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bardic First Bardic War

The First Bardic War has begun!

After months of planning, promoting, recruiting, and cat-herding, the First Bardic War is at last upon us. Over 100 hours of performances will be available to enjoy, and competitive and non-competitive events will abound. The Facebook page seems to have livestreams of running throughout the day—if you don’t see it when you go there, check the “Videos” tab.)

As one of the East/Atlantia alliance’s generals, I am immensely proud of the scope and breadth of the talent we are bringing to the battlefield. I am competing in three categories myself: the Champions Battle (prerecorded, war point will be streaming on Tuesday May 18 at 5:30 PM EDT), Original Song of the Modern Middle Ages (live, war point streams Saturday May 22 at 7:00 PM EDT), and the Brawl. (Here is the War Point schedule.)

The Brawl videos premiered on YouTube this morning, and will be available throughout the war for the populace to vote on (total YouTube likes per alliance, full playlist is here). My entry is below.

I will also be teaching “My Guitar’s Persona Is a Lute” on Zoom Monday May 17 at 5 PM EDT. (Zoom links are posted at the start of each day on the website.)

I look forward to seeing you on or off the battlefield.

YIS, Drake

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bardic Competition SCAatHome

Bardic Champions: Stepping down

Last Saturday, the East Kingdom held its annual Bardic Championship, and I had the surreal experience of participating in this event as one of the MCs and judges. This was hardly the only “first” for the championship, which of course was conducted entirely online for the first time as well.

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bardic filk First Bardic War

Acknowledgments

So, I am totally going to bard hell, as promised. It’s a small price to pay for the joy of co-creating something that lifts spirits and promotes community and fun, and “The Zoom Where It Happens” seems to have done that.

But no one does anything alone. I threw out an idea, and it would have come to nothing without the dedication and talent of a large collection of friends old and new. So I have people to thank.

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bardic filk First Bardic War SCAatHome video

New Video: “The Zoom Where It Happens”

This weekend, I posted a new video of a brand-new filk, which tells the true story of the origins of The First Bardic War. “The Zoom Where It Happens” is, of course, based on “The Room Where It Happens” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. This one, as you can see, involved a ton of collaboration from some incredibly talented bards (and a few very generous royals), and I will post more about that experience in the coming week. (The song page has copious annotations for serious geeks and Hamilfans.)

Enjoy (and I’d be very grateful if you subscribed to my YouTube channel while you’re there):

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bardic First Bardic War

A Disclaimer

What…shenanigans? About the upcoming Bardic War? From bards?!? Coming soon? That’s…that’s preposterous.

I of course have absolutely no idea what these rumormongers are talking about. The very idea of our fine, upstanding SCA bards being involved in (shudder) “shenanigans” is obviously, patently absurd.

Honestly. (Shakes head) I have no idea where these rumors come from…

Drake, Consort’s Bard, East (and entirely too dignified for such nonsense)

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bardic Competition First Bardic War SCA SCAatHome

A call to EK Performers

To all the performers of the East, greetings!

(TLDR: Sign up to perform for your kingdom! C’mon, it’ll be fun! But take a moment please to read the long post anyway…)

This is a strange time we are living through together. The first warmth of spring, and for many, the first traces of hope. Hope that the day is drawing ever closer, when we will once more be able to gather together, embrace, and share companionship, song and story at an in-person event. Even now, we do not know just how many months more that will be. It’s tantalizing and at times maddening, no?

And as we wait, lo, this spring brings a bounty of opportunities to put our performance and research skills to the test, in service to our kingdom. (All of them remote! More time in front of a webcam instead of a fire! Will it never end?) As your kingdom’s Bardic Champions, it can be a little awkward asking for people to sign up, particularly since these events ended up scheduled so close to one another. And yet, this is the calendar we face, and the kingdom needs the support of its performers now.

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bardic concert First Bardic War general SCA

The First Bardic War (Upcoming)

On January 23 of this year, there was a wonderful Zoom concert called the Journeyman’s Concert hosted by the Midrealm, where I had the privilege to perform. This is coming to be known as The Concert that Started a War, because the couple dozen or so folks attending or performing in the concert, had a conversation that catalyzed the upcoming First Bardic War.

At the center of that conversation were Hilla Stormbringer of the Midrealm, who was one of hosts of the concert, and Laila al-Sanna al-Andalusiyya, former Queen’s Bard of the East, who had been performing. TLDR: There were a lot of Atlantian bards invited to a Midrealm event. The word “invasion” was used, followed by a discussion of holding the Atlantian bards for “ransom”, and the boast that if the bards of the East and Atlantia banded together, they could take over the known world… Within the hour, Hilla had posted in the SCA Bardic Arts group that she had instigated an “interkingdom incident”, and people were discussing a full-scale War event.

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bardic Competition concert inclusion Neurodiversity

Panel: Neurodiversity in the SCA and Bardic

The weekend before last, the Second Ethereal Bardic Symposium happened, spearheaded by Hilla Stormbringer, the Bard of the Midlands in the Middle Kingdom, and staffed by some dedicated people.

This wonderful weekend of classes, performances, and conversations may well have unexpected consequences (which I will discuss with relish in an upcoming post). But Hilla also set up a round table panel discussion on Neurodiversity in the Bardic and SCA communities, which I was privileged to take part in.

The panel consisted of Hilla, myself, and Ruqayya bint Rabi’a al-Aliyya of Atlantia. It was not live-streamed, but we had good participation from interested parties, both Neurodivergent and Neurotypical, who attended on Zoom. We had the opportunity to get into some “real talk” about issues that come up in the Society, and in Bardic, for those of us who are Neurodivergent. The session is now available on YouTube if you wish to check it out:

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bardic Competition SCA SCAatHome

EK Bardic Champs: 4/24

Grim and I have been the East Kingdom’s Bardic Champions for just over 11 months now. This has been, it doesn’t bear repeating, a most unusual year–but even as we speak, our A&S Champion counterparts are conducting the competition online to choose their successors, and we have announced our plans to do the same.

The next East Kingdom Bardic Championships will be held on Saturday, April 24 (click for details). Performance is, indeed, the best suited activity for a virtual competition of practically anything we do in the SCA. (Click here to check into the Facebook event. The YouTube livestream will be here.)

Grim and I are looking forward to hearing from entrants (note per the event page: You must email us 2 weeks in advance, so that we can plan out the competition day with a sense of how many competitors we have.

We will be holding an online tech check a month or so out before the event, so participants have a chance to verify that their setups work for live online performance. The participants will be on Zoom, and the audience will be able to watch it live-streamed on the East Kingdom’s YouTube channel.

We will share further updates as it approaches.
In service,
Grim and Drake, Sovereign’s and Consort’s Bards

Categories
bardic theater video

Beowulf: The Ethereal Event

Tonight and tomorrow, lovers of spoken word, particularly of epic sagas, can enjoy a live, two-part performance of Beowulf on the East Kingdom’s YouTube channel. This is my first time participating in a live group performance event of this kind. (I have long wanted to, and generally scheduling conflicts and other priorities held sway. I’ll embrace the silver linings of our quarantine year as best I can.)

I’m incredibly excited to be part of an all-star lineup of phenomenal performers from around the Known World, including my teachers, Toki (who’s also directing) and Peregrine, as well as my former Laurel Zsof, my co-champion Grim, his Majesty Tindal of the East, and too many bardic friends to count.

Per the press release:

On November 14 and 15, Beowulf the Ethereal Event will present all of Beowulf, performed live on Zoom. Beowulf the Ethereal Event will feature the talents of 50 performers from 8 kingdoms: East, AEthelmearc, Atlantia, Ealdormere, Meridies, Midrealm, Northshield, and West. The performance being produced by artistic team from Beowulf the Event (East Kingdom, 2011), Beowulf the Roadshow (Pennsic 2011 & 2012), and Njal’s Saga (AEthelmearc, 2017). Beowulf the Ethereal Event will be livestreamed to the East Kingdom’s YouTube channel.

The entire epic will be split into two performances: Saturday night, Nov 14, starting at 7:30 pm; and Sunday afternoon, Nov 15, at 2 pm.

The poem tells the story of the hero Beowulf, who rescues the Danes by killing the monstrous Grendel. He goes on to kill Grendel’s mother, become king, and then—in his old age—must face a dragon. Throughout, he learns lessons about kingship, feud, and the dangers inherent in fighting monsterThe performance will be presented with the natural, organic backgrounds of our homes—bookshelves, workshops, home offices, kitchens, and living rooms. We will tell the story without stage magic, but instead will use the available medium to bring Beowulf into the homes of the audience. While the exact age of Beowulf is not known, the anonymously written poem is the earliest work of full-scale English literature. Beowulf consists of 3,182 lines of poetry. It takes three and a half hours to perform it in its entirety.

Contact Information: Toki Skáldagörvir: tokiredbeard@gmail.com

This is the latest in a series of fantastic live performances by the SCA’s performance community, which have recently included live streams of Henry V (gender-swapped) and Hamlet. This is not an easy time for anyone, but it’s a fascinating time for medievalist performers. Perhaps I’ll see you there.