Bio

 

Tom Mank and Sera Smolen have been performing and writing music together since 1994. Mank, a self-taught singer-songwriter, and Smolen, a conservatory trained cellist, blend their musical languages into an eclectic style. Guitar, voice, and cello have many ways of blending, with the cello as bass, and doubling with guitar or soloing. Mank’s eloquent writing of instrumentals is contrasted well with his poetic lyrics.

In January, they finished a new album of original music - called "We Still Know How to Love" - recorded in Woodstock, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Ooigem, Belgium. The album was officially released in 2020 and was featured in a February European tour of Belgium and the Netherlands (their 11th time!).  They were joined at different venues by Janet Cotraccia (vocal), Gait Klein Kromhof (harmonica), Kathy Ziegler (piano, vocal), Amy Merrill (violin, nickelharpa), Ellen Shae (vocal), and Kimberly Claeys (vocal).

Tom Mank, a US-based independent singer-songwriter for the past twenty years, has played in folk, blues, and bluegrass bands collaborating with a host of singers and instrumentalists in Boston, MA, Brattleboro, VT, Keene, NH, and Ithaca, NY. He currently performs with Smolen and many other musicians and continues to generate new music.

Dr. Sera Jane Smolen is an active performer of many genres of music, including four centuries of classical music. In addition to her collaboration with Mank, she has performed extensively with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Albert Consort (New Violin Family), Tri-Cities Opera, Mansfield University Piano Trio, Ithaca Piano Trio, Trio Melange, Chiron Festival of the Creative Spirit, and Cornell University Hesterian Musicism. She has taught at Mansfield University, Alfred University, Hobart & William Smith, and Ithaca College. She is the assistant director of the New Directions Cello Festival, a founding member of the Binghamton Cello Festival, and a guest clinician around the US and Canada.

RECORDINGS:

We Still Know How to Love, 2020
Unlock the Sky, 2017
Swimming in the Dark, 2013
Paper Kisses, 2010
Where the Sun Meets the Blue, 2007
Souls of Birds 2004
Conversations in Waves, 2001
Almost Time, 2000