Mark Bensette Aux Bois
Guitar, Harp & Keyboards
Mark’s early influence came from a grade school music teacher who played a 12-string guitar, and was into Cat Stevens and The Mamas & The Pappas. When Mr. Arber discovered some of the students knew how to play guitar and drums, he encouraged them to do so while everyone sang. This experience, and “looking for something to do” in the small Canadian town in which he was raised led to him playing the guitar - mainly because it was cool - with a friend who played drums, and the music journey began.
Mark started his first rock band at 14, was performing at 16, and toured with concerts and bar gigs in Ontario and the northern United States through the 80’s. He moved to the States in 1992 and continued playing with bands in Dallas, then Phoenix. After working a day job and playing in the band till 1 or 2 in the morning, Mark would decompress by turning to another music genre he’d always enjoyed: New Age. Spending hours surrounded by loud music and walls of amplifiers, his “head just full of that”, he’d listen to New Age or Classical music, something without lyrics, to settle down on the drive home.
After seeing a performance by Grammy award-winning harpist Andreas Vollenweider he found he loved the music and style and promised to one day create New Age music. When Mark took up the concert harp in 2006 he discovered “there was no training at all”, it’s all just instinct”. Mark found himself with another self-taught instrument under his belt, then put together a home studio and produced three New Age CD's.
In 2009 Mark was diagnosed with cancer. During this time, he lost all interest in music - frustrated and disillusioned, and not finding anyone suitable to work with, he applied his talents instead to poetry and fiction, writing the “Son of Sherlock Holmes” series.
It was watching an episode of “That Metal Show” that reignited the spark. Guest Jack Blades from “Night Ranger” said “you know, when you stop creating, you die inside”. With that, Mark started writing and auditioning singers. He also reconnected with musician and recording artist Saggio, whom he had met ten years prior.
Just as a butterfly - the Papillon - adapts and transforms, with Mark’s innovative style, he will no doubt find a way to incorporate his love of Rock music with his appreciation of New Age, Classical and other genres into the musical inspiration of Nouveau Papillon.
Guitars: Ovation (Adamas, Elite, Legend, Thunderbolt), Charvel & Gibson
Harps: Lyon & Healy Concert & Silhouette
Amps: Bogner, Fender, Marshall & SWR
Keyboards: Korg, Roland & Yamaha
Effects Pedals: Mooer
Native American Style Flutes, & Percussion
It was in 2002 while attending an art festival in Fountain Hills, Arizona that Hildi was first drawn to the haunting sound of the Native American flute. This encounter led her to Odell Borg, founder of High Spirits Flutes, where she traded her Mountain dulcimer (a fretted string instrument) for her first flute.
Shortly afterward, Hildi attended a flute circle gathering in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It was here that she met Grammy-award nominated artist Peter Phippen, who would ultimately become her mentor. She then attended several flute retreats, most notably one in Flower Mound, Texas, where she met and befriended some of the best flute makers and recording artists in the country: Butch Hall, Michael Graham Alan (aka Coyote Oldman), R.C Nakai, Mark Holland, and the late Dr. Richard Payne.
Hildi’s first concert performance was at the Bishop Mason Retreat in Flower Mound, Texas. In 2006 at the Indian Summer Festival, she had the privilege to perform with Keith Secola on the Miller Stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And, coming full circle, she performed with her mentor Peter Phippen at the Shanghai Bistro in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Hildi moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2013, and continued to establish relationships with multiple flute communities and associations, networks that led to the introduction to Nouveau Papillon.
Hildi plays from the heart with what she feels in the moment, culminating in a unique and truly soulful musical exploration.
Flutes: Custom Made Flutes by Butch Hall, Pat Haran, Kenny King, Scott Loomis & Coyote Oldman
Percussion: Chime’s, Guiro’s, Thunder tubes & Rain Sticks
Amps: Crate Amplifiers
Electronics: Lexicon Effects, Shure Microphones