Sunday, October 09, 2005

Medieval (Music) Festival

Okay, so I've been pretty poor at the updating weblogging business lately. I'm going to take Mike's challenge and try to get in the "weekly update" habit. Soooooo...

Two weekends ago our campus hosted a Medieval Festival and it was truly a delight.

The only downside was that there weren't as many actual reenactors as one would hope for. Because of this, I ended up flocking to the music stages, which encompassed a variety of more traditional music, some directly from the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The entertainment also included a family of Irish dancers! (will I some day put my own children through such tortue? Probably not, but you never know!)

All in all it was a beautiful day and a great time. Here are the highlights of my experience...

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THE HARP. Have you ever really listened to it? (not in an orchestra, but alone by itself.) Listening to these two girls was by far the biggest surprise of my day. I never realized how beautiful and peaceful harp music is! To be honest, the music took me to another world--it is very entrancing (or at least it was on that day). Talking to the two girls afterwards, I managed to get a list of the "top" harpists, so I plan on buying my first "harp" CD sometime soon. If you'd like to explore this new genre with me, let me know and I'll try to get you more information.

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SCYTHIAN. These were the guys I finished my day with at the festival. All the band members were trained in classical music and are extremely gifted, but rather than play in an orchestra, they've decided to have a band and play traditional folk music with their own "edge" in bars, pubs, and other venues. This about sums them up:

They are a charismatic group of friends whose music ranges from traditional folk to high energy Celtic, with strains of gypsy and Klezmer in between, and they are quickly becoming known for their intense, high-energy shows and dynamic crowd interaction.

Led by a pair of young raging fiddlers, Scythian brings a passion and energy that makes them unpredictable, spontaneous and contagiously festive. With a great respect and admiration for the traditional - the foundation of their music - Scythian is nevertheless not afraid to wink at convention in search of a little fun, lending them an appeal to young and old alike.

To be honest, they remind me a bit of Barrage, for those of you who know who that is. Our school newspaper said they're based in the DC/Maryland area, but that they've also played all over the world, once even for the president of Hungary!* I heard there was also a relatively recent MTV Real World where they went to a popular pub in the DC area and MTV requested Scythian to play during the taping of the episode, because they'd heard of their popularity. (Who would have thought, Celtic and folk music--with an "edge" of course--on MTV?!)

Anyways, 3 of the band members were also former Franciscan University students. Check out their music at the website. I think they're CDs are pretty good, but they're even better live, because they really get into the show with the crowd. You can also read more about them in this Washington Post article.

BUCA DI BEPPO. This one actually came in the evening after I'd left the festival, but I have to recommend this Italian restaurant if you can find one near you. The restaurant buildings in and of themselves are fascinating in how they're designed on the inside, but the food is great too. They also serve you your courses just like they do in Italy. I could easily see myself making this place my "once-a-month-eating-out-treat." Now if only I could find a good Indian restaurant...

That's all folks!
* Correction--Scythian has played for the President of Ukraine, NOT Hungary.


At 10/10/2005 08:16:00 AM, Blogger MikeD said...

I think you'll like the once a week system, much easier to handle and you look forward to it. Thanks for the update from Hobbittown, which is only comfirmed moreso by this posting. Do you still have a Barage CD you could burn for me?

At 10/10/2005 02:56:00 PM, Blogger Brad said...


Before you go out and buy a CD of harp music, let me see if I can help you out. Ironically enough, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra has one of the greatest harpists (IMHO) in the country, none other then Nancy Lendrum. She has played for some major events, including at the United States Supreme Court and some Congressional galas, for which they hire her and pay to fly her to Washington and such.

She also happens to be my aunt's best friend, and I have a copy of her latest harp CD, in which she plays classical songs along with another accomplished harpist whose name eludes me. I'd be happy to talk to my aunt about procuring a copy for you if that was still the type of thing you were interested in, but I'll tell you right now that their version of Debussy's "Clair de Lune" (aka, the fountain song at the end of Ocean's 11) is not only spot on but sounds as though it was written for the instrument. Anyway, let me know your thoughts.

At 10/10/2005 03:59:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Thanks Brad! I'll get back to you once I've listened to some of her music on By the way, I'm guessing the album is called Short Stories: A Collection of Music for Two Harps by Charles Salzedo, and the other artist is Jody Guinn?

Here's the list of harpists I was given:

- William Jackson
- Catriona McKay
- Windy Stewart
- Sileas
- Ann Heymann
- Sue Richards
- Sharon Knowles

At 10/11/2005 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Failoz said...

speaking of harp players Bob Dylan sure could blow his lungs out on his harp. And this might be my favorite song thats mentions the harp........oh you mean that other harp?

Busted flat in Baton Rouge;Headin' for the trains,
Feelin' nearly faded as my jeans,
Bobby thumbed a diesel down just before it rained;
Took us all the way to New Orleans,
I took my harpoon out of my dirty, red bandana and was blowin' sad,
while Bobby sang the blues;
With them windshield wipers slappin' time and Bobby clappin' hands
we fin'ly sang up every song that driver knew;

Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose,
and nothin' aint worth nothin' but it's free;
Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues;
And Buddy, that was good enough for me;
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee.
From the coalmines of Kentucky to the California sun,
Bobby shared the secrets of my soul;
Standin' right beside me, Lord, through everything I done,
And every night she kept me from the cold;
Then somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away
lookin' for the home I hope she'll find;
And I'd trade all of my tomorrows for a single yesterday,
holdin' Bobby's body next to mine;
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose,
and nothin' left was all she left for me;
Feeling good was easy, Lord, when Bobby sang the blues;
Feeling good was good enough for me;
Good enough for me and Bobby McGee.

At 10/11/2005 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Brad said...

Chris, you are correct sir. That is the exact disc I was referring to. Is it on Amazon? I'll have to look it up. But let me know if that sounds like something you'd like.

At 10/11/2005 06:23:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Amazon is where I found it. I just did a search for "Nancy Lendrum" and that was one of the first links to come up I think.

At 10/12/2005 11:38:00 AM, Blogger Gabe said...

I do have to agree with Chris about Harps. I love to listen to them when I study. It gets me in the right mind frame I guess. I am glad to see that all is going great for you!!

At 10/19/2005 04:12:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Wow Chris, it looks like you're really geeking out down there. Me and Jen are interested in a visit sometime, maybe after xmas, if you're up for it.


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