Round Mountain
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Round Mountain

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | INDIE

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2002
Duo Folk World

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dec
29
Round Mountain @ GiG Performance Space

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Sep
16
Round Mountain @ Lake City Dirt Inc

Lake City, CO

Lake City, CO

Aug
26
Round Mountain @ Bishop's Ridge Stoney Camp & Recreation Center

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Jun
21
Round Mountain @ Santa Fe Railyard Arts District

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Feb
28
Round Mountain @ Lensic Performing Arts Center

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, NM

Jul
19
Round Mountain @ Route 66 Summerfest

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Jul
13
Round Mountain @ Bogart's Bookstore

Millville, New Jersey, USA

Millville, New Jersey, USA

Jul
11
Round Mountain @ Club Passim

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Jul
09
Round Mountain @ Jalopy

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Jul
08
Round Mountain @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Jul
06
Round Mountain @ Ripton Community Coffee House

Ripton, Vermont, USA

Ripton, Vermont, USA

Jul
05
Round Mountain @ Bread and Butter Farm

Shelburne, Vermont, USA

Shelburne, Vermont, USA

Jun
29
Round Mountain @ The Frontier Cafe

Brunswick, Maine, USA

Brunswick, Maine, USA

Jun
27
Round Mountain @ Cafe NOLA

Frederick, Maryland, USA

Frederick, Maryland, USA

Jun
25
Round Mountain @ The Folk Club of Reston Herndon @ Amphora's Diner Deluxe

Herndon, Virginia, USA

Herndon, Virginia, USA

Jun
24
Round Mountain @ House Concert

Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA

Jun
21
Round Mountain @ Soundpony

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Jun
14
Round Mountain @ Claremont Folk Festival

Claremont, California, USA

Claremont, California, USA

Jun
12
Round Mountain @ The Steynberg Gallery

San Luis Obispo, California, USA

San Luis Obispo, California, USA

Jun
10
Round Mountain @ Don Quixote's

Felton, California, USA

Felton, California, USA

Jun
09
Round Mountain @ Wisteria Ways house concert series

Oakland, California, USA

Oakland, California, USA

Jun
08
Round Mountain @ Dana Street Roasting

Mountain View, California, USA

Mountain View, California, USA

Jun
02
Round Mountain @ North Bend Library

North Bend, Oregon, USA

North Bend, Oregon, USA

Jun
01
Round Mountain @ OreGrown Music

Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Corvallis, Oregon, USA

May
29
Round Mountain @ The Secret Society Ballroom

Portland, Oregon, USA

Portland, Oregon, USA

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Music

Press


For their fourth album in ten years, Santa Fe’s Round Mountain continues to proffer the remarkably diverse sound that’s been their stock in trade ever since the beginning. Those looking for easy categorisation will find only frustration, given the band’s blend of Celtic, African, Appalachian, Balkan and middle eastern influences, an approach which varies from track to track but deftly finds solid footing throughout. The array of instrumental additives is equally dazzling, with bagpipes, dobro, bouzouki and all manner of exotic world music elements entering into the fray. One need only start at the beginning to absorb the breadth and depth of their style, be it the jaunty brass revelry of “Without Fear,” the flighty flourishes of “Coffee,” the low-key yet celebratory style of “San Ysidro,” or the mystical meditations of “St. Joseph.”That said, the most enchanting entry belongs to “Mama Sweet Mama,” a gentle ramble that slows the pace and exhibits the most sublime hint of pure folk finesse. Round Mountain deserve kudos, not only for their experimental posture, but also for the lessons of acceptance they impart to their listeners. In their capable hands, it becomes a small world of music after all.
- No Depression



The fourth album from Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Round Mountain finds them mixing and matching music from quite a few different cultures (some of them within the United States). In less
talented hands that could immediately spell disaster, but the brothers Rothschild keep a deliciously light touch on their original material. Coffee/Doppio Macchiato, for instance, sounds as if Simon & Garfunkel (or possibly a less rootsy Everly Brothers) had team up with a Balkan brass band on a song that works far better than the elements suggest. Everyone's darling-of-the-moment, Anaïs Mitchell, brings her lovely voice to Alight, the unmistakeable Andy Irvine leads on One More Dream To Find, while Appear To Me employs a veritable choir on a piece inspired by Haiti. Char and Robby Rothschild play eighteen instruments between them on the disc,
ranging from standard guitar and variants to trumpet, ney, kora, balafon, accordeon and low whistle. They do, however, have the imagination to use them well and wisely, and also some of the sweetest fraternal harmonies since the Beach Boys. To be fair, the words are often the least important thing here - there's so much else going on. It's a veritable garden of earthly delights, Puckish and playful at times, with surprises around every corner, and well worth discovering.
www.roundmountainmusic.com
Chris Nickson
- fROOTS Magazine July 2013



The fourth album from Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Round Mountain finds them mixing and matching music from quite a few different cultures (some of them within the United States). In less
talented hands that could immediately spell disaster, but the brothers Rothschild keep a deliciously light touch on their original material. Coffee/Doppio Macchiato, for instance, sounds as if Simon & Garfunkel (or possibly a less rootsy Everly Brothers) had team up with a Balkan brass band on a song that works far better than the elements suggest. Everyone's darling-of-the-moment, Anaïs Mitchell, brings her lovely voice to Alight, the unmistakeable Andy Irvine leads on One More Dream To Find, while Appear To Me employs a veritable choir on a piece inspired by Haiti. Char and Robby Rothschild play eighteen instruments between them on the disc,
ranging from standard guitar and variants to trumpet, ney, kora, balafon, accordeon and low whistle. They do, however, have the imagination to use them well and wisely, and also some of the sweetest fraternal harmonies since the Beach Boys. To be fair, the words are often the least important thing here - there's so much else going on. It's a veritable garden of earthly delights, Puckish and playful at times, with surprises around every corner, and well worth discovering.
www.roundmountainmusic.com
Chris Nickson
- fROOTS Magazine July 2013


On Saturday, June 29th, the Santa Fe-based brother duo of Char and Robby Rothschild—aka Round Mountain—will be performing at the Frontier Café in Brunswick (14 Main Street—more information can be found by calling the venue at 207-725-5222). The brothers are both multi-instrumentalists as well as singer-songwriters with a penchant for world as well as alt-folk music (think Simon & Garfunkel-meet-Peter Gabriel) and their soon-to-be-released (July 2nd, 2013) new album, “The Goat,” will be featured prominently at this CD Release Concert up here in our fair State of Maine. To that end, the brothers called from the road (literally) as they traveled to a show on the other side of the country in Eastern Oregon.

Q: I suppose I should begin by asking if you gentlemen have ever performed up in Maine before.

R. ROTHSCHILD: We have indeed. We’ve been coming to Maine since we were kids—our dad used to go to Chebeague Island in the summer and we also went up to spend time with our cousins—so we have a little history…the most recent chapter of it began when we started coming out to the East Coast again in 2010 when we played Mayo St. and then One Longfellow in 2011…so we’re glad to be coming back to Maine now…and we will be descending on Great Chebeague Island after our gig there, as well.

C. ROTHSCHILD: It’s worth mentioning that our cousins are all musicians, too, and one lives in Portland and he plays in a lot of bands there.

R. ROTHSCHILD: And in some ways Maine represents the nexus of all of that—a place where we all come together—so it’s got some past to it for our family, some history…it’s good to have it in our sights again.

Q: Well, your album—“The Goat”—was a delight in that you never know what you were going to hear next!

R. & C. ROTHSCHILD: (Laughter) That’s great! That’s so good to hear!

Q: Now, are all the songs on your new album original compositions?

R. ROTHSCHILD: Yeah, they are…but there are certain elements of traditional stuff.

Q: For instance?

R. ROTHSCHILD: On the seventh track, “Living and the Dying,” we incorporate Nhemamusasa which comes from the Shona people {of Zimbabwe}. It is an ancient, ancient piece of traditional Shona music that’s played as sort of a vehicle for summoning the spirits of the ancestors. Char wrote this song on the passing of a number of important people in our lives which all came around the same period of time.

Q: How does this album translate to your live show?

C. ROTHSCHILD: That’s a really good question…we do a very interwoven process to deliver the songs live where by Robby will play, for example, kick-drum with his foot and the kora—a 21-string African harp—with his hands and sing; and I will be playing the accordion then I’ll reach down and grab the trumpet and have the trumpet in one hand and I’ve found I can accompany the trumpet with the accordion so I use the accordion for bass and chords and the trumpet for melody sometimes. Or sometimes I’ll pick up the Bulgarian gaida and accompany that with the accordion. So we use every limb imaginable to try to deliver those songs live.

R. ROTHSCHILD: That’s the basic answer…yeah, we rooted the record in our live arrangements but we found it more satisfying to give the album a little bit of help—there are a couple of incidents where there are things that we just don’t do live like the brass choir, for example, or the whole rhythm section with the drums. But we put out a big sound and it is part of the show to see us doing all these unusual things.

C. ROTHSCHILD: I think it’s worth mentioning that most of the rhythms and the melodies that you hear on the record will find their way into our live show. We manage to deliver a version of those elements so that the songs really are full-sounding.

Q: Gentlemen, is there anything that you’d like to have passed on to the folks reading this “What’s Happening” article?

R. ROTHSCHILD: You know, you could mention that we do feel that our music is for us a nice way to express some hope that we feel is going around now. I feel places like Maine have a self-efficiency culture that is encouraging to me as well as inspiring. My wife and I are into farming—we have goats at your house now—so I can appreciate even more the inspiration of Maine’s culture.

C. ROTHSCHILD: I’d like to add to that, too, that one of the other reasons that we named the record “The Goat” was that a number of our instruments are in fact made from goat skin, including the djembe from West Africa and the gaida from Bulgaria. So we feel like part of the record is also a thank-you to this animal that has been in an allegiance with humanity for so lo - What's Happening Maine


The Rothschild brothers Char and Robbie, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, make warm and life-affirming folk music under the name of Round Mountain. Their 2013 release The Goat is a musical journey that melds American folk with disparate elements from African griot storytelling to Balkan village dance music, Irish folk and more, all influences the Rothschilds have picked up in their travels separately and together.

I find the music itself immensely appealing, moving fluidly as it does among many world music genres while serving each song’s needs. “Come To The Garden,” for example, is dedicated to their grandfather and his grandfather, the first of their clan to come to America from what is now Germany in 1852. It begins with a quiet melody on the kora, the gourd-bodied lute used by East African musicians and griots, then shifts to Balkan instrumentation that leans heavily on accordion, bouzouki and saz and a hop-scotching rhythm; and for the outro it adds the other-worldly yowl of the Romanian goatskin bagpipe called the “gaida,” which literally means goat and contributed the CD’s title.

And there’s the caffeine-related two-song suite “Coffee” and “Doppio Macchiato,” an homage to the beverage served in so many of the places where this duo sings its songs. Both are backed by the Oakland, California-based Balkan band Brass Menazeri, led by trumpeter Peter Jaques. The first is a song about enlightenment using all kinds of coffee-related metaphors, the second a lively instrumental. Here’s the official video for “Coffee” featuring some hammy acting by the musicians.



The opening track “Without Fear” leads into “Coffee” with an outro that features a Romanian Gypsy instrumental including Char Rothschild playing accordion and trumpet simultaneously.

A song like “San Ysidro” has more straightforward instrumentation, but features an acoustic guitar picking out a pattern you’d expect to hear played on a kora, for instance. And indeed a little farther on in the song, Robbie joins in on the kora. “Alight” is a very griot-like song, its words poetically painting a picture that comes together slowly as each line unfolds. They’re joined on this song by the delightful Anaïs Mitchell, accompanied by an African-style soundbed of kora, djembe, balafon, calabash and more, in a stop-start six-beat rhythm.

The lyrics of the songs on The Goat often reflect pain, sorrow or confusion, whether over personal situations or bigger-picture concerns such as global warming. But they’re faced positively, if not always resolved, by hope and a sense of community and family. I tend to shy away from the kind of folk music that’s blindly optimistic or that offers simplistic, Pollyanaish answers to problems large or small. Round Mountain‘s music is so well done in its own quiet way that I find it as a whole refreshing. And sonically, it’s one of those perfect albums for a quiet Sunday morning.

(Red Shield Music, 2013) - Sleeping Hedgehog


The Rothschild brothers Char and Robbie, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, make warm and life-affirming folk music under the name of Round Mountain. Their 2013 release The Goat is a musical journey that melds American folk with disparate elements from African griot storytelling to Balkan village dance music, Irish folk and more, all influences the Rothschilds have picked up in their travels separately and together.

I find the music itself immensely appealing, moving fluidly as it does among many world music genres while serving each song’s needs. “Come To The Garden,” for example, is dedicated to their grandfather and his grandfather, the first of their clan to come to America from what is now Germany in 1852. It begins with a quiet melody on the kora, the gourd-bodied lute used by East African musicians and griots, then shifts to Balkan instrumentation that leans heavily on accordion, bouzouki and saz and a hop-scotching rhythm; and for the outro it adds the other-worldly yowl of the Romanian goatskin bagpipe called the “gaida,” which literally means goat and contributed the CD’s title.

And there’s the caffeine-related two-song suite “Coffee” and “Doppio Macchiato,” an homage to the beverage served in so many of the places where this duo sings its songs. Both are backed by the Oakland, California-based Balkan band Brass Menazeri, led by trumpeter Peter Jaques. The first is a song about enlightenment using all kinds of coffee-related metaphors, the second a lively instrumental. Here’s the official video for “Coffee” featuring some hammy acting by the musicians.



The opening track “Without Fear” leads into “Coffee” with an outro that features a Romanian Gypsy instrumental including Char Rothschild playing accordion and trumpet simultaneously.

A song like “San Ysidro” has more straightforward instrumentation, but features an acoustic guitar picking out a pattern you’d expect to hear played on a kora, for instance. And indeed a little farther on in the song, Robbie joins in on the kora. “Alight” is a very griot-like song, its words poetically painting a picture that comes together slowly as each line unfolds. They’re joined on this song by the delightful Anaïs Mitchell, accompanied by an African-style soundbed of kora, djembe, balafon, calabash and more, in a stop-start six-beat rhythm.

The lyrics of the songs on The Goat often reflect pain, sorrow or confusion, whether over personal situations or bigger-picture concerns such as global warming. But they’re faced positively, if not always resolved, by hope and a sense of community and family. I tend to shy away from the kind of folk music that’s blindly optimistic or that offers simplistic, Pollyanaish answers to problems large or small. Round Mountain‘s music is so well done in its own quiet way that I find it as a whole refreshing. And sonically, it’s one of those perfect albums for a quiet Sunday morning.

(Red Shield Music, 2013) - Sleeping Hedgehog


AZTEC — For years, two musical brothers from Santa Fe have traveled around the world, picking up friends and fans, instruments and sounds.

Tonight, they will share the spoils at Crash Music at the Historic Aztec Theater.

Brothers Char and Robby Rothschild perform together as Round Mountain, named after a pine-topped peak at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains where the brothers spent a lot of time hiking and camping as kids.

Now with families of their own, the brothers infuse their unique sound with a duffel bag full of musical flavors, rich in storytelling and style.

After years of travel and training, they play a multitude of instruments together.

At 40, elder brother Char Rothschild has achieved most people's bucket list, having traveled from Egypt to Ireland in 1996 and to Tokyo in 1997, playing for the Old Moscow Circus. Live, he sings and plays guitar, dobro and Bulgarian and highland bagpipes and has made a magic act of playing the trumpet and accordion simultaneously. He has studied trumpet with Paul Yutaka Tobe of the Japan Philharmonic and Zahir Ramadanov of Ansambl Teodosievski.

Robby Rothschild, 36, earned a master's degree in music composition from the University of New Mexico and has travelled to Africa and throughout Europe, performing with Guinean griot Prince Diabaté, Zimbabwean political activist and musician Thomas Mapfumo and German-born guitarist Ottmar Liebert.

He primarily plays instruments he can either tap, slap or strum, including the cajón, a six-sided, box-shaped drum from Peru, and two West African instruments, the kora and djembe.

On "Coffee," a song off the group's new album, "The Goat," you might catch the sound of Robby Rothschild "playing" an espresso machine's steam wand.

The brothers have shared the stage with or opened for the Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté, banjo phenomenon Bela Fleck, folk-rockers The Mammals and traditional Irish music innovator Andy Irvine.

The Rothschild brothers blend multiple instruments and musical genres into an eclectic and mesmeric brew.

"We have done some travelling, and now we're on the road a lot touring to support the new album," said Robby Rothschild. "The stuff that we've done, the places we've been and the people we've been fortunate to meet and share music with just informs our musical ideas, keeps them growing, learning."

Difficult to pin down and impossible to neatly classify, the band defies either the folk or world music categories.

"It's funny because it was never a conscious choice to be a fusion band," said Robby Rothschild. "We just try to follow the sense of authentic -- as in the word, author -- to do what comes from the heart, including the cultural traditions that we've studied. We play what has just sort of ended up organically with how we sound."

Part of that sound is a wide swath of musical flavors, including Irish, West African, Appalachian, Afro Beat, Zimbabwean, Turkish, Roma and Balkan. The brothers' four albums and live performances are a hearty, earthy, bouncy melange of sounds.

"The Rothschilds are familiar faces here and very talented," said Dorothy Massey, co-owner of the Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Santa Fe, where the band performed, and, for a time, where Robby worked as a barista. "Incredible players of many instruments. They're wildly popular. I would love to get them back."

Just back from a two-month, coast-to-coast tour of the country, the band made new connections with their growing fan base and fellow performers, including equally hard to classify New York-based Jean Rohe, a genre-blending Brazilian, folk and jazz singer.

"One of my favorite things about life is that you can play music and communicate and meet amazing people," said Robby Rothschild. "The human part just extends from it, it keeps you inspired, dreaming and humbled."
- Farmington Daily Times


Char Rothschild is a teacher by day. At night, he and his brother, Robby, make up the alt-folk duo Round Mountain.

But the two are able to balance it and make it work out.

“We’ve been blessed that we’ve been able to create music for over 10 years now,” Rothschild says during a recent phone interview.

Round Mountain is gearing up for the release of its fourth – and latest – album, “The Goat” on July 2. Rothschild says “The Goat” is the duo’s best album to date and he is very happy with the result.

He says the duo started writing the songs back in 2009, during a time they quit their day jobs and went on tour full time.

“It was weird because songs just came to us,” he says. “We also had some songs kicking around since we were both in high school in Santa Fe. ‘The Goat’ idea came from 1990 or 1991, so the age range of the songs is pretty great.”

The majority of the album was recorded at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe and was mixed and produced by the duo, as well as by Michael Chorney and Bill Palmer. John Gagan at the Electric Company, Pete Solomon at Bear Creek and Miles Boissen at Guerilla Recording also assisted in engineering the album.


Round Mountain
WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19WHERE: Santa Fe Railyard Plaza, 1607 Paseo de PeraltaHOW MUCH: Free

On the album, Rothschild sings and plays accordion, guitar, dobro, trumpet, Bulgarian gaida and highland bagpipes.

Meanwhile, his brother sings, plays percussion, the West African harp and the Irish Bouzouki.

“We’ve been inspired by world music and incorporate the different instruments,” he explains. “Our travels around the world have sparked this interest for us and it’s been amazing to incorporate it all into our music.”

Also on the album are guest musicians, such as Anais Mitchell, Moira Smiley, Andy Irvine and Brass Menazeri. Rothschild says working with the guest musicians was a treat because the duo looks up to them, as well.

He says the brothers were in California when they realized they wanted to record the song, “Coffee” with Brass Menazeri in San Francisco.

“That was one part of recording the album,” he says. “We thought of guest artists who would work and then went to them for the most part. Some of the album was recorded on the road and I think it added more to the final product.” - Adrian Gomez
- Albuquerque Journal


Char Rothschild is a teacher by day. At night, he and his brother, Robby, make up the alt-folk duo Round Mountain.

But the two are able to balance it and make it work out.

“We’ve been blessed that we’ve been able to create music for over 10 years now,” Rothschild says during a recent phone interview.

Round Mountain is gearing up for the release of its fourth – and latest – album, “The Goat” on July 2. Rothschild says “The Goat” is the duo’s best album to date and he is very happy with the result.

He says the duo started writing the songs back in 2009, during a time they quit their day jobs and went on tour full time.

“It was weird because songs just came to us,” he says. “We also had some songs kicking around since we were both in high school in Santa Fe. ‘The Goat’ idea came from 1990 or 1991, so the age range of the songs is pretty great.”

The majority of the album was recorded at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe and was mixed and produced by the duo, as well as by Michael Chorney and Bill Palmer. John Gagan at the Electric Company, Pete Solomon at Bear Creek and Miles Boissen at Guerilla Recording also assisted in engineering the album.


Round Mountain
WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19WHERE: Santa Fe Railyard Plaza, 1607 Paseo de PeraltaHOW MUCH: Free

On the album, Rothschild sings and plays accordion, guitar, dobro, trumpet, Bulgarian gaida and highland bagpipes.

Meanwhile, his brother sings, plays percussion, the West African harp and the Irish Bouzouki.

“We’ve been inspired by world music and incorporate the different instruments,” he explains. “Our travels around the world have sparked this interest for us and it’s been amazing to incorporate it all into our music.”

Also on the album are guest musicians, such as Anais Mitchell, Moira Smiley, Andy Irvine and Brass Menazeri. Rothschild says working with the guest musicians was a treat because the duo looks up to them, as well.

He says the brothers were in California when they realized they wanted to record the song, “Coffee” with Brass Menazeri in San Francisco.

“That was one part of recording the album,” he says. “We thought of guest artists who would work and then went to them for the most part. Some of the album was recorded on the road and I think it added more to the final product.” - Adrian Gomez
- Albuquerque Journal


The tag “world music” has never appealed to me. Actually, I despise it. World music, as the name of a thing, reeks of quasi-New Age silliness, a desperate stab at sounding worldly without having the slightest clue what other cultures do, say, think, or feel.
Furthermore, it’s a music-journalism cop-out phrase used when the writer can’t think of the name of that instrument from that place he or she can’t possibly pinpoint on a map. And it’s an insult to bands like Santa Fe duo Round Mountain.
Well-traveled and instrumentally gifted, brothers Robby and Char Rothschild take their stylistic cues from traditions found around the globe, and their rich harmonies lull and caress the ears like a sweet Simon & Garfunkel ballad. Blending elements of Eastern European, French Gypsy, African, Turkish, Appalachian, and Celtic music, Round Mountain rides the fence between contemporary Americana and international folk.
The Rothschilds, who many locals also remember as members of ’90s-era Santa Fe rock band Lizard House, are about to release their fourth full-length CD as Round Mountain, and they’re throwing a little party to help celebrate. At 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19, Heath Concerts present the band on the Railyard Plaza by the water tower near the Santa Fe Farmers Market Pavilion (1607 Paseo de Peralta) with guests Andy Irvine, Moira Smiley, San Francisco’s 10-piece Balkan brass orchestra Brass Menažeri, and Anias Mitchell.
The new album The Goat — a title inspired by the Rothschilds’ many encounters with animals, including their parents’ Nigerian Dwarf milk goats — was recorded almost entirely at Frogville Studios in Santa Fe. Multiple engineers and mixers didn’t get in the way or damage the continuity of these stellar 13 tracks, which shimmer with finely crafted instrumentation — accordion, bouzouki, kora, djembe, cajón, tupan, low whistle, calabash, hosho, mandola, and the instruments of Brass Menažeri, to name a few.
Each song on the album is accompanied in the liner notes by a story about the song’s genesis or its thematic inspiration. The oddly vaudevillian-sounding “Coffee,” for instance, celebrates the uplifting elixir and the wonderful manner in which it removes many heads from many — well, you get the idea. Making a special appearance among the instruments in this tune is the espresso-machine steam wand from Santa Fe café/coffee roaster Ohori’s.
There’s something of a stripped-down Peter Gabriel New Blood vibe to The Goat, both vocally and in the arrangements, although the Rothschilds wisely leave the multitextured percussion in the songs untouched. In press materials for the CD-release party, Robby Rothschild explains, “I feel we’ve become more relaxed about letting what’s imperfect shine out. … We found a balance between our dreams and the actual grit of pursuing them.” And on The Goat, that grit shows.
I’m also off to pursue some more dreams. This is the last “Sound Waves” column I’ll write. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege covering Santa Fe’s music scene for more than eight years for Pasatiempo. Thanks for reading, and thanks for listening.
Rob DeWalt - Pasatiempo - Santa Fe New Mexican


It’s the first Sunday in December and the Betterday Coffee Shop in Santa Fe is packed its entire length. At the far end, a crowd –some sitting on the floor, some standing — faces a small bandstand where two men perch among a thicket of instruments. The heads of some of those standing in the audience come no higher than the heads of those sitting. Little ones are fidgeting in adult laps. The two-man band Round Mountain is doing their annual family show and the pre-school set is getting edgy.

Suddenly, Char Rothschild, who earlier had taken a trumpet solo while accompanying himself on accordion, pulls out the gaida, a sort of Bulgarian bagpipe made from a goat skin. The whine of the instrument turns the heads of the distracted. Some of them clap with glee as Char’s cheeks puff. His brother, Robby Rothschild, introduces the next song and asks for clapping but not in the usual sense. It’s a uniquely timed clap he wants, something he calls the Ali Farka Toure clap, named for the Malian guitarist. One graying gentleman can’t seem to get it right. No problem. A young lady wearing a denim jumper who can’t be more than four-years old, her hair pulled back in a tight knot, cues him perfectly.

Family concerts come naturally to Round Mountain. The Rothschilds have been playing together in bands for over two decades and their musical connection goes back to childhood. In a phone call after the Betterday appearance, Robby explained the significance of the duo’s name and its ties to the brothers’ shared experience. “Our parents used to drive us up to the Jack’s Creek campground in [New Mexico's] Pecos Wilderness and we’d hike up to the threshold of the high country there on Round Mountain, have lunch in the big grassy meadows. It’s a very peaceful place and, for kids, has a magical quality. Mom and dad would lie down after lunch and we’d go explore and find bones and stuff. The whole experience had a kind of resonance for us. Later as we started making this music, [Round Mountain] seemed the perfect shrine, a metaphor for the kind of musical exploration we do.”

“As children, we were lucky to have parents who were interested in music and encouraged us,” said Char. “[The idea] of family really has a full connection for us. It’s our way of being. Now we have children of our own, we’re fathers and we have our own set of experiences when we write music. The family has really helped me understand who I am, both in the sense of the nuclear family and how I relate to rest of the world. That’s where our interest comes in the different traditions from around the world, musically, of course, and in a larger sense, how we’re connected and what effect [those traditions] have on us.”

The influence of world-wide musical traditions on Round Mountain is apparent just by seeing the brothers on the bandstand. It’s cluttered with various percussion instruments, including a hi-hat cymbal and djembe, the African pedestal drum. A trumpet stands at upside-down attention on a stand and there’s an accordion at the ready on the floor. Various string instruments – guitar, bouzouki, kora — cluster around. Somewhere nearby is the small gaida or a full-blown set of bagpipes. The brothers attribute their pan-global approach to music to a combination of local Santa Fe musical influences and their travels around the world. “There was a great moment in our history,” explained Robby, “where we met up in Ireland after all of our travels. My wife and I had gone to Mali to do some study. Char was traveling around the Balkans and the Middle East. He had left with this backpacker guitar and when we next saw him he had been transformed. He was traveling with [a Turkish string instrument] the saz and had this cool haircut that he’d gotten in Turkey. In a way it was a very symbolic meeting. We’d been doing this traveling, and we thought let’s do this musically now, let’s do this form of musical travel.”

Describing the brothers’ music isn’t as easy as calling it world-beat or placing it in some all-embracing instrumental category. Its roots are in American folk and its beats can reflect American pop and funk as well as more exotic rhythms. Robby claims a Muppet drum set given to him at age four as his first instrument. Char took up trumpet in the fifth grade and studied it through college. Both took piano lessons from a grandmother who often served as an accompanist around town. The brothers participated in African drumming dance classes and busked together around the old Farmers Market site. Robby spent time as a percussionist with rock guitarist Kip Winger – he’s heard on Winger’s 1998 Down Incognito recording — and both toured Australia with American–born, Afro-pop star Chris Berry and his band Panjea. Locally, they’ve appeared with the soul band Reverend Carol King Kong and bluesman Robert Pete Williams. Char gained valuable professional experience and acquired the ability – through need – of playing more than one instrument simultaneously while - Pasatiempo, Santa Fe New Mexican


The word unique has well-defined limits. Unique means exactly that and on a Wednesday evening at the always sweet Sierra Nights concert the locals were able to experience musical uniqueness in its closest definition with the amazing Round Mountain. The series is the brainchild of the tasteful Michael Wolf and you would have to search the purple mountains majesty and all the fruited plains to find a group to equal the truly unparalleled brothers-Rothschild who comprise this duo. Both seem to be born musicians whose broad experience has exposed them to a wide variety of musical traditions and instruments. To find on one stage twelve exotic instruments would be astounding but when several are played at once while vocals are being harmonized is just another league of musical ability. Then there are the instruments that include Scottish bagpipes, Bulgarian gaida, a trumpet, acoustic guitar, dobro, accordion, Turkish saz and ney (lutes), flamenco box drum, djembe, bouzouki, mandolin and of course the West African harp, the kora. Brother Char blows a mean horn with one hand while playing the accordion with the other and brother Robby plays sometimes three drums while strumming the harp and telling stories. Mind you, it is not just that they play these instruments but they do it exceedingly well and change on the fly as they go and very often play two or three at once while singing rather complex and emotional lyrics to the songs they have written.

Ah yes, the songs and the singing are special too. Not always right exactly on key or perfect pitch but beautiful and deep in the telling. Yet only off key in the way Lucinda Williams sings the blues or Joanna Newsome croons her lovely stuff. In moments Round Mountain can sound very Simon and Garfunkel and I mean that in the highest sort of compliment but at others they can get way over into Tom Waits territory. The show is all over the place in genre with bluesy romps like the Mississippi Fred McDowell “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” to the Cuban deliciousness of “Tula” to a caffeinated paean to coffee to a blasting bagpipe melody that filled the hall with Hibernian happiness. Still the best of the memorable night were the heartfelt and unashamedly sentimental songs Round Mountain has written for their wives and children or the sadness of parting from the hearts that love them. “Burn It Down,” “Candle in the Willow Tree” and “I Won’t Lose Sight of You” were more poetry than some of the verses on the page when sung in a tight harmony by these young men.

Having the good fortune to sit next the lad’s parents I understand something of the education the kids received since Mom knew every nuance and could sing like a delta blues mama. The folks lead the cheers but the rest of the full house needed little encouragement for the two talented brothers from Santa Fe New Mexico.
- Glen Creason - CerritosInk


We all need someone to lean on, and Char Rothschild leans on his accordion when he's playing his trumpet.
"It's really a smart idea to use two hands to play the trumpet, because there's a lot of stability you get from the other hand," Rothschild said in a recent phone interview.
But he won't do that Wednesday night, because he'll be playing the trumpet at the same time as the accordion in concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. He'll also play assorted other instruments and sing, as will his brother, Robby.
The siblings form the duo Round Mountain, and while many groups are called eclectic, Round Mountain could be used as a definition of the word. The accordion and trumpet are two of the more mainstream instruments they play. Others include dobro, Bulgarian gaida, Scottish bagpipes, West African kora and djembe, Peruvian cajon and Irish bouzouki.
The instruments are used to create sounds and rhythms of traditional music from world cultures, but the songs aren't traditional. They're originals written by the two brothers from Santa Fe, N.M.
Stabilizing the trumpet helps the lips, said Char Rothschild.
"Your lips are a very rowdy little bunch of muscles, and they really have to hone in on that mouthpiece to get the right overtones to come out when you're buzzing," he said. "The other hand allows you to get that kind of communication with the horn. But I've found that by resting a little bit on the accordion - because one half of it moves and the other half is fixed against your body - I'm able to get enough support to achieve that same sense of communication with the trumpet.
"Also, I don't burn out the muscles on my arms," he said. "We usually have a pretty lively ending, and if I'm doing trumpet and accordion at the end of the show, sometimes I'm a little wiped out. It has a little bit of a circus element to it that I both really enjoy and also get challenged by physically."
Playing the trumpet and accordion at the same time is easier than what Char Rothschild used to do in previous bands: playing simultaneous trumpet and keyboards, first for an Afro-pop band called Panjea.
"The singer had this way where he would just get an idea for a melodic line and start singing it in the middle of a song," he said, "and you were supposed to kind of pick it up. I would try playing them on a bunch of different options on my keyboard or on a guitar, and it just didn't have the right sound, but then when I learned them on a trumpet, it had the right sound, but it sounded naked by itself, so I put the trumpet and the keyboard together and harmonized the lines, and it sounded great."
The way things sound is important to the brothers. Their parents are "East Coast folkies" who decided to get on a motorcycle and head west. Growing up in Santa Fe, the boys were introduced to a wide variety of music, and when they were old enough they began traveling and getting excited about traditional music in areas as diverse as Turkey, West Africa and Ireland.
They began playing the music that appealed to them and learning folk instruments.
"My strongest instrument is percussion, my first instrument, and Char's is the trumpet," said Robby Rothschild. "We've fleshed those two things out with the other instruments because we love their colors, and they've been helpful for us in our songs.
"With certain of the instruments, we can bring the attitude of, OK, I've been playing this for 25 years. But for the others, there's a different feeling that's more native to folk music - OK, well anybody can play music. It's nice to remember that music has accompanied humans through all different manner of models. It hasn't been performance hall type stuff for very long, and it probably won't be for that long. It'll probably be something else we can't imagine."
Such philosophical viewpoints are an integral part of the Round Mountain brothers' musical approach, although, at least up to now, it may not be obvious.
When Robby Rothschild says things such as, "Our way of loving the world is making this music," you might guess that their songs are simple and maybe even saccharine. But not only is the music robust and often full of driving rhythms, the lyrics are obscure enough that it's hard to know what they are saying. It's an artifice Robby Rothschild is aware of.
"It's something that comes out a lot of times when you're trying to not be overly self-conscious about what you do," he said. "But if you come to the concert at Cerritos, I think you'll hear different songs. The last gig we did, we played a bunch of new songs that aren't on our record ("Windward," released in October 2009). My wife hadn't heard any of them. And she said, `Wow! Your words are different. It's like you're committing more to what you're actually saying."'
Robby Rothschild's explanation begins in a typically obscure metaphor.
"I feel what our words are about comes into focus sort of the way the moon might come into focus as the waves settle down in a tide - Long Beach Press Telegram


If you forced me to name just one act I discovered at NERFA it would be Round Mountain. Before the conference I said there were acts that I knew I had to see and others that I didn't know that I had to see. Round Mountain was one I didn't know. I met Robby in the lobby when he bumped into me in the lobby with his kora. That was enough to intrigue me and after talking to him I made a point of seeing their showcase on Friday. It was arranged late and wasn't even in the program. I might have seen them anyway because John Platt had them on his list to see. He had heard one minute of one of their songs on the On the Griddle workshop and was impressed. Everyone who saw them perform was impressed. They got the most enthusiastic guerilla showcase audience reaction I heard. They are two brothers, Robby and Char Rothschild from from Sante Fe New Mexico. I didn't know it till I got home but Robby is friends with my friend Joy from Sante Fe. Char is the one that plays the trumpet with his right and the accordion with his left.

Everyone in that room became a fan of theirs. I told them that if they are at Falcon Ridge and they don't play The Budgiedome I'm beating them up. - Horvendile Diary - Gordon Nash's blog


My personal favorite new discovery (is) Round Mountain from New Mexico – two brothers who manage to simultaneously play guitar (or accordion) with trumpet and kora (or balalaika) while banging on the cajón.
- John Platt, WFUV


Windward, the latest brainchild of Round Mountain—Santa Fe’s talented brothers Char and Robby Rothschild—is the duo’s third album, and this playful yet reflective recording marks an important transition. A year ago, they left the comforts of day jobs and families and headed windward, so to speak, to promote this CD around the country.

The brothers’ beautiful harmonies and poetic lyrics have often earned them comparisons with Simon and Garfunkel. But their hypnotic performances on an eclectic assortment of instruments produce what might be best called world-roots music—a sound exotic yet universally familiar. Their songs contain riffs and syncopations that run the gamut of Appalachian, Balkan, Turkish, and Scottish melodies. Both write songs, and each brings exceptional musicianship to the mix. As on their previous albums, they’re joined by double-bassist Jon Gagan, who also skillfully recorded the sessions as engineer and co-producer. (Gagan primarily performs with international guitar sensation Ottmar Liebert.) “Knowing we were going out on the road, we aimed for a sound that’s closer to our live performances,” says Char, the elder brother.

The Rothschilds have studied classical and ethnic music forms. “We honor and acknowledge all of the various musical influences that have come into our lives,” says Char, who dazzles audiences with his ability to literally juggle musical instruments, often playing trumpet or bagpipes with one hand and accordion with the other. He adds those instruments’ rich musical textures to Windward, as well as banjo, dobro, guitar, and saz (Turkish lute).

Although Robby plays bouzouki, he mainly provides the rhythm, on calabash, djembe, tupon, and many other percussion instruments, including the cajón (box), a Spanish percussion instrument on which he sits, playing barehanded. He often adds his sweet, high voice and the angelic, harp-like sounds of the kora, a West African stringed instrument, as in “Bear and Be Born.”

All of the songs are memorable, but several stand out: “Don’t Lie Down,” with its lively drumming and highland bagpipes, beckons the listener to persevere in life; “La Acequia” blends English and Spanish lyrics and flows as easily as the subject named in its title; “Goodnight Animals” is a gentle lullaby to one’s animal nature; and “Let Somebody Know You” is a poignant dialogue between a youth and an adult.
- New Mexico Magazine


By George Graham, Music Director/Host at WVIA-FM, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Williamsport, PA.

http://georgegraham.com/hgminfo.html

(Fast Horse Recordings As broadcast on WVIA-FM 7/18/2007)

For the avid, open-minded fan, music has a seemingly endless ability to surprise even those of us lucky listen to a lot of different styles. It does not happen very often, given the herd-like nature of the popular music business, and its tendency to ape trends, but sometimes some music will come out of left field that is both really interesting and quite easily enjoyable. Those two qualities do not often happen at the same time. And it's especially exciting when the music is outwardly very simple and spare sounding. This week, we have a new CD of such music by a band called Round Mountain, whose new release is called Truth and Darkness.

Lately, there has been what I find an intriguing trend of young performers rediscovering old folk songs and serving them up with acoustic folk instrumentation, though often in unconventional combinations, such as the bands Crooked Still, the Duhks and Ollabelle. Round Mountain is a trio from Santa Fe, New Mexico, two of whom are brothers. The use a motley collection of instruments running from banjo to Bulgarian bagpipes, to Malian kora, to Irish pennywhistle to Turkish saz to trumpet and accordion, to Latin American percussion. But the fact that they record more or less live, means that there are not too many instruments at a time -- more about that later -- and they keep the sound simple to the point of starkness. But they manage to combine as many musical influences as their collection of instruments would suggest. And instead of doing traditional songs, like other such eclectic acoustic groups have been doing, Round Mountain do original music of considerable sophistication, despite the outwardly barebones sound.

Round Mountain is Char Rothschild, the older of the brothers and the incurable multi-instrumentalist, playing most of the aforementioned exotic instruments, as well as sharing vocal and songwriting duties with his brother Robby. Char also tends to play more than one instrument at once -- such as trumpet and accordion. Robby plays mainly percussion but also instruments like the African kora, bouzouki and mandolin. Both have academic musical backgrounds, Char with a BFA in Contemporary Music from the College of Santa Fe, and Robby at the New England Conservatory of Music, the College of Santa Fe, and University of New Mexico, where is working on his Masters' in Composition. He also traveled to Africa to study percussion there. Rounding out the trio is bassist John Gagan. Robby Rothschild and Gagan played together previously in Nuevo Flamenco guitarist Ottmar Leibert's band. Of course, the two Rothschild brothers have been musical collaborators all their lives.

One is quickly taken by Round Mountain's music, the seemingly traditional sound that sneaks into a breathtaking array of influences, while at times being as simple as voice and kora -- the African harp guitar of Mali. At other times, the music can swirl into a kind of Eastern European or Middle Eastern conglomeration that can evoke a kind of laid-back klezmer music, or even a polka.

The lyrics tend to be introspective -- there is only one real love song and it's pretty understated -- and there are essentially a couple of lullabies, and some poetic reflections on life and family. The group's surroundings in the desert Southwest also form the backdrop for some of the songs. And both brothers write about the arrival of their respective children.

Opening is a track called Hildia, who is reputed to be a mythical woman in charge of the weather. The song hints at old-time Appalachian music. <<>> But soon, there are dollops of the Eastern European influence that the group frequently draws on. <<>>

A song inspired by the band's New Mexico surroundings is The Old Tree. It also hints at old-timey music, but they also add the Bulgarian bagpipe called the "gaida." <<>>

The group gets more wildly eclectic on Venus and the Tower, which was written by Char Rothschild about upon the arrival of his daughter, and inspired by his carrying her around to calm her. The group's Eastern European influences come to the fore. <<>>

Round Mountain can be at their most striking on their outwardly simple tracks. Burn It Down, about the arrival of the chill of winter, features mainly the African kora with the bass and light percussion, and Robbie's plaintive vocals. The result is quite haunting. <<>>

Another remarkably eclectic piece is Candle in the Willow Tree, a kind of philosophical song celebrating the here and now. It comes out as a kind of Middle Eastern reggae blues. <<>>

The title track, Truth and Darkness is the album's love song, and it's appropriately upbeat, with the Round Mountain's trademark collection of very disparate influences, in this case, some Sixties folk and hints of African. <<>>

Also arrestin - The Graham Weekly Album Review #1492


(Four-star review)
Whatever scepticism I may harbour
against global fusion was gently washed away by repeated listens to this creation by the New Mexico-based brothers Char and Robby Rothschild. The Rothschilds are not, it turns out, trying to reinvent any of the various cultures from which they’ve borrowed a number of instruments and song-forms. Instead, they’re sharing their own very personal aesthetic and their intimate but accessible experiences, having travelled widely and listened carefully. Their original melodies, arrangements and their lyrics in particular demand a similarly high level of listening from us. The rewards are legion. It’s earopening to hear these entrancing tales in English about love and the road and the mystical aspects of Mother Nature, accompanied by percussion from Africa and South America, strings from Mali and Turkey, and reeds from the Balkans, alongside the more familiar guitar, trumpet, and accordion. But this wouldn’t be able to work its wonders were not the Rothschilds such skilled multiinstrumentalists, ably assisted by bass player Jon Gagan.
The album’s songs take on an unpredictable multitude of forms, from the bluesy opening ‘Hildia’ and the reggae rhythm of ‘Candle in the Willow Tree’ to the John Denver-like folksiness of the title tune. Perhaps the loveliest of the many lovely numbers is also the musically simplest. Char’s ‘I Am Here’ is a welcome to his new daughter, accompanied only by his brother Robby’s kora (West African harp-lute). This is a treasure of sound and sentiment with which you’ll want to share, as well as treat yourself to.
Jeff Kaliss
Nov. 2007 - Songlines Magazine


The only way to categorize the music of brothers Robby and Char Rothschild is “all of the above” – regardless of what’s listed above. The first of the 10 originals that comprise the duo’s third album, “Don’t Lie Down,” starts as a Celtic ballad, with their sibling harmonies floating over bouzouki, accordion, and bowed bass (by Jon Gagan, the only other musician present). Then gears shift to a muted, Madagascar-flavored guitar riff, as the track picks up steam, and zydeco mixes with African percussion. We return to the Celtic ballad before a call-and-response chorus shouts over more polyrhythms and bagpipes mark the finale.
A lot going on? You bet. A cacophony? No way.
The Rothschilds mix and mutate styles as easily as easily as they swap instruments – with Char (it may be worth pointing out) sometimes playing accordion and trumpet at the simultaneously. It’s as though all of the styles, players, and instruments that Plsying for Change producer Mark Johnson filmed and recorded to make his “one world” point were absorbed and digested by two brothers in New Mexico.
Along with instruments that are beaten, blown into, or squeezed, stringed instruments employed include guitar, banjo, dobro, and saz (by Char), and kora and the aforementioned bouzouki (Robby). A song might start in Appalachia, cut through Mali, and end up in Turkey. If such eclecticism were just for show, it wouldn’t resonate. Round Mountain’s patchwork quilts are nearly always more logical than jarring.
The brothers’ juxtaposing and blending of styles isn’t as seamless as, say, David Lindley’s or Sandy Bull’s, but there’s lots of accomplishment as well as potential here.”
- Feb 2010


Brothers Char and Robby Rothschild of Round Mountain filled Linnaea's Café last Thursday night-not only a plethora of musical sounds, but a spirit of harmony and oneness with nature.

The small venue provided the perfect backdrop for what was truly a diverse and spectacular display of musical ability, meaningful lyrics, and catchy beats from their newest album, "Truth and Darkness," as well as music from their first album "Round Mountain."

Positioned under the picturesque backdrop of a window looking out to the lush greenery from the garden patio, Round Mountain was poised perfectly to convey its lyrics to the intimate audience looking on.

The Rothschilds have been playing music together for most of their lives, and it is evident when they are on stage. Each movement and sound was perfectly balanced between the brothers, radiating a feeling of complete effortlessness and creating a seamless performance throughout.

The name "Round Mountain" pays homage to a place the brothers explored as children in their hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as their belief that mountains are sacred.

To put Round Mountain in one musical category is impossible. The brothers switched instruments constantly and at times would play two at once. Char seemed to have two minds; one for focusing on the trumpet he was expertly playing, and one for the accordion that his fingers moved over with ease.

The sounds could be labeled as Balkan and West African mixed with traditional Appalachian music. The brothers collected many techniques and ideas when traveling the world, and have formed a patchwork quilt of melodies sewn perfectly together. If you ask the brothers how they would describe it, they might have to ponder for a moment.

"We are the worst people to ask about that," Char said with a grin.

"We call it traveling music," Robby offered.

"Because music has always traveled," Char added. "The way that light travels from the stars to the earth, it takes a long time for the light to arrive, and it has taken all of us a long time to arrive here on earth. We like to think that it would be good to hear in the car, because the beauty is in the transitions."

With a strong folk base to all of the songs, it was at times not far off to compare the two to Simon and Garfunkel. That is, if Simon and Garfunkel incorporated international derivations and an Irish bouzouki into their music.

The brothers attribute their love for music to listening to their mother singing, and participating in singing circles with their family and their parents' "folkie" friends.

The opening song of the night was titled "Venus in the Tower," and displayed quickly that this show would not be typical. The opening notes were reminiscent of something that would be in the background of a Spanish bullfight, and quickly transitioned into an uplifting beat pouring from Robby's fast hands on the drum.

With a story to tell about the meaning of each song, the audience quickly connected with the music, nodding in tandem to the band's explanations. Soon the coffee house was brimming with curious onlookers, as those sipping coffee on the patio swayed to the enticing rhythms.

The third song of the night, "Burn it Down," was dedicated to Robby's daughter because he said it was her favorite. It was easy to see why this song could become anyone's favorite as the room seemed to fade away and only the intense and meaningful lyrics and graceful guitar picks remained.

The lyrics paint a unique quality to the music that transforms it into more than a song, but rather a communication and dance with nature. The brothers write the words themselves, and find their inspirations in their surroundings, as well as dreams and mythology, with Char applying pieces that will connect to peoples' circumstances, and Robby focusing more on nature as a means of imagery.

"I tend to write things deriving as much as possible to talk to people with what I'm saying, almost to try to take a conversational tone, but then I like for that to slip into poetry, to go deeper-to evoke an essence," Char said. "Our favorite kinds of musical gigs are when we can all meet, and really communicate to the audience and share something."

"We feel like we and the audience are all sort of assembled around this fire that was the music. That's the best kind of feeling," Robby said. "Everything I write has nature references in it. I seem to feel so much inspiration from where we live in New Mexico, we both have a huge connection to it."

The brothers said they enjoyed playing at Linnaea's because it provided the mellow atmosphere of a coffeehouse, with the attentiveness of a theater.

As the songs continued to pour into the small room, the paintings on the walls seemed more alive than when the place was littered with random chit-chat an hour prior. The music was danceable; delicious. Melody after melody, the vibrancy of the sounds stayed true, never becoming predic - Mustang Daily - San Luis Obispo


the Rothschild brothers of New Mexico, Char and Robby, continue to brew a heady, homemade blend of musics of the world, with lyrics that are touchingly personal and universally accessible. The brothers share the songwriting and their unaffected, close, fraternal vocal harmonies tell tales about their young families and the challenges of touring. They also share responsibility for the majority of the instruments (though they are complemented by Jon Gagan’s throbbing upright bass), making dramatic use of accordion, highland pipes, trumpet, bouzouki, kora and a panoply of percussion, all skilfully played. Some of their songs are more like mini-suites, with changes in tempo and complex, non-Western time signatures providing an element of surprise. Others, as on their earlier albums, are quieter, introspective ballads, with admirable attention paid to the space between sounds. Shifts from American and West African blues modes into old timey airs or keening Middle Eastern microtones never sound artificial or annoying, and instead they sustain an ethos of magic and mystery. On ‘Let Somebody Know You’, there’s a charming guest appearance by Char’s choral students from Santa Fe’s Turquoise Trail Elementary School. He asks a rhetorical question about his mission in the liner notes — ‘Are we finding ourselves in the world, or is the world finding itself in us?’ It serves, as this whole album does, as a touchstone for any world musician. - Songlines Magazine


"In the heart of New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness, Round Mountain rises to a height of 10,700 feet, offering panoramic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the fertile Pecos valley. Brothers Char and Robby Rothschild share fond memories of visiting Round Mountain as children, so when they formed a musical duo later in life, they named themselves after that noble peak. Since then, they've been cutting new trails with their distinctive style of world-folk music.

I recently attended the release of Round Mountain's third album, Windward, at the Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe. Built in 1911, the pink-stucco temple towers over downtown, an appropriate venue for the brothers Rothschild, evocative of the ancient elements from the North Sea that inform their sound. While I'd driven by the Scottish Rite for years, I didn't appreciate the enormity of the building until that evening. Walking up the steps, I was reminded of a song from Round Mountain's previous CD Truth and Darkness:

Each blade of grass in this town I've seen
This castle standing tall, I've never noticed at all

With Windward, Round Mountain delivers more of the genre-defying, trans-national creativity that has earned them a wide following in northern New Mexico and throughout the United States. Both brothers are well studied in traditional folk music from such diverse regions as Ireland, Turkey, West Africa, and the United States, and their original compositions present an inventive melding of these styles. While their songs might seem eccentric, full of odd time signatures and cerebral lyrics, they are, nonetheless, surprisingly accessible and infectious. They offer poetic insights on numerous themes, but a concern with family and place is prominent. Take "In Us All," a moving song inspired by Robby's two young children. Accompanied by the plaintive sound of his West African kora, Robby sings:

In a song, in a song inside of song
In a song inside of a song, in a song in us all

In addition to kora, Char and Robbie play an impressive array of other instruments including accordion, banjo, guitar, bagpipes, saz, trumpet, bouzouki, cajon, and djembe. More impressive still is watching them play several at the same time at their live performances. On "Don't Lie Down," for instance, Robby simultaneously plays bouzouki and foot percussion while Char plays the accordion with one hand and trumpet with the other. Later in the tune, Robby will switch to Djembe and Char to the Scottish Bagpipes. They carry the audience along throughout, heads bobbing and feet tapping, as they range stylistically from the Balkans to North Africa and on to the British Isles within five and a half minutes.

As Char describes it, "we're trying to find ourselves in the world and looking outside at what's there while also bringing something inside of us out. If there's a larger concept that gets into, it has to do with peace."

In a world were much violence is born of cross-cultural ignorance as well as cultural rigidity, Round Mountain sets a healthy precedent for modern cultural reinvention, rooted and reflective yet visionary and fresh. On Windward, leaving behind the old and embracing the new is explored in "Carry the Stone", a reverse-Sisyphus story about carrying a stone to the ocean and letting it go rather than rolling it up an endless hill. The stone symbolizes our inherited burdens:
Am I really the stone, though I've held that notion
and how heavy it's grown through our history
But I'm letting it go back into the ocean,
and I'm letting it roll back into the sea." - Eric Carlson
- Adobe Airstream


The term "roots rock" has been used quite loosely over the years -- as just about every band that has a hint of acoustic guitar in its sound seems to fall under the aforementioned stylistic umbrella. But the duo of brothers Char and Robbie Rothschild -- better known as Round Mountain -- is the real deal when it comes to roots rock, especially as evidenced by the pair's third release overall, 2009's Windward. Despite the band being solely comprised of the two brothers, an extraordinary array of exotic and uncommon instruments is utilized -- Irish whistle, gaida, saz, cajon, bouzouki, kora, etc. But it all fits together nicely (as it sounds more "folk music" than "world music"), with Round Mountain's music sounding consistently mellow and laid-back, as evidenced by such tracks as "Don't Lie Down," "In Us All," and "I'm Gone." For roots rock that is entirely free of such expected influences as Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones (three artists who go hand in hand with the genre), Round Mountain have hit upon a special formula with Windward.


8/11/2009 - Greg Prato


Soothing, but not somnabulant,
this Santa Fe duo has been around
for awhile and shares sonic similarities with higher-profile outfits like Andrew Bird and Devotchka who work gyspy and klezmer in-
fluences into their alt-pop, so they're not bandwagon jumpers as much as zeitgeist jumpers, to coin a (rather awkward) phrase.

Further, Windward hues closer to the falsetto-fueled folk end of the spectrum. On "I'm Gonna Dig," they come on like Canned Heat without the blues or Will Oldham with some of the rough edges sanded away, while "I'm Gone" brings images of the Incredible String Band to mind—if that twosome had emerged from Scotland rather than Britain (wavery vocals plus highland pipes will do that). Recommended to aficionados of any of the aforementioned.

Kathleen McFennesy
8/7/2009 - AndMoreAgain


Robby and Char Rothschild grew up playing music together as siblings. They were raised in Santa Fe, N.M., but their musical influences weren't limited by what they found in their high desert home.

Both are multi-instrumentalists with ears open to the whole wide world. Their music draws from Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, but also pulls in tonal influences, instrumentation and rhythm from the Middle East, Africa and beyond.

"New Mexico lore is very rich," said Robby Rothschild. "Even as Anglos, we were steeped in it. There is a Spanish phrase, "la cadenica," that means a place of belonging, a place you want to go to. It can be a particular spot, a meadow, or a place in your heart. We are pleased to be from New Mexico -- not only as a place to go home to, but as a place to bring out to the world."

The two bring their music to Utah for the first time with an Ogden Nature Center show on Thursday.

"It felt providential that we ended up getting a place to play at the nature center our first time there," said Robby Rothschild. "We both love nature and the wilderness and the sort of role that plays in our music."


He and Char pointed to the long drives they take throughout the West, and the world, as fuel for their inspiration.

"It's great to take an instrument out, write a song, as we drive a specific highway," said Char Rothschild. "It opens us up as the road opens up."

Wanderers

Classical piano was where the twosome started training.

"Our grandmother went to conservatory and played classical piano," said Char Rothschild. "But neither one of us pursued the classical tradition in its full form, though Robby is studying his masters in composition at UNM (University of New Mexico)."

Both brothers have wandered far and wide in pursuit of their music. Older brother Char has traveled throughout the world, playing with the Old Moscow Circus in Tokyo and touring Australia with an Afro-funk band.

Robby has studied djembe drum in both Mali and the United States, and has also traveled extensively.

Both bring stories as well as songs with them as they travel.

Robby was living in Paris, studying the djembe, when he fell in love with another traditional instrument, a West African harp called the kora.

He then sought a teacher, who lived in a poor part of town, in a house with many people in it. He was not sure if they would accept him.

"But I came in and they were very kind to me," he said. "I asked the teacher there if I could be a student, and he looked at me. 'Why do you want to play the kora?'

"I told him I was following it with my heart. And he breathed in and stared at me, gave me this fierce look. He held my gaze, 30 to 60 seconds -- an endless amount of time -- and then he said, 'OK.' I seemed to pass muster enough to get a lesson. And that is important to us. We are always strangers to such traditions. We want to show our respect for those, because we can never be completely a part of it."

Universal feelings

Char Rothschild remembers a trip to Turkey in 1996, where a street musician summed up his feelings about music as a whole.

"I brought this little backpacking guitar along. I did not end up playing it much, because I got interested in the saz."

The saz is a Turkish lute, played throughout the country.

"I got to talking to this saz player, who summed it up perfectly to me: 'It does not matter what we play. Musicians all over the world are the same -- we are feelings.' "

-Linda East Brady

- Standard-Examiner 7/24/09


Band of brothers

They'll be coming round the mountain when they come, and there'll be humming, head-nodding, and foot-tapping to boot -- not to mention lots of good hearty dancing. The "they" in question are brothers Char and Robby Rothschild of the beloved Santa Fe roots-music duo Round Mountain, and they bring their particular blend of sweet and sassy to the Oddfellows Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Road, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31. Widely known for their original songs based in a variety of folk traditions from Americana to Africana, the pair first give a concert, after which -- joined by percussionist Karina Wilson and keyboard player Della O'Keefe -- they play for contra dancing (led by caller Will McDonald). So put on your dancing shoes and listening hats, and go round yourself up some memories. Admission is $8 at the door; for information, call 820-3535. -- Craig Smith - Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan 30. 2009


Band of brothers

They'll be coming round the mountain when they come, and there'll be humming, head-nodding, and foot-tapping to boot -- not to mention lots of good hearty dancing. The "they" in question are brothers Char and Robby Rothschild of the beloved Santa Fe roots-music duo Round Mountain, and they bring their particular blend of sweet and sassy to the Oddfellows Hall, 1125 Cerrillos Road, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31. Widely known for their original songs based in a variety of folk traditions from Americana to Africana, the pair first give a concert, after which -- joined by percussionist Karina Wilson and keyboard player Della O'Keefe -- they play for contra dancing (led by caller Will McDonald). So put on your dancing shoes and listening hats, and go round yourself up some memories. Admission is $8 at the door; for information, call 820-3535. -- Craig Smith - Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan 30. 2009


Round Mountain is one of the best bands ever to emerge from New Mexico. Robby & Char's mix of influences from around the globe, combined with a singular energy and originality, really make them world-class. I've twice booked Round Mountain at the Thirsty Ear Festival, and I can say without hesitation that they stand shoulder to shoulder with their internationally touring peers.

Mike Kostur, director
Thirsty Ear Festival - Thirsty Ear Festival - 6.14.09


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Blending dusty American grit with a worldly amalgam of global influences, Santa Fe-based duo Round Mountain presents a singular take on folk music that is both foreign and familiar. The multi-multi-instrumentalist band of brothers has travelled the globe absorbing bits and pieces of musical cultures, returning to filter them through their own sepia-toned Americana framework.

Char and Robby Rothschild have been crafting a sound that spans alt-folk and world genres since 2002. After years of immersion in global music, they began their work together, combining instruments and skills learned there with songs of longing and belonging, of nature, family and home. They strive to bring listeners to a place of musical grounding and connection. Their Round Mountain is a promontory from which the world’s interconnected beauty can be felt, where melodic and rhythmic paths traveled by Appalachian, Celtic, West African, Balkan and Middle-Eastern music arrive at a common summit.

The Goat is Round Mountain’s fourth release and follows their 2009 full-length Windward, 2007’s Truth and Darkness, and 2004’s self-titled debut. On these albums and on stage, Char sings and plays accordion, guitar or dobro, together with trumpet or Bulgarian gaida, and highland bagpipes. Robby sings and plays percussion, the West African harp known as the kora, and the Irish bouzouki.

Round Mountain is a group with strong emotional and soulful footing, and an abundance of accomplishments over the years. In 2015 they performed to a full house in Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center, accompanied by their students from elementary to college age. They have opened for such folk icons as Toumani Diabate and Bela Fleck, David Lindley, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Thomas Mapfumo, and the Indigo Girls, as well as opening for and recording with Andy Irvine. They’ve also performed with Toubab Krewe, Boulder Acoustic Society, Moira Smiley and VOCO, Taarka, Michael Cleveland, Frank Fairfield, Kailin Yong, the Steel Wheels, and Mark Growden. They’ve performed on notable stages across the country including the Freight and Salvage, Club Passim, The Living Room, Swallow Hill, Godfrey Daniels, Stone Soup, Santa Monica Broad Stage, the Chautauqua in Boulder, CO, Live Oak Music Festival, and the Claremont Folk Festival.  Round Mountain has also contributed music to the films Solace: Wisdom of the Dying (2008) and Ride the Divide (2010).