Call it the spirit of the season, or the smooth sound of the oboe dancing around a classical guitar. Tingstad and Rumbel have captured something unique that audiences have made into a tradition.
“I think people like what Nancy and I do because of the intimacy,” Eric Tingstad said. “It’s fairly serene and introspective. We tell a lot of stories, and tend to be humorous and connect with the audience.”
For nearly 30 years, Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel have joined forces to bring their instrumental work to audiences all over the country — Tingstad on guitar and Rumbel on the oboe. Their holiday music, in particular, has earned them considerable praise.
Their melodic spirit of the season will be featured on Bainbridge Island on Dec. 7, 7 p.m., at Island Center Hall, 8395 Fletcher Bay Road.
Tickets are available at Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District, 206-842-2306, ext. 118; and Vern’s Winslow Drug. Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Student tickets are $10.
“A majority of it will be Christmas music,” Tingstad said. “We will put in some of our music as well, and some obscure ones like some Spanish Christmas carols some French Christmas carols.”
The duo first combined forces in 1985 as Tingstad was working on a Christmas album, “The Gift.”
“(Rumbel) was on almost every song on there and it didn’t make much sense to have it be a solo album, so we put her name down on the cover,” Tingstad said.
Rumbel and Tingstad’s names have since paired up for a total of 19 albums. One album, 2002’s “Acoustic Garden,” earned the two a Grammy for Best New Age Album.
Tingstad was also nominated for a Grammy for his solo work on his 2007 album “Southwest.”
From 1987 to 2004, Tingstad and Rumbel held a record deal to distribute their music. But since then, they’ve been independent artists.
“[We] didn’t get dropped. We just quit,” Tingstad said.
While the two haven’t recorded holiday music exclusively, their style has found a home in the genre.
“Christmas has been very good to us and we do the bulk of our touring at Christmas time, almost to the point that people have considered us a Christmas act, a part of their tradition,” Tingstad said.