The Skiffle Minstrels Bring the Shenanigans

By Kelly Sabetta

The Skiffle Minstrels, a country-western and Cajun band from Buffalo, NY, is an eccentric blend of individuals who call themselves a “dance band.”

“We play so folks can dance,” said Paul Todaro, (bass, vocals). “The show is about ‘us’ onstage and ‘us’ in the audience together.”

Alongside Paul, are band members Ron Kowalewski (accordion), Phil Knoerzer (guitar, harmonica), Maggie Zindle (fiddle), Gary Meixner (lap steel), and Gus Russo (percussion).

Their music has been performed throughout Western and Central New York, and is inspired by their dancing audience. “It’s the one reason to play music that isn’t self indulgent,” said Paul, who says many of their new fans, after seeing them perform live, share that they didn’t know they liked country music.

Paul said he remembers the exact moment on February 15th, 1975 that he realized he wanted to be an artist. And it wasn’t until February 16th, 1975 that he began pursuing his passion, for the reason of, “being bad at sports.” He describes his work as trying to find his place in the present by exploring the past.

The Skiffle Minstrels are currently playing a busy summer schedule of festivals and weddings, and will soon be recording their second album. Their first debut album, Homespun, was released in 2009, and features 12 original songs from the band. Their album is being sold on their Web site, iTunes, CDbabay,, as well as other festivals where they have performed. Also being sold is original merchandise of the band, including guys’ and girls’ tees.

So what should you expect from The Skiffle Minstrels? “Our usual high energy shenanigans,” joked Paul.

To the Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, they plan to bring a lot of music, and a lot of fun. “Kids love it because it’s fun; older folks love it because it ‘looks back; and in-betweens love it because it’s different and rebellious,” said Paul.

To experience the shenanigans, take a look at The Skiffle Minstrels Web site,, and check out her live performance at the Canandaigua Art and Music Festival, Sunday, June 18th, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. on the Time Warner Stage.