One Man Band Carries The Music

Orange shirt, dark glasses, fedora, he stretches on stage in preparation for the upcoming labours. His is an act not only of co-ordination and musical talent; it is also a test of strength. He hoists a framework of percussion onto his back, a fifty pound welded aluminum collection of drums and cymbals, rattles and a tambourine. It also contains the wireless microphones that beam the sound generated by this Frankenstinian melding of high and low technology to a massive wooden cabinet looming just off stage.

string (11K)

Bandaloni tunes up.

The cabinet is shaped like a monstrous radio of old, a wooden dinosaur he claims came from his grandfather's kitchen. (His grandfather was a big man, laughs the musician). But inside this make-believe antique hums an incredibly powerful sound system, slides and sound outputs designed to work independently using the power flowing from batteries inside the cart the radio sits on. Right now, the radio is mated to our own sound system at the Fair. It serves as the technical ambassador between the one man band and our stage.

His guitar boasts a wooden fish and a reel. It is studded with harmonicas, a whole “schwack” of the mouth organs, as the musician puts it. The guitar is mounted on his belt and is spun during his renditions of Elvis, accompanied by strobing lights. The head is tied to a drumstick, which plays a snare on the contraption above him. His heels are strapped to the frame, each step banging a big bass drum or clashing the cymbals together. His calves are strong, used to this demanding activity.

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Pyrotechnical light show.

And so he shuffles across the stage, his left foot giving two kicks for each one of the right. He is at the centre of a cacophony of sound, a complexity of music that flows around and through the crowd. The kids stare in fascination, each of of them devising machines in their minds crafted of their own household equipment, pots and pans, sticks, rope and string. Dozens of little thumping and crashing one man bands are born in his music.

He sings of a performer of old, a man in worn shoes who dances and laughs with his feet; who hitches up his pants and jumps high. And the feet of this one man band are laughing, too. The fish on his guitar presides proudly over the crowd with the lilting thrum of the harmonicas and strumming guitar.

And his voice rises above it all, singing for us the memories of a culture, the harmonies that have emanated from a million smaller versions of his own massive radio.

Bernard Sandler (written by a stage hand at the London, Ontario Western Fair 2004)

Bandaloni standing in Toronto Harbor

Bandaloni switches on the power at a Microsoft corporate gala at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan.

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Keep watching the skies - 'cause here comes Canada's favourite One Man Band, kicking off his annual summer tour with the official launch of his customized state-of-the-art wireless audio system.

This beautiful, hand crafted oversized replica of a 1930's Atwater Kent Cathedral Style Radio boasts 1000 watts of clean power - all the better to broadcast more crisp live sound to Bandaloni's demanding audiences.

The huge radio is driven to performances via a motorized wagon remotely controlled by the versatile musician.

A team of exclusive expert metal fabricators, fine woodworkers, sound and electronic technicians worked for almost a year to Bandaloni's exacting specifications to create this incredible radio, which sounds even better than it looks.

As Bandaloni says, “It's the greatest battery operated sound system on the planet”.

good_show (5K)

A beautiful summer day in Ontario. Blue skies, a warm wind - what could be better?

How about some fantastic outdoor musical entertainment?

Luckily, the One and Only Bandaloni is there to provide just what you need.

“I love playing music for crowds”, says Bandaloni, the multi talented musical performer.

“Whether at seasonal fairs, corporate parties or schools. People really respond to my One Man Band show. It's not just an act, its an experience”.

And its true. Watching and listening to this incredible performer as he sings and plays his multitude of instruments is enough to draw incredulous stares and joyful laughter from his audiences.

But even before Bandaloni straps on his instruments, a crowd has gathered. The sight of his fantastic drum 'rig' draws questions from quizzical passers-by.

“Did you build that“? one asks. He did.

“Have you always been a one-man band?” “I've always been a musician,” Bandaloni answers thoughtfully, “ ...and as an artist, I've always liked building musical sculpture. This just came naturally.”

And then Bandaloni puts on his instruments and all heck breaks loose.

As Bandaloni charges into his set, the audience is thrilled and amazed at the variety of music he can create. Drawing from a deep well of over hundred songs, the multi-instrumentalist enthralls the rapidly growing crowd with folk and country classics, radio favorites, and even some contemporary hits. Uncluttered by wires, the one man band strolls and plays freely, and his audiences become part of the show - clapping and laughing, sometimes dancing or even joining in the chorus.

One can see why Bandaloni is a well loved musical performer across Canada and the States.

He entertains at all the major Canadian fairs and outdoor events and plays at major sporting events like Blue Jays and Hockey games. He is also a big draw at private corporate events and gatherings at office and Christmas parties.

“Some of those bankers can really cut loose” he chuckles.

“Of course I tailor the music to the event I'm playing. There's a song or a joke for every age group or music lover. I have sets for kids, and of course my shows are family friendly. I've even done a wedding or two”.

Bandaloni is also a licensed pyrotechnician - his rig is capable of shooting off fireworks and smoke bombs, depending on the show he plays, and he can even wear a drum skin with a corporate sponsor's logo. “ There's always a new rabbit to pull out of the old hat”, he winks.

One might say that Bandaloni gives a nod to the past while keeping an eye on the future.

“My show is a musical as well as a visual event. I've spent years building a top notch sound system. My drum contraption is engineered to make a visual statement as well as sounding the best it possibly can”.

“I use top-of-the-line audio equipment, and the sound is so rich that some assume I use pre-recorded vocal or backing tracks. But I always keep in mind the tradition of the one-man-band from the turn of the century. Everything you hear is 100 percent live, even though my wireless audio system is state of the art”.

Never content to rest on his laurels, Bandaloni has some surprises in store for future audiences.

He slips his rig back on for the next set.

“I'm always learning and writing new songs and jokes, and I'm making changes to my new custom sound system that'll knock their socks off. The next show is always the best one.”

Bandaloni smiles, and then stomps off into his next set.

No more questions. The only answer now is the applause of yet another happy crowd.