Recommended gig

Sion Russell Jones, Brigyn & Little Arrow at St John's Church, Canton, Cardiff on Saturday 10th November 7.30pm. Tickets available from:


Jam with RoBina

This month we are featuring Jam with RoBina who are a duo made up of Mark Tambini & Romano Marenghi from Pontypridd. The two met whilst at school and formed a band when they were in the 5th form. The pair went their separate ways when they went off to college but once they had completed their studies they formed a covers band ‘The Immigranti’. When the band split Mark & Romano decided to write their own material and gave themselves the intriguing name of Jam with RoBina.

It actually came about from our attempts to make some homebrew for a local beer and cider festival. We were going for a play on the word “Ribena” as we were making a blackcurrant cider (the name “RoBina” being a combo of my surname and Ro’s first name). This all happened just before we started gigging so we adopted the name for the band. We then found out that there are a few other artists using the same name so we decided to alter it to avoid confusion and copyright problems. There are only 2 of us in the band and we liked the idea of having other musicians to play (or Jam) with us, hence we eventually settled on “Jam with RoBina”.(Mark)

One of the factors that have enabled the band to stand out from the crowd is their original songs. As Ro explains about the inspiration for their songs:

“In the beginning and for the first album I would say it was a mixture of all things from broken hearts to say having the best day of your life. By the end of that first album I think I was ready to start writing a little bit differently. I wanted to write in a way that I thought was away from the modern ‘norm’ and in a way that really excited me. The only way to describe the way I’ve been writing more recently and for our next album is I’ve just been writing stories. I think our new material has a deep centre revolving around imagination and storytelling, it’s not exactly a new idea for song writing but I defiantly think it’s something that isn’t done much in modern, mainstream music.

I’d like to think if we ever make it into main stream we could bring some of these retro ideas about song writing back into the mix.”

The band has been influenced by a wide range of artists. However, the band that inspired them initially was Australian band Silverchair:

“I guess for me, bands like Silverchair hit me in a special way. I was 13 at the time and had just started playing guitar. I was at the stage where you can’t actually play anything that resembles a song when all of I sudden I got hold of a copy of Silverchairs Frogstomp album. I also found out they made that CD when they were 15. I was completely blown away! I remember thinking I still had 2 years to get good enough to play like that. I had also been listening to a lot of Hendrix, Zeppelin and Nirvana but what got me was how young Silverchair were. I thought that if they could do it, so could I. Zero 7 influence me simply because they make beautiful music. Personally I find guitar playing very relaxing, almost like therapy. If my music can help others to relax in the same way, I’m happy.” (Mark)

The band is from Pontypridd which the Ro describes as: “a lovely place, friendly people and a general nice mix of town and countryside which is perfect for a band like ours for inspiration. I think until very recently the area had a lot of Metal and Emo bands but there now seems to be quite a few bands branching into other genres, so it’s becoming defiantly more eclectic.”

The band has so far released one album ‘Visions of a runic’. which came about following the split of The Immigranti: “After the split we were asked to do a number of acoustic performances by friends/promoters and as they were last minute requests, we decided to play some covers from The Immigranti’s set list. After a few gigs we decided we didn’t want to be remembered for playing covers and having already written a few tunes together, we decided to write a load more. We quickly realised we had enough for an album and just went for it.” (Mark)

The experience of making and distributing the album themselves has been positive: “I think in this day and age and the possibilities of having your music so widely available, it’s important to make sure your music is accessible to as many people as possible. As far as an album or demo is concerned, my advice would be simply to just go for it and get it done”. (Ro)

The band are renowned for their live performance in Wales, but their most memorable gig so far was in Bardi in Italy in 2007. “We were surrounded by all our friends and family, a large crowd filling the street with Bardi Castle lit up as a backdrop. The single most amazing rush I’ve ever had!” (Ro)

Jam with RoBina are steadily gaining a following throughout Wales through a combination of their impressive original songs and exciting live performances. The band are currently writing their 2nd album which they are planning to finish recording by the end of the year.

“So in 2010 there’ll be a new JWR album, exciting times!” (Mark)


Visions of a Runic         (2007)

The Pink Room EP       (2007)

Forthcoming gigs:

Cwmaman Acoustic Festival on September 27th




The Keys
Jimi Alexander
Misty's Big Adventure
Devon Sproule
Lightning Dust
Frank Turner
Jam with RoBina
The Rumble Strips interview
Heather Jones
Battle of Land and Sea
Peter Broderick
Cakehole Presley

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