Yolo Mambo

  • Genre
  • World
  • Awards and Nominations
    • SAMMIES 2019 Nominee★ World Music ★
    • SAMMIES 2018 Winner★ World Music ★
  • Musicians
    • Carla Campbell — percussion, vocals
    • Catherine LeBlanc — penny whistle, ukulele, vocals
    • Phil Summers — Spanish guitar, vocals
    • Steve O'Neill — bass, vocals
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Q & A

All-time favorite song?


Phil: “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles.

How do you describe your music to people?


Carla: Just what you want to hear when you are sipping on a glass of wine—smooth yet complex, with a touch of spice.

Phil: I think our CD review at SN&R says it all! Yolo Mambo… "feature(s) a light pop sound, yet are still grounded in this quartet's unique world-fusion style where Brazilian sounds, Gaelic jigs, Spanish flamenco and French reverie meet Etta James. Whether Catherine LeBlanc sings in English, one of two French dialects, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Maori or even Gaelic, the music is solid, sultry and sometimes haunting."—Sacramento News & Review.

Tell us about how the band formed.


Catherine and Phil played in !Akimbo in the '90s, and we all moved on to other projects. In the early 2000s, Phil asked Catherine if she would like to sing acoustic Latin music. We added Carla (from Di Patterson Xtet), and Steve is the most recent member.

Tell us about your best gig in Sac.


Phil: The Crocker Art Museum music series and Sacramento Arts Festival.

Carla: My favorite show was playing up at Lake Tahoe, looking at the lake, the sun setting and the dancers on the beach.

Tell us about your worst gig.


Steve: It’s hard to call a gig at a winery the worst, but one in Loomis was having a crush day. We were set up in a room very close to some rowdy barefoot folks stomping a big tub of grapes. The wine kept creeping towards our electrical cables. We were sure we were going home dripping red.

What artist or band are you a little embarrassed to love, and why?


Why be embarrassed to love something?

What was the first song you learned to play?


Steve: “Puff The Magic Dragon.”

Phil: “Play with Fire” by The Rolling Stones.

What's next for the band?


We would really like to get a regular gig in Sacramento for our style of music. We just released our new lyric video on YouTube called “12ft Ladder,” a song about the Trump border wall. (This is what used to be called a “protest” song).

What's the story behind the band name?


We are from Davis, and Mumbo Gumbo is the most well-known band there, and that name is very catchy. Catherine and Phil were founding members of the band !Akimbo (another world beat band) in the '90s. Because we play Latin music, we wanted Mambo in the name, and we live in Yolo County... hence Yolo Mambo!

What's your favorite local artist/group?


Phil: There are some really talented musicians in this area. I admire Henry Robinett and Joe Gilman.

Who are your biggest influences?


Phil: Since our music is pretty eclectic, we have many influences: from Cuban and Brazilian rhythms to Sting and Kirsty MaColl. We are similar to Lake Street Dive in style and instrumentation.

Carla: GLOBAL! As a band, we strive to play music from around the world that we would want on our playlist at home. Sometimes, we challenge ourselves as the original music is not geared toward a quartet with our instrumentation.

Who first inspired you to play music?


Phil: I grew up playing guitar in the mid-'60s in the UK. As you know, this was a golden age for music, so there was no shortage of inspiration from the Beatles and Rolling Stones, to name just a few! Phil also lived and played music in the Carribbean for a year, which really started my interest in world music.

Steve: Harry James and Nokie Edwards.

Catherine: My mother, Miriam Makeba and Ella Fitzgerald.

Words to live by?


Steve: Don’t ever give up, because a rainbow is just around the corner.

Carla: Enjoy each day and play music!

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