Photo: Roger Bolt


Photo: Roger Bolt

DAVID “GUS” GARELICK is a fiddler, mandolin player, composer, writer, and teacher in Santa Rosa, California. His eclectic styles range from Bluegrass to Zydeco, Classical to Klezmer, and more. He began playing violin as a child in Detroit Michigan, studying classical music and also getting involved in an active folk music scene in Detroit and in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. He studied English Literature at Michigan, and came to California in 1967 to teach English in the San Francisco public schools. But music was never left behind.  In San Francisco coffee houses, he discovered a lively Italian music scene, and at the same time he became part of a very active Bluegrass scene. Both styles inspired him to keep playing music, and that has never let up all these years later.

Gus spent many years competing in fiddle contests in California, Texas, Tennessee and the National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho. From contest fiddling, he explored Bluegrass music, Western Swing, Gypsy Jazz, Cajun music, Klezmer and so much more.  He also explored more of the Italian mandolin styles and played in the Berkeley Mandolin Ensemble in the early 80s, and by the early 2000s helped form the Gravenstein Mandolin Ensemble in Sonoma County.  He also formed The Hot Frittatas, an ensemble specializing in Italian traditional music. From 2000 to 2014, The Frittatas recorded three CDs of Italian and European cafe music and did several tours in California, Arizona and Oregon.  Gus also played Cajun and Zydeco music with San Francisco’s legendary accordion player, Queen Ida, and Sonoma County accordion legend, Jim Boggio, and recorded a CD of traditional Cajun music with a local band, The Cajun Coyotes. 

In addition to performing music, Gus has composed music for fiddle and mandolin and has produced a series of radio programs devoted to traditional music, first on KPFA radio in Berkeley and more recently on KRCB radio in Santa Rosa.  He also writes a regular column for Fiddler Magazine. Last but not least, his most recent book, Sirens: Imaginary Journeys for Solo Mandolin, has just been published.  Some of that music can be visited on this website.  An earlier book of mandolin music, Bakers Dozen, came out in 2014, and can also be visited on this website. 

Gus’s mandolin is a Gibson A-50, made in 1954.  He has owned several other mandolins, including a Roberts “Tiny Moore Model” electric mandolin, a 1914 Gibson A model, and a 1919 Gibson mandola.  His main violin was made in 1907 in Markneukirchen, Germany; his other violin was made in Czechoslovakia around 1900.