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Meet the Musicians behind the doors: Trio CarmenCo

Innovative ensemble Trio CarmenCo are a unique group of multi-instrumentalists who create dramatic stage productions weaving together folk-inspired musical arrangements with live theatre, singing & dance. The group comprises Emily Andrews (flautist, mezzo-soprano, violinist, who also plays ocarina, piccolo & whistle), Francisco Correa & David Massey (both play guitar, banjo & mandolin, David also sings & plays piano).

Francisco started playing as a folk musician in his family band in Latin America before training classically from 16 onwards, and then doing a degree in jazz. David trained classically but grew up surrounded by folk music with a dad who played folk guitar. David also plays rock & electric guitar, as well as writing & recording his own songs. Emily has a classical music background (not to mention a maths degree - she teaches maths in her free time!). These varied musical influences inform the lively, fresh & exciting shows that CarmenCo produce.

In 2006, David was a BBC Young Musician string finalist, and shortly after met Emily at the Royal Academy of Music and formed the Andrews-Massey Duo.

Emily recalls: "One day I was supposed to make a video with a harpist for the External Bookings department, and the harpist cancelled the night before. I didn't know any other harpists but thught guitar was similar (!), so called David. I went to his house, he basically sightread the piano part of Schubert Standchen on guitar, we recorded it the next day and now that video has 280k views!"

As a duo, Emily and David have won the prestigious Tunnell Trust Award for 2012-2013, been semi-finalists in the Royal Overseas League Competition three times & performed at Wigmore Hall, St Martin in the Fields, Kings Place, St James’ Piccadilly & all over Europe. Amongst their CD releases is the sensational Christmas album, The Andrews-Massey Duo Make Merry.

"David and I liked to arrange pieces and also mess about a lot with different styles – improvising variations on tunes and changing styles of pieces (so playing a Mozart sonata but with rock or bluegrass or habanera style guitar under the tune on flute).

We had this idea to record a cd of christmas carols so booked a big room at the Academy in the summer holidays for a day, set up and started. No arrangements first, just a list of carols we wanted to do. Before starting each one, we decided a key, a structure, and a genre (so We 3 kings of Orient are we took to middle east, and we decided Good King Wenceslas was normally a bit ploddy so took him to America with bluegrass and banjo!). And then just recorded ourselves messing about.

We took the “base tracks” for the CD from what we did that day and then listened to them at home, improvising on top ourselves, and adding lines here and there. Whenever I had something good I'd rush to David's house and record it in his bedroom – and I'd also listen to what he'd added and either like it or veto it! Slowly we overdubbed loads of stuff and brought together the most original arrangements of these carols – it's one of the things I'm most proud of in my musical career.

The last piece in the jigsaw was that although it was a wicked cd, it was impossible to perform live as we needed loads of ourselves to do the arrangements justice. So when we formed CarmenCo in trio with my husband Francisco it gave us back the option of guitar solos without losing the chords and structure, or banjo and guitar together etc. We were able to make new arrangments which worked live based on the original CD David and I had made.

So thats how Andrews Massey Duo “Make Merry” ended up performed by CarmenCo trio, and on the advent calendar!"

Emily & Francisco have set up "clube do choro Bristol" to play Brazilian music with this community group, and have also started a music festival in their garden!

You can find out more about TrioCarmenCo here:


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