Meet The Band
(violino e mandolino)
Gus began playing the violin as a young boy in Detroit. Some of his Eastern European relatives played the mandolin and he soon became fascinated with the instrument. He listened to Jewish, Russian, Greek and Italian music, and then discovered Bluegrass music while attending school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since the early 70s, he has played Bluegrass, Country, Cajun, and jazz violin with many groups, including the late Jim Boggio and The Sonoma Swamp Dogs, Queen Ida, Al Rapone, Dan Hicks, and more. He was a member of the Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble in the early 80s, and now leads The Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble, in Sebastopol. Gus works at KRCB Radio in Santa Rosa, where he produces programs about traditional fiddling, mandolins, accordions, and world music.
Dennis’s two musical mentors were Frankie Yankovic and Hank Williams. Growing up in the East Bay in the 1950s, playing accordion didn’t make him the most popular kid on the block. But when Zydeco and Cajun music came on the scene, he was more than ready to jump in. Meanwhile, he was exploring other styles of accordion, as well, including Italian and Gypsy and French Musette. He now lives in Ukiah, California, where he plays on one of his five accordions and still likes Frankie Yankovic, this time with a trace of Italian and Cajun spices.
(chittara e mandolino)
Don was raised in an Italian/Irish household in Petaluma, California. He has been performing music for international audiences since the late 60s. From 1971 to 1978, he recorded and toured with his wife, songwriter Kate Wolf. In the 80s, he toured Europe with The Eclecticatz, an acoustic trio playing Celtic, Cowboy, Country, and Swing. Since then, he has continued to play Irish, Italian, Bluegrass and Country music. He now lives in Lake County where he produces the Anderson Marsh Old Time Bluegrass Festival, near Lower Lake, and also does an early-morning Bluegrass radio show in Lakeport.
The newest addition to the Hot Frittatas, Gail lives in Calistoga and has studied and performed in classical and baroque music settings for most of her life. She also learned to play the tenor banjo, and accompanied her late father, jazz clarinetist Tom Sharpsteen. She is a member of the Nota Bene Baroque Ensemble, and plays mandolin and mandocello with the Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble.
Photos by Michael Garelick.
You can reach the Hot Frittatas
in Santa Rosa at (707) 526-7763
or in Lake County at (707) 995-0658.
Or find us on the web at www.hotfrittatas.com.