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October 2017 - new Mandala Review
"Filigree flamenco fantasies from an artist whose fluttering flurries of notes make one’s soul fly."

June 2017 - "Mandala" wins Best album of 2016 award in the "Acoustic Guitar" category

On Sunday 4th June 2017, I was very proud to have won the award for "Best album of 2016" in the "Acoustic Guitar" category at the One World Music Awards.

Mandala 2016 Award

June 2017 - "Mandala" - Review by Dr. Music

When it comes to Spanish flamenco style guitar players, I have a soft spot in my heart. Visiting Spain a few years back, I spent most of my time listening to Russ Hewitt's Alma Vieja and the work of Paco De Lucia. Whenever I listen to those particular artists I can relive my adventure abroad and practically taste the sangria on my lips. This Mark Barnwell release has me longing for another journey that I can put to music.

This music transports you to another world, and does so with some excellent musicianship and captivating song structure. Barnwell's style is very traditional, but his speed and lyrical poise adds a nice bit of flash at times. The song that best exemplifies this bravado is "Potchka". Potchka is a Yiddish word meaning "to fool around," and this song supplies that clownish playfulness in spades. Sounding a bit like a Romanian-style polka at times, "Potchka" is a fast-fingered foray into one of the most lyrically expressive pieces of music in the genre. The harmony parts that are played by Barnwell on guitar and violinist Jonathan Stromberg are absolutely breathtaking. I'm not sure that I've ever heard a guitar and a violin compliment each other and meld together this well. It's funny that the track that follows "Potchka" is also a wonderful piece that has Barnwell and Stromberg making perfect harmonies together, but the context couldn't be any further from what "Potchka" had offered. "Endless Rain" is a piece that is also very lyrical in its approach, but its somber tone and slower pace make it a moody and dramatic beauty. "Moroccan Skies" is another song that breaks the traditional mold. The African drum percussion of Ramon Yslas carries the intensity of the song, while guest guitarist Jim Stubblefield lays down one of the more impressive solos on the record. The addition of the cello also adds beautiful body and feel to an already expressive piece.

"Surco Latino" or "Sahara" might be the most adventurous pieces of music on the record, though. Pianist Chris McGrath is a huge part of "Surco Latino," as is featured musician Jean-Pierre Durand, who delivers a Gipsy Jazz sax solo that just oozes with tone and feel. On "Sahara," Barnwell plays a fretless Spanish guitar and some keyboards, which are layered on top of an Egyptian or Middle Eastern-like tone that is enhanced by guest musician Yannaki Arrizza's Turkish Saz and Jonathan Stromberg's violin once again. The transcendent title track isn't one that lacks in adventure either. "Mandala" incorporates Barnwell's playing with McGrath's amazing piano work once again, only this time they are joined by flautist Judy Whitlock. The addition of the flute adds yet another dimension to an album full of little surprises.

But don't worry, much of the record is your typical traditional Spanish guitar music, with Barnwell providing impressive fretboard runs throughout the record. Songs like "Tierra Del Fuego," "Incendio," and "Sundance" are very traditional and very well written. Loyalists will be pleased throughout the record with how much Barnwell stays true to the roots of the genre on these tracks.

This is a record that puts your rear end in a first class seat and transports you to an entirely different world. It may not always be the taste of sangria on my lips after going on this journey, but it is definitely something very unique and oh so tasty.

"Mandala" - Review by Dr. Music -

May 2017 - Interview with Robert Von Bernewitz (aka Music Guy)

November 2016 - Mandala Review

With so many of the finest 21st century Nuevo Flamenco guitarists coming out of California and the desert Southwest of the US, it's refreshing to find a great new guitarist inspired by that celebrated genre, coming out of Cornwall, England. On his 2016 CD Mandala, guitarist and composer Mark Barnwell has shaped a fascinating instrumental guitar album that is a musical homage to the timeless Nuevo Flamenco guitar style and brings the guitar sound forward into the new millennium. It's fascinating to listen to Mandala while going over the packaging with its in depth discographical infomation, then to find out the album features Mark with some of the great Nuevo Flamenco guitarists of the day, including the entire Incendio band with Jim Stubblefield, Liza Carbe and Jean-Pierre Durand. Also here is noted U.K. guitarist Al Marconi playing Spanish guitar and yet another top guitarist called Yannaki, on both Turkish saz and Spanish guitar. Speaking about Mandala in the following interview, Mark Barnwell tells, "The whole is greater than the sum is its parts" is certainly a phrase which applies to Mandala. I guess you could call it a transatlantic collaboration with people I feel are on the same musical wavelength. We all have different styles... take the track "Incendio", for example, dedicated to Incendio the band, of course. Jim, JP and I all have our own distinct and unique styles yet, at the time of recording when I hadn't even met any of them in person, it sounds as if we're 3 band mates on stage together." Throughout the ten track Mandala CD, Mark Barnwell's expertise as a Spanish / Flamenco guitarist is first rate as his melodic approach to composition. Tasteful piano work by Chris Magrath and percussion by Bryan Brock and Ramon Yslas keeps the sound tempos moving briskly, while other players add in flutes, sax, strings and more. Adorned with cover art that is quite stunning to behold, the music is totally fascinating and the CD also features the work of esteemed music producer and mixer Bo Astrup. With ten memorable original instrumental compositions, Mark Barnwell's Mandala features some of the finest Nuevo Flamenco guitarists recording on the planet today.

November 2016 - Interview with Robert S Silverstein

October 2016 - "LA Talk Radio" show now available on Listen again.

Mark's appearence on LA Talk Radio, during his visit to California in September/October 2016 and shows with LA World Fusion Band Incendio, is available to listen to again - Click here for the MP3.

LA Talk Radio

September 2016 - "Mandala Reviews".

"Mandala" has been getting some great reiews, including:

One World Music

"I have been a fan of Incendio for countless years, the energy and passion over flows with abundance and now on this brand new Mark Barnwell release we have a collaboration that is so sweet it's beautifully and dangerously addictive. Barnwell has pulled out all the stops here, and on Mandala we have an album that has all the flame, fire and passion you would expect and a great deal of excellent musicianship to guide us on a brand new musical journey.

That journey starts with the opening offering called Tierra del Fuego; here we have a real rhythmic and fluent composition that also employs the wonderful talents of Incendio's Liza Carbe on bass.

Surco Latino is now upon us and this one is as smooth as Santana and Rob Thomas put together, this is a composition that oozes class all the way, from the piano of Chris Magrath, to the sax of Helen Rimmer and of course the over flowing subtleties of brilliance by Mark Barnwell on Spanish guitar.

Incendio is our third track and another outstanding moment of musical prowess, especially when you have the band with you, with Jim Stubblefield, J.P Durand and Liza Carbe all in top notch form, you can imagine dear reader and listener this was indeed a fiery composition. Mandala as a subject has fascinated me for years and can be found in many cultures across the planet, here Barnwell captures that energy brilliantly on this album, listen to Moonstone and see for yourself, the skill and talent here is just simply delightful to close your eyes and enjoy, the guitar by Barnwell is simply mystical in musical proportions, Barnwell is even joined by the masterful Al Marconi on guitar as well, and yes, this was one of my favourites pieces from the release.

On this next arrangement called Sundance, Mark Barnwell grasped this solo opportunity with both hands and created something powerful, global and classical within the same moment.

As we move deeper into the second half of the album we come across a really intriguing composition that has a really spectacular build and progression within its composition and called Moroccan Skies. The slow and careful beginning was sublime, but to be able to listen to both Stubblefield and Barnwell in tandem on this piece was nothing more than truly spectacular.

A short but regional and almost village styled track is up next and entitled Potchka which I believe is Yiddish, so that's not too far away from the island of Cyprus, where I now live and filled with some of the same vibrancy and fun that one can find in the local music, that resides in our village as well.

Another personal favourite of mine was the sumptuous and sultry Endless Rain, something here in Cyprus we would be praying for! You really have to listen to the sublime skills of both Barnwell and J.P Durand on guitar here, its pure quality of the highest order. A tip of the hat also to Ramon Yslas on percussion and Jonathan Stromberg on violin for helping manifest a real rain felt moment.

This time last year it was virtually lights out in Nicosia as a huge sand storm made its way over from the Sahara and we had nearly a week of twilight. This track would have been perfect for that freak weather occurrence. Sahara is the longest track on the album at well over 7 minutes and also the penultimate piece off the release and contains stylish performances from Barnwell and his team, especially so Yannaki Arrizza on Turkish Saz, creating the feel of the area with such skill and passion.

The last offering on the album is the title track and of course called Mandala, listen to the piano of Chris McGrath here as well as Barnwell's superb guitar, its performance is light and almost has a little jazz motif too, the flute of Judy Whitlock was both delicate and poignant on this composition and when the guitar of Mark Barnwell danced with her flute musical magic was created, what a beautiful way to leave the album. We must not forget the ultra-sensitive, but purposeful work on percussion by both Bryan Brock and Ramon, there skills in the engine room of this album were totally outstanding and added a whole new level of talent to this already brilliant album.

Mandala is easily Mark Barnwell's best work so far, the decision to include Incendio band members was a move of pure genius and the added instrumentation and collaborations have created a truly stylish and extremely listenable release, that I for one will be playing for many years to come, if you're a fan of acoustic guitar based music, that has both passion and flair, you really need to get Mandala by Mark Barnwell, it's guaranteed to brighten your day and lift your spirits and leave you totally chilled."


"Mark Barnwell's new CD Mandala is evocative, soothing and a beautiful healing work of art. A collaborative composition of world class musicians orchestrated to a superb level. Each piece is a safari for the soul, a voyage transcending you to a beautiful exotic place. To follow your passions is to buy Mandala. "


"Mark Barnwell's new CD Mandala is evocative, soothing and a beautiful healing work of art. A collaborative composition of world class musicians orchestrated to a superb level. Each piece is a safari for the soul, a voyage transcending you to a beautiful exotic place. To follow your passions is to buy Mandala. "

July 2016 - "Mandala" CD is now available to order here

Featuring cover artwork by the world reknowned artist Peter Pracownik -


May 2016 - "Take your pick" Spring tour is underway!

Take your pick

February 2016 - Musical line-up for the new "Mandala" album is complete

The line-up of musicians for Manadala is now complete:

All tracks composed by Mark Barnwell.
Mixed and mastered by Mark Barnwell and Bo Astrup.
Assistant producer - Tiggy Acworth.

September 2015 - Great concert at Looe Golf Club on Friday 4th September

Audience at Looe Golf Club
The Looe Golf Club concert was a great success.

August 2015 - Video of Esperanto concert in Taunton

A montage of the July 2015 Concert in Taunton.

August 2015 - Esperanto at Sidmouth Folk Festival

Esperanto at Sidmouth
Esperanto draw big crowds at Sidmouth Folk Festival in August.

May 2015 - Album Review from One World Music

Thankfully the Spanish and classical guitars and their most illustrious music are really hitting the music waves these days, but here is a rarity for us on One World Music, a musician of excellent Spanish guitar skills based in the UK!

Mark Barnwell shows us how it's done with a really splendid album called Ojos De La Tierra. The opening piece emphasises that completely, with a powerful but extremely fluent track called Cafe Tierra. From the opening percussion and the fast paced melody, this is a winner from the off, the smooth skilful playing reminds me in parts of Johannes Linstead's latest album Midnight Rhumba.

Avocado is with us now. The tempo changes to a very sensual beat and the melody is as equally sweet and through Barnwell's style here, one could imagine that Carlos Santana must surely be a little influence on his work. The skill on this piece is quite stunning and I am in awe of the ability that Barnwell seems to have in abundance, let's not also forget the full flowing piano on this piece as well, a very smooth track indeed.

Dear constant reader we now come to a very addictive little arrangement called Santa Rosa, the almost dancing duelling style here, creates a light and happy composition, the tempo rapidly moves us along what is a very listenable and fun arrangement.

Mar De Suenos is up next, a completely different song, reminding me of some of the classical folk guitars, we have here in Cyprus, the natural sounds of the sea are also used here to create a delightful atmosphere, this combined with a quite beautiful bass and some reflective percussion, made this my personal favourite track off the album, Barnwell's performance on this track is utterly stunning.

At the half way juncture we come across a piece called Arabian Seas. The strings that usher in this track are so mournful and scene setting, the playing is emphatic and Barnwell's supreme ability, almost duels with the stunning bass in this piece and manifests a composition with the same flourish as Latin band, Incendio.

I must say dear reader, this journey with Mark Barnwell is really proving to be a sun kissed trip, with some wonderful rhythmic compositions, much like this one called Zaahir. This is quite a powerful piece that builds and holds its course through the track and has a real belly dancing feel to it, the percussion here is also excellent, providing a real musical canvas for Barnwell to paint another slice of perfection for us.

Now we move to Matisse, a short form style piece that is a clever European styled composition, this is well crafted and waltz's its way seemingly through the back streets of Paris, stopping off at the odd Coffee shop or two along the way. Once more the songs of Barnwell create addictive qualities that are undeniable.

Cielos Cuberitos is the next stylish track that comes across our musical path dear constant listener. Take a listen to Barnwell's performance here, it is quite incredible and also has a depth of passion in the playing that makes it even more special, the added instrumentation brings us yet another track of total quality.

Now we find ourselves at the last sign home, which points us to the penultimate track off the album called Palinka. I defy you not to start tapping your toes to this one, or even dancing! The piece it's self has a real Gypsy feel to it, the guitar creates the tension and then plays out a partnership with the strings in a superbly performed and fun track that is as enjoyable as a Turkish Apple Tea on a warm day, refreshing music indeed.

So to the final track off the album dear reader and before Mark Barnwell leaves us, he has just enough time to perform a composition called Ojos de la tierra the title track is awesome, the melody is full of reflection and memory and is packed with a warmth in music, that creates such imagery and passion for the listener as it builds and progresses.

There is simply nothing to dislike about Ojos De la Tierra, Mark Barnwell is certainly talented and respectful of that talent, he has a skill though, that in music is quite rare, he has the ability to create great musical imagination and wonderful vistas through his performance and his skill as both a musician and composer and as such I would urge you to go and treat yourself to a copy of this album.

Ojos de la Tierra By Mark Barnwell
Written by Steve Sheppard