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MP3 Chuck Kaplan and Paul Mirocha - Mandophilia

The intricate melodic textures of four hands and two mandolins, playing contemporary instrumental compositions that sound like a full band. Celtic, folk, jazz, and classical influences—but no unnecessary notes—create a relaxing groove with a spark.

13 MP3 Songs in this album (58:02) !
Related styles: FOLK: Contemporary Celtic, NEW AGE: Contemporary Instrumental

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Mandophilia is musical duo Chuck Kaplan and Paul Mirocha. The foundation of their music is simply four hands and two mandolins. Yet as multi-instrumentalists, they can sound like a full band.

Paul and Chuck first met at Celtic jam sessions in the mid–1980s and have been playing together ever since. The self-titled Mandophilia is their first professionally recorded CD album. This CD contains an hour of original acoustic instrumental compositions, based on a traditional style, but eclectic–sometimes tending towards classical or jazz. But you can set your EQ to Rock.

Rather than listing influences, it''s probably easier to list the musical genres that Paul and Chuck ignored. German brass polka bands or Billy Ray Cyrus might fit into this category. But then again, maybe. But ahh, Bach!

The music is ancient, contemporary, and fresh. It''s relaxing, with a spark. It''s sugar-free and has no unnecessary notes. It combines careful composition and arranging with spontaneous bursts of improvisation in the studio. Even some of the accidents stayed to redeem themselves later and became essential to the tune.

You can spend an hour just listening to Mandophilia. But listeners also find that the music is perfect as a contemplative background for concentration and work. There are no words to distract. People have also reported that they have used Mandophilia as background music for a party or social gathering; Mandophilia creates a subtle mood that''s good for relaxed conversation.

Water that has been exposed to Mandophilia''s music forms microscopic heart-shaped crystals. (Really! It might.). It has been proven to create alpha brain waves similar to those created by transendantal meditation in orange cats and Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

Chuck Kaplan, a medical doctor, gives music samples from Mandophilia to his patients. It''s MandoTherapy, a form of music therapy refocuses the mind and the body to shifting harmonies and cross-picking rhythms. And you don''t need a prescription. Music sometimes has healing properties that standard treatments cannot achieve.


Chuck Kaplan plays mandolin, fiddle, train whistle, and squeaky door.
Paul Mirocha plays mandolin, octave mandolin, and guitar.

Guests: Mark Holdaway plays guitar and kalimba on Freezer and The Paradoxical Frog. Doug Shelton plays ukelele on Luna Azúl. Karen Falkenstrom plays Japanese taiko drum on Spiders Lament.

Mandophilia was recorded, mixed, and mastered by George Nardo at Luna Recording Studio in Tucson, AZ.


1. Raging Rillito (Kaplan/Mirocha) 4:29
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle
Paul Mirocha: guitar and mandolin
George Nardo: bass

The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Tucson, rates the flood of January 1993 as one of the top ten weather stories of the century (second only to the flood of 1983). That’s definitely worth a tune. We don’t just talk about the weather–we do something about it. That storm filled the Rillito River, normally dry, bank to bank and overflowing. —CK

2. Cynda (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:41
Chuck Kaplan: harmony mandolin and lead during break
Paul Mirocha: main melody mandolin and octave mandolin
George Nardo: bass

In memory of Cynda Lauffer.

There was immeasurable joy
In your heart so giving
Spent in a life so short and
Making the spirit wise
Knowing there is no passage
Of material worth beyond
These gates, but only love,
Truth and beauty will
Survive to eternity.

Looking back I find good
Fortune to have met you.

–Rhod Lauffer

3. Luna Azúl (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:50
Chuck Kaplan: lead mandolin and bass
Paul Mirocha: guitar, second mandolin and cricket whistle
Doug Shelton: ukelele

Man, woman, just friends, and we didn’t know each other well. The two of us drove over Gates Pass into the desert and went for long a walk by the full moon. It was a Thursday. It was my birthday. It was a blue moon. It was a recipe for disaster. —PM

4. Peanut Butter & Jelly Burrito (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:07
Chuck Kaplan: harmony mandolin
Paul Mirocha: guitar and lead mandolin

When, as a baby, my daughter Claire was learning to eat solid food, I once gave her a peanut butter and jelly burrito as an experiment. It
was a sensation and became her favorite food for a couple of weeks. Then one day she just refused to eat another one. —PM

5. The Spider’s Lament (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:02
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle
Paul Mirocha: mandolin and octave mandolin
Karen Falkenstrom: Taiko drum
George Nardo: bass

A slow dance for eight legs. The soundtrack for Spiders of North America: an Identification Manual. For Anne, in memory of Vince Roth. But don''t forget, it''s for Anne.—PM

6. The Paradoxical Frog (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:30
Mark Holdaway: guitar
Chuck Kaplan: rhythm and harmony mandolin
Paul Mirocha: melody mandolins

The rain forest frog, Psuedis paradoxus, mystifies humans in that its tadpole can be almost four times the size of the adult. It grows smaller as it grows up. The tune starts out as a waltz, then goes into 5/4 time, except for one mysterious measure in 4/4. We are still researching that, but we’re pretty sure the third part is in 7/4. Listen for the brief frog theme which emerges two-thirds of the way through, then blends back in. Yes, it’s a contra dance, inspired by playing music while watching a room full of people all dancing together in geometric figures. What if you added one more beat per measure? —PM

7. Deanna’s Gig (Kaplan/Mirocha) 4:28
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle
Paul Mirocha: guitar and octave mandolin
George Nardo: bass

Originally “Deanna’s Jig,” written upon her birth, but she’s older now. —CK

8. Freezer (Mirocha/Kaplan) 3:36
Mark Holdaway: guitar and kalimba
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle, bass, train whistle, and squeaky door
Paul Mirocha: mandolin

I was pondering the meaning of this tune and what to call it when when I overheard a fragment of a nearby conversation. There may have also been something about a cat.—PM

9. The Great Salt Lake (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:42
Chuck Kaplan: second mandolin and second break lead
Paul Mirocha: first mandolin and guitar
George Nardo: bass

One late afternoon we hiked up to the top of Stansbury Peak, carrying our one-year-old daughter, Claire, in a backpack. As the sun set behind us, the vast space over the Great Salt Lake became luminous, empty and beautiful, like another planet. This tune started as an attempt to learn a blues scale, then became a lullaby, and was later arranged as a fugue. —PM

10. East Rock (Mirocha/Kaplan) 5:17
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle
Paul Mirocha: guitar and mandolin

“Here you have all you need,” Natasha said, “leaves, rocks, and water.” Later that year, standing in a crowded bar back home in Tucson, a musical phrase came to me while listening to a deafening country rock band, unrelated to what the band was playing. I worked it out on a guitar tuned to a Hawaiian tuning I found in the liner notes on a Keola Beamer album. I forgot the tune and relearned it twice over the next several years. Each time, the tune and tuning changed a little bit. —PM

11. Blue green (Mirocha/Kaplan) 3:05
Chuck Kaplan: rhythm mandolin
Paul Mirocha: melody mandolin and octave mandolin

In memory of my cousin, Wes Foard, who died at 18. At his memorial service, people wore blue and green ribbons. Those were his favorite colors. —PM

12. The Sleepless Night (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:28
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle
Paul Mirocha: mandolin
George Nardo: guitar and bass

Yes, there was a particular night, I can''t remember the exact date, when I sat and composed this tune on a solo mandolin. It''s a simple Irish jig that slides between two keys, and in the studio slid into a bolero. —PM

13. Ocotillo Waltz (Mirocha/Kaplan) 4:36
Chuck Kaplan: fiddle, harmony mandolin and lead break
Paul Mirocha: guitar and melody mandolin
George Nardo: bass

Originally composed as a lullaby, called “The Orcas Waltz” after a beautiful hike in the fog on Orcas Island with my good friend Gretchen. Later Chuck wrote some lyrics inspired by one of his favorite themes–the weather, and so it became a sort of children’s song, played here as an instrumental.

You have to live in the desert to really appreciate the ocotillo, a plant that looks dead most of the year, but puts out leaves after a rain. In the spring it becomes the most beautiful plant in the desert when hummingbirds fly thousands of miles from Mexico to feast on its sweet red flowers.—PM

I am an old ocotillo
parched by the wind.
My branches are torn
It’s a little too warm,
in the shade it’s hundred and ten.

The sun is so high
alone in the sky,
above there’s nothing but blue.
I ain''t seen nor heard

I’m here just waiting for you.

Rain, rain, waiting for rain.
I’ve seen on the desert
A flash coming soon.
Rain, rain, don’t pass me again
I’m here just waiting for you.

I remember a day
just when I can''t say.
It showered fight over my head.
Well, you should have seen
how I let out some green
and I put on a hat full of red.

I patiently stand
with thorns in my hand.
Nothing in the month of June.
I''m tired and bent.
My water''s all spent.
I''m here just waiting for you.


I am an old ocotillo
dust devil''s best friend.
Nothing to do
but wait here for you.
I know you''re coming
but when?

(words by Chuck Kaplan, Music by Paul Mirocha)

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