|The Midnite Ramblers are Agi Ban (Aux Cajunals) on fiddle and vocals, Mark Marcin on accordion and fiddle, Alan Senauke on guitar and vocals, and Allegra Thompson (Thompsonia and ) on upright bass and vocals. Mark, Agi and Alan have been playing upbeat Cajun and Creole music together off and on since 2008. Our newest member, Allegra Thompson, joined the band in 2012. The Midnite Ramblers as a quartet or as a trio are perfect for small intimate settings, like weddings and parties. For that big dancehall sound, the Ramblers will sometimes add drums.
Bring your dancing shoes and join the Midnite Ramblers for lively two steps, soulful blues and haunting waltzes.
In 1973, Agi Ban traveled to Cajun country in Louisiana. It was Mardi Gras time. She was invited to ride and play in the Mardi Gras wagon with Dewey Balfa, D.L. Menard, Marc Savoy, Rodney Balfa, and Raymond Francois. They drove around the countryside of the town of Mamou with 100 costumed horseback riders, singing and playing the Mardi Gras song at every farmhouse. To say the least, Agi was enthralled with the Cajun traditions, the music, and the warmth and welcome of the people of Louisiana. After that experience, she traveled to Louisiana every few years. In the old days, she had the opportunity to play with Dennis McGee, Dewey Balfa, Rodney Balfa, Mark Savoy, Michael Doucet, and D.L. Menard. Since then, she has performed with Queen Ida, Danny Poullard, Joe Simien, Ed Poullard, Jesse Lége, Ray Abshire, and others. She is one of the original members of our local trio, the Aux Cajunals, with Suzy and Eric Thompson. Agi is also a chiropractor and owns Ashby Chiropractic and Health Center in Berkeley.
Mark started playing guitar when he was twelve years old. After college he set aside the guitar to pursue a career as a painter. In the early 90's Mark moved to Lafayette, Louisiana where he taught painting and drawing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. During this time, Mark fell in love with Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco music. After leaving Lousiana, Mark returned to his musical routes and learned to play the accordion and fiddle. He returns to Louisiana frequently to re-absorb the music and culture. He has studied accordion with Ray Abshire, Dexter Ardoin, Jimmy Breaux, Jeffery Broussard, Jesse Lége, Ed Poullard, Dirk Powell, Steve Riley and Wilson Savoy and he has studied fiddle with David Greely, Jason Frey, Ed Poullard, Cedric Watson, Linzay Young, and the Bay Area's own Suzy Thompson. His musical influences include Octa Clark, Iry Lejeune, Aldus Roger, Nathan Abshire and Amédé Ardoin.
You may have seen Mark sit-in with local Bay Area Cajun and Zydeco bands such as Andrew Carriere and the Cajun Allstars or The Aux Cajunals. Mark is a trainer and computer graphics artist with Lucasfilm in San Francisco.
Alan Senauke has been playing American vernacular music for more than fifty years, performing, touring, recording, and having fun on three or continents. He first encountered recorded Cajun music in his teens and then got to hear the real thing as the Balfa Brothers, D.L. Menard, and Marc Savoy showed up in concerts and workshops on the folk circuit.
In years since, along with other close friends in Lousiana and California Alan has had the opportunity to play informally and at times to perform with Dennis McGee, Dewey Balfa, D.L. Menard, Mark Savoy, Bois Sec Ardoin, Michael Doucet, Cheese Reed, Joe Simien, Ed Poullard, Canray Fontenot, Ray Abshire, and others. With Suzy & Eric Thompson, Alan was an original member of the California Cajun Orchestra, where they had a priceless chance to play and be mentored by the late Danny Poullard.
Alan continues to play bluegrass, blues, and old-time music. In another life he is a Zen Buddhist priest, vice-abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. www.clearviewproject.org.
Allegra started out on the path to Cajun music earlier than most. The daughter of local musicians Eric and Suzy Thompson , she was raised on a steady diet of American roots music, everything from Delta Blues to Appalachian fiddle tunes. Allegra was lucky to hear first-hand the amazing music of Dennis McGee, Dewey Balfa, Mark Savoy, and nearly all of the greats of Cajun and Creole music in Louisiana. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; Allegra has inherited both her parents’ love of traditional music as well as her mother’s powerful singing voice. She backs up her singing with a strong rhythm section, playing both standup bass and rhythm guitar. Allegra is also a founding member of the Honky Tonk band - The Drifter Sisters.