bardic Pennsic SCA

At Pennsic 42

The family is enjoying our first taste of Peace Week (the first of the two weeks, the setup week) at Pennsic this year. We are also enjoying camping at the event instead of staying at a hotel as we have in past years. Friends have been seen (and are being made), Bardic circles have been attended, fun is being had, and the passive voice is being greatly abused.

Of my newer pieces, “Mug Your Gate” and “Tam Lin of the Elves” are both proving to be hits, and all of the older pieces are being well received. (I have yet to perform any of the others at this point.)

A note for anyone actually checking this blog (yes, you and your friend!), I’ll be part of the mini concert performance set Sunday night between 8 and 9 pm at the Performing Arts tent. And Monday morning I’m teaching my first class, “Songwriting to Tell a Story”, in AS 9. Monday afternoon brings the Bardic Exposition from 2 to 5 pm, and I’ll be performing just before 3.

Hope to see you there!

bardic general SCA

Northern Region War Camp (Award of Arms)

So I just got back from NRWC, and boy are my legs bitten. I mean, the mosquitoes were insane. But apart from that the event was fantastic.

general songwriting technology

Mmmmmaybe I’ll blog a little more. (Technology and the bard)

So, I finally found the WordPress iPhone app. Given that I do most of my writing these days on my iPhone, that’s very cool.

I’ve been trying to manage my writing process better since I committed myself to bardic just about a year ago (a few months before I set up this site and the Facebook group). By “better”, I mean “make it more convenient to write, easier to find my stuff, easier to share my stuff, and less likely to lose my stuff”. And since I first got an iPhone in my hands last year, that has meant (as so many of you have probably already found) doing it on my iPhone.

bardic Pennsic SCA songwriting teaching

Spring Update

I know–I don’t write, I don’t call… What have I been up to?

  • Getting ready for Wars of the Roses, where I plan to debut TWO new songs: my first adaptation of a period piece, “Tam Lin of the Elves” (Romantic! Epic!), and my first historical piece, the long-planned Richard III song “The Last Plantagenet” (in progress). As always, I will post the songs publicly after the event.
  • Listening to the work in progress cut of my first bardic single, “The Bastard’s Tale”, on repeat. I’m pleased to say I listen to this recording over and over and I keep liking it better. Will be finishing the vocals this weekend.
  • Getting ready for Pennsic, where I will be teaching my first class, “Songwriting to Tell a Story.” I’ve done as much research for this class as I have for the songs, and starting to put the notes together.
album bardic mp3 Pennsic SCA songwriting teaching

Overdue updates – the site, performances, recording a CD (!!!), and looking forward

So I haven’t posted since December. Bad bard. Bad, bad bard. Well, busy bard. Which is good. (And it’s not like the handful of you out there aren’t catching all of this on Facebook anyway.)

Still, what’s the point of a “blog” about my “bardic career” if I don’t take the time to post about said “career” when I’m actually “doing things” in it? Probably because I have the grace to be at least uncomfortable with the implicit narcissism involved, but if I can deal with it, I trust you can too (or you’ll stop reading, and we’ll all just have to find a way to cope).

mp3 songwriting

GarageBand recordings (including “House of Dancers”)

I’ve been playing with GarageBand a bit today, with a bit better understanding of how to get vocals mixed, and with the advantage of a USB microphone (thanks, love, for getting me “Beatles Rock Band” two years ago!). In addition to some actual Bardic work (to be shared when the time is right), I finally tackled the vocals for my hitherto-unrecorded epic rock song “House of Dancers”.

Now you can finally hear the song Spiny Norman was never ready to bring onstage, as best I can record it on my own.


Edit (2/3): Re-uploaded the file I’d apparently deleted when I was trying to improve the mix.  Don’t think I succeeded, but at least the s0ng is back on the site, and I corrected the links.

bardic songwriting

Back to Bardhead

So I’ve cranked out another new song this week (“Changeling”), and hope to record an a version of it so that I can share it in the “Works in Progress” section within the next few days (still finalizing the tune).  It’s exciting to feel the rust coming off the hinges, as I’m starting to be able to compose new pieces in shorter order without having to be at an event like Pennsic to get the wind in my sails (O, the mixed metaphors!).  More are on the way.

bardic songwriting

We interrupt our songwriting to ponder…songwriting

An intriguing thought strikes me, as I near the completion of the first draft of a new song.  To the extent that form follows content (yes, Mr. Sondheim, to the best of my ability), it feels right now as if process follows form.  My recollection of getting my handful of Bardic songs to date on the page, the process of working through each one feels as if it mirrored the nature of the song.  “The Bastard’s Tale” came out quickly, rushing to the page, hot, angry, and urgent, impatient to get to the point.  “My Thirst” lurched drunkenly to and fro during the writing, staggering for a day through the wrong tune, which had to be rewritten, shortening every line by a couple of syllables–this had the effect of tightening the jokes and making the song easier to sing as if inebriated, but at the time the rework was a touch like a hangover.  “Call Me Will”, whose concept had eluded me for over a year, was coy and required stalking for a few weeks even after it took shape.  It took patience and guile to lure it into place, but once I had it pinned, I was surprised at how little rewriting it actually required–it more or less sank right into the page in the end.

bardic general

New Song Brewing

I’m a little excited…for the first time since I started doing Bardic seriously, I have a second song percolating in the same year (the first one was “Call Me Will” back in May).  I’m hoping to have a completed set of verses to take with me if I get the chance to attend the monthly Bardic workshop up in Concordia next month.  I guess we’ll see.

bardic SCA

Winter Nights: My first Bardic competition

I spent Saturday at Concordia of the Snows up near Albany, NY, for their Winter Nights event.  It was and incredible day dedicated to performance and (according to Toki Redbeard, the autocrat) very relaxed competition.  This was my first time entering a Bardic competition, if you don’t count the Depressing Song contest from last Pennsic, which was wonderful (and where I tied for first place), but a different animal: an entry level contest for new bards, who only needed to perform one song, with only the stipulation that it be depressing.  Winter Nights, by contrast, would be an all-day competition for Bards at various experience levels, with head-to-head performances, topic challenges, and multiple rounds of performing.  For those who are intrigued but unfamiliar with such things, as I had been, or who have been to other Bardic competitions and are curious how Winter Nights is structured, I offer some details of my (joyous!) experience there.