It’s been a busy month, but there haven’t been any big developments that felt like they were ripe to share in the bardic sphere. A bunch of things are going on that were, well, “bardic-adjacent”, or of some potential interest, or that involved bards. And there are some overdue updates I’m realizing I should have shared sooner. Sorry for running silent.
First off, I realized that I never posted about sending off the final official donation to the Therapeutic Nursery last December, honoring our two-year commitment to dedicate all proceeds from Hidden Gold to that worthy cause. The last $400 check brings our total donation to just under $2,000. (I reserve the right to make further donations if the album ends up raising enough additional funds to justify further checks, but have completed the pledge.) This was a project that was wonderful to see reach fruition. Continue reading
Today was delightful, as I worked with Bird (that’s Juliana Bird with a Spanish J), recording tracks for “Tir Righ Rise” by Juliana la Badele (with an English J).
Bird is (unsurprisingly if you know her) my new go-to recording musician for brass, woodwinds, and harmonies. She is right: French horn is best horn.
Producing is so much fun, I don’t know how it’s legal.
Working day as producer/sound engineer for my friend Juliana la Badele’s (aka Jazzy McIntosh) recording. Need to get things in order so that we can record Bird the Bard’s horns and pipes against Juliana’s vocals, uke and harp. (Guitar, drums, and backing vocals forthcoming.)
Very psyched. Stay tuned for more details.
So, in other Pennsic news, I found out when my concert has been scheduled. Wednesday of War Week, 8-9 pm. (For those unfamiliar with the concert schedule, it means I’m the lead-in for Heather Dale’s time slot.)
This was a surprise to me. One of those good surprises. The kind that is followed by a lot of mental scrambling and complicated feelings. (A lot of them start with “Holy crap.”)
I’m making no assumptions about what will happen in future years. I plan to really enjoy this opportunity, and make sure the audience and my guest performers do too.
I’ll put an event out at some point. But since it’s right there on Thing at this point, I figured it was time I shared.
So I’m introducing a new class at Pennsic this year, and I’ve just submitted it. My intention is to teach it twice, during Peace Week and War Week (or possibly Middle Weekend, which in my experience can produce some great turnout). Here’s my writeup:
How do you play authentic lute music if your instrument is a modern guitar? The good news is, the instruments are very closely related. Learn how to tune and play your guitar as if it were a lute, how to interpret lute tablature, how to find authentic period composers, songs, and arrangements. The skills are highly transferrable, and while lute music has a different feel and sound, the rewards for your investment of time and effort are great. This is a one-hour lecture class, so you are welcome to bring your guitar to experiment on, but this is not a music lesson so it is not required.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Hark! Now I hear them – Ding-dong, bell.
Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2
Rest In Peace, your Grace.
I’ve been shaking the rust off the other lute pieces in my repertoire, to get familiar once more with how to play them. (I hadn’t touched any but the one for about six months, because I knew that level of focus was what it would take play “What if a day” even as well as I managed to.)
And now I’m realizing how wonderful it feels to play these other pieces on Rosalind as opposed to the old backpacker guitar. I can do barre chords on this instrument so much more comfortably, which opens up new possibilities and makes some tricky passages much easier to play. (And having played around with a full lute, with an even thicker neck, I’m pretty sure that’s how these passages WERE played, because you can’t get your thumb around the base of that neck and there’s a whole extra string in the way.)
And the prospect of letting someone else do the singing while I play is kind of appealing. This is an important part of my persona exploration and my A&S groove, and I need to share it more.
This music is glorious. And my lute guitar is SO sexy.