Is mandolinist Ethan Setiawan 100 years old?! The Indiana-born Setiawan’s expert playing will fool you into thinking he’s four times his actual age. Thanks to a supportive family and Mennonite community, Ethan came to the mandolin and folk music at an early age. His impressive proficiency and technical prowess landed him a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he was exposed to all different types of music and developed that natural rhythm and groove that only comes with being in a musical community.
His new instrumental album Gambit was produced by his mentor, the legendary fiddler Darol Anger, best known for being in the original lineup for The David Grisman Quintet. Through Darol, Ethan was able to work on a tradition of music built from a foundation of bluegrass. He talks about that AND he explains what the bluegrass vocabulary is on the mandolin for dumb-dumbs like me, who do not play music and are not folk scholars. Setiawan is an in-demand side man and band member, and can be seen playing with his band Corner House, Darol Anger, and Tony Trischka among others. Enjoy Ethan and get to know his new record!
Photo Credit: Louise Bichan