Fishtank Ensemble slated to return to Silver City

Posted on January 23, 2011


The Mimbres Region Arts Council will present the unforgettable Fishtank Ensemble at 7:30 p.m., Jan.29, at the Western New Mexico University Fine Arts Center Theatre.

Yes, you remember correctly, this is the same group that amazed the crowds during the 2009 Pickamania! with their explosive violins, incredible slap bass, musical saw, flamenco and gypsy jazz guitar, trombone, opera, jazz and gypsy vocals, accordion and  banjolele.

Their one-of-a-kind presentation in Silver City in 2009 meant only one thing to MRAC Director Faye McCalmont: get them back ASAP!

“When I saw the Pickamania! crowd jump to their feet to dance to such unique music and then pack in as close as they could to the stage to see the performers, I knew that I needed to bring them back,” she said.

The group performs everything from French hot jazz to wild Serbian and Transylvanian gypsy anthems, Flamenco, and oddball originals, producing a mix of music that amazes audiences.

Off the stage, the group’s four performers embody the gypsy (Roma) mystique of wandering people, adept as entertainers, but, most famously, trained as musicians. 

Two of the group’s members, Fabrice Martinez and Ursula Knudson, travel Europe in a mule-drawn caravan collecting and playing folk music with the group Croque Mule.  Originally from France, Martinez has a particular expertise in playing gypsy, Hungarian and Swedish folk music on the violin and violintromba.

Knudson is classically-trained in voice and violin and is an award winning saw player. She sings in Romanian, French, Japanese and English. 

Doug Smolens is an accomplished Flamenco guitarist, producer and composer.


Djordje Stijepovic was a member of leading world music bands in Serbia. He finished classical music conservatory and completed studies for jazz arrangement and bass. His signature slap bass style is in demand by numerous bands.

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see one of the most unusual and thrilling performing groups in the world.

Tickets are on sale now online and through the MRAC office.  Tickets are $15 for MRAC members, $20 for non-members, $5 for WNMU students and children. Groups of ten or more can also receive a special price of $10 per person.

Fishtank Ensemble will also conduct a one-hour lecture/demonstration for 900 students on Jan. 31 at the WNMU Fine Arts Theater. Fishtank’s musicians will demonstrate the violin and violintromba, flamenco guitar, slap bass, saw, and banjolele, exposing students in grades two through five to some unusual sights and sounds.

For more information about the evening or daytime performances, visit, call 575-538-2505 or stop into the MRAC office located on the south side of the Wells Fargo Bank Building, 1201 N. Pope St.

The Fishtank Ensemble performance is sponsored by Gila Regional Medical Center, lodging sponsor Holiday Inn Express-Silver City and radio/media sponsor Q92 FM,


This project is also made possible in part by the New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The final MRAC Performance Series event will feature the Celtic flare of Slide on March 26. The Mimbres Region Arts Council uses the power of the Arts to inspire, enrich, and strengthen our local communities.