The Mummers

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The Mummers
Origin Brighton, England
Genres Electronica
Baroque pop
Years active 2006–present
Labels Big Bass Drum
Members Raissa Khan-Panni
Paul Sandrone
Tessa Gilles
Maddie Rix
Lindsey Oliver
Loz Thomas
Rob Heasman
Laura Ritchie
Past members Mark Horwood (deceased)
Notable instruments
Vocals, keyboards, strings, trumpet, guitar, percussion

The Mummers are a band based in the English seaside town of Brighton, centred on London-born singer/songwriter Raissa Khan-Panni, composer Mark Horwood (before unexpectedly and tragically taking his own life in September 2009), producer/writer Paul Sandrone and co-producer/manager Alastair Cunningham.

They take their name 'Mummers' from the medieval performing troupes who would go from door to door wearing masks and costumes, staging plays in rhyme and song and mime.[citation needed]


Khan-Panni, once better known as Raissa, is a singer whose origins include English, Chinese, Indian, and Mexican. She was raised in the South London district of West Norwood, and as a child studied classical music, learning the piano and then oboe. She spent her school-days busking in Leicester Square and later all over Europe, before returning to study music in Bristol. In 2000 she enjoyed critical acclaim across the media spectrum, most notably with the album Believer released by Polydor Records and the single "How Long Do I Get" which was played extensively on UK radio stations.[citation needed]

Despite the acclaim, by 2001 the solo projects were winding down and Khan-Panni returned to work, waitressing full-time in a Brixton restaurant. She describes this period as "a time of having nothing again" when, after several years of excitement, she returned to the mundane and the ordinary. However, she was still writing lyrics which began by documenting this period of her life but soon spun out to a fantasy world as her mind wandered while working.[1] During this time Khan-Panni remained in close contact with her manager and co-creator of The Mummers Alastair Cunningham, and Paul Sandrone, a collaborator during her time recording as Raissa, and the trigger for the formation of The Mummers came when Sandrone passed a recording to orchestral composer Mark Horwood, who was living on the South Coast in a treehouse studio just outside Chichester. Horwood composed a soundtrack around Khan-Panni's lyrics, but then moved to Los Angeles to work on a film soundtrack without leaving contact details. It was a year before Khan-Panni finally met Horwood, who was now living near Brighton, and the layered, orchestral sound of The Mummers, at that time still nameless, rapidly emerged.[citation needed]

Tale To Tell[edit]

The name of the band was inspired by their ever-changing cast of 20 musicians from around the Brighton area that Khan-Panni, Sandrone and Horwood assembled to begin recording their first album in Mark Horwood's treehouse studio. With co-producer Alastair Cunningham, the project took two years to complete, and was released as Tale to Tell in April 2009. It is a lushly orchestrated fantasia, inspired by "marching bands, big bands and fairgrounds" and featuring the sound of a brass band, string quartet, orchestra, and the Moog Synthesiser. It was also heavily influenced by John Barry's filmscores for James Bond and the MGM musicals of the 40s and 50s. Rufus Wainwright's use of Ravel's "Bolero" in "O What a World" is also cited as an example. The joint collaboration of Cunningham and Khan-Panni also gave birth to a brand new record label, Big Bass Drum, which was quickly set up to rush out the album to capitalise on sudden unexpected media interest.[citation needed]

The Mummers performed two tracks from Tale to Tell, "Wonderland" and "March of the Dawn", on the opening show of series 34 of BBC Two's Later... with Jools Holland.[2] In May 2009, "March of the Dawn" was iTunes single of the week.[citation needed]

In September 2009 Mark Horwood, to the horror of his loved ones, sadly took his own life. No-one suspected he would do this, and everyone was shocked and horrified. [3] His sisters Sue and Maggi, his brother Clive, and his nephews, cousins and niece were totally devastated and mourn his passing every day of their lives. We all have his music to cling to. Mark's family is grateful that Ellis Horwood, his father who died in 2007, never lived to witness this tragedy.

Mink Hollow Road EP[edit]

With the band in shock, all engagements were cancelled and a period of contemplation sent the band into what Raissa calls a 'cocoon period'. It was during this time that the first tentative recordings for their next EP, Mink Hollow Road, were created.[citation needed]

"Fade Away" is the second track on the EP, a little-known Todd Rundgren cover from his album The Hermit of Mink Hollow.[citation needed]

The final three tracks use material started with Horwood in 2009. "Cherry Heart" was originally written for legendary 80s video director Steve Baron's new sci-fi series Slingers. The song is about a girl who wakes up in the 23rd century not realising she's a robot.

Mink Hollow Road was released in Jan 2011 on Big Bass Drum to great acclaim, with many reviewers claiming that The Mummers had made a triumphant return to form. After only one live performance at the Jazz Cafe in London in June 2010, a UK tour was put together for April 2011.

In February the single "Fade Away" (released on 8 Feb) was playlisted by BBC Radio 2.

The Mummers have also embarked on a number of orchestral remixes of other artists' tracks, including the American bands The Black Keys, Passion Pit, and French Horn Rebellion. An album of these is being considered for the future.


Studio albums[edit]

  • Tale to Tell (2009) – Big Bass Drum

Extended plays[edit]

  • Mink Hollow Road (2011) – Big Bass Drum

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [1] interview in The Guardian
  2. ^ [2] Later with Jools Holland
  3. ^ Paul Lester (2012). "The Mummers: 'We're honouring his spirit completely'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2014.