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Mandolin Mondays #275 w/ Special Guest Isaac Casas

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Mandolinist Isaac Casas of the Spanish acoustic group WoodSpell joins us for Mandolin Mondays this week to share this compelling original, programatic composition about his own personal octopus encounter experience. Read more about the story and the beautiful Prucha F5 he's playing below:

Isaac has played music his whole life. In 2014 he bought tickets to see Brad Mehldau in a duet tour with someone called Chris Thile. It changed his musical life. Since then, he's been playing mandolin almost exclusively and has been lucky enough as to find a great bluegrass community in Barcelona. He played in a band called The Silky Ramblers for around 3 years which broke up a year ago and, since then, he started playing in another band called WoodSpell--check out their very first music video release here:

Here's a word from Isaac about the original composition and mandolin in this video, "“Oh Pop!” can be translated as “Oh Octopus!”. The tune tries to depict an attack from a giant octopus that I suffered about 3 years ago while swimming at the beach in Delta de l’Ebre (Catalunya, Spain). I wrote the tune as a therapeutic catharsis hoping I could maybe be able to process that terrible experience. Parts A and B –bluegrassy and “solid”- present the theme of myself having a good time at the beach. Part C –more jazzy and slippery, loosely inspired in John Williams’ Jaws main motif- depict the malevolent octopus lurking his way to me. If you listen carefully, you can hear how the octopus’ motif and mine (the one from part A) mix together in what would be a fierce battle to the death. The song finishes with the epic reprise of the A theme, describing my indisputable victory over the beast… Of course, what really happened is that a normal-sized octopus got entangled for a second in my leg at the beach and that I screamed like a mad man and fell on my back. But, you know, poetic licenses, right?

I’m using an awesome Prucha F5 that Jaroslav Prucha made for me. We met in November 2014 in his workshop outside Prague in 2014 and the mandolin was finished and delivered to me in July 2015."

And be sure to connect with Isaac at the following links below for more information about his music:

And as always, tune in next week for more Mandolin Mondays! Until then...

Happy Picking!

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  1. Todd Bowman's Avatar
    Very cool composition and great playing. Thank you Isaac!!
  2. Alfons's Avatar
    Isaac - that's great! Really enjoyed the piece and your playing. The Prucha sounds great, and it appears that you have recovered well from your ordeal. I can't help wondering about the octopus - not having a Prucha, he's probably still suffering from night terrors.
  3. Paul Statman's Avatar
    Great stuff, Isaac - Thile's influence is apparent, but you have your own style. That's a strong sounding Prucha, too! Thanks, Isaac and DB.
  4. greenoak's Avatar
    Great piece!
  5. BrianWilliam's Avatar
    To poetic licenses! That was awesome!
  6. Michael Romkey's Avatar
    Any tune that combines mandolins and octopus attacks gets my vote. Fun stuff.
  7. Isaac Casas's Avatar
    Thank you so much, guys! I've been following both the Cafe and the Mandolin Mondays series for years and it's an absolute pleasure and an honor to be an active part of both! Thanks again for the opportunity, David!!
  8. wildpikr's Avatar
    Nice tune and well-played! Muy chistoso la historia del pulpo. ¿Lo lleva al chef?