Renaissance Faires & ITM

Renaissance Faires & ITM

How did the two get so tangled up in each other? I’ve been to Renaissance Faires and saw people in Renaissance-garb playing music and doing dances that didn’t come into existence for another 100 or 200 more years, and didn’t develop to the stage they present it at until the 20th Century. And then I’ve been to "Celtic Festivals" where people are walking around in Renaissance get-ups with puter cups hanging from their belts and cleavage pouring out over the top of their traditional Irish Renaissance gowns. I’ve only seen this in CA BTW, does it happen anywhere else, or is it just a U.S., West Coast phenomenon?

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Every year the local Ren. Fair runs a TV ad that features as background music "Gravel Walk."

And, our local Irish Fair in Santa Barbara features a "Renaissance Encampment" as they call it.

It is VERY weird that people are so clueless about this.


-E

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I’ve never been to it, but I believe the Bunratty Castle feast thing is/was something like that.

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Hi Jack,
It’s at least west coast, it afflicts the state of WA too. Try the Highland Games in Enumclaw in July, lots of people in Renfair garb mixed in with the brawny kilted lads. (Kilts are the better choice, imho.)
I think it comes from a general confusion of historical periods (most Americans don’t know the difference between the Renaissance and the Regency, for heaven’s sake) —- plus a rebellion against the authenticity freaks in the SCA.
Sara

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I’s all in the spirit of fun, I’d think. Anybody ever see Star Trek costumes at one of those faires? Wouldn’t surprise me.

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I forgot all about that, grego. I was at one of those Bunratty Castle Feast things in 1990, but it happened when we first got there and my eyes were still glazed over with jet-lag, not to mention my brain was swollen from the previous night’s Guinness. I didn’t know whether I was at a Creative Anachronism Society affair, or "Celtic Festival." We drank out of puter cups and everything.

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Finally, I can answer a question in a near expert way. I have been a character and musician at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for 9 years. I am on a advisory panel to the artistic director of this festival.

There are a couple things that need to be understood about many renaissance festivals.

There is a constant struggle between two concepts. Historical recreation and catoring to the audience. Why the struggle? By and large not many people at a renfest care about what is and is not historical as long as it looks and sounds as if it *could* belong there. Most of the instrumental music that is period is not something that people will sit and listen to for long.

Most musicians work at renfests for little or no contract money and really rely on tips from the audience. So you play something that the audience will enjoy and you get money.

ITM is fun for audiences to listen to and the audience thinks that it is old enough. Ireland is part europe and really close (geographically)so it’s exotic by not out of place. As a plus ITM is really easy to find and there is a lot of it. Also, it beats playing Greensleeves and Scarborough Fair all day. But really it boils down to money.

On the plus side using ITM exposes about 20k-30k people a day to the music and inspires people to pick up instruments and learn the music. That’s where I started learning it and a host of others in my area of the world.

Rainog- We had some Trek costumed patrons once who walked by our performance and proclaimed "computer, freeze program" so, being the Trek fans we were, we did and started back up again when they announced, "computer, resume program". That was wierd but fun was had by all.

~Autumn

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I personally am dismayed at the connection which is particularly strong here in Texas. It’s not just that I don’t want to be confused with those people; it’s also that more often than not the musicians who are involved with this subculture don’t feel any pressure or reason to learn how to play the music correctly. They play their classical-renditions of sheetmusic tunes on stage and all the renfaire types point and say -> Hey, those are great Irish musicians!

Then they come to your session.

Very few things are as difficult to deal with - in my experience - as a beginner at the session who doesn’t *realize* they are a beginner.

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I’ve noticed that too glenn — they play Irish melodies, but leave the style in another century.

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Alright, Jack! Now that’s a PICTURE!

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Glenn-

A couple more things that you must understand about Renfests. The patrons of a renfest is that they are all drunk and can’t tell good music from bad and the musicians are *supposed* to be sober so they never get their groove properly on. (I have a flask on my belt)

For the most part, I agree with you about most musicians. My group doesn’t really play ITM out at my festival, we do a bunch of other fairly strange stuff (we’ve been known to break into Jethro Tull, the Beatles or the Indigo Girls on stage). The audience pretty much loves us and we get away with a lot.

I want to say a few things about myself as I seem to be turning up like a bad penny (first Celtic Rock and now Renfests)I want to learn this music properly so I lurk at sessions listen to lots of cds, play a bunch, I read a bunch (Grey’s book) I take nothing as gospel all as growth toward being a better player. I don’t suck. I’m not saying that anyone has made me feel as if I do but I’ve read my posts and I just hope people haven’t gotten a false impression of me.

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I’m glad to read your contributions, autumn. Heck. I’m glad to read everyone’s contributions. Don’t have to agree with them, but they do stimulate critical thinking. That’s what makes a horse race, anyway.

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Autumn,

I re-read my post and realized I was probably being fairly insulting to a great number of readers on this site. My apologies; Of course I’ve never heard you or your band but if you are as nimble on stage as you say, you must be talented musicians.

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Autumn,

I doubt that anyone would mean to attack you personally. If you’re trying to learn trad and do it well, then more power to you.

I took my open-back, five string banjo off the wall this morning and played a little old-time music in my parlor. Doesn’t mean I can’t play Irish trad as well. But it does mean that if I showed up at a session and insisted on playing a clawhammer rendition of The Coachman’s Whip (that might sound good actually…) that I’d put some people off because it’d be difficult to play with.

That being said, most Texas Rennies scare me s****ess. They’re different out here Glenn. Not much, but they don’t usually come to the sessions, at least not in garb and they would get the evil-eye if they played hubcaps and spoons.

The Rennie culture from one place to the next can be so different. It’s just f****ng weird in Texas. Glenn, get out as soon as you can.

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Autumn, my distain for "Celtic Rock", "Style-less Ren-Faire style Irish music" and such is nothing against you or anyone else here personally. My impressions are based on my own experiences, and they don’t involve you. Some of the folks who play this sort of thing are really good musicians, it’s just that they don’t seem to have given true ITM enough consideration before they started playing it — or they don’t care. I don’t know you, and I’ve never heard you, so I can’t comment on your playing, but I don’t doubt that your a fine musician. If anything, I hope that comments made by devoties of ITM on this site will inspire you to look a little closer. But for all I know — you already have.

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Hey, Jeremy!

You only *think* you’ve escaped the renfaire thread but it will come back forever, bringing you your most vivid Dallas memories. At least when you were here, we could privately bash away over a pint - much more fun 🙂

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I just examined the comment in the tune section that inspired me to start this thread. I followed the link and discovered that it was for a tune Autumn contributed. I didn’t know that till now, sorry Autumn — I’m really not directing any of this at you personally, I had no idea that was your tune posting. The comment at the top of the most recent comments in the tune section is what did it. It was a ko-inky-dink 🙂

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There is a crowd of Rennies that show up for the Jackson Miss Celtic festival.

Seems to me like benign fun for them and the cognoscenti to which they cater.

I can’t see that it affects the ITM people attending the same festival.

It appears to me that the Funnel Cakes and the Turkey laigs have a much greater impact on the ITM players, judging from the girth of one or two of the participants.

Bob

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I didn’t think anyone would, but I was just feeling like I keep digging a hole deeper and deeper.

~Autumn

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The Renaissance festival in KC (about 25 years old now) has always featured ITM in it’s cast of thousands. I do find it anachronistic, but it doesn’t really bother me because I’m not a huge fan of renaissance music so I’d rather have ITM.

BTW - A good session player in our area plays at the festival every year for a group of Irish dancers…he doesn’t dress up though (does that give him a bit of "street" ITM credibility?).

Eric

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I came to ITM through the Renaissance music portal, so the idea that no one would enjoy true period music is non-sense IMHO. There’s ample music to enjoy that’s colorful and bouncy, and would be a delight to any audience. The period dancing is fun and works well in that setting too. I refuse to buy the notion that ITM is used because Renaissance period music and dance isn’t good or plentiful enough. I suspect that ITM is applied in that way because someone that plays Renaissance music was harder to come by. And to find people that know the dances wasn’t very easy either. Then the effect of this hindrance washed over into the “Celtic Music Festival” because of guilt by association. I kind of wish the Renaissance Faire folks would be more careful when they sort their laundry. I like to have fun, but I think it would be even more fun if closer attention was paid to details.

(a true Renaissance period reaction to Jack’s rant might be “off with his head!”)

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Hey Jack, do Klingon’s play Anglo or English systems? Hehe

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They play English system, fuzzy… the anglos are to sophisticated for Klingons. Transporter Chief, Miles O’Brien, is a mighty anglo system player.

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Jack, bIjatlh ‘e’ yInev!

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This is an interesting thread. I’ve never been to a "renfair" before. It sounds like great fun. I should get a whole load of Aussies together and come over to the States and get all dressed up and we could get pissed and play Charlie Lennon tunes and everyone would think we were playing something really ancient, especially since Aussie accents are often mistaken for English over there. It sounds as though it’d be right up Tish’s street.

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Personally, I think Renaissance Faires and Irish Music got mixed up together because of laziness. Most Americans (everyone here *not* included) don’t know history. Anything old (like 100 years or more) is just, well…old.

Don’t forget the whole fantasy element, too that comes up at Ren faires—fairies and elves and sorcerers. Nothing historical about that. Is it just that people in Renaissance times beleived in those mythological beings more than they do now?

By the way, I like (not love) Renaissance Faires. My friend Lorna and I played at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire a few summers ago. Too hot, too many clothes, harps too heavy to do it again. Not enough money either.

By the way, autumn I love the anecdote about the Trekkies saying,"Computer, freeze program!" When they say your band.

On a similar note, one day, and I don’t even think it was Halloween, my best friend and I were walking around Philadelphia in Medieval garb, just because we are freaks. You have to know this about Philadelphia, the city hires actors to walk around in Colonial garb in the part of town called Old City. So we were in line at a bank in Old City, and Benjamin Franklin was just ahead of us in line. He saw us and said, "Finally, someone older than I am!"

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Err, umm, yes and no… it’s a patch I know more about than Irish trad, but if I ever have to play the Belle Qui Tiens Ma Bloody Vie pavan and galliard set ever again I’ll run away screaming. But what the heck, Dow, I’ll give your idea a go 8>)

I’ve never been to a renfaire but have played for SCA banquets and yulefests and for dance displays by the Pike & Musket society. Fortunately the SCA people I knew were musicians as well as dancers, and they wanted music that was as authentic as possible, whether it was for background entertainment or specific period dances. The P&Ms are very concerned with getting things "right" and as they are a London Trayned Band of 1642, it’s pretty easy to work out what’s authentic for them and what isn’t.

So, on what I’ve seen, the “renfaire equivalent” music here in Sydney isn’t too bad, and I haven’t seen any anachronistic mixing of period music and Irish trad. (Perhaps the absence of any harpists in the re-enactment scene has got something to do with it – I suspect that the harp, which strikes many non-musicians as being both Mediaeval and Celtic at once, is where some of the crossover “bleeding” starts.)

Having read some of the magazines and literature from similar groups overseas, though, I agree that there is some very woolly thinking on music even from people who are otherwise scrupulously careful about armoury, combat training, calligraphy, clothing, food, tableware & drinking vessels, etc. I remember reading an article on how to stage a Renaissance wedding where the list of music contained nothing earlier than High Baroque and no mention at all of suitable instruments.

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Tish, good point about the harps being a big culprit in bleed-over as far as time periods go. Why didn’t I think of that?

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I wonder if one could play jigs and reels on Spock’s Vulcan harp.

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Dow, any chance you can translate this? "Jack, bIjatlh ‘e’ yInev!" I realize you english system players had to study Klingon, but being an anglo player, it wasn’t a requirement.

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Well, it’s just a theory, Andee, but harp does seem the one instrument that can conjure up both atmospheres in people’s minds at once. And once you’ve blurred "ancient" with "Celtic", it’s only a short step (or drunken lurch, perhaps) from there to "Irish".

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Oh absolutely, Tish and I am sure I was guilty of it myself when I first started out on harp.

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I thought we established it is a Vulcan *Lyre* in a thread a few months ago. And it would be a fine addition to any session, in the hands of a sensitive player.

Oh, that’s right. Vulcans aren’t sensitive, are they?

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Great thread, ladies and gents. Back in the day (dare, I write, "your age") when the Los Angeles Renn Fair was in Agoura and not Glen Helen, I listened to a group that sang all of the Copper family tunes. Great stuff. I was singing along with them and had a great time. Didn’t care if it was authentic; just was glad some else knew the tunes. On the other hand, Star Trek uniforms is a BRILLIANT thought. Do Klingons play pipes? Better yet, do Romulans??? 5 drones. 6 regs and a full 2 octave Bflat chanter. 😉 You have to hear the Kesh jig in the original Klingon
t’Plath

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All I have to say is, yIDoghQo’, Dow. hahaha

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Teskas tal’ tai-kleon. DaHjajaj QaQ Daghajjaj!

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Of course, we don’t have them here in Uk - not that I know of. Nor in Ireland. Judging by what I’ve seen on other threads and sites, and read here, I reckon they are mostly harmless. Even with the incongruous juxtaposition of Irish music.

Our session gang,for example, will be playing at the Catford Real Ale Festival soon. Real ale? What’s that got to do with Irish music? Real ale and CAMRA is a very English institution.

Sometimes we can all take the music a bit too seriously and treat it too preciously and puritanically. Myself included.

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some good reading on this site thx Jack, an autumn too ( hey dont feel insecure,, you sound beautiful to me)

yah,, we have renfairs on Vancouver Island: i came to know one through the Anacronysm Society or whatever it’s called……there was a girl who dressed up and played crossover celtic renaissance flute an told me to come to the faire….i drove by, (it was in a wilde place) but iwas too chicken/disinterested to go in….I have an odd blend of disdain and disfamiliarity with these conjunct histories.

Academics are lauding the "circle" over the straight line these days; all can be pastiche and repeat and de-constructing and re-inventing……so that renfaires in 2004 are as rEAl as they aRe,

well there maybe some kinda fakey stuff, like…* woops. wrong clothes or wrong music for the century but,, IT DONT MATTER, ‘cause people are trying to —access—- All centuries at once…….

it’s a time space thing i gues. M’oron? any comments….

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Hey, vboyd, you calling our Danny a moron?! Watch it! ;o)

Yeah, I remember now about Spock’s instrument being a lyre.

Can somebody translate all of the Klingon? I feel very left out. I only know English, some French, a few words in Yiddish, less Irish, and of course a smattering of Elvish…

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No worries, Andee - I suppose I asked for that by using this alias. I ought to change it back to something more sensible before people get the wrong idea.
Have I any comments? Besides what I’d already posted, no, since I’ve never been to one. I suppose people like dressing up. I have been to a bluegrass festival in Derbyshire a couple of times, though - you actually get Irish sessions at this one! - and some people dress up in cowboy gear - quite amusing, but quite "me."

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SHR: but *not* quite "me"

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I think Renaissance Faires persist here but not in the Uk because here we are so hungry for some really old history and culture. Of course we have Native American history, but other than that, nothing older than a couple hundred years that is still standing.

So at Renaissance Faires they build all of these fakey thatched cottages and castles, but of course in the Uk, it’s all there, it’s all real, and it’s all so old! It almost seems silly and sacreligious to set up a fakey Renaissance Faire around all of that real history. Like setting up a Disney World right next to Stonehenge or the Hill of Tara or something similar.

Here in the US we are used to plastic and Mickey Mouse and fake Cinderella castles. And most Americans love it.

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I haven’t taken the time to read all this thread, but I recall that this subject came up several months ago. At that time Danny asked what was meant by Renfairs, and somebody posted a link to a site which explained what they were.

His reply is quoted here:

"God…I wish I hadn’t asked. I get it…. Rennaissance festival. What a bunch of twats…"

Harsh perhaps, but it strikes a chord with me.

Dave ;o)

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Oh, Danny all dressed up in cowboy gear! How cute. 10 gallon hat, boots with spurs, checked shirt, red bandana, flute in his back pocket…..oh sorry, you said how "not" quite you….

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… . and in England a hundred miles is a long way, in america a hundred years is a long time.

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That’s pretty harsh indeed. For all of their fakey-ness and plastic-ness and innaccurate history-ness, I still go once in a while, although I missed it altogether last year, and as I said previously have worked there as well.

There are a couple of good bands that play at the PA Renaissance Faire which is the main reason why I go.

Fire in the Glen and Arcona Reel Band. Those guys rock. Hi if anyone of you is reading this….

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Good one Dave!

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Fake Cinderella castles are so naff. When I was a kid, I could see 2 castles from my bedroom window right next to the sea, the top 2 pictures http://www.contours.co.uk/self-guided/coastal-castles.htm and I never took it for granted. Now I look out of my Sydney apartment window and see only a red featureless landscape with a few kangaroos hopping about 🙂 Come to think of it, they used to do a sort of fair on the village green below the castle, with reconstructions of battles in the sand dunes, and people dressed up as minstrels playing weird instruments like bowed psalteries. I don’t know how historically accurate it all was, but it was great fun. So the weirdness isn’t confined to US "renfairs".

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Mark how gorgeous! I’ll have to get there sometime for sure….

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Yeah, you’ve just got to use your imagination a bit and ignore the fact that the castles have been reconstructed, and the blue sky’s a bit unrealistic too.

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There’s a Bowed Psaltery lurking on the top of the bookshelf in my lounge. It isn’t mine - a neighbour sort of force-lent it to me. I re-strung it and re-haired the bow and had a little go one day last summer, like you do, but it has remained untouched on the bookshelf since that day.

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I’ve just bookmarked that site, Mark for future reference.

Overcast days in England never bother me. It adds to the atmosphere especially if you live in a gorgeous area. I suppose if I lived there year round I might think differently about it…

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Bowed psaltery ain’t in it, Dave. Try crumhorn sometime >8>)

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I think this sorta falls into the same category of a thread I started not too long back about Irish music being used as a soundtrack for basically anything (in the example I mentioned before, the whole Survivor pirate theme thing). I think most people just either don’t know about differences between Renfair stuff and Irish stuff, or don’t care and just have fun with it. I’ve seen the lines get blurred, and as long as somebody doesn’t try to be an expert on Irish stuff when they clearly are more towards the Renaissancey stuff, it doesn’t really bother me. Bottom line: have fun with whatever you do.

Random personal story. I have only been to one Renfair and never went back. I was probably about 9 years old, and one of the actors, a toothless old lady asked me if I was single and wanted to marry her. Kinda creeped me out, but I guess that was the point. I kinda chuckle at it now, but I guess I’m easily amused. Anywho, I’m rambling.

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Try *making* a crumhorn sometime (-:

About the age thing, I dunno. Much of Europe looks relatively new, all things considered. The look of Paris essentially dates to Hausmann’s reconstruction of 1850. Most of London dates back only to the Great Fire of 1665, -6, whatever. Sure, there’s plenty older… but if it’s older than you are, what’s the diff?

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Hey, Andee, where are you from?

I haven’t missed a PA Rennaisance Faire in the past 8 years or so … I live in Harrisburg, PA (about 25 minutes away from the Mount Hope Winery). It isn’t anything close to historically accurate, but the shows are lots of fun (great fight staging and lots of off-color humor) and there’s a good deal of music. A couple of years ago they had a cool Scottish group called Clann An Drumma who were awesome.

I love both Arcona Reel Band and Fire in the Glen, and have been honored to play with members of both at our monthly session; Alana, the hammered dulcimer player of Arcona and Tom, the fiddler of Fire….

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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

Just driving along the Silk Road (a pretentious name for the Macclesfield Semi-Bypass) - there’s a sign giving directions to the event this weekend at the Stately Home just up the road from our pub, it says:
"Craft Fair and Mediaeval Weekend"

!!!!!!

As good fortune would have it, I’ll be away this weekend down the end of the Lleyn - my bi-annual gig for the canoe club barbecue. (And walking with the dogs on Pen-y-Cil, which is the most beautiful walk in the world).

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Hi Rzaikoski, I’m from the Philadelphia area.

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I think as long as you realize that renfairs have nothing to do with reality or history, they are pretty fun.

My group is known for spontaneously breaking into Jethro Tull, the Beatles or Indigo Girls tunes. An a capella group did Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" as a madrigal. Another one does "Can’t Buy Me Love" also as a madrigal. The crowd goes wild. We have a wizard, a troll, fairies and hobbits. It is pretty much a fantasy fair. At one point we had Robin Hood and the Three Musketeers at the same time. ITM not being period is really the least of this festivals problems with historical accuracy.

I started out at this festival playing very pretty baroque and renaissance melodies on flute. It was hard to hold the majority of the audience. There were too many exciting things going on. Sure, there were some people that liked the stuff I was doing, but the audience that would have loved what I was doing had no interest in coming through the front gate.

So I formed my Renaissance Rock band. We sing lots of stuff not much of it in any way historically accurate. We do a few jigs and reels here and there to rest our vocal cords and people respond really well to them.

I have a theory of why ITM is popular as renaissance music. Basically it is because people are lazy. One band long ago had great success playing Irish music so everyone that followed is a watered down version. There are several groups at my festival with the same shared repetoire. You could walk near 5 different stages and hear the same songs 5 different ways. These groups are also shocked when they find out that "Queen of Argyle" and "Barrets Privateers" aren’t trad.

I’m starting to wonder why I even do the show anymore. Maybe it’s my rebel atleastIknowmymusicisn’tremotelyperiod attitude and that my group has a lot of fans and we sell a lot of cd’s there. Oh yeah, we have fun poking fun at the whole renfest genre while playing really good music.

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I’m suddenly reminded of your "Crowd Reaction vs. Musical Integrity" thread, autumn.

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I think that being a renfest performer is essentially where the musical integrity topic started for me. I think I’m at a point in my musical life where I’m very conflicted. I have fun in front of the audience and the audience has fun listening. That’s all good. I’m just really stretched thin in my life right now (band rehearsal & cd recording, fiddle lessons, buying a house and planning my wedding) and I really want to be playing new stuff instead of old stuff and I have no time to learn it. Ugh. Anyways atleast I don’t have too many costume projects slated for this year.

btw. Anyone who happens to be in Minnesota in late August-September and wants to go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival I always get more comps than I can give away. Let me know and I’ll send some your way or if you want to play for a weekend or something I can get you in and get you playing space or get a jam going, whatever.

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How about a Renaissance Goth Band? Dowlands dark dirges about unrequited love & death would meld perfectly with Goth rock. I’m suprised if it hasn’t been done before. Hell, I’d do it if I didn’t have any self-respect

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Mad!!! Let’s do it! I don’t have any self-respect! I do goth variations every Halloween and actually look better than I do in Real Life! We could play lots of sad downer airs and drop all the reels a half-step. Think of the fancy dress possiblities. And we’d have to stay out of the sun all summer for that trad pallid tubercular look.

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I once had a conversation with young woman who was seriously into the Renfaire/SCA sub-culture (had an alternate persona and everything). We were actually taking about costuming, not music, and I was trying to come to grips with the abundance of polyester that I was seeing in her wardrobe. She finally explained the whole thing for me with the statement "We portray the Middle Ages as we *want* them to have been."

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So, er, you’re all saying that Monty Python’s "Jabberwocky" isn’t that far off?
🙂

I can see the band now - Mad Baloney and the Black Death Survivors.

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"Whoever thinks or hopes of love", "Flow my crystal tears", "Come heavy sleep" sounds like goth-rocker dirges to me. "Toss not my heart(cookies)"

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You’re all being remarkably restrained compared to the bluegrass fanatics that go foaming at the mouth with rage when they see/hear 1940s Bluegrass used as a "period" soundtrack to Westerns set in the 19th C.
That’s the 1800s for the historically challenged.

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How’s about going in the other direction for a change? I could get a few friends to dress up in fun fur and bash on rocks with mammoth bones, grunting out pre-linguistic melodic improvisation. Do you think we could get a gig at a renfair?

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Autumn, I am going home and getting out my crochet hook and black cotton yarn right now. Was just looking for something new to wear to the gig Thursday night.
Michele

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Bren-
There is no fundamentalist like a Bluegrass Fundamentalist. Tread lightly around those folks.

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Wow, autumn! Looks like quite a party!

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Autumn I’ve just seen those pics. Now I really really want to go to a renfair!

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Brad, it’s been done. My harp student was in a band called Oubliette. Gothic renditions of Greensleeves and similar stuff (with some Celtic stuff mixed in.)

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Oh, I wanted to mention this earlier but forgot. In the first Lord of the Rings movie, in the beginning of the film when they are having a big party for Bilbo, there is a band, you only see them for a moment, and they sound kind of "Celtic-y" but what really struck me was the definite sound of a banjo! Now we know where banjos really originated from—The Shire in MiddleEarth. And to think some people say it was Africa…

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LOL. Andee, that is just soooooo Goth. *grin*

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I remember the first time, btw, that I was asked to costume someone for a Ren-fair. They showed me a picture of what they wanted at our first meeting. I said, that’s Dark Ages, not Renaissance. They said, Oh. Well, it doesn’t matter, that’s what I want. Okay, so I made it for them. The next one was for a "village idiot" with a bright yellow smock-shirt, bright green cotton knickers, elf boots, and a multi-colored beanie with a propellor on top. At that point, I gave up suggesting anything of any authenticity and just took their money and gave them what they wanted without demur.

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Those are great halloween piccies autumn. *smirk*

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I WANNA DRESS UP IN A COOL COSTUME AND GO TO A RENFAIR!

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Sorry, I’m okay now, I’ll stop shouting. It was just when Zina mentioned the bright green cotton knickers and elf boots… Zina can you make *me* a multi-coloured beanie with a propellor on top?

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Hey Dow… settle down. Book a flight to SF this October and go to the massive halloween street festival in the Castro. They’ll really dig your green knickers and elf boots there.

P.s.

Speaking of "cool" weather, next Halloween, Pete is determined to go as Collector Guy from one of the Halloween Simpson’s episodes. This means, perhaps you guessed it if you saw the episode, that I will be, er, dressed up in skimpy armor and cellophane as "I keep telling you, I’m NOT Xena, I’m Lucy Lawless".

I’ve already started losing weight for the role. *grin*

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I’m dressing up as an english-system concertina player this year.

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I always thought that the banjo originated from Mordor, not from the Shire. Perhaps I was wrong…

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All I can say is "what an odd thread!" Ren faires, ITM, Star Trek, and LotR all in one…sounds like my kinda thing! 😉

I did once see a wood carving of the Star Trek communicator thing at a Ren faire…if it comes out: http://www.tbns.net/crysania/bsu/renfaire13.jpg

It was a bit unexpected, but amusing nonetheless.

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That wasn’t a banjo you heard, andee, hobbits put strings on their bodhrans.

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Funny… Recently I started sharing my skimp free time between playing Irish trad with a fiddler, (actually, it’s him who’s playing with me, I’m only backing), and a motley crew collected especially for the needs of RenFairs (where I’m playing six-string pear-shaped lute, outside of fairs called "guitar"). Our latest rehearsal was so unsuccessful, that under heavy impression we renamed our band to Ars Profana.

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Thanks Zina. One of those beanies has to be mine. One with a propeller I think. Those double propellers are a bit over the top though eh.

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I love this thread. You know, I was thinking about the banjos in MiddleEarth thing off and on all day at work yesterday, and couldn’t wait to post about it here when I got home. I’m such a geek…

It is possible they came from Mordor first and made their way back to the Shire. Poor unsuspecting Hobbitts…

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ooo ooo. we have hobbits at our festival too.

http://mrffriends.tripod.com/pages_groups/hobbit.html

gods. No wonder we drink so much. We start out with memosas and then I can’t really remember….

Anyway we are trying to get a session of sorts going out at the festival. My group and another group that only does instrumentals has been doing a session every month so we can learn what each other knows and then we’ll have common tunes to play together at the end of the day. I post it in the session section if we ever get it sorted.

~Autumn

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Those hobbitts are great autumn. I love the Gimli dude in the bottom picture!

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Too many orcs at our festivals and too few Galadriels. 🙂

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Dow, I went to the Castro for Halloween last year, & it seriously was better than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Unbelievable! Probably overall less nudity b/c of the chilly weather, but higher quality & more clever stuff going on…. I wore red snakeskin pants, black stiletto heels, long spiral black hair extensions with 6 rubber snakes in them & a tight black tshirt that I painted in Glo-in-the-Dark ink "Kiss Me I’m Gorgon." It was kind of like Medusa from New Jersey, very last minute but effective & fun. I couldn’t find fake vampire teeth at the last minute…. Dow, I know you love Australia, but can’t we do some kind of exchange program?

PS I heard Dow’s Mighty Craic track! I heard Dow’s Mighty Craic track!

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Jack, does that mean you’re going as a Klingon?

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We need piccies em. Where’s the piccies?

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Although the Renaissance can be argued to exist somewhere between 14th and 17th centuries, it started later in some countries than others. It is also a transition period from Medieval, so as soon as a definite style evolves e.g. High Baroque, doesn’t that takes over from the Renaissance?
Did it exist outside Europe and the Mediterranean (and Western Russia)?

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Emily, Medusa from New Jersey, that’s great!!

I am going to call you soon, since I know your laptop is not up and running yet….

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Klingon? naaa… I’ll be a roller-skating hillbilly with a bumpersticker on the concertina that says, "My other concertina is an anglo" and I’ll make it sound like a car horn as I skate around. 🙂

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geoff, at this point in the thread we have all forsaken any kind of serious historical discussion whatsover. It’s all hobbitts and celtic rock and elves and klingons, etc. so don’t even try to bring it back on track! 🙂

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Of the Medusa thingy? Hmmm I think Jennifer may have taken a few, the whole night’s a bit of a blur, if you know what I mean! What I think is best is that I obtained most of the costume in Oakland. I’ll see what I can find, Jack, but no promises!

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That’s an interesting point Geoff. The Renaissance did start later in some parts of the world. Evidence would indicate that it started in the 1970s in California.

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Andee, I’m on it right now, got hooked up yesterday so I’m good! But call too! Jack, one of my fave things at the Castro were the roving dance troupes of cross-dressing Hooters waitresses, burly men with hairy arms & legs in short skirts, tennis shoes, wigs & enormous breastesses! They’d clear an area in the street, get out their boom boxes & do these hilarious coordinated dance numbers like "I’m a Bitch" or something… Maybe we could do a roving hillbilly session? I’ll dress like Daisy Duke & black out my teeth for the patented ‘West Virginia passion grip’ on the whistle.

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Hey em…Didja see the roving dead musicians on parade? They look like skeletons and zombies and parade around playing a variety of medieval wind, hammered string and percussion instruments.

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Yeah, there was a whole stage devoted to them, dry ice & strobe lights made them appear very, um, lifelike.

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They have a stage now? wow, I haven’t been there in a while I guess. I should go this year maybe.

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Mosh pit too. Mind the scraps of goatskin.

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Jack, didja ever hear Wake The Dead, that bunch of folk (like Maureen Brennan, I think) who did a whole bunch of Dead covers with trad tunes for solo breaks? some of it more successful than others…

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Okay, that does it. Field trip to SF next Halloween. We meet up, recognizing each other by our customized propeller beanies, peek-a-boo crocheted RenFairWear naughties and roller skates. Play tunes, imbibe controlled substances; a weekend of costumed music debauchery.

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Uh… they’re all good friends of mine, so I’m not at liberty to comment.

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I like the way you think batlady. How about we all dress in white lab coats with the propeller beanies on our heads and we meet up at a ren-faire for a sesh and if anyone asks we can explain that we’re scientists that are developing propeller beanies that are actually time machines but they seem to have screwed up the time-space continuum and we’ve taken up playing medieval Renaissance Irish music because we can’t figure out how to get back to our time zone, and it looked fun.

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Jack, how did you know I had a white lab coat? (Almost white; &*%& stains) And do you really think, in all that mayhem, that anyone would think US odd????
Michele

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Oh… good point batlady… well, maybe we should just meet up at a pub then. Can we still wear the propeller beanies?

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The beanies are required.

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This is all pretty funny considering I just finished a run at the Santa Barbara RenFaire last weekend. I play in an Irish/Scottish dance troupe out there, never mind that we’d have no business performing in England of the 1590-1600s.

I got into Irish music because of the Faire, I started at the Michigan Faire singing madrigals, moved out to California, and joined up with a group that did madrigals and drinking songs. Picked up the fiddle to accompany some of the songs, and then got addicted to fiddle music.

The California faires at least try to maintain some integrity; they are not "fantasy faires" and their costuming does not span 4 centuries of time, they’re pretty focused on Elizabethan England. The English Country Dance troupes are decent, and they’re pretty scrupulous about using tunes from Playford’s Dancing Master. There tends to be some tension between the English dancers and the Celtic dancers, so there’s generally no crossover/smearing of the two genres. (On the other hand, I picked up both, but the Irish tunes are still more fun than the English tunes overall…)

Still, customers/patrons can pretty much come in however they want. I’ve seen a trio of Klingons at the Glen Helen faire, and for many years there was "Norman" (dunno his real name, but he always walked around in 11th century Norman chainmail) among others. There are no dragons or elves among the participants or vendors, but patrons … anything goes.

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A random thought, probably brought on by contemplating an Irish/Scottish dance company touring England in 1602 with a fiddler conversant with Chinese folk tunes (as well as the buzzing of my new propeller beanie): the first (and only) one of these events I’ve experienced firsthand was in rural Arkansas at a county fairgrounds. It was held in conjuction with a poultry swap. People in normal attire, pickup trucks and crates of ducks rubbing elbows with folks in pumpkin pants and chainmail.

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Maybe so H&S — California faires might try to have more integrity, but there’s still the problem of the Irish dance tunes and dances not coming into existence for another hundred years or so. If they maintain that they are true to the period — then they should be true to the period.

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Even the English country dances are a bit controversial - the Pike and Musket people (from memory) have a date that is earlier than the first Playford edition but they assert, reasonably, that most of those tunes and dances would have been round for years prior to publication, but discussions of just how far backwards you can stretch it and remain authentic often seem to end in tavern brawls and broken furniture…

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Broken furniture eh… oh… I get it… that’s how the Baroque period began!

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I keep on mis-reading the title of this thread as "Renaissance Fairies & ITM". Or am I right?
Trevor

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Yeah, and it’s the Jailhouse Baroque for those who can’t run fast enough after the brawl…

Coat!

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Now a bit of Gregorian chant at a Renfair couldn’t be argued with, surely, for it predates just about everything, and is still around 🙂
Trevor

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whew! what a discussion ! congrats, jack, you have got everyone pumped!

ok ok.. damn, i wish i went in instead of driving right past the Wilde Renfaire ………

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Oh, another point I wanted to make. The Renaissance Faire is itself a misnomer, at least for the Pennsylvania one because it really is supposed to take place during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, (the 1st) which makes it Elizabethan, meaning I beleive mid-late 1500’s thru early 1600’s. The Renaissance was over by then. I think….

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Ah, the fun people have … .

I mentioned once before about the english branch of the American Civil War Re-enactment Society didn’t I.

They invited me to join them and be a Camp Musician.

Even after clarifying the meaning of camp in this context, I declined their kind offer.

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Andee: The English Renaissance is commonly accepted as 1485-1603; the end of the period is specifically marked by the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Jack - re: integrity, no argument here. At least the original Faire had the right personages (e.g. Red Hugh O’Donnell) but there’s obviously no reason these contemporaries would all have been in a particular village at the same time.

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Danny,
won’t we play the Jug of Ale at the beer fest then?
Belle qui tient ma vie - I did not know that was renaissance, I thought that was medieval.
But yes, we could become anal and humourless if we were too rigid about mixing music and costume eras.
Historical inaccuracies happen everywhere, and did you know that Achilles is actually a screaming hetero with well oiled muscles and a girlfriend on a permanent diet.

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GLASS OF ALE sorry, JUGG OF PUNCH!!!!

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Ah, yes, Cath, but how many moviegoers could handle a well-oiled Hisorically Accurate Achilles??? Not to mention his well-oiled buffed-out significant other, Patroclus? Whoo hoo. Historical inaccuracy is what makes history bearable for a lot of people.

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You’re right — reality’s a bore.

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Jennifer Aniston is on a diet?

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Highland Sun: unless the consensus has changed in the past 20 years, 1485 is too early, certainly for the arts. And in music, 1603 is too soon; Gibbons kicked it in 1625 & is emphatically a Renaissance musician. Not to mention Dowland, Brade, etc.

Cath: BQT is Renaissance, no question. Of course, there must be umpteen million versions of it, but they’re all Ren, AFAIK.

Emily: welcome back to the Bay. I’ll wave to you from my boat (-; True, you won’t see it from Thomas Pt., but I’ll wave anyways… .

To all Huizingists: don’t get depressed, it’s all good clean fun (-:

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Hey Snark, I see you’re one of the crumhorn-playing fraternity, too. I think this thread is already so silly that I might get away with asking how many other crumhorn players there are here…?

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(raises his hand) here.

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Hey Highland Sun (forget your real name) I did the research and realized that the Elizabethan Era is part of the Renaissance like you said, ending in 1603. Even O’Carolan’s music is too late for the Ren. Faire…

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Andee - (my real name is in my profile) - yeah, you really have to dig to find any Irish tunes that would have been played in the 1500-1600s.

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Howard et al,

Actually, anything by Ruairí Dall Ó Catháin is dated from the mid 1500s to the mid-1600s. Most of the early collections of ITM tunes (Bunting (1796), Neals (1724), Joyce (1909), etc.) are simply the documentation of tunes which had been around for centuries. So, many truly traditional tunes are originally older than the Renaissance (14th-16th C.)

"Collecting" in those days (take the Neals—father and son—for example) wasn’t going to the library. It was more going down to the local inn and madly scribbling down anything played, and keeping the beer flowing.

The other thing to remember is that this is a separate world from the stilted performance of renaissance europe—music which was documented for the posterity of the egos involved. This was music of the people—true folk music. Music which no one cared much about until hundreds of years later.

If you want a truly reverentially irreverent version of such, pick up the Baltimore Consort’s "The Mad Buckgoat". I’ve heard them in concert perform a lovely staid French ren. tune, and make the pipes sound like a duck in the middle of the tune!

David

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Funny you should mention that. Rory’s name comes up in connection with a supposedly ancient well-known air, but this fellow at the British Library debunks that claim:

http://pages.britishlibrary.net/londonderryair/

Interesting reading, even if only barely relevant to the current thread…

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Hmmm. An interesting read.

However, I had more in mind "The Beggar" and "The Fidler’s Contemt."

To my ear it’s interesting to hear the more primitive sound of some of these tunes. (A more familiar ancient tune is "She Moved Through the Fair". Lyrics aside, it has that same ancient feel to it.)

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Re: Crums—I made my tenor from a Wood kit, and the tuning is, um, delicate. Haven’t tried to crum-erize any ITM tchunes yet, but the next time I need a lark… .

Highland: Yes, no question about the Elizabethan, or even mid-HVIII’s reign. Early English composers are hazy to me, but I’d guess Tallis as the earliest English renaissance, leastways, the earliest that stayed in England. Prob’ly a number that wound up in Burgundy & the Netherlands in the 15th century—certainly a bundle followed HV to France in 1415 or so.

As for the Medieval origins of ITM, friends of mine do crossover work between Medieval/ITM & between Medieval/OT. The melodic lines don’t sound all that close to me, honestly, but the medleys work just fine. And some similarities *do* come through melody-wise, so the relationship may be tighter than one suspects.