Music (General)

The Mummers


The Mummers
The Band That Should Have Been Huge

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2022-02-01
I don't understand who succeeds in music sometimes.

There was a local San Diego band called Riboflavin we knew here 10 years ago who were absolutely brilliant and couldn't even book gigs. Artists like Ed Harcourt and Chuck Prophet are not household names. Most people in most bands we love can't afford to buy a house. Music can be infuriating.

Another case in point is the story of The Mummers. If you want a quick comp of what they sound like, think Doris Day singing over Brian Wilson arrangements played by Gogol Bordello and produced by Jellyfish.

First On My Radar

I was at Shay's place (Shay Bell, Bigfellas drummer extraordinaire) in Portland the first time he moved up there. We both watched the show "Later�"With Jools Holland" for music acts; always a great show and concept except for the actual host - I never met the man, he may be lovely, but his relentless adenoidal energy almost made a great show unwatchable, especially when he'd sit in with a band and pretty much always shoehorn his piano solo from "Pulling Mussels From A Shell" into any guest’s song.

I digress. I had probably just driven up from San Diego and as soon as I was in the door from a long, long drive Shay played the episode where The Mummers made their appearance. He was bursting to show it to me, knowing how much it was up our alley. He was right. Here is one of the clips from the show:

Who The Band Is

Primarily the band is Raissa Khan-Panni who charted in the UK with one song in 2000. Then in 2009 came The Mummers.

She found Mark Horwood who helped her realize the sound for the first record. The descriptions online of their music about making the mundane sound like fairy tales is really terrific, and true.

Terrible news happened in 2009 when Horwood committed suicide. Raissa kept the show going for one more incredible album.

The Mummers website is long out of date, but on it Raissa shares a post with her young son. All of which kind of explains the end of The Mummers: A very-too-tepid reception by the record-buying public, a close collaborator's death, and real life raising a child making music seems silly probably all is why we don't have any more music from this incredible artist who was just beginning to reach her stride.

Album #1 - Tale To Tell (2009)

Two great albums and then poof. Below I'm going to include a Spotify playlist to the first album, the one with Mark Horwood all over it.

Spotify playlist for The Mummers:

Album #2 - Mink Hollow Road (2011)

If you like that 2009 album at all, I can't urge you strongly enough to go out and get the Mink Hollow Road, the second Mummers album from 2011. It's similar but even more of a joyful toe-tapper.

What Makes Me Mad

Look at that video above. That is a brilliant music group, putting on a real show and doing something innovative. And they're just playing a local college student union. And that's one of the few videos we have available to us of this band on the whole internet. Your nephew’s shitty screamo band has a larger digital footprint than The Mummers. A band this great needs to be playing better gigs than this. (We feel the same way about ourselves, but we're too biased on that issue.)

Music is a tough racket. I get it. Boy, do I get it. Yet, this band deserved better. It proves that music really isn't a meritocracy.

Not that success is the be-all, end-all point of making music. It's a labor of love that, more often than not, costs you more than you get back out of it. To put it another way, making music is kind of an addiction. Yet, just as somebody should never go into acting because they want to be famous and the career path only makes sense if you love it - similarly, bands should make music because they love making music. I still do, and despite the fatigue I have with the way an indie band has to get things done, I love making music more than ever. Speaking for myself, all I want is enough success to continue to make things worth our while to make more music. If these albums can make $1 instead of losing money (which they do, barely), then not only does that make us professional but it lets us afford to keep making music. Does that make any sense?

I have no insight to the case of Raissa Khan-Panni and The Mummers, but it sure seems like they got to a point where the lows didn't outweigh the highs anymore. It's a shame. I mean, just listen to this stuff - there was no audience for this?!?!

Message To Raissa

I've never interacted with Raissa in real life or online. But I just have a couple of things to say:

- Tell me whatever we can do to help promote your music. Also, if you don’t want us to embed your Spotify playlist here and rather we just push people to buy the music outright, say the word.
- If you have music sitting in the can, PLEASE share it with the world.
- It might feel like you were spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere in music. But your music found its way and means more to more people than you realize. Thanks for making it.
- You're too good at this to not do it anymore.
- That said, you are a mother and raising great children deserves more of your attention than an indifferent music industry. So if you’re attitude is "Fuck em", then I get it.