Meet Charlotte Stark of Æthelmearc!

The SCA Bardic Arts group on Facebook has been a hive of recent activity, to my great delight. Maybe it’s the late arrival of Spring, I don’t know. But when a bold and eager young bard introduced herself as Charlotte Stark of Æthelmearc, I immediately commented:

(By the way, I am SO going to challenge you to write an amusing song or poem with the refrain “I’m Charlotte Stark of Æthelmearc!” Because you need to have repeated opportunities to say that. It’s delightful.)

I was being tongue-in-cheek, but also serious. And in that spirit, Charlotte answered my morning’s challenge with a full set of lyrics that very evening. I’m sharing them with her permission, and great delight, because in not quite four weeks, but she has composed a tune, recorded it with a lovely sure voice, and posted it on SoundCloud. I’m thrilled to see someone fall in love with bardic like this (she has written at least three songs already that I know of), and if I’m not mistaken we will get at least a taste of her talent at Pennsic this year.

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New song page: “The Binding of Isaac”

I recently added a song page for my Thomas Campion contrafact “The Binding of Isaac”, which I perform with my son Spencer. Now that it is part of my repertoire (and indeed, one of a handful of songs for which I can actually play the lute part when I perform it, and one of these days hopefully we’ll record that), it deserves a page of its own, independent of the blog post about the assignment from which it originated.

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

I got a rare treat of off-Broadway theater with the family today. We saw The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, a Scottish immersive theater production performed in a live pub setting at the McKittrick Hotel, the same location (and creative group) as the long-running Sleep No More, the interactive meditation on The Scottish Play. 

Prudencia Hart warrants a mention here because it concerns itself with a passionate if over-earnest young academic whose focus is Scottish border ballads, and “Tam Lin” gets not only name-dropped, but becomes intrinsic to the supernatural evolution of the plot. It was wonderful to see the show take swipes at academics who feel the need to analyze and deconstruct folk tales until they have lost all context and feeling, while Prudencia stands as the defender of these tales as art, as pieces of vibrant popular music. 

As a Scadian, as a bard, as someone with more than a passing interest in Tam Lin, I was mesmerized. As an American, I was overjoyed to see a postmodern and thoroughly cheeky and creative Scottish take on this subject matter. The cast of five was delightful and committed to both the silly and serious aspects of the story they were telling, and Jessica Hardwick, as Prudencia, was positively spellbinding. The entire ambiance of the thing delighted all three of us, as well as our friends who were happily able to join us. (I must once again acknowledge my debt to, yes, Ellen Kushner, who tipped us off about the show.)

The show is playing for three more weeks. If you have the time and the means, I recommend you run to see it like…(SPOILERS!) the Devil himself is chasing you. 

Coming this summer: “Sing for the East”

Coming this summer: A brand-new companion CD to the Sing for the East songbook (and the forthcoming Volume II)SingForTheEast MemeNew productions of East Kingdom songs by East Kingdom bards:

Featuring guest performances including Ken & Lisa Theriot, and the East’s own Duchess Caoilfionn…

(Cover illumination by Katrusha Skomorokh. Proceeds to go to the EK Royal Travel Fund. Pre-order details will be forthcoming.)

New song page: “I asked of thee a boon”

The song page for my first original Elizabethan-style composition, “I asked of thee a boon”, is now available.I asked of thee a boon folio

Laurels’ Prize Tourney: First Thoughts

I have been a performer in my blood for as far back as I can remember, to childhood. I have never really not enjoyed performing. The last several years have blessed me with opportunities to perform for loving, supportive, appreciative audiences, and more and more, alongside talented people I admire and adore. It is, really, always a thrill. (No, I’m not saying I’ve never tanked. Different kind of thrill.)

And yet, sprinkled through the joyous memories, including some extremely special ones, there are a small handful of moments that stand out, that were extraordinary. Days or nights where I felt a performance, and the audience, vibrating together in my chest, an electric excitement, when I felt something truly glorious was happening, and I was privileged to be in the eye of a storm, somehow miraculously safe and well.

Yesterday was one of those days. (Video courtesy of Baroness Arlyana van Wyck.)

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Teasers #8 and 9

I feel behind on these, what with getting ready for the Laurels’ Prize Tourney yesterday (which I will post about a bit later). Let’s get caught up now.