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Waterbury, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Waterbury, Connecticut, United States
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Alternative Indie




"Mandala Make Guitar Solos Fun Again On Their New Indie Rock Gem Of An Album, ‘Cash For Smiles’"

Cash For Smiles is more than just that, though, since all this six-string focus would mean nothing if that was all there was to it. The 36-minute record, which was written and recorded in Desiderio’s living room over the past year, is filled with quality songwriting, solid grooves, and consistently smooth and adept vocal performances from singer Morgan Fasanelli. - Derrick Rossignol

"Waterbury Indie Rock Band Mandala Dreams Of Breaking Free With 'Cash For Smiles'"

Breaking free seems like a reasonable fantasy for five young adults — Fasanelli, Azab, Desiderio, bassist Matt Rosano and drummer Sean Connelly — juggling college classes and full-time jobs while playing more than 100 gigs a year.

Distractions often interfere with clean getaways. “I’m wrapped up in the thought of you,” Fasanelli sings on “It’s Better This Time,” “I’m wrapped up in the sh*t that you do.” Most of the time, the music sides with the flight instinct; guitarist Abe Azab fills space with jangley, articulate patterns, extending chords with jazzy colors. Grooves swing, lope and gallop, while Chris Desiderio’s distorted, spacey guitar leads stab in and out. - Michael Hamad

"Mandala Shares New Album Cash For Smiles: Stream"

A crystal clear and confident collection of alternative rock songs, Cash For Smiles shows the band developing both their songwriting chops and technical ability. Throughout it’s breezy 36-minute runtime, the band alternates through upbeat jangle, crunchy rock riffage, anthemic delay, and slightly divergent pop and rock styles. - CT Scramble


Oh, where has the guitar solo gone? I mean one that really rips for more than just a couple bars. Mandala’s brand of high-octane indie rock, although not explicitly “guitar music,” really lets the instrument shine. The first two tracks, “David Brown” and “Washed Up,” end with some terrific guitar solos that run for a satisfying amount of time and with a gratifying amount of weight. That’s not even mentioning Morgan Fasanelli’s energetic vocals (for fans of Lady Lamb), and the band’s musicianship. This sophomore album is excellent. - DERRICK ROSSIGNOL


“David Brown” is maybe the best album-opening track I’ve heard this year. The track sets the tone, and gets a message across: The guitar is here, baby. Morgan Fasanelli’s vocals are capable and assured, absolutely, but the guitar work on this song and “Washed Up” is genius in the way that it’s allowed to take center stage. The last minute of the album opener is just an absolutely ripping guitar solo, and it’s one of 2017’s most refreshing 60 seconds of music. - DERRICK ROSSIGNOL

"The Mandala Effect: Cash For Smiles and Notating Nostalgia"

"Mandala is made up of five people: vocalist Morgan Fasanelli, rhythm guitarist Abe Azab, lead guitarist Chris Desiderio, bassist Matt Rosano, and drummer Sean Connelly. Originally from Waterbury, Connecticut, the band has played at least 100 shows this year alone between Connecticut, New York, and Philadelphia. The drive this band has is not only seen in each member individually, but can also be heard through the music they create together." - Claire Hubble - Blended Magazine

"Track Of The Day: Mandala | Ask Don’t Tell"

"their fresh new album Cash For Smiles, the band’s sound has been affectionately labelled “sad music you can dance to” – after all, there’s no point in just sitting there crying now, is there? Featuring the soaring vocals of songstress Morgan Fasanelli, this Connecticut five-piece have hit upon a truly infectious formula." - DANIELLE DE WOLFE - One Stop Record Shop

"WHUS RECAP: Mandala"

"Mandala is a local Connecticut band. They label themselves as: “sad music you can dance to” and it’s true. They are a fun alternative rock band with some sad lyrics. Every member of the band is musically gifted and they fit together as a unit. They’ve got an emotional lead singer, a wild lead guitar player who occasionally steals the show with his talent, a solid rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist with lots of energy, and a tight rhythm section." - Gabriele Esposito-Wilcock - WHUS Radio


Valley People
Cash For Smiles
Damsel in Defense EP



Mandala began when Abe Azab met Morgan Fasanelli at Kennedy High in Waterbury, Connecticut. They soon discovered that by using music as an outlet for the situations they faced in their own lives, they could create a musical experience that would resonate with listeners from all backgrounds. After being homeless at the age of 17, Abe became close as ever with Morgan when he moved into her guest bedroom the summer before he went to college. Morgan saved her friend from a tight situation, and this brought new light and motivation to the music that they had already been creating. The two went on spending endless hours perfecting their songwriting together. Soon, the aspiring songwriters would begin developing the sound that is mandala. By using these experiences in their songwriting, mandala creates powerful music that influences their listeners to experience the world from their perspective; human rights, love, loss, confidence, struggle and hope are themes they conquer within their music. Their tightness within their interpersonal lives binds them together both on, and off stage, presenting a chemistry to the audience that is evident beyond the performance. 

Band Members