Acoustic Mayhem

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Acoustic Mayhem joins the talents of five skilled musicians into one of Iowa City's well-known string bands. They began performing in 1992, went to the lineup of Loren and Margaret Brumm, Mike Haverkamp,…
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Artist Biography by

Acoustic Mayhem joins the talents of five skilled musicians into one of Iowa City's well-known string bands. They began performing in 1992, went to the lineup of Loren and Margaret Brumm, Mike Haverkamp, and Mike Kannelis in 1994, and added Rick Den in 1999 to complete the 2001 membership.

Loren Brumm began his musical career as part of the Brumm Family Singers in Osage, IA. Loren would sing for community festivals with his nine brothers and sisters, and they were well-known throughout town for their Christmas caroling. Since then, he has actively participated in a number of traditional music groups, helping to organize round-robin concerts and shape-note singers. Loren has studied music theory and classical guitar at the University of Iowa, and often plays lead solos, as well as providing a solid rhythm guitar in group performances. Thanks to his background in theory, Loren has also become the arranger of many of the tunes that Acoustic Mayhem plays. In addition to guitar, he also plays other instruments, like mandolin and, for children's concerts, the washboard and wash-tub bass, as well as other improv music-makers.

Margaret Brumm has been a fiddler for more than 22 years. She received an Iowa Arts Council mini-grant for dance calling and advanced square dance fiddling in 1994. She has incorporated her skills in instructing dancing and folk fiddling as part of Acoustic Mayhem's workshops in elementary schools. Margaret, a Suzuki method violin teacher, instructs both adults and children in individual lessons, and was a music teacher for many years at the Iowa City Montessori School.

Mike Haverkamp's primary instrument is banjo, yet this versatile musician also plays guitar, Autoharp, dulcimer, banjo-uke, mandolin, and harmonica. He's a member of both the Iowa and Missouri Arts Councils' Residency Rosters, and has performed at numerous schools, conducting workshops in songwriting, how to play the Autoharp, making connections between historical time periods and music, and building instruments from recycled objects. He was on the 12-member interdisciplinary Iowa Sesquicentennial Touring Arts Team in 1996. Then, in 1997, he was the Ginsburg Resident Artist for the Iowa City Community School District, teaching over 1,000 fourth graders to build one string instrument. Haverkamp was inspired to learn to play banjo after hearing longtime friend and Acoustic Mayhem partner Mike Kannelis play in 1980.

Mike Kannelis grew up with folk and bluegrass music, as his father, Dave Kannelis, was a mandolin player who performed as a soloist and was also the leader of the Kannelis Strings. The younger Kannelis first started performing on bass in folk groups when he was in junior-high school in Worthington, MN. He played bass and guitar throughout high school and college, performing in both bluegrass and rock bands. While in dental school, he started on the banjo and soon became skilled as a bluegrass-style player. Kannelis taught banjo for the West Music store in Iowa City for four years.

Rick Den is another talented multi-instrumentalist, skilled at playing fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. Den was a regular on the North Sierra, CA, music scene, performing with both Stony Creek and FiddleSticks. His swing fiddle and ragtime tunes were integral to both bands' sounds and are a welcome addition to Acoustic Mayhem. Den sat in with the band at a picnic in June 1999 and has been playing with them ever since.