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Gift of the Marcii (pronounced Mark-Eye) is a collaboration between brothers Andrew and Aaron Marcus and their mother Peggy. Although the brothers have been playing music since an early age and Andrew has done previous recording, they only recently decided to play and record together as a family band.

And what a great idea that was!  With accordion, piano, concertina, mountain dulcimer, vocal effects and various sorts of percussion, they have managed to create a rich and unusual sound, bringing a unique experience to the contra dance community in which they play.

Andrew Marcus
Accordion, Doumbek

Andrew has been playing the accordion since he was 8 years old. He started with a strong classical background under the instruction of Paul Monte, winning trophies at Massachusetts accordion competitions for many years in a row. He won playing songs such as "The William Tell Overture" and Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto in Em".

Andrew then played in a Klezmer band for several years before becoming a student officer for the Cornell University Jazz Ensembles. Though he had been an avid contra dancer since he was young, Andrew only started to play and compose contra dance tunes while in college. He soon helped form his first band Jiggermeister, which took the central NY contra scene by storm!  He brings a diverse musical background to his playing and composition, and loves to bring unusual genres into the contra dance repertoire.

He first picked up a doumbek in 2003 and was instantly hooked, but then found that he never has an opportunity to play it in a band because he is always needed on accordion. But equipped with a new doumbek stand built by Peggy's boyfriend Alec, Andrew can now practice his newest skill: playing doumbek and accordion at the same time!

Andrew now lives near Washington, DC, where he has a day job writing computer software for a small software company. But at night and on weekends he transforms into his alter ego Accordion Man! (dum da duuuum!) and plays with his local band Government Contra Act or one of several other bands, including Canadian group Flapjack and the group The Avant Gardeners.  He and Aaron have also occassionally collaborated with Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand to play as Giant Robot Dance.

To make things easier on himself, his housemates and others, Andrew's Crazy Schedule is now online!

Aaron Marcus
Piano, Concertina, Clogging, Vocals

Aaron started playing the piano at about age 5, and composing symphonies by age 12. No wait, that was Mozart. But Aaron is a child prodigy in his own right. Studying for many years under Angel Ramón Rivera, as well as Paul Monte and Jacqueline Schwab, he has developed a remarkable tone and elegance not commonly heard among contra dance musicians. But he also knows how to groove hard!

Aaron bought his first Hayden-duet concertina in 2004 and in a short time has developed a great mastery of the instrument. He has also been dancing as long as he has been playing music. No foot concertos yet, but Aaron is often sighted clogging/flatfooting, morris dancing, West African dancing, or doing his own thing; at local contra dances, along sidewalks, or while leap-frogging over parking meters. He considers the auditory expression of his clogging to be more important than the visual component, so we thought it would be great to put in on the CD!

Aaron has studied voice with Patti Thompson as an alto, and discovered his bass range accidentally when trying to sing overtones in 2003. And yes, the bass and the alto vocals are all part of Aaron's 3 1/2-octave range. Aaron finds scat singing more effective than words for expressing himself and his joy toward the universe.

Aaron finished his studies in conservation biology, happy plants, and wetlands, and now lives in Montpelier, VT, working for the state botanist. His partner Sam Sanders was our wonderful sound engineer at Vermont Public Radio.

Peggy Marcus
Bodhran, Mountain Dulcimer, Frog

Peggy also started piano as a child, but soon life kicked in.  She went on to do many other great things, such as raise a family and help hundreds of children learn how to read.

Still living in the family homestead in Newton, MA, Peggy rediscovered the thrill of playing music as her sons were heading off to college.  After spending so many years launching them off on their musical careers, she finally had the time for her own musical endeavors.  And endeavor she did!  She started bodhran and dulcimer lessons and quickly became the catalyst and facilitator for this new family band we wanted to put together.