hilaire Belloc and Flanders and Swan).

A hugely entertaining evening not to be missed. Serious stuff – but don’t take it too seriously!



Listen (not so serious)…

Here are some samples of live humour taken from Simon Mayor & Hilary James shows or with their quartet The Mandolinquents.

Hear the full sequence
The man on the plane
Bird noises
The parrot joke
The parrot song (Mayor/James)
The Russian
Pizzicato (Leo Delibes)
(all voices and instruments – Simon Mayor & Hilary James.
‘Pizzicato’ performed live by Simon Mayor’s Mandolinquents)

Listen (just a tad more serious)…

Bolero (Raffaele Calace)
Melancholy Blues (Bloom / Melrose)
Arrival Of The Queen Of Sheba (Handel arr Mayor)
When Summer Comes Again (Mayor/James)

Mayor and James

More from the press…

‘Virtuoso mandolin, elegant vocals, guitar and fiddle wizardry, and a stage show that ranges from witty to hilarious. Expect anything from a Vivaldi concerto, trad folk, jazz standards, Celtic, ragtime, blues, a deadly accurate tribute to Jake Thackray and, of course, that song about the parrot!’

‘A whole stream of mirthful anecdotes, blurry-fingered precision and
sweetly sung blues, standards and folk songs.’

Glasgow Herald

Taxi Horn Rag (composed by Simon Mayor)
live at Association Musique Concertante, Les Angles, France

The Dead Sea Dances (composed by Simon Mayor)
live at Association Musique Concertante, Bonnieux, France

The Buttermere Waltz (composed by Simon Mayor)
live at Goderich Celtic Festival, Canada

Down The Road I’ll Go (composed by Hilary James)
live at Goderich Celtic Festival, Canada