Who is Mandrágora Tango?

Mandragora is comprised of Bob Barnes on accordion and bandoneon, Laura Harada on violin, Scott Mateo Davies on guitar, and Nick Gaudette on bass.

You can read all about us below. Be sure to check out Bob's blog about Mandrágora, tango, music and life in general.

Photo: Mike Gitler

Bob Barnes, Bandoneon and Bandleader

Bob Barnes was born in Frankfurt, Germany and was raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Bob attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he earned degrees in music composition and computer science. He moved to Minneapolis in 1994 to study computer science and biology at the University of Minnesota and dropped out a few years later to devote himself to music and menial computer jobs. Bob started playing tango in 1987 after hearing a recording of the Argentine composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla. Bob nursed his tango addiction in private until 2001, when he sought out fellow tangophiles and founded Mandrágora Tango as a quartet of accordion, violin, bass and guitar. When he founded Mandrágora, Bob had no idea that people still danced to tango. He soon fell into the tango dance scene and started playing for milongas (tango dance parties). In 2002, Mandrágora started playing a weekly Sunday night Milonga at the Loring Pasta Bar, a long-term gig that continues to this day. In 2003, Bob started to add a piano and a string quartet to the mix and created the Mandrágora Tango Orchestra, a larger group dedicated to more symphonic tango styles. In 2006, Bob started to play the Bandoneon, a squared-off accordion that is used for tango.

Laura Harada, Violin

Originally trained in western classical music at Oberlin Conservatory, Laura Harada has spent the last 10 years playing music from all over the world with a special focus on Arabic music. During that time she has performed with and created original music for theater and dance companies including numerous productions with Jawaahir Dance Company, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, and Magic Lantern Puppet Theater. In 2005, Laura was chosen to perform with Fathy Salama's Cairo Orchestra and Senegalese singer Youssou N'dour on his US tour performing Egypt , the winner of the 2004 Grammy for World Music. Locally, she appears with world music ensemble Music Mundial, classical Arabic ensemble Amwaaj, and Batucada do Norte. Her first introduction to tango came in 2003 when she joined the large ensemble of Mandragora Tango Orchestra. At that time, she was struck by the bravado, sentimentality, moving sadness and longing which tango evokes, emotions which Arabic music summons as well. While violin has always been her main voice, Laura has studied other instruments including the Arabic oud, Brazilian percussion, and other hand drum styles.

Scott Mateo Davies, Guitar

Scott Mateo Davies began studying guitar at age nine. Upon completing high school, he traveled extensively for four years, performing as a folk singer in diverse venues in London, Casablanca, Stockholm and New Delhi. After returning to Minneapolis, Davies founded the pop group "The Rogues", touring the Midwest for the next eleven years. While on the road, he began playing classical guitar. In 1982, Davies moved to Madrid where he began intensively studying flamenco guitar. Davies returns to Spain each year to perform and continue his studies. From 1986 to 1998 Davies was the featured guitarist and 'ud player for Voices of Sepharad, a musical group dedicated to performing the music and dance of Spanish Jewish culture. Scott became obsessed with tango after hearing a recording of Argentine composer and bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla. He recorded several Piazzolla compositions before joining Mandrágora in 2004.

Nicholas Gaudette, Bass

Virtuosic bass pioneer Nicholas Gaudette picked up a cell tuned as a bass at age 5 and has continued playing classical and non-0classical music ever since. Nick studied with the pricipal bass of the Cleveland Orchestra, Max Dimoff, to whom he credits both technique and a sense of endless boundaries. After completing a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Nick helped found the chambe music fiddle project where he plays mostly withthe bow, treating the instrument like a large violin. He is currenltly the Instrumental Music Chair at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists arts high school and is also adjunct faculty at the Anoka-Ramsey Community College along with being a private bass instructor. Recently, he has been playing with Minneapolis-based Mississippi Peace. Along with playing next to fantasic local musicians, Nick writes and performs as resident composer for Maggie Bergeron and Company Dance Company

Guide to Mandrágora Tango Spiciness:

Extra Mild
Mild to Medium
Unbelievably Hot
Too Hot to handle!