Frank Hall (fiddle, vihuela & guitarron) began playing violin in early primary school, taught by nuns in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. After two years of lessons he put it down until he heard someone playing old-time Appalachian-style fiddle and was inspired again in his early twenties. After having played in several old-time bands, including "The Indiana Raincrows" and "Easy Street Stringband," he began playing in a band called "The Monks" with Claudio Buchwald, his mirror-image twin fiddler. It was Peruvian-born Claudio who introduced Frank to Mexican music. They can be heard playing Texas accordion virtuoso Valerio Longoria's "La Repetida" on the second Monks CD. Years later, after a one-year teaching stint at the University of Limerick, Frank settled in Ireland an formed the band that became The Gringo Stars. Frank also plays in "The Sheds" with Pete and Eileen.
John Martin (bajo sexto, guitar, fiddle and guitarron) is best known for his Cajun fiddling and singing with the Maimin Cajun Band and his own group, Boucherie. Before moving to Ireland many years ago from Glasgow he played with The Furious Fiddles, Zut! La Chute and The Henry Brothers. Having played everything from Scottish Folk to Rockytonk he now relishes the rhythm role in The Gringo Stars on Bajo Sexto (which he first witnessed in the hands of the late Oscar Tellez with Flaco Jimenez in the mid 80s) and, of course, sings in Spanish. “I love singing in foreign languages: when the audience doesn’t understand the words it’s open season on emotion. That works for most people caught in the cross-fire.” Have a look at John’s instrument stands and furniture at www.housemartin.ie.
Eileen Fleming (harp), from Dublin, plays Mexican as well as several other types of music on the Celtic harp. Double bass and 5-string banjo are her other musical specialties which she plays with The Sheds, her band with Pete and Frank. She also plays with Glas, a harp-cello-guitar trio from Kinvara.
Paul Gunning (accordions, sax and Jarana) has a passion for world music especially where the button accordion plays a major role. With the Gringos he switches from conjunto style on the trusted 3 row Hohner to San Jarocho on the five string Jarana. Founding member of Galway's Màimín Cajun Band and Tango trio Fantango, Paul now resides in Kinvara where he tunes, fixes, and trades boxes.
Pete Brazier (fiddle, guitar), is well-known for his jazz piano as well as for mandolin and mandola. Teacher, accompanist, performer, composer, and pied piper, he is central to a newly forming brass band in Kinvara. His musical journey began in England with classical piano lessons from a young age and he soon moved on to other instruments, genres and places. He has happily played in classic jazz bands, a mandolin orchestra, and a Balinese gamelan to name afew. Mexican music has been a strong interest since meeting Frank on moving to Kinvara a dozen years ago. He currently plays also with Baile An Salsa, Galway’s own salsa/trad fusion band.