Banana (Lowell Levinger)

Banana supplied guitar, banjo, synthesizer, and back-up vocals to Mimi's 1985 solo album, Solo, and also toured with her on and off from 1973 until the nineties. They met in 1963 in Cambridge. A while ago I asked Banana if he'd like to say something about his friendship with Mimi and here's what he wrote:

"I had known Mimi and Dick a little back in Cambridge in the early sixties, but in 1973 a mutual friend, Janice Laboe, suggested that Mimi and I get together musically. We did and it worked. Bread & Roses was just starting up and we did lots of Bread & Roses gigs. Mimi was a fantastic guitar player and arranger of guitar accompaniments. She was self-sufficient and really didn't "need" me. Her solo performance could stand quite nicely on its own. But I added variety and spontaneity and new ideas, and we co-wrote some tunes and certainly co-arranged all the tunes. And it's more fun and more comforting to have a compadre on the road rather than toughing it out alone.

Mimi always placed Bread & Roses ahead of her performing career, so we didn't work a whole lot, but we managed to play the Northeast and Rockies and Midwest and Northwest and Southern and Northern California and Alaska and Hawaii and a few other places. Plus, we went to Germany twice, playing folk clubs, town halls, a prison, radio shows, concerts, etc. We played a lot of gigs over a fifteen to twenty year period. I played guitar, piano and banjo and sang harmonies. The Bread & Roses Festivals at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley were exemplary of the class act way to do it and I was lucky enough to be in the house band for many of them. Anything Mimi conceived was undertaken with class and dignity and humor and fun. And... success!! Maybe not monetarily every time but in the more important ways, where it really counts: SUCCESS !!

I learned a lot from Mimi about manners and grace and when to rebel and when to behave. She taught by example and sometimes by admonition. We encountered frustrating travel conditions and also encountered wonderful people and experiences. We always seemed to eat very well. And there always seemed to be plenty of laughter and a fair amount of giggling as well."

To learn about Banana's more recent work (including a cover of Mimi's song "Old Woman"), check out