If Fiddlers Crossing had a middle name it might be “Variety.” Then again, it might also be “Innovative” or “Unusual.” Those names certainly apply to the October 20 concert to be presented at the popular music venue in downtown Tehachapi. “The Mountain & the Moon” is a young duo of Casey Holmberg and Noa Laniakea playing banjo and stand-up bass—not a guitar, fiddle or mandolin in sight!
It might seem like they are merely two-fifths of a bluegrass band, but this innovative and unusual duo is much more. In their original tunes and songs, they synthesize folk, bluegrass and classical music in a bold way. They expand the boundaries of their instruments with a style completely their own.
Bassist Laniakea and banjoist Holmberg met at UCLA in the spring of 2015 while pursuing Masters degrees in music. They shared a love for bluegrass and old-time music, and as they played together, they said they “began to explore a larger musical space around that idiom.” They soon began performing as The Mountain & The Moon. After releasing an EP of their original music in August of 2016 – just a year after they began performing together — they were invited to the Freshgrass Festival in North Adams, MA as finalists in an international competition.
Bassist and composer Noa Laniakea grew up in Buffalo, New York and graduated from SUNY University, Buffalo, with a Bachelor’s degree in music performance. He currently resides in Cupertino, CA, where he writes original works for solo bass and small ensembles.
Casey James Holmberg, banjoist and singer was born and raised in Petaluma, CA, “where gold rolling hills and chickens were dear neighbors.” He sees the banjo as a complete instrument, not restricted by genre or style. At UCLA, he branched out from bluegrass into classical and jazz music. He lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches, performs his original works, sings in a brother duo and writes scores for film.
Whether a fan of the banjo, the bass, bluegrass, old-time, folk or innovative acoustic music genres, The Mountain & the Moon concert should send you over the moon!