• "Lemaire has received critical kudos from the industry as well as his musical peers. Performing with Cindy Lemaire, the blend of voices adds a perfect exclamation point to Mark's virtuoso guitar playing and songwriting."       
      - Pasadena Weekly
    • "The mix of instrumental (Mark's expertise with the guitar amazed our friends), duets with Cindy (their voices blend beautifully as one),  humor and short stories to introduce the songs – it was perfect. Mark and Cindy's rapport with our friends was almost magical."
      -Sylvia and John Schofield
    • “It was a master class in finger style and harmony singing. One of many highlights - for me - was Mark's solo fusion of `Whiter Shade of Pale' and `Bach's `Air on a G String'.  Simply breathtaking.”
      -Don Hurley- Ruskin House Folk Club—Croyden, UK
    • "God you must practice a lot to play so cleanly.  I’ve been recording and creating music for over 50 years and I still find it extremely challenging switching from the art of writing and playing, to dealing with the science of recording.You do both!" 
       -Loren Jones- composer & guitarist
    • "Mark set our house concert audience on their ear.  Over the weeks following his performance our friends were still raving about his smooth and friendly stage manner, intimate delivery and clever songwriting.  We’ve had some wonderful troubadours grace our house concert series-- and Mark is at the top of a strong list of entertainers." -Charles Stacey, Four Corners House Concerts
    • “Mark's guitar playing is exemplary, breathtaking at times, and Cindy has a wonderful voice. The rapport with the audience creates something very special: it is almost a communion.”
      -Tony Streeter, Ragged Trousered Folk, Hastings, UK
    • “Mark and Cindy’s stellar harmonies simply mesmerize, silencing the audience who hang on every note. I've seen a lot of acts, but the harmonies of these two are so aligned and balanced, I felt as though I got an audio 'tune up' inside me after listening to their songs." - Kiki Wow, Music Host & Promoter for Carmel Valley
    • "It was an impeccable performance. Never have I witnessed such control of the steel stringed guitar's sound. This was a flawless show."
      - Mark Twang, Folkways Recordings
    • "In a world of thoughtless high volume, Mark Lemaire & Twilight continue the ancient tradition of acoustic music, skillfully weaving between folk, jazz, and even rock, with nary an electronic trick."
      - Mark Helprin- award-winning novelist, author of “Winter’s Tale”
    • Mark Lemaire and Twilight takes you back to the purity of early 60s folk music, with much in between bravely noted and adapted. The homage to Pachelbel In 'Rock and Kite' is brilliant and beautiful."
      - Mark Helprin- award-winning novelist, author of “Winter’s Tale”
    • Bob Stane says “I was fascinated by ‘Zanzibar Sands’-- it has a unique voice and story line. After his main set ended, I did something I have never done in 50 years of putting on shows: I asked Mark if he would sing it one more time. As he did, I enjoyed its uniqueness all over again."
      -Bob Stane, The Coffee Gallery Backstage, Altadena, CA
    • "Lemaire has received critical kudos from the industry as well as his musical peers...Performing with van Empel, the blend of voices adds a perfect exclamation point to Lemaire's virtuoso guitar playing and songwriting."
      -John Sollenberger, Pasadena Weekly
    • “Complex, sophisticated song arrangements. His guitar playing his so good, it might distract you from his compelling, engaging melodies and sharp songwriting... But only for a second."
      -Richard Rice, Director of the San Francisco Free Folk Festival
    • "Mark has elegant performer's timing onstage, never a moment out of place. He's also a good songwriter and to call him a remarkable player would be a considerable understatement - just about nobody I know is doing what he can do on the guitar."
      - Carol Denney - Berkeley songwriter and political activist
    • "I have heard many wonderful CDs over the years, but a few of them just have that magical something. It is hard to explain. "Rubato" is one of those few. It is more like a companion than a recording."
      - Steve Meckfessel, songwriter
    • "Your music took the audience to a new level, a spiritual level that is unusual and rare. I definitely want you back to make your magic once again."
      - Harold Adler, Berkeley Art House Concert Series
    • "It really was a remarkable experience. The intimacy of the performance was really unique. Clever, funny, sensitive.... the music and playing superb. Again , I sound like a groupie and maybe I am. With a mix of humor, intimacy, and a little self deprecation, Mark had the audience just spellbound."
      - Bruce Romanoff guitarist and songwriter
    • "I've listened to everything on your site for about 2 hours of repetitive engagement. I've seldom felt as deeply moved by a musician (without some band covering up the genius)."
      - Neil Shelley, guitarist and harmonica player
    • "GUITAR PERFECTION! In addition to the amazing writing and the virtuosic execution, this CD is, quite simply, long-term listenable. I tire easily of "twangy" guitar and "sameness" in guitar albums - but "Rubato" stays in my rotation month after month. It is beautiful and varied."
      - CD Baby "Rubato" review
    • "Mark is a musical revelation. If you fail to attend one of Mark's shows you are depriving yourself of one of the main reasons we souls incarnate on our beloved Earth - to realize beauty. It is a rare privilege to encounter original material of this stature."
      - Don Villa, concert promoter, Berkeley, CA
    • "Mark Lemaire is one exceptional guitarist and songwriter, no doubt about it. And the stellar harmonies of Twilight simply mesmerize, silencing the audience who hang on every note."
      - Kiki Wow, Music Host & Promoter for Carmel Valley
    • "He is intent and concentrating on his music - he closes his piercing blue eyes as if that would help him perform better, or better express what he is trying to communicate. This is music of the quality that many people aspire to."
      - Point Richmond Voice
    • "I can listen to your songs and presentation for long periods of time. Why? The song themes resonate with my life experience."
      - David Mears, audience member
    • "Thanks for the beautiful, real, and exquisite musical gifts the other night. In addition to great skill you come straight from the heart."
      - Philip Rosheger classical guitarist and composer, former pupil of Andres Segovia

Mark and Cindy Lemaire

Mark Lemaire is known for his unique guitar style: he incorporates masterful fingerpicking, slap-and-tap harmonics, hand percussion, and a delicate touch that goes straight to your heart. While Mark's solo guitar pieces stand as complete statements, his harmonies with Cindy Lemaire are so perfectly matched that they seem like two people with one voice.
At a show, audiences do a lot of laughing, but many are also moved to tears. The material runs from tongue-in-cheek songs about married life to stories of the strange surprise of middle age creeping up on us. The music ranges from subtle, pin-drop delicate solo guitar to raucous sing-alongs. While the music is beautiful, the experience of simply being together is a key part of the evening. Folks leave at the end both grinning and fulfilled.

With four albums released and even more captivating somgs you'll only hear live (for now) , Mark and Cindy are a pleasure to listen to and fun to just be with.

“Mark and Cindy’s stellar harmonies simply mesmerize, silencing the audience who hang on every note. I've seen a lot of acts, but the harmonies of these two are so aligned and balanced, I felt as though I got an audio 'tune up' inside me after listening to their songs."  
-- Kiki Wow Presents
"Lemaire has received critical kudos from the industry as well as his musical peers. Performing with Cindy Lemaire, the blend of voices adds a perfect exclamation point to Mark's virtuoso guitar playing and songwriting."       
- Pasadena Weekly

Q: How do you ever come up with such a touch on your guitar?

A:  Hmmm- I'll try to answer with just a few sentences. 

"I have always wanted to play guitar such that I could create a 'complete' sound that did not require, say, a drummer, a soloist, or a bassist. It's not easy-- I'm just one guy. But as I chased that rainbow over the years, I realized that I was inadvertently creating a style that is a little different than the way others play. Then I tried to understand how to nurture that sound directly. Here's what seems to have happened...

Since my mid 20's, I have taken care to not learn anyone's guitar pieces or taken lessons to cop a guitar style- even music that I really enjoyed. Also: my work recording other's music has me listening for hours and hours to some of the greats.  So I am listening to music all the time, but I avoid learning anyone's techniques or approach to guitar. This puts me in a place where I am full of music, yet I have to find my own approach to the instrument. I hope that explains it some.

Mark Lemaire: guitar soloist

Some folks just want more solo guitar compositions, and not so much on the harmonies. If you are one of those guitar loving folks, Mark plays shows in that format as well. He collects his vintage Martin guitars and shows up at your door to present his music to guitar geeks, instrumental music lovers, and romantics everywhere. If vocals are your thing, we got that too (see above).

In short, Mark likes to play. Get in touch if you want to steer him towards a gig, or if you just feel like saying hello. It's all good.

“It was a master class in finger style and harmony singing. One of many highlights - for me - was Mark's solo fusion of `Whiter Shade of Pale' and `Bach's `Air on a G String'.  Simply breathtaking.”
-Don Hurley- Ruskin House Folk Club—Croyden, UK
“It was an impeccable performance. Never have I witnessed such control of the steel stringed guitar’s sound.  This was a flawless show.”     
–Mark Twang, Folkways Recordings


Acoustic Music in Your Own Home

Have you been to a house concert, loved the experience, and wished your favorite acoustic musicians might play for you in YOUR house? Have you thought it would be great to have live folk music in your own home, but figured you don't have enough room, or you're not sure how to pull it off? It's really easy to have a house concert! We are now members of Concerts In Your Home, a great way to put music together with music lovers. Click here for more info on putting on a show in your own home!

Because/ I Wouldn't Trade Places

The John Lennon classic from "Abbey Road" done as a solo guitar piece, followed by an original piece from "Rubato, Pieces for Guitar". Performed at Half Moon Bay, CA in November 2012.

The Map Song

A quick 'raw' recording from the Cypress Meadows concert series in Moss Beach, CA. Co-written in 1985 with Lisa Aschmann, "The Map Song" is a favorite that has yet to be recorded for CD.

Make it Simple/ The Deepest Secret

Folks have been asking for a song where CINDY sings the lead, and "Make it Simple" is an excellent way to show off what she does! This is followed by "The Deepest Secret". Both songs are from the Home Isn't Home CD.

Equinox, Pieces for Guitar Volume 2 Mark Lemaire

1. Seaglass
2. Clara at Dawn
3. A Single Step
4. Night Voyage
5. The Dresden Waltz
6. Red Sun at Morning
7. The Mariner's Star
8. My Little Girl
9. Because
10. Almost Twilight
11. Eusebius' Dream
12. The Long Circle Home

"Equinox, Pieces for Guitar Volume 2" is my first instrumental guitar album since I recorded "Rubato, Pieces for Guitar Volume 1" over twenty years ago. Here are some questions folks have been asking me about "Equinox".

Since "Rubato", you have made two vocal oriented CDs: "Practice Makes Perfect" and "Home Isn't Home" where you and Cindy are doing harmonies. Why an instrumental CD now?

So many folks have come up to me at shows and asked for a sequel to "Rubato". "I play your Rubato CD all the time-- I wish you'd make another one like that.", and things of that nature. I really wanted to please that segment of my audience. Also- I had been slowly stockpiling guitar pieces that seemed to belong on an as-yet unmade CD. A couple years back, it reached critical mass.

It has been over twenty years. I've come a long way as a person, a guitarist, and as a composer. I wanted to create something that developed the themes I opened on "Rubato", and yet I did not want it to just be more of the same, as if I had gone back to the me that was 34 years old and just composed more. How to do something that reflected who I have become?

Also: "Rubato" has been used-- and is still used-- by so many people. In many ways, instrumental music allows the listener to have their own experience while enjoying it. Maybe the lack of lyrics and someone singing at you, telling you what the song is about can give space to do more of what you want with it? In any case, I love to know the music is being listened to, and put to many uses. My hope is the "Equinox" will find a similar home in the listener's musical landscape. 

I like the artwork. Who is Neil Hulme, and why use his photos for "Equinox"? Does the boat on the cover symbolize something?

Cindy and I must have looked at hundreds of pieces of art, trying to find the right way to  visually represent the feel of the music. One fan had characterized "Rubato" as good "drinking tea and staring out the window at the winter sky" sort of music. I love that! But it seemed like "Equinox" was becoming the music where you put down the tea, open the door and go outside. It has more of a voyage feeling.

So Neil's photos are right to communicate this. He creates expansive landscapes and seascapes. And he does much of his work in black and white, giving the images a certain lonely, "out on the moors" feeling. I loved the boat as soon as I laid eyes on it. No one is going anywhere on it- it's literally coming apart at the seams. But it also looks like a voyager's vessel, like it once went to distant shores. Life is like that: few of us have a vessel that's feels like it's up to the task of the journey we embark upon.

I was just so happy that Neil wants to support "Equinox". He not only donated the use of the "Boat" photo, but donated use of his photos for the inside and back cover of the CD art. His work is stunning! I only wish we could have included more of it. Please check out Neil's photography at https://neilhulme.smugmug.com/

Home Isn't HomeMark and Cindy Lemaire

1. Home Isn't Home
2. Zanzibar Sands
3. Seaglass
4. The Deepest Secret
5. Lake of the Coheeries
6. Red Umbrella
7. Almost Twilight
8. Make It Simple
9. Diamonds on a String
10. Dedication
11. The Family Way
12. Rock and Kite
13. Ready for Luck
14. If There Ever Was a Time

"Home Isn't Home" is the first CD with Cindy and me singing together. It's a response to your requests that we create a full length album of what we do on stage.

Here are answers to some questions folks have been asking about the CD:

On the CD artwork, songs one through seven are grouped separately from songs eight through fourteen. Why is this?

I miss the old days of records! There was always side one, and then side two. And this convention goes way back. In concerts and the theater -- there is always Act One, a break, and then Act Two. So on this CD, the dividing point is there, even though you don’t turn over the disc. Besides this, “Almost Twilight” (seven) is an instrumental—call it intermission. And “If There Ever Was a Time” is the very last song: it’s set apart because we think of it as the ‘encore’. It’s all part of the music concept behind this particular CD.

These days, songs are often presented to an audience as single entities—for instance on the internet. But there’s a lot to be said for a larger work, with each song supporting the others. Together, the whole thing makes a complete experience. So “Home” was created as an entire mood. If you have the time, it is best heard that way, with ‘intermission’ in the middle! In what other ways is "Home Isn't Home" like a live show? The core of the CD, like the show, is our two voices and my one guitar. In fact, Cindy and I performed most of the songs singing and playing together in one room-- a live performance. Players create an immediacy and spontaneity when they play together- with eye contact, and all the communication that that entails. But many CDs are made quite differently nowadays. On many pop records, live performance is minimized: the parts are played separately, overdubbed one instrument at a time. It's easy for all that creative mojo juice to get lost in favor of creating a mistake-free record. The live performance concept is also expressed this way: other than a simple rhythm section, we did not add guest players. We stuck with the core idea: one guitar, two voices. Is there a unifying theme to the lyrics on the CD? Well, yes and no. The song “Home Isn’t Home” is about how life forces us to change—hopefully to grow. Many of the songs are about life changes. “Zanzibar Sands”, for instance, is about how when we start as children, there’s no way to know who we might become as time passes. Other songs ignore this theme, like “Lake of the Coheeries”--but because of how they’re grouped, they add meaning to each other. It’s like putting interesting people next to each other at a dinner party-- the whole becomes greater than the individual parts. Did you write all the songs on the CD? Yes, with the exception of "If There Ever Was a Time". This was written by my old friend Andy Schulman, who I used to play with in Boston in the 1980's. Cindy and I have always loved singing that song, and Andy kindly gave us permission to include it. Can you tell us about the photographs on the front and back covers? Cindy and I were looking for ideas for cover art that would communicate "Home Isn't Home"—the sense of loss and loneliness combined with the knowledge that we belong to the larger universe. We wanted it stated in a visual way. We were on the web looking at photos of abandoned houses, and came across this. We pretty much immediately knew it would be perfect. We hunted around for the photographer and found that that shot was taken by an Icelandic photographer named Örvar A. Þorgeirsson. His website is full of incredible nature photography. We had some issues getting in touch with Örvar, but our friend Neil Shelley lives in Sweden and actually found Örvar's cellphone number and negotiated the rights to the photos for us. So we lucked out there.

Live Appearances

Vancouver International Guitar Festival   Vancouver, BC Aug 10-12, 2018 Performing on luthier-built instruments by top makers and builders.
Scotland and England   various locations september 2018 Gigs in Falkirk, Edinburgh, Leith, Harrogate, the Little Big Festival in Poynton, Bellingham All-Acoustic (BAA Festival), Dunfermline, and Crail
San Gregorio General Store     sept 22, 2018  
El Cerrito Free Folk Festival   El Cerrito oct 13, 2018  
Woodstock Invitational Guitar Festival  
Woodstock NY
Oct 26-28, 2018  
New Bridge Foundation   Berkeley, CA Dec 9, 2018 addiction recovery center- private event
Cypress Meadows   Mo\ss Beach, CA Jan 11, 2019  
Opening for John McCutcheon   Modesto, CA Jan 15, 2019 Modesto Peace Life Center annual funraiser
Casa Verde House Concert   Richmond, CA Jan 19, 2019  
San Gregorio General Store     Feb 2 (or 3rd- more soon) 11AM-1PM  
Piedmont Gardens   Oakland CA Feb 10, 2019  
Rose Avenue Acoustic Delights   Oakland CA Feb 17, 2019  
Sutter Creek House Concert   Sutter Creek, CA Feb 25, 2019  
Half Moon Bay Odd Fellows Hall   HMB, CA March 23, 2019 Shared "Acoustic Minds" concert with Michael Manring and Mark Kostrewza
House Concert San Anselmo   San Anselmo, CA Sat, March 30, 2019 "Dueling Duos" with Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan- please write me for the address and details
Artisan Guitar Show   Harrisburg, PA April 12-14, 2019  
Tinicum Library   Tinicum, PA April 15, 2019  
Timbre Folk and Baroque Music Store   801 Bancroft Way Berkeley, California 94710 Sat, May 4 beautiful music store with unusual instruments- a lovely vibe.
San Gregorio General Store   San Gregorio, CA Sunday, June 23 11AM-1PM beautiful vibe here- if you don't know this place, consider it a must!
Live on WGDR   Plainfield, VT 4:30-6:30PM, Sat, August 3rd Acoustic Harmony is great folk music from the Green Mountains of Vermont.  A radio program that airs alternating Saturdays on WGDR, a free-format community radio station broadcasting throughout central Vermont from the campus of Goddard College.  Hosted by Mark Michaelis and on the air since 1990, Acoustic Harmony features the music of contemporary folk artists, singer songwriters, Americana musicians and more, focusing on mostly independent artists. Acoustic music is featured, but anything with beautiful harmonies and melodies may show up, after all...what's life without a few surprises thrown in !!! Listen live in the local area at 91.1 FM or online at: www.wgdr.org  
Concert Colchester VT   Colchester, VT Monday, Aug 5, 7PM a lovely summer concert event! This will be a great show!
Radio interview on River City Folk- Portland, OR   Portland, OR September 10, 2019  
Silverton, OR library   Silverton, OR September 10, 2019  
Lake Oswego Library   Lake Oswego, OR 1-2PM, Sept 11, 2019  
Lebanon Library   Lebanon OR sept 12, 2019  
Quincy Library   Quincy WA 98848 Sept 14, 3PM  

Royal City library


Royal city WA 99357

Sept 16, 2019  
Grand Coulee library    Grand Coulee WA Sept 17, 2019  
Moses Lake Library   Moses Lake, WA Sept 18, 2019  
Ephrata Library   Ephrata, WA 6:30PM Sept 19, 2019  
Three Rivers Folklife Society   Pasco, WA 99302 Sept 21, 2019  
Republic Library   Republic, WA Sept 24, 2019  
Wenatchee Library   Wenatchee WA Sept 25, 2019  
Chelan Library   Chelan, WA Sept 26, 2019  
Cashmere Library   Cashmere, WA Sept 27, 2019  
Snohomish House Concert   Snohomish, WA Sept 28, 2019 private house concert. Please email me for the details and the address.
Dala's Nest House Concert   Menlo Park , CA Oct 6, 2019 private house concert. Please email me for the details and the address
San Gregorio General Store  
San Gregorio, CA
Oct 20, 2019 11AM-1PM beautiful vibe here- if you don't know this place, consider it a must!
San Gregorio General Store   San Gregorio, CA Sat Nov 10 2PM-5PM Note Afternoon start time! 
San Anselmo House Concert   San Anselmo, CA Sat, Nov 16th 7:30PM Treehouse Concerts presents us on a double bill with our good friends Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan. This is a beautiful home and a lovely Marin vibe. Please contact us at marklemairemusic@gmail.com for the address and particulars.
Timbre Folk and Baroque   Berkeley, CA Sat, Jan 18, 2020 7:30PM A split show with our friends Noctumbule- Marla Fibish and Bruce Victor. More on this great show soon- please save the date.
House Concert Santa Rosa   Santa Rosa, CA Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:30PM Our friend John Roy Zat presents us on a double bill with our good friends Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan. All Santa Rosa fans and friends, take note, and contact us at marklemairemusic@gmail.com for the address and particulars.
Odd Fellows Hall, Half Moon Bay   Half Moon Bay, CA Sat, March 14, 2020 a Special show with Mark Kostrezwa and Michael Manring. This thriple-threat show was sold out last March, so please plan ahead. Thanks!
Tour of the UK and Scotland   UK, Scotland September, 2020 This tour is being booked currently (July 2019). Please watch this space for specifics as the time approaches.

Rubato: Pieces For Guitar-- 25th Anniversary edition!

Rubato's music is calm and contemplative. These guitar pieces create a perfect atmosphere for rainy afternoons, conversation, or drinking tea while staring out the window - yet they are also engrossing enough to turn up, close your eyes, and listen to closely.

On Recording Rubato (25 years later)

Creative ideas often come from that space between wakefulness and sleep, the doorway between two worlds. Looking back to when it was created, the feel and inspiration for “Rubato” came from this twilight place of semi-consciousness.

In the early 1990’s, I lived in an old Victorian in Oakland, California with nine roommates. It was a busy, full-of-life place, but my bedroom was a retreat far from the others, in an isolated part of the house. The room that “Rubato” was recorded in was tiny- perhaps 5 by 10 feet. It was actually my bedroom’s closet; almost a womb-like environment.

And that was a good place to birth it. When I was writing and recording this music, I didn’t know that I was making an album that would have no vocals at all. But as the project took shape, a certain mood was forming: one that I knew would be broken if a voice or words were added in.

The process felt very vulnerable to me. I was creating in a quiet, protected environment:  I only let others hear it after it was almost completed, for fear that any response-- good or bad-- might stop the creative process. Even now, that vulnerable feeling may come across when you listen. It’s not a lonely feeling, but a solitary one. 

Highlights from

on CDBaby

Buy on CDBaby

Practice Makes Perfect

An album of stories and songs. The sounds vary from intimate to huge, from simple guitar and vocal to a full band with drums, bass, Hammond B3, and all the fixins". A few highlights:

"Companion" has a French horn trio courtesy of symphony player Eric Aachen, while "Deep Shade" is layered with beautiful textures added by famed Latin percussionist John Santos -- And "Leftover Dreams" rocks with lead guitar and bass added by Scruffy the Cat members Steve Fredette and Mac Stanfield.

"I really enjoyed having guests and friends add their special talents to the songs. There were a few, though, where all those lovely textures were best left off. For instance, the song "Practice Makes Perfect" was originally recorded with two electric basses, background vocals and keyboards; but in the end I laid that version aside because the lonely feeling of the song came across better when it was left unadorned. On the other hand "Companion" is a mariner's tale, and Eric's horn calls created an incredible oceanic effect that just makes the song for me."

Highlights from
Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect
on CDBaby

Buy on CDBaby

Home Isn't Home

A work of art is often defined by what it is not.

On this CD we limit ourselves to the small palette of instruments we use at a live show.  A photographer creates a different kind of composition if he restricts himself to black and white.  By the same token, when musicians choose fewer instruments, they have to use them more inventively .

So here we have--with very few exceptions--just one guitar, our two voices, and a simple rhythm section. We find simplicity truly does rock. Folks appreciate my guitar’s “voice” and our vocal blend, and often mention the space between the notes as key to what we do. It’s a delicate texture, and easily covered up.  So we have done our best to preserve it: we have avoided layers of extra guitars, multiple voices, sequenced synthesizers, horn sections, guest soloists playing bagpipes and castanets, and extended choreographed dance numbers.

But within these self-imposed limitations, we have applied great effort to create a wide range of emotions and moods. Here are three songs from the CD in their entirety. You can hear excerpts from the entire CD and read more about the making of "Home" by clicking this link: http://www.marklemaire.com/#homeisnthome


Highlights from
the upcoming CD

A House Concert With Mark And Cindy

It's simple. Invite some friends – perhaps 10-15 couples – over for dinner or a potluck, and we'll perform two sets with a 20 minute intermission, about two hours total. We'll perform harmonies from the CDs, guitar instrumentals, and rousing sing-alongs. If you have favorites from our albums, let us know and we will be sure you get them all in the show. We also will have brand new 'premieres' and stuff so fresh we haven't even recorded it yet! You can ask your guests for donations (suggested, as folks value what they have invested themselves in), or you can choose to pay us directly and provide an evening of music free for your guests.

What A House Concert Is

A house concert is a personal concert for you and your friends in a private space. Smaller house concerts might have about twenty-five folks-- but others are regular events at large homes that hold a hundred friends and friends-of-friends. The house concert movement (yes, it's becoming that popular) is a response to the desire to hear live acoustic music in a personal setting – where folks really get some quality time with their favorite artists. It is tailored to be what YOU want, and is usually as unlike a club as your home is unlike a club.

What A House Concert Is Not

A house concert is not meant as background music, so it's not a good choice for a party where people will want to chat during the music.

Do I Need A Sound System?

No, we'll bring a small, unobtrusive system with us. In smaller rooms, we may even do it unplugged! If your house concert is on the other side of the country or the world (that is, if we take a plane ride to get to you), we have most of our equipment with us, but will need a couple of mic stands and an amplifier to plug our mixer into. We can talk about it- just get in touch.

How Do I Start?

You can always call or email – we can talk you through it. If you google 'how to host a house concert', you'll get a million links. Remember that these articles are written by folks who have their own opinions- take what you like and leave the rest.

Here are a few basics from our end of things:

1. 25 or more people (rough number- more is better, or course)

2. $500 (minimum) for the act-- This is almost always gotten from audience donations of about $20 per person, so our pay is determined by how many folks attend. 

3. To avoid legal issues with the city, make sure that it's a 'private party', not a business. That's why 100% of the donations go to the artists (unlike a business), and that's why it's a 'donation' rather than admission fee. 

House concert hosts LOVE music, and love putting on a party in their house or in the back yard (if the main room of house is small). Like any party, the best ones have a theme (in this case, 'a concert in our home'). Like any party, it takes effort. House party hosts are deeply appreciated by their friends and loved ones. And for us musicians- house concerts are among the favorite gigs we do!

- I find the tricky bits for many hosts are these two:

1. Getting a big enough crowd that not only promises to come, but actually arrives. Like any party, the hosts need to confirm and double-confirm as the day approaches.

2. Not being shy or embarrassed about collecting $ for the artists-- many of us can feel queasy asking for money from our friends. Make sure your friends understand in advance that their donation goes to support professional, lifetime musicians. In my experience, attendees are more than willing to donate, but get confused as to how to do it. One excellent way (there are other ways too) is to ask a trusted friend with an envelope (not the host) to go around to each guest as they arrive and collect donations.  

Remember: Your house concert is really about what YOU want – articles on the web are just a guide. You can use some of the pointers, or make it up your own way. Feel free to contact us, and we'll give you plenty of support. 

Press Materials

Mark Lemaire ...

... has been performing on guitar since he was twelve. Originally from New England, by high school he was writing songs and playing the coffeehouses in Boston and Cambridge. At 23, his musical world changed when he landed a job as a recording engineer at the legendary Euphoria Sound. As a staff engineer, Mark learned his studio chops with producer Jimmy Miller, who produced The Rolling Stones, Blind Faith, Traffic, and the Spencer Davis Group. He also did sessions with the wild and infamous Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls, as well as 80’s college radio darlings Scruffy the Cat.

Mark moved to the San Francisco area in 1985, planning to perform more and engineer a little less. He opened for Maria Muldaur at the legendary Sweetwater in Mill Valley, and for Steve Seskin and Even Dozen Jug Band founder and folk icon Stefan Grossman at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, but then tendonitis forced Mark to perform a little less and engineer a little more.

Since then, Mark has recorded artists ranging from Latin quartet Cascada de Flores to experimental metal band Neurosis, as well as folk and rock artists of every stripe. Between sessions, he found time to record his guitar solo CD "Rubato, Pieces for Guitar", as well as many of the songs that appear on "Practice Makes Perfect".

In the mid 90’s, Mark found himself in the cloistered world of classical and early music recording. He's recorded the San Francisco Symphony, the Santa Rosa Symphony, California Bach Society, and many other classical groups. Find out more about Mark’s recording life at RubatoRecording.com.

Mark completed "Practice Makes Perfect" in 2008. Mark began performing with Cindy van Empel as Mark and Cindy Lemaire in 2009. In autumn 2012, they released their first CD as a duo- "Home Isn't Home".  In 2016, Mark released his second album of guitar instrumentals: "Equinox, Pieces for Guitar, vol II".  And in 2018 the 25th anniversary edition of the classic "Rubato, Pieces for Guitar" was completed.

In the last few years, Mark has performed at the Woodstock Invitational Guitar Festival, Santa Barbara Acoutic Instrument Celebration, Vancouver Guitar Festival, LaConner Guitar Festival, and others. Onstage, he has represented top luthiers like Ervin Somogyi, Leonardo Buendia, Mark Gaiero, and many others.

In 2018, Mark (or Mark and Cindy, depending on the show) toured New Zealand, Canada, England and Scotland, as well as had performances here in the US. They live in Northern California.

Cindy van Empel Lemaire ...

...has been singing since her youth. In high school in Southern California, she sang in a band that covered REO Speedwagon and Led Zeppelin. And she also toured Europe with the group Madrigals, performing music from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages.

While Cindy never fully left music behind, her geography degrees from UCLA and Cal State Northridge drew her to a career in planning. She has been a consulting planner and is currently working in government, seeking to bring her extensive and varied experience to bear in the San Joaquin Valley.

Mark met Cindy in early 2008. It was immediately clear how perfectly their voices blended. Then Mark asked Cindy if she would please learn a few of his songs. And so she did.

They have been performing together as Mark and Cindy Lemaire  ever since thye got married in 2014. They tour New England every summer, and California appearances have included shows in Carmel Valley, Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many places in between. On their European vacation in the fall of 2011, they busked on the streets of Italy and Croatia. In autumn of 2012, they released their new album "Home Isn't Home"-- based around their unique vocal blend combined with Mark's inimitable guitar style.

Autumn 2013 and 2015 they toured through Texas and New Mexico. Since then, they have toured the UK and Sweden, and are returning over the pond in autumn of 2016.In 2018, Mark (or Mark and Cindy, depending on the show) toured New Zealand, Canada, England and Scotland, as well as had performances here in the US. They live in Northern California.

Connect with us!

I would love to hear from you! For all inquiries, please reach me at marklemairemusic@gmail.com.

Also, please 'friend' me any of the following ways> BUT please note that I seldom (ever?) visit myself on Reverb Nation, My Space, etc. THIS WEBSITE is the best place to see what's happening with me and Cindy, and the email address above is the way to contact me.

Cindy is getting more and more active on Facebook. She would love to hear from you. If you'd like to send her a 'friend request', she'll add you and you get our FB posts. Look for her on FB as "Cindy van Empel Lemaire". Good?

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