The Alpaca Gnomes

The Alpaca Gnomes

Bridgeport, CT | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Bridgeport, CT
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Folk




"Elm Underground Begins with Three Bands at State House"

That band, The Alpaca Gnomes, exploded into their set and the crowd responded wildly, dancing and singing along with songs including ​“Gnomies” wearing the band’s signature hats. Two tiny ceramic gnomes graced the stage along with the seven-member strong band, featuring Ben Mikula on vocals, guitar, and kazoo, Chris Barry on guitar, Joseph Ballaro on bass, Matt Summ on percussion, Mike Gargano on drums, Kimberly Nordling-Curtin on violin and flute, and Adam Faccin on saxophone. Together they filled the air with their sweet and spirited sound.

The singing and dancing did not stop as the band tore through their 12-song set, including crowd favorites ​“Together We Can” and ​“Just in Case.” Each one felt as fresh and vibrant as if it was the first time, though the Gnomes are known for their energy as much as their music.

The band ended the night with ​“Train Song,” and as Mikula sang ​“hey won’t you hop on this train?” it was hard to imagine that anyone would not want to follow the Gnomes anywhere they might go. It felt like the closest any show has been to ​“normal” in quite a long time, though no one was forgetting that it was still all about community.

“Take care of one another,” Mikula said before leaving the stage. - Karen Ponzio New Haven Independent

"Everybody’s Band"

The Alpaca Gnomes, a seven-piece band from Bridgeport playing the Meriden Daffodil Festival Bandshell Stage the afternoon of April 30, seem custom-engineered for this sort of thing. Formed seven years ago by bearded singer and guitarist Benny Mikula and two interlocking trios of musicians, the pointy-hat- wearing collective grows its fanbase — called "gnomies" — with each gig.

"It starts out with a bunch of your friends supporting you, and it spreads," Mikula says. "We've played plenty of shows where nobody knows us and by the end they're wearing the gnome hats. The support really comes from the friends, and then the audience becomes your friends. It's about building relationships."

The Gnomes play hip-swaying, country-tinged rock, with big hooks and oversized personality, landing somewhere between Zac Brown and Dave Matthews. Mikula's voice and acoustic guitar take center stage, with Kimberly Nordling-Curtin's violin and Chris Barry's stinging guitar weaving lines over rumbling grooves, laid down by the rhythm section of drummer Mike Gargano, percussionist Matt Summ, bassist Martin Amidon IX and keyboard player Tim Stone, the band's newest member.

Mikula, Gargano and Chris Barry originally played in a Black Rock-area band called Spiral City until Barry moved away. Mikula and Gargano met Nordling-Curtin and Summ at a party. Gargano knew Amidon IX. When Barry moved back, "we put everybody together," Mikula says.
Figuring someone, somewhere had a band called the Gnomes, Mikula and company added Alpaca.
"We had a vision of a gnome riding an alpaca, as though that's how we got to the gigs," Mikula says. "It's silly but it works; it stands out. Who doesn't love gnomes?"

Mikula started playing the guitar at 22. "I played sports and stuff like that," he says. "I took the mindset that I could come home from whatever job I had that I didn't like when I was 50 and sit on the back porch and play whatever song I wanted to play. I wasn't trying to be Jimi Hendrix. I just wanted to play chords and write songs and play music I liked by other artists."

Singing in a heavy-rock band helped Mikula overcome his stage nervousness; he now plays all week long: solo, in duos and trios with different Gnomes, and also with the full band.
"It's been a full-time job for several years now, and I still don't think of myself as a guitar player."
Early on, the Alpaca Gnomes played long, three-hour cover sets, with Mikula's original songs scattered throughout.
"We wanted our friends to come out," Mikula says. "We wanted to have fun and play music. You also want to be creative and express yourself, so we put the originals right there in the middle."
Friends liked the originals. Several years ago, the Gnomes hastily recorded a self-titled debut for a simple reason: to have something — anything — to offer at shows; those songs are now well-known to Gnomies.
"We were playing Soupstock Music and Arts Festival in Shelton, and we had nothing," Mikula says. "We had our songs but we didn't have any merch. We hustled the songs we were playing and got them onto an album, so that we had something to sell."
"Welcome Home," a new album due out this spring, finds the Gnomes taking their time, crafting tracks slowly and with purpose. "We've been playing these songs for a good little while now before we committed them to a recording," Mikula says. "We want to make sure that the songs are right."
Community is the central theme of the title-track, which opens with some spoken-word: "We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time. Welcome home." Over a deep-pocketed beat, Mikula makes clear: home is where you run into friends, regardless of geography.
There's an unmistakable family-friendly vibe — maybe it's the hats — to Alpaca Gnome shows; kids and parents dance freely in front of the stage, while elderly listeners also get into the spirit.

"When we play at somewhere like Captain's Cove in Bridgeport on the deck in the summer, there's a 90-year-old woman dancing in a gnome hat, and then there's our kids running around with gnome hats," Mikula, a preschool teacher, says. "It's definitely for everybody, no matter what we play."
Fairfield County is the Gnomes' home turf, but their influence is spreading. This winter, they performed in Worcester, Mass., and Teaneck, N.J., and also played the Palace Theater in Stamford. Leading up to the Daffy Fest, the Gnomes spent an evening at Infinity Hall in Norfolk on April 14.
Still, the Alpaca Gnomes are still finding their scene; there's no one band they meld with or genre to lump them into. They've crossed paths with the Kazoo Crew Family Band, from Waterbury, and also with Cousin Earth, a progressive, ukulele-wielding band from Brooklyn, N.Y.
"It's a tricky road to navigate," Mikula says. "We definitely call Black Rock home, because of all the support we've gotten from the various venues. ... Everybody wants to be respected as musicians and you want your creative songs to be heard."
The gnome hats, meanwhile, just sort of happened. But they're here to stay.
"It isn't something that was planned," Mikula says. "It became another fun thing." - Hartford Courant

"Interview for Garcia’s Port Chester"

The Alpaca Gnomes are a 7 piece original rock/folk band coming to Garcia’s on Thursday, October 19. Their goal is to spread happiness and inspire others to do the siame. We tracked down the Gnomes and asked them a few questions before their show. Check it out and get to the show early for Meadowhawks, who have created their own genre, which they call “Wilderness Rock.”

1. We wanted to mention right away how rad of a name you have. What is the origin of the “Alpaca Gnome”? Logistically, is it an Alpaca-looking Gnome or vice versa? Adding to that, who made your Gnome hats??

Well thank you for the compliment! And I haven’t heard the word Rad for some time, so bonus points to you on that. I’m not sure if you are aware, but there are many different types of gnomes all over the world. Our descendants traveled by way of Alpaca, hence the name The Alpaca Gnomes. Kimberly’s father, who goes by Morfar, has been handmaking our hats for the last 200 or so years.

2. If you could describe your sound to fans in three words or less, what would you tell them?

Music, sweet music.

3. You’ve opened for countless Cap and Garcia’s alumni including the Funky Meters and Twiddle, but now, you’re headlining Garcia’s. Do you have anything special planned for this debut performance?

Playing at Garcia’s will be special, as it’s our first time there. Every show we feel is special in its own way. Just like you are special in your own way. We hope that we do something that night that makes someone want to say “That was special.”

4. Your fans are called the “Gnomies,” which is very similar to how the Dead had Deadheads and Phish have Phans. When did you start to notice you were having this cult following?

When we started to see the same beautiful faces night after night singing our songs. And also when we looked out into the crowd and saw these beautiful folks wearing Gnome hats just like our ancestors did and still do.

5. If your fans could take only one thing away from your show, what would you want that one thing to be?

A big ‘ol smile to take with them on their daily battle against the ugliness of our world. -

"Seaport Summer Stage"

Seaport Summer Stage NYC

The Alpaca Gnomes are one of the great treats on the Indie Music scene today. The band consists of Benny Mikula (vocals,acoustic guitar), Michael Gargano (Drums, sound, recording), Marty Amidon ( IX- bass, guitar, keys)
Chris Barry (guitar,vocals) Kim Curtin (Violin, flute, vocals) Matt Summ (Percussion),Matt Miklus (dobro, vocals) Tim Stone (keys) and Adam Faccin (sax).First brought to the attention of The Music Matters by music curator/promoter Pamnation , they wowed the stage at the 2017 Pleasantville Music Festival earlier this Summer. This blogger so impressed by the music, their heartfelt energy and the genuineness towards their fans made this event a must see.The band entertained the many hundreds in the audience with favorites from their original catalog in addition to standards loved by all. Many Gnomies (as their fans are known) were there as always to dance and sing with delight as the group plowed through their set. If you’re looking for a party atmosphere surrounded by great music and great friends, look no further than The Alpaca Gnomes in concert near you - Music Matters(NYC)


The Alpaca Gnomes-The Alpaca Gnomes
released 2014
1. Train Song
2. Honestly
3. Roll Away
4. Honey
5.Down The Line
6. Breakaway 
7. Just In Case
8. Nicoles Song 
9. Push Comes To Shove

IX- The Alpaca Gnomes January 2019

1. Welcome Home

2. Better Days

3. I don’t want to see the sun

4. Lil’ Bit

5.Counting The Stars 

6. Gold

7. So Long

8. Trouble

9. Lonely Feeling 

10. Carry The Load



The Alpaca Gnomes are a spirited seven-piece rock-folk jam band based in Bridgeport, CT. Incorporating violin and saxophone into their songs along with both acoustic and electric guitars, bass, and drums, the band’s dynamic yet earthy sound offers both respite and revelry for all who listen.
The unique brand of original stomp and groove music the Alpaca Gnomes offers has allowed them to be an integral part of a variety of festivals and concert series throughout CT and beyond.
Nowhere is The Alpaca Gnomes’s impact more obvious than in the community they have cultivated. A loyal and enthusiastic group of fans known as “Gnomies” can be found at many of their live shows joining in the fun by wearing the band’s signature Gnome style hats while singing and dancing along to their beloved favorites.

Whether the setting is an intimate show at a local theater or a summer festival seaside, The Alpaca Gnomes are ready to share the experience of their live melodious high vibing music with you.

The Alpaca Gnomes draw fans from many types of musical tastes, and have previously appeared on bills with acts such as Blues Traveler, Living Colour, DJ Logic, Funky Meters, Twiddle, Anders Osbourne, Railroad Earth, The Drifters, The Tokens, Rick Derringer, Soul Rebels, Eric Lindell, The Alternate Routes, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ripe, Roots of Creation, Kung Fu, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Funky Dawgz Brass Band, Box Set Duo Trio and The Main Squeeze amongst many others.

The band has played at many beautiful venues such as Infinity Music Hall (Norfolk, CT) Palace Theatre (Stamford, CT) Wall Street Theater (Norwalk,CT) Fairfield Theatre Company Stage One and The Warehouse, Park City Music Hall(Bridgeport) Toad's Place(New Haven), South Street Seaport Beer Garden(NYC), Snow Barn (Vermont) Zenbarn(Vermont) Rockwood Music Hall (NYC) Pacific Standard Tavern(New Haven), The Acoustic(Bridgeport), Arlenes Grocery(NYC), Electric Haze(Worcester, MA) Grape Room(Philadelphia) The Ballroom/Outer Space(Hamden) BRYAC(Bridgeport), Olive's(Nyack, NY), Mexicali Live(Teaneck, NJ) and Levitt Pavilion(Westport) Alchemy(Providence, RI) 

The Alpaca Gnomes have also played many festivals as well including, Pleasantville Festival(NY) Blues Views BBQ(Westport)3x international festival of arts & ideas(New Haven), Blues on the Beach(Stratford)4x, Two Roads Brewery Road Jam(Stratford)7x,  Rock n Roll Resort(NY), Jerry Jam(Bath,NH). Mazzstock(NY), Riverfront Music Revival(Shelton, CT) Soupstock Music & Arts Festival(CT)5x, Harbor Brew Fest (4x), Smoke in The Valley 3x, Just Joshin' Festival, & Shuck & Jive 2x as well as many charitable and private events such as the ESPN Radio NCAA College Football National Championship pre party in Pasadena, California. 

The gnomes have also played Summer Concert Series at South Street Seaport(NYC) and such CT towns as Bridgeport, Hamden, Rowayton, Stratford, Black Rock, Easton, Huntington, Litchfield and more.

We would also like to highlight some charitable organizations that we have had the pleasure of working with:

Shatterproof, Diabetes Research Institute(DRI), Lebo DeSantie Center for Pancreatic & Liver Disease, Harbor Light Foundation, Seymour Pink, RCB One Love, Light Up The Point, CT Challenge, St. Vincent’s Swim Across The Sound, Mary A. Schmecker Turtle Shell Fund. 

Band Members