About Drake Oranwood

Drake Oranwood (Eric Schrager) is a singer, songwriter, producer, lutenist, and medieval enthusiast who brings modern sensibilities to original songs set long ago and far away.

A&S Journey: Campion, Now winter nights enlarge

Our last A&S Journey entry introduced Thomas Campion, so let’s look at one of his songs. “Now winter nights enlarge” is actually a relatively recent addition to the repertoire, but we’re starting with this one because I have a reasonable video playing it, and my relationship to it is less complicated than the songs we’ll be discussing in subsequent weeks. (Speaking of which: in case it isn’t obvious, this is going to be more of a twice-a-month series than the weekly series I originally committed to. It’s a more realistic goal.) Let’s call this a palate cleanse.

Continue reading

Falling Leaves (and “Prince Luis”)

We headed up to Carolingia (Massachusetts) on Saturday for Falling Leaves. There were two primary reasons we ventured so far from home. The first was that our Marauders campmate Eadgyth æt Stæningum was on vigil for the Order of the Pelican. And the second? Well, I had accepted a challenge from her Highness Margarita, and had agreed to answer it in court, resulting in a new filk, “Prince Luis” (the page has lyrics, backstory, and documentation, because I had the time and couldn’t resist)

[UPDATE 10/13/19: In light of recent events, I have removed the song page and the video from public listings.]

Continue reading

A&S Journey: Thomas Campion

We return to our humble exploration of Elizabethan lute songs, and turn our attention to our second composer, Thomas Campion. Campion’s reputation, of course, exists in the shadow of John Dowland’s, as does pretty much every other lute composer of the era. Campion was not a professional musician, as John Dowland was; Campion lived the life of a gentleman amateur. He attended Cambridge but did not take a degree, then law school without being called to the bar, ultimately becoming a physician to earn a living. His reputation was certainly not as a lutenist: that was his close friend and sole heir, Philip Rosseter, eventual King’s Musician to James I (as was Dowland), who provided Campion space and authorial credit for half of the songs on Rosseter’s first (and only) published lute songbook, 1601’s A Book of Ayres.

Continue reading

Thoughts on Known World Cooks & Bards

Last weekend’s 8th Known World Cooks and Bards event, held in the Barony of Shattered Crystal in the Middle Kingdom, was absolutely wonderful. (I’ll do my best to avoid excuses for taking so long to write about it, though I am looking at the fading bug bites all over my arms and legs, and reflecting on recovering from a general lack of sleep. Still wouldn’t be the first time it took me a week to post about an event.) It was my first time traveling by plane to an out of kingdom event, and indeed, the first SCA event I’ve attended that wasn’t held in my home kingdom of the East, or neighboring AEthelmearc. It was also my first KWCB, since the last one was held five years ago.

Continue reading

Known World Cooks & Bards

I’m in LaGuardia Airport waiting for a flight to St. Louis. This weekend is the 8th Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium (aka Known World Cooks & Bards, or KWCB). I’ve wanted to attend this event ever since I decided that “bard” was a thing I wanted to do. Known World gatherings for any given interest, or complementary pairing, usually happen every other year. (Other interests that have gatherings include dance, music, scribal arts, and brewing. There are many.) KWCB, however, is being held for the first time in 5 years, because various challenges came up (including the recent spate of 50th anniversaries for the SCA and the earliest kingdoms, as well as the challenges of finding a suitable site).

Continue reading

Sheet music added for Pack Out Day

Since the song seemed to be well-received at Pennsic and afterward, it occurred to me that I had never finished the sheet music transcription for “Pack Out Day”, in case folks would like to learn it. (Part of the reason is that I hadn’t quite worked out what the intro and the ending were going to sound like for the recording. Given it’s more modern than most of my SCA stuff, we’ll do a class repeat and fade, but that doesn’t work so well for a live performance…I came up with an ending that works for the Pennsic concert, so I’ve transcribed the song basically the way it was performed there. (Caveat: I often find transcription mistakes later on, so there’s a non-zero chance I will revise this later.)

A&S Journey: Dowland, “Clear or cloudy”

Returning to Elizabethan music, this will be the third and last piece by John Dowland planned for this series (next, we will turn to Thomas Campion, a particular favorite of mine). Today’s entry, “Clear or cloudy”, is actually the newest period piece in my repertoire, as I have only started the process of learning to sing and play it in the last month or two.

Nature of work: Song (or “air”) for one to four voices and lute, lyrics in English

Historic source: John Dowland, (The Second Booke of Songes or Ayres, first published 1600, song 21)

Primary source: Full PDF facsimile can be downloaded at the International Music Score Library Project.

Continue reading