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Meet Los Yobos

  • Pete Mitchell: Vocals/Lead Guitar
  • Mysia Koc - Vocals/Fiddle
  • Mike Tavener - Vocals/Steel Guitar/Rhythm Guitar
  • Dave Gregory - Mandolin/Mandozouki
  • Nick Thompson - Fiddle
  • Ralph Bown - Double Bass
  • Andrew Gamov - Drums/Percussion
Pete Mitchell Portrait

Pete Mitchell: Vocals/Lead Guitar

Pete has been playing guitar and singing in all kinds of bands for more than twenty years. Raised on an eclectic musical diet blending Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie with the Undertones and Johnny Cash, Pete has played blues, soul, country, folk, jazz, indie and hard rock.

Pete's first band was Ashtray Heart, in which he was singer, guitarist and songwriter. After a spell playing bass in another original band, Strain Gauge, he went on to front Soul/Blues legends The Heat. In the late 1980's, Pete was a founder member of the eclectic Hatstands from Uranus, alongside long-time sporadic collaborator Malcolm Wignall.

In the mid 1990s, Pete formed the power trio QUIThead with Hatstands drummer Jim Coucher and bass player Ian Brown. This later morphed into Flask, the "Best Liquid-Temperature-Maintenance-Equipment-related band in Fulford".

As half of the duo Strings Attached, Pete played all over the UK and Scandinavia, performing at pubs, clubs, hotels, ferryboats and even prisons.

Outside of bands, Pete is a music teacher, web designer, photographer and writer. Pete and Los Yobos' beautiful singer and fiddler Mysia Koc were married in 1999 and live in York with their two daughters.

Mysia Koc Portrait

Mysia Koc - Vocals/Fiddle

Mysia has been hooked on the thrill of being in bands (getting together with other people and making a glorious noise) since she was eight years old playing 3rd clarinet in the Lancaster Music Centre Junior Wind Band. She comes from a large, loud musical family and was very lucky to benefit from the fantastic provision for music teaching in Lancashire in the seventies, receiving tuition in clarinet, viola, piano and singing from the County Music Service. She joined the Lancashire Youth Symphony Orchestra and spent five years being bused to glamorous Chorley every other Sunday for practice, giving concerts all over the county and nationally and making annual summer tours in Europe and Scandinavia.

Leaving behind the classical repertoire Mysia joined her first band in Leeds in 1984 and spent the next few years singing soul music in covers bands in pubs and clubs in and around West Yorkshire. A feast of spangly jackets, bad shades and frankly rubbish dance routines, but it was regular work and excellent training.

Moving to York, knowing few people in 1991, Mysia saw an ad for women singers and went along to the first rehearsal of what was to become Ellacapella. Led by the inspirational Em Whitfield, this 30 strong choir of women in leggings made a fearsome racket and gave some memorable performances, particularly at the Arts Centre in Micklegate. Those first choir rehearsals also attracted the divine Dettie Warren (Bee), the serene Bella Heskett, the excitable Pam Jackson-Vickers, the driven Tricia Walker and the sensual Rachael Evans – in the summer of 92, when the choir were taking a break, the six didn’t want to stop and got together to do some small group singing. The magical phenomenon that was No Seep ‘til Bedtime was born. Writing, arranging and performing their own material and a few choice covers, No Sleep became a regular feature on the York Music Scene throughout the 90s. Difficult to pigeonhole, inexplicably baffling to sound engineers (six female voices, six mikes, why was it so difficult?), No Sleep built up a devoted and noisy following with their intimate but powerful style of close harmony acapella singing.

Other projects have included joining York songwriters Tracey Carter and John Phillips in The Postcard Club. Mysia has also collaborated on various live and studio projects with Em Whitfield and her husband, composer Tim Brooks.

Mike Tavener Portrait

Mike Tavener - Vocals/Steel Guitar/Rhythm Guitar

Mike has hankered after playing western swing music for some 30 years after exposure to the delights of Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen, Dan Hicks And His Hot Licks and Asleep At The Wheel during his days at college. The subsequent discovery of Hank Williams, Bob Wills, a host of early American string bands and Hawaiian guitar music convinced him that this was THE music to play.

Biding his time until the opportunity came along, he frequented folkclubs, running the Black Swan Club in York in the early 80s for three years, and latterly playing guitar and Ashbory bass in pub folk sessions, which he still does with enthusiasm and random accuracy. He even took a few guitar lessons along the way, which may or may not have honed his wall of sound rhythm guitar chops.

First step to band nirvana was in the mid 1980s with the acoustic York based Oddball String Band, as bass player. This morphed, following alleged musical differences over his hyperactive bass lines, into the still active and celebrated ceilidh band Hot Not Bothered. To avoid the same allegations he sensibly switched to guitar and continues a parallel career (?!) in this band as well as Los Yobos.

Forming Los Yobos after a chance meeting with Pete in the big village known as York, the band swiftly decided they couldn’t do western swing music justice without a steel guitar in the line up, preferably with one of the members playing it. Fulfilling a lifelong passion (remember the Hawaiian guitar records?) Mike rose to the challenge and now plays non-pedal steel guitar as well as rhythm guitar with the band. He also sings.

Dave Gregory Portrait

Dave Gregory - Mandolin/Mandozouki

Growing up on Merseyside, Dave was inevitably influenced by the Beatles, before going on to discover Bob Dylan's “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, but his interest in mandolins can probably be traced back to an early obsession with Doris Day's “Que Sera Sera”. As a child, he was also greatly impressed by “Last Train (to San Fernando)” by the Johnny Duncan Group.

On attending his first proper party in 1966, he saw a guy playing a home-made guitar in the kitchen, surrounded by girls. Dave decided to get a guitar. Having by this time discovered the Byrds, his first public performances were playing electric 12-string guitar in local Methodist Church services.

While studying French at Cambridge in 1973, Dave formed a trio to play at the college May ball, as he was too broke to buy tickets! Thus began a long career in bands.

On moving to York in 1975, Dave started busking to supplement his income. He also discovered there were pub sessions that you could join in. He joined in. In 1980, he joined his first Ceilidh group, The Black Velvet Band. Dave was also a founder member of The Oddball String Band, playing American traditional music. Around 1990, this mutated into the mighty Hot Not Bothered, one of the finest Ceilidh bands around and still going strong. In the 1990s, Dave played electric Mandozouki in rock/folk/funk band the Rhythm Rebels, and was a founder member of Blonde on Bob, playing electric covers of Dylan songs.

Dave is also a world-renowned builder of instruments, specialising in hand-made acoustic guitars and high-quality carved-top mandolins.

Nick Thompson Portrait

Nick Thompson - Fiddle

A versatile fiddler, guitarist and keyboard player, Nick has appeared with many different acts over the years. As a founder member of the Buttermountain Boys, he played a frightening number of gigs and appeared on all five albums. TV and Radio appearances include a live performance at Broadcasting House, London. Nick and the band played countless festivals in Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, the Shetlands and the Channel Islands. Highlights include Rotterdam Metropolis Festival (in front of an estimated 60,000 people) and Nick's personal favourite, an appearance at Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival in 1993.

As a member of the Whisky Priests, Nick toured Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and England all in the space of 6 months. Subsequently Nick joined the Wickermen and toured Austria and Germany, supporting German stadium rock giants Torfrock. After a brief stint as Torfrock's keyboard player, Nick returned to the UK, where he has since played with Paul Judge, Dean St John, Becky Mills, the Proud Ones and the Happy Cats. Like Mike and Dave, Nick is a member of York's finest Ceilidh band, Hot Not Bothered.

Ralph Bown Portrait

Ralph Bown - Double Bass

Ralph started playing acoustic guitar while still at school (fingerstyle folk/ragtime/blues etc.) at around the same time as building his first guitar. His interests - music, guitars, woodwork and model-making all came together and gelled. On his year abroad from studying Modern Languages at Oxford, Ralph visited guitar makers and workshops on the continent and decided that was what he wanted to do. He has been building guitars professionally ever since. Clients for his beautifully-hand-crafted acoustic guitars include many professional players, including the likes of Steve Phillips, John Renbourn, Graham Coxon, Martin Simpson and Henry Kaiser

In the early 1990's Ralph began playing double bass and immediately felt at home with it. He was a member of eclectic York-based folk/roots band Beyond The Pale from 1991 to 94. Always having broad musical tastes, Ralph fancied the idea of a Western Swing-type outfit. He got the call from Mike, Pete, Dave and Nick and the rest is history. Ralph made the electric double bass he usually plays and he has the, erm, distinction of thinking of the name Los Yobos. It was originally intended as a joke, but no-one came up with a better one, so Los Yobos it is.

Andrew Gamov Portrait

Andrew Gamov - Drums/Percussion

Andrew started playing drums at an early age but only found his real passion for music when he discovered jazz in his early twenties. He enjoyed a successful musical career living and working in Cyprus. Andrew was part of the widely-acclaimed band "The Loo-inskys" and later the "Urban Jazz Project", as well as acting as regular session drummer with various local bands.

After moving to the UK, Andrew played with several bands in the York area before being kidnapped by Los Yobos and forced to listen to the entire recorded works of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Eventually he agreed to join the band.

As Los Yobos' regular drummer, Andrew has brought a fine ear for arrangements as well as the promise of solo tuba recitals.