about THE BAND
Moo’d Swing, a 5 member roots/swing band, covers both popular and obscure tunes from the pre and post war eras, as well as performing plenty of original material. The band, together for 19 years, is known for its trademark 3 part harmonies and crazy mix of instrumentation. It’s not just the ukulele or accordion (to mention two of the seven instruments played) but the vocal arrangements that offer a refreshing new twist to some of the great ol’ chestnuts from the past. Moo’d Swing guarantees an entertaining, upbeat and sophisticated musical experience. We hope to have the opportunity to play for you.
Moo’d Swing’s previous incarnation, the Buckaroos, was the merging of Mike and Donna’s musical past. Mike Sanderson, a singer, ukulele and guitar player has spent a lifetime playing with friends whose musical styles include old time, country and bluegrass - a healthy mix of roots music. But his true roots in music have come from years around the piano with family members belting out the old popular and jazz chestnuts from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. This influence ultimately resurfaced in Moo’d Swing, making Mike the go-to-guy for many of our song selections.
Donna Green’s musical past also started at an early age but took a more professional turn after winning a local radio contest with Toronto’s Q107, as best songwriter. Her first performance, backed by the renowned Ian and Sylvia Tyson band, the Great Speckled Bird, included a mix of country, folk and pop music. She made her rounds at the folk festival circuit and Toronto bars, did radio work and recorded with the likes of Gwen Swick (Quartette), Colin Linden, Chris Whiteley and Daniel Lanois who engineered her first demo. Donna not only brings her vocals and guitar playing to Moo’d Swing but also her vocal arrangements, which add to the unique band sound.
Mike and Donna met through common musical friends and ultimately merged members of his band, the Don Valley Ramblers, with members of her band, the Fabulous Cowbelles. This became the melting pot of 1950’s country music with 1930’s swing and popular jazz, hence the name and creation of Moo’d Swing.
Donna and Mike met Bob Birnie at a ‘song circle’, a neighbourhood jam.
‘Banjo’ Bob, a multi-talented instrumentalist, who's played guitar, banjo and mandolin for over 40 years, also sings and writes his own material and co-writes with many local Toronto singer-songwriters. He shares a similar musical background in folk and old- time music, which makes for a perfect fit with Moo’d Swing. As luck would have it, the vocal blend of Bob, a tenor, Mike a baritone and Donna, an alto, makes for the perfect three part harmony singing, a trademark of Moo’d Swing’s sound. The band members enjoy re-arranging the old classics but also love digging for more obscure songs from the past.
Moo’d Swing delivers the music with a twist. This is made possible by Drew Jurecka, nominated as Canada’s most gifted jazz player, who joined the band for the last 2 recordings. When Drew is out on tour with one of the many bands he plays with, Moo'd Swing calls on Aaron Solomon, a superb jazz fiddle player who also performs with the band. We have also been joined in both live and recorded sessions, by Ross Wooldridge, also one of Canada’s best jazz musicians, along with his Dixie Demons which includes Dan Douglas and Steve Crowe. The clarinet and Dixie sound added to the Moo’d Swing repertoire is a natural fit and takes the performances and recordings to a whole new level of awesomeness!
The icing on the cake has been working with Rachel Melas (Swamperella), our bass player who is a great musician and a pleasure to work with. Rachel has been a bump on the log of Canadian music for the last 30 odd years. She is a graduate of the Mel Bay academy of bass, books 1 and 2. Through many years of hard work, she has clawed her way to the middle, where she plays a wide variety of music on electric and acoustic basses. In recent years she has played many varieties of folk and traditional music including cajun, klezmer, blues, rockabilly,old time and jazz. In her spare time she plays the guitar, fiddle and accordion.
Moo’d Swing has had the honour and privilege of performing for lots of audiences in a variety of venues over the years, including Roy Thomson Hall, the Stratford Summer Music Festival, the CNE, many seniors’ residences and a host of clubs & festivals but no audiences is more important to us than Canada’s Veterans, men and women with whom our music resonates.
Sit down or get up and dance!
Enjoy the swingin’, toe-tapping, harmonious sounds of Moo’d Swing.