Checking in. After last K&Q Bardic, I made my traditional long in-depth post, and at the end, I made a number of pledges about actions I planned to take. I wanted to share that I have made progress on several of these:
- “Reevaluate my approach to the lute.” I plan to perform lute pieces at the upcoming EK 50 year celebration (more about that soon) and at Pennsic. I intend to do some combination of performing pieces that are a little less complex or better rehearsed, and enrolling other performers to handle some or all of the vocals when I do it. Also, my new summer/outdoor lute-guitar Amyrillis is proving a bit easier to play than Rosalind, which has helped. (Mostly because it’s closer to an acoustic guitar.)
- “Recording ‘What if a day’ fairly soon.” Done. It is recorded and mixed, and I’m sending it off to Efenwealt for his Pennsic Sampler CD. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
- “Taking a break to hopefully do a community theater production”. I’m pleased to share that I have just been cast as John Jasper in the Bergen County Players’ production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which will be performing weekends from September 9 to October 8. My wife is very excited to see me do a musical again after all these years. I’m still absorbing just how much rehearsal and performance I’ve just committed to for the next four months. But a show whose ending changes every night depending on the audience’s whim? That is a show for a bard to try.
- “It’s time to get back to writing songs again.” Done! Last weekend I wrote my first new song in over a year, honoring a commission that was won at auction last fall. My commissioner is well pleased, and I look forward to presenting it to her and her daughter at Pennsic, and then performing it publicly once I have fulfilled that promise. [UPDATE the next day: The tune will take a little time to settle, but I just finished the lyrics to another new one. Feels really good.]
So, some exciting stuff. Wanted to make sure I took a moment to share it with you. Thank you for being there for me.
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.