“Charged with Celtic mystery and wonder….Layered over strands of familiar folk melodies that settled into the ear like old friends or joined to boldly embroidered and exquisitely crafted original melodies, Vanini’s sublime flights into mists of fantasy…swept listeners along like a current.” Gary Alexander, The Woodstock Times, January 18, 1998
“…absolute delight of ageless entertainment…a masterfully entertaining talent. Bravo.”
Gary Alexander, The Woodstock Times, January 18, 1998
“It’s a flashing gypsy violin, it’s a bit of Mozart, it’s an ancient Irish refrain-the music of T.G. Vanini and his band, the Princes of Serendip, is as alluring as it is hard to describe. …Vanini’s songs have a strong emotional charge. His material ranges from love songs that have their roots in British folk music…to the mythical and surreal landscapes and imagery of dreams.”
Baruch College News, February 6, 1998
“…the animate resonance of musicianship illuminating their eclectic whimsical repertoire exposed the royalty of their ensemble from the first set.”
Kitty Montgomery, Kingston Daily Freeman, December 31, 1996
“A transcendental, magical, spiritual evening…a perfect marriage of word and song.”
Sam Rand, Berkshire Record, June 1997
“His song-poems limn the richness of both the mortal world and the deathless realm of enchantment, and that magical point at which they intersect….The melodies and harmonies are haunting; so, too, the prevailing sense of wistful, tender sadness at the fleeting nature of life and love.”
Mikhail Horowitz, Ulster Publising Company’s Alm@nac, July 1998
What She Said, by Sharon Nichols, Chronogram, March 2009
Rare is the musical group that can both amuse and frighten you at the same time. Case in point: the Princes of Serendip and their nutty YouTube video, “The 7 Deadly Plastics.” This horrifying tune, which can be found on this, their sophomore CD, is a lengthy ode to those curious little numbers on the bottoms of your plastic food containers. Performing what sounds like a whimsical children.s tune (in their distinctively upbeat folk/Celtic/classical style), the Princes rag on plastics right down to the 90,000th one: “It makes your fat cells its long-term home / And it reaches in your ovary and tweaks a chromosome.”
The songs on What She Said span multiple millennia of storytelling, from the burial musings of an ancient Sumerian princess (“My silver comb will succumb to the acid secretions of my decomposing body,” from the title track) to the modern day toxic horrors that will stick around for the next million years (“Plutonium POPS”). Though the cardstock CD case is environmentally friendly, the disc is still made from polycarbonate…oh well, whatcha gonna do? Kudos to Don Yacullo (piano), Julie Parisi Kirby (vocals), and T. G. Vanini (vocals/violin) for informing and entertaining simultaneously.
Mike Jurkovic, Rhythm & News, March 2003
Shamefully I must confess that this was the first time I’ve experienced the Princes, even though I’ve been acquainted with the trio for some time now. With a beguiling and mischievous understanding of all things mythical and musical, an evening with The PrincesOf Serendip is equal parts chamber recital, story hour, and poetry reading. Coalescing Old World balladry with mountain folk, Celtic swing with Vivaldian flourish, these baroque pranksters entrance their audience, creating entirely new worlds of child-like, though adult themed, wonder.
Sprung from the vivid imaginings and lyrical weaving of songwriter/violinist/vocalist and possible past life court jester T.G.Vanini, fellow Princes, Don Yacullo (piano) and Julie Parisi Kirby (vocals), create
in harmonious tandem the full pallette upon which Vanini tells his tales. ‘Miranda’ ‘Plutonium Pops’, ‘Sheffield Square’, and the shanty ‘Onions’ were revisited on this night. Songs performed from the new CD included the hauntingly majestic ‘Like an empty room’, ‘City of Visitors’, the playfully prophetic ‘The dinosaur’s advice’ and ’42 years on’.
But listing song titles, throwing around critical qualifiers, and assuring you the audience responded energetically to each performance, does The Princes no big favor. Not needing to be cranked up to ten, or fronted by some hot shot chick singer or fire-for-fingers lead guitarist, The Princes Of Serendip prove, both onstage and on their recordings, that imagination, and a fearless originality, go a long, long, way.
“The Princes’ music is difficult to describe…. Folk, New Age, and classical influences can all be detected, as well as lyrics that Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash would envy.” Cheryl A. Rice, Hudson Valley Folk Guild, 2002
Distinction & ExtinctionIrv Yarg on Serendip Orchestra:
". . . Ambitious and courageous in the current sausage-link musical climate, Vanini, the vision follower, evokes uncommonly textured moods and rhythmic spaces in neoclassical and folk form measures where most popular musicians, afraid to explore their own musical genius or experiment with unconventional lawn care products, hesitate. Many of us, conditioned to our own most favored forms of expression, may even pause as listeners at first to this novel unraveling of twilight occasions and sun-drenched bursts of realization. It may take a pause to get our bearings in these not always immaculate but consistently meticulous passages, stumbling on cloven toes and soaring on reachingly poised wings as the voices of nature advise with the cloying tones of a wounded and contemplative beast or scold like an earthly mother addressing errant children. . ." Read the full article
- "The Princes Of Serendip prove . . . that imagination, and a fearless originality, go a long, long, way." Mike Jurkovic, Rhythm & News, March 2003
- A tapestry of stories is woven into each performance by The Princes of Serendip. T. G. Vanini’s songs let you think, they let you feel, they let you laugh, but they won’t let you go. The Princes of Serendip affirm the need to act in the world while acknowledging the yearning for inner fulfilment.