From Ego Magazine by Hugh Fraser

It’s El Duende — the mysterious spirit and emotional storm that takes possession of the great Flamenco guitarists –that guides the music of jazzman Mark Sepic. Sepic began guitar studies in the ’70s at Hamilton’s Westdale Secondary School with Ancaster teacher Ron Colling, who inspired him to keep going. Keep going for this first real gig at the legendary Knight II coffee house and then got him ready to study music at York University.

It is irresistible and all-encompassing.

It was at York that the music of the world poured in on the aspiring young player. Lenny Breau started it and guest teachers like Zoot Sims and Eddie Lockjaw Davis brought the jazz, while the great Ghanaian drummer Abraham Adzenjyah and south Indian Mrdangam artist Sankaran brought the rhythms of Africa and Asia. Despite these new musical doors opening at York, Sepic says he “got overly fried by the poverty, chastity and obedience” of student life and took his degree in part time bits, while getting heavily into Latin jazz with his eight-piece band Banana Beat in the late ’80s.

“We had our Hamilton debut at Festival of Friends”, we’ve played the last five DuMaurier Jazz Festivals and we still rehearse regularly with an eye to recording in the near future.” The band is therapeutic, says Sepic, 36, who more often plays alone or in smaller combos. That’s when his individual style using gut strings and classical Flamenco techniques are married to his electronically-amplified jazz sensibilities. It was studies with Flamenco aces David Serva and weekly jamming with 81 -year-old Flamenco master Robert Carter – students of the great Diego del Gastor- that brought El Duende to Sepic. “It’s the tongues of fire atmosphere, like a gypsy Pentecost that descends on guitarists. After the sleep deprivation of playing four-day fiestas, wine and exhaustion makes them susceptible to that vibe, ” Sepic says. “It is irresistible and all-encompassing.”