What’s Coming in May

A couple of notes for May:

  1. We will be hosting the next EK Southern Region bardic circle at our home on Sunday, May 15, from 2 to 7 pm. To get our street address, either email me at ericnjb at gmail dot com, or go to the Facebook event page and check off that you’re interested or planning to go. (I’ll send a group private message with the details a few days before the circle.)
  2. We’ll be at the Wars of the Roses (Concordia) Memorial Day weekend. I’ll be teaching a new class on how Elizabethan written works reflected attitudes about women (inspired by my reflections from back in March), and [see below] performing in the Roses bardic competition (the theme is “bawdy”–I’m working on a piece).

Hope to bump into some of you at one or both of these events.

[UPDATE: Preparing the class above is taking longer than I’d hoped, so I’m withdrawing it from Roses. I do still plan on teaching it at Pennsic.]

Wille Vilse (Call Me Will – Swedish version)

Another update I failed to mention. To my surprise and delight, I get to check two items off my artist bucket list that weren’t really on my radar:

  1. Have my work recorded by another performer.
  2. Have my work translated into another language.

I recently became friends with Swedish LARPer Solvej von Malmborg, who had been seeking music appropriate for LARP events. I pointed her toward my music, and “Call Me Will” in particular, as possibly the sort of thing that might go over well.

I was flattered when she asked permission to attempt a Swedish translation. You can see the results here. You can also listen to Solvej’s beautiful rendering of the piece, which sounds impressively sexy in her language:

[UPDATE] Here is the literal translation back from the Swedish given to me by Solvej, demonstrating the challenge it presented. A lot of the original couldn’t translate directly.
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Updates for April

Last month was a whirl of activity (and posts), so I thought I’d quiet things down for a while. There are some things worth updating you about:

  • I am developing a couple of new classes to teach this summer. The first one is based on my research into the way men wrote about women in the Elizabethan period. I will be teaching it at the Wars of the Roses and Pennsic.
  • The second is called “The New Bard’s Road Map”, and I’ll be teaching it at Pennsic.
  • I am learning four new Elizabethan lute pieces, and hope to have one of them ready by Roses, and most of the others by Pennsic.
  • I have signed up for an hour-long concert at Pennsic, which will hopefully be at a new night and time. I am in touch with a few cool friends I hope to have performing with me, because it’s so much more fun that way. More details as we get closer.
  • Master Arden was kind enough to provide me with pretty much all the sheet music he wrote for Hidden Gold in its recorded and live-performed incarnations, and I have added these instrumental arrangements to my bardic work page as well as the individual song pages. (Note that, even if his arrangements don’t have it noted, I do have copyrights registered for all the songs.)

There are other developments, but it’s too soon to share them just yet. Stay tuned.

Reflection: Women, Power, and Period

I have learned that, in posting my poetry exercises, some readers took my response to the “Women in Power” topic as an indication of my personal attitudes about women in authority. I’m deeply saddened to hear that, and hope they accept my apologies for any offense. I have updated the post to better explain my intention, which was to write the piece from an Elizabethan perspective.

Of course, I fell far short in that. For any skill I may possess, I don’t imagine I could, in the space of one hastily-written sonnet, capture the complex feelings Elizabethans–men in particular–held about women in power. They lived, of course, at a time when women were expected to be subservient–everywhere except on the throne. Continue reading

Bardic Prep Poetry

As I mentioned in my long post on last week’s EK Bardic Championships, my preparations for the final round included doing some timed sonnet-writing trials to make sure I was ready to write a poem on a theme in under 30 minutes. This is the poem I wrote in the final round of the competition, on the theme of “valor”:

Who showeth valor? He who sallies forth
With sword aloft, astride so bold in might,
And by his forceful prowess shows his worth
Thus riding home victorious in the fight?

Or is he still more valorous instead
Who in the desp’rate minute of the strife,
Seeing the cause is hopeless, unafraid,
Retilts the game by giving up his life?

And yet another valor have I seen
When one you love whose suff’ring brings you fear,
And you must still protect them, although keen
The pain, you do not hide or disappear.

In each of these is valor, you must heed.
You may decide of which we most have need.

Here are the practice poems I wrote in response to topics I solicited from friends, each of them in 25 minutes or less.  Continue reading

Post-Game Analysis: EK Bardic Champions

Win or lose, they’ll remember this day…
(from “We Are the East”)

I promised I would do a deep dive (translation: long read) on my experiences preparing for, during, and after this year’s kingdom bardic championships, and this would be it. Of course, this would probably be a little more exciting if this were a breakdown of how I became a Royal Bard of the East…but as Zsof, Jess, and I all spent the last six months reminding me, I can’t control outcomes. So for that post I’ll refer you to Aethelflied’s fantastic recounting of the story behind her being selected as King’s Bard. (Mistress Alys’s blog has documentation for her round one piece, which was her first step to being selected as Queen’s Bard.)

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Video: Apprentice Ceremony

The long post will be out later today [EDIT: here]. In the meantime…here’s video from Saturday morning’s apprenticing ceremony. (And if you’ve never heard Mistress Zsof doing her full Hungarian persona, it’s worth checking out.)