Studio Day: Special Guest Vocalist

Tonight was a recording session I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I got to record vocals for “We Are the East” sung by the duchess who inspired it. Caoilfhionn is one of the most beloved Eastern royals in the last few years with good reason, but there are still many who have not experienced her incredible voice. She is a talented singer (and songwriter), and arranging this song as a duet with her is a true privilege. Geeking out with her about music and our very different experiences in the SCA…that was an added pleasure, because she is a thoughtful and wonderfully honest person.

I promise, I will share more details about the project for which the song is being recorded. Soon…

Video Up: Tam Lin of the Elves, feat. Ken and Lisa Theriot

Lorelei Skye was kind enough to share some videos she took of my Pennsic concert, which include two performances with people I’d been dying to work with onstage. The first of these is a rendition of “Tam Lin of the Elves” that the audience absolutely loved, featuring the fantastic Sir Kenneth MacQuarrie and Mistress Adelaide de Beaumont, aka Ken and Lisa Theriot. It plays very differently from last year’s performance with Heather Dale.

Unfortunately, the first verse didn’t get captured, but this is the only video we were able to get of the bulk of the song. Still, I hope you enjoy.

Hosting a bardic circle this weekend

This Sunday, we will be hosting a bardic circle once more at our home in Paramus, from 1-6 pm. (Note that this is an hour earlier than we had been doing them, to make it easier for people to get dinner afterward.) Modern dress, come to perform or come to listen. (Email or PM me if you need the address. I will be sending it by PM to everyone who indicates on the event that they are interested or planning to go.)

Studio Day: Lead Vocals

I spent time in the home studio today, banging out lead vocals for a few different projects. The main one, of course, was “We Are the East”, which now has a complete set of male vocals in place. I’m excited, because this is a sign that I’ve learned from experience. Working on Hidden Gold, I left pretty much all my finalized lead vocals for the end of the project. This was a mistake, because (a) it meant the other musicians and singers didn’t have a finalized lead track to match up with, so I had to do a lot of digital editing at the end, getting things lined up, and (b) I had to cram in weeks of singing at the very end of the recording process without time to recover in between, so at the end it got really challenging (and painful).

I also did vocals for my filks, though I want to check what I need to do to be in the clear before I share those. Still, all in all a very productive day. A couple of hours of recording, a few hours of editing and compositing the vocal tracks. It’s enjoyable to see that the muscles I developed on my last recording project are still available for me to use.

I look forward to sharing the results of these endeavors with you when the time is right.

Bardic Manifesto

This evening, in response to a series of discussion threads in the SCA Bardic Arts group on Facebook, I felt inspired to issue something of a bardic manifesto. It was well received, and I think it is worth sharing here in full:

I want to say, as a bard who is not a Laurel…there are bardic Laurels who will defend to the death your right to write your own original SCA-appropriate material (or learn such material that other bards have written), and to perform it at appropriate venues, and that the number of venues where such material is completely appropriate is quite large. There are Laurels and non-Laurels who want to hear more period work being performed in the SCA. Be aware that these include some of the self-same Laurels I mentioned above.

And know too that I am acquainted with at least one Laurel who writes in Old Norse, and can be as fierce a curmudgeon around periodicity as anyone, and that guy writes (and performs) some of the funniest damn filks of Disney songs you’ve ever heard.

It does not have to be either/or. And you are not obligated to do both/and, if that’s not your bag right now.

I will defend to the death your right to perform what pleases you, trusting that (a) you will find others who are pleased by it, (b) you will grow as an entertainer if you want to grow, (c) there will be plenty of folks who will encourage you in valuable new directions over time, and (d) regardless of what people suggest, and regardless of what you choose to do, the Known World will continue to turn on its axis and we will all be just fine.

Video Up: The Name of the King feat. Efenwealt Wystle

I have one more video to share before you start your weekend, with somewhat better picture quality (thanks, Cedar!): “The Name of the King”, with Efenwealt Wystle on guitar. I’m excited to finally have one of the videos with decent accompaniment from the concert to share. When I review the available options from my friends, I’ll see if there isn’t another video or two we can share with you.

Pennsic 45 video: A Lusty Young Smith

Here’s video for a piece I’ve never recorded before: A Lusty Young Smith, a 17th-century English song with rather bawdy content (this is the popular tune and lyrics revised by Ed McCurdy in the 1950’s, making the song a bit bouncier and the innuendo a little less on the nose).

I have performed this piece a few times before in the SCA: Most recently at the Roses Bardic competition, and before that (way before that, at Pennsics 31 and 33), it was the first piece I ever performed in the SCA, at Duchess Isabella’s Ladies’ Night. (The less said about that the better–there’s a reason I only consider myself an SCA bard for the last four years or so–but you’ll get a flavor for it from my opening remarks.)