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Mediaeval Baebes?

Related threads:
Mediaeval Baebes - whaddya think of them? (51)
Who Else Listens To The Mediaeval Baebes (18)


artbrooks 27 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM
ClaireBear 27 Jan 09 - 08:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jan 09 - 08:58 PM
artbrooks 27 Jan 09 - 09:08 PM
MMario 27 Jan 09 - 09:40 PM
Murray MacLeod 28 Jan 09 - 01:37 AM
GUEST,Peace 28 Jan 09 - 02:03 AM
VirginiaTam 28 Jan 09 - 02:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Jan 09 - 04:23 AM
Sleepy Rosie 28 Jan 09 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Jim Martin 28 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM
wyrdolafr 28 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM
Sleepy Rosie 28 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM
Sleepy Rosie 28 Jan 09 - 06:06 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Jan 09 - 07:23 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jan 09 - 07:35 AM
JeffB 28 Jan 09 - 08:17 AM
artbrooks 28 Jan 09 - 08:37 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Jan 09 - 08:51 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Jan 09 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,HiLo 28 Jan 09 - 08:58 AM
JohnB 28 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM
silverfish 28 Jan 09 - 01:42 PM
Trevor 29 Jan 09 - 08:00 AM
Nerd 29 Jan 09 - 04:43 PM
Matt_R 29 Jan 09 - 05:17 PM
Faye Roche 01 Feb 09 - 07:44 PM
Jack Blandiver 02 Feb 09 - 05:10 AM
MaW 02 Feb 09 - 05:26 AM
Jack Campin 02 Feb 09 - 06:04 AM
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Subject: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 07:43 PM

Mediaeval Baebes? Anyone heard of them...or, even better, any 'Catters involved? Are they worth scheduling our trip to the Arizona Renaissance Faire around?


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: ClaireBear
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 08:50 PM

I have a CD of theirs, which I quite like listening to, but I just explored them on YouTube and I have to say I don't think much of what I can see of how they perform live. Judge for yourself; here's a performance of theirs at a Renaissance Faire in MD in 2007: Medieval Baebes

There are lots of other performances of theirs on YouTube as well.


Cheers,
Claire


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 08:58 PM

Not too bad. But remember that their mediaeval is their own and much has little to do with music as sung in Medieval times. They sing some folk material, but much is new stuff sung in a pseudo-medieval manner.

Litten to them on youtube and other places on the net (many clips at Amazon etc.) and make your own decision.

(For some, 'you either like them or hate them' is true.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 09:08 PM

That sounds pretty typical for Ren Faire performers, Q. Thanks for the info.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: MMario
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 09:40 PM

They were pretty successful recording before they started doing ren-faires.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 01:37 AM

anybody got any 15th century recordings they could make available, so's we could hear what it really sounded like back then ?


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 02:03 AM

I'll have a look, Murray.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 02:46 AM

4 CDs and listening since 2001 or 2002. I have seen them twice in concert at a Joust event at Berkley Castle. The first time was amazing. My virgin experience. The second year, some of the sparkle of newness had rubbed off.

The music is a mix. While my daughter preferred the melodic french pieces I liked the latin and middle English. Some good drumming. Some of there "Peri-oid" stuff is pretty OK. Their harmonies are awesome!!!

I would suggest think of them like Disney. Go once, if you love it go again and again. If not then at least you can say "been there done that."

BTW I saw a few of the Youtube videos - they are not a good representation of the actual experience.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 04:23 AM

Didn't they used to be Miranda Sex Garden? Some of them anyway...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8nCdJfdazc


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 04:39 AM

Murry McCloud: just YouTube for anything by Thomas Tallis , William Byrd or the beautiful John Dowland. Couldn't find Byrds 'Tallis is Dead and Music Dies' unfortunately.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 04:54 AM

Gosh! Classic FM TV's still out there is it? For some reason, known only to themselves, Sky have stopped broadcasting in Ireland!


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: wyrdolafr
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM

Sleep Rosie wrote: "Murry McCloud: just YouTube for anything by Thomas Tallis , William Byrd or the beautiful John Dowland. Couldn't find Byrds 'Tallis is Dead and Music Dies' unfortunately".

I could be wrong, but I thought the point Murray was making was recordings from the period regarding ideas about 'authenticity' &c.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 05:54 AM

Gush Forth My Tears - Not the most exciting remix of a tune I ever heard. Though I remember Danny Rampling from Kiss FM, and discovering the delights of such things as trance, progressive house and ambient many years ago... I remember in particular a late night live transmission of the (at that time, for dance music) boundary pushing Future Sound of London, which made me a fan of theirs for many years. Jesus, I can still remember coloured dancing graphics illuminating the room. We don't get those no more.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Sleepy Rosie
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 06:06 AM

Ahh, I see what you mean... :-/
I assumed the post was speaking of seeking a possibly more authentic contrast to "Mediaeval Babes".
Interesting question about authenticity though. If there has been an unbroken continuity in the performace of Rennaissance composers works (?), my guess would be (bar some minor deviance as a consequence of subtle changes over time) that what we hear performed now, would not be vastly dissimilar to what we would have heard performed then. That assumption may be incorrect of course.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 07:23 AM

what we hear performed now, would not be vastly dissimilar to what we would have heard performed then

I once proposed a study entitled Early Music as a 20th Century Phenomenon and the Changes Therein with Regard to Modernism & Post-Modernism analysing the various changes of attitude and approach to medieval & early music from when such things first begin to be recorded to Purcell's tercentenary year. So in this respect, what we hear now is significantly different from what we heard 40 years ago, so how that relates to how it would have been heard at the time is anyone's guess - a guess which engenders so much amazing music, variously claimed as being somehow authentic, but corporeal nonetheless in terms of its actual era.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 07:35 AM

A little time spent browsing some of the 'early music' discussion lists is quite an eye-opener in that respect; particularly for anyone who is thinking in terms of some kind of 'unbroken continuity'. Closer to home, it's impossible to be sure even about some aspects of early C20 performance styles, let alone those of earlier periods.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: JeffB
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:17 AM

I think you're getting a little off the subject. The question of just how medieval and/or renaissance music (or for that matter 18th and 19th cent music) sounded would make a highly interesting thread on it's own.

Artbrooks asked for opinions as to whether the group is well-known, and if it's worthwhile making some effort to hear them. I would say if you have the opportunity then try to catch them. On the merits of the one CD I have I think their arrangements are imaginative and impressive and the quality of their singing superb.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:37 AM

Thanks for your opinions, all. It sounds like it is worth the time - now all I have to do is convince She Whose Opinions REALLY Count!!


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:51 AM

They've been played a few times on radio here (Ireland) and I like the sound they make. I've never seen them live but there is sure a big difference between what I've heard on record and that YouTube clip, which didn't impress me. But that could always just be a bad-hair day. I'd certainly give them the benefit of the doubt, and would go hear them if I had any chance to. From the general tone of the thread, thumbs up, it looks like.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:51 AM

it's impossible to be sure even about some aspects of early C20 performance styles, let alone those of earlier periods.

As far as as certain medieval performance practice goes it would be akin to giving four guys who'd never heard Led Zeppelin the song book & the instruments and expecting them to come up with Four. Although, that's what Rolf Harris did with Stairway to Heaven, refusing to listen to the original so he could approach it unbiased with respect of how it ought to sound - or so goes the legend.

With respect of the Medieval Baebes however (to get back on thread) one feels it's more about the hype than the music although I dare say in this day & age the two are indistinguishable. Personally, I'm happiest with those musicians who manifest an evident mastery (that can only be authentic) without feeling the need to accessorise - although in terms of a certain appropriate aestheticism I'm as gullible as anyone else.

Jordi Savall / Hesperion XXI - Canarios Improv


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 08:58 AM

I have seen them in concert twice and quite enjoyed them. I know that it is not "authentic Mediaeval music but the spirit of it that they present. The concerts are quite a lot of fun and I have a couple of cds which I play quite often and I think that most who are interested in early music would appreciate them if one is neither to serious or too critical .


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: JohnB
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 12:21 PM

I have two of their CD's, they don't get a lot of play but they have a good sound.
Never seen them live, although I would imagine a ren faire performance would differ from a concert performance.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: silverfish
Date: 28 Jan 09 - 01:42 PM

From the point of view of a theatre techie, I've worked with them several times.
As a musician their vocal parts are stunning, even though I don't read middle English well. Although there's a lot of them you don't get 9-part harmonies all the time.
As a mere male, the girls, costumes, personalities and stage dressing and presence are great.
Give it a try and make up your own mind!


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Trevor
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 08:00 AM

I've seen them a couple of times, but not in the last couple of years. From the point of view of authenticity I'm sure they're lacking; from the point of view of competence soundwise they were great, and they were really entertaining. (Might have been good to look at as well - but I didn't notice, honest!)


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 04:43 PM

I was at that ren faire gig in maryland in 2007. I did an interview with them and wrote an article on the group. Here's a bit of the background part:

"The first thing they did was set the record straight. Mediæval Bæbes are often accused of being a flash-over-substance act created by record company executives with an eye toward making lots of money, along the lines of Boyzone or the Bæbes' original labelmates, the Spice Girls. But Mediæval Bæbes was a group born of artistic inspiration, not marketing acumen, and it was formed by [bandleader Katharine] Blake, not by a record company or management team. Blake was classically trained at the Purcell School, Britain's oldest specialist school for gifted young musicians, and was a successful rock bandleader and singer before creating the Bæbes in 1996. Furthermore, the individual band members do a lot of textual and musical work on each song, adapting the lyrics and often writing and arranging the music themselves. Blake points out that it's a misconception that they perform mostly medieval music. In fact, the bulk of what they perform is medieval poetry of various sorts, set to entirely original music written by band members.

The seeds of Mediæval Bæbes were sown in two projects Blake had been involved in long before the band's formation. One was a band called Synfonie, which performed music of Hildegard von Bingen. The other was Miranda Sex Garden, a goth-rock outfit that began as a trio of women singing Elizabethan madrigals. According to rock 'n' roll legend, the members of Miranda Sex Garden were out busking in Portobello Road, singing madrigals, when they were spotted by Barry Adamson of the Bad Seeds. Adamson invited them to perform on a soundtrack he was composing for the 1991 film Delusion. On the strength of that performance, they got a record deal, and recorded the first Miranda Sex Garden album, Madra [Mute Records]. This work strongly foreshadows Mediæval Bæbes, consisting simply of Blake, Kelly McCusker, and Jocelyn West singing Elizabethan art songs in unaccompanied harmony. Some prominent critics loved it, with the Evening Standard commenting, "the tabernacle in which we sit is transformed by sheer dint of harmony and poise into another place, where the sky lies like a canopy of blue velvet and the brightest stars are Miranda Sex Garden."

They aren't all great musicians or singers, it must be said. But several of the singers are quite good, and the accompanists are very good as well.

By the way, they are not trying at all for authentic performance practice, just what they think of as interesting medieval sounds. Hence, they use cittern and lute hurdy-gurdy and old viols of various sorts, and recorders and drums. On most gigs they have 2-3 accompanists, one or two men and one woman. That one youtube video with the violin played by Katharine Blake was an anomaly in that respect.

I'd say it's worth the trip!


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Matt_R
Date: 29 Jan 09 - 05:17 PM

Man, I used to listen to "Salve Nos" all the time.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Faye Roche
Date: 01 Feb 09 - 07:44 PM

I like the Mediaeval Baebes and have some of their CDs. They are fine musicians, though if I have one tiny criticism, it's that they're just a teeny bit too sweet at times.

When it comes to interpretations of mediaeval music I must say that there are people that I now prefer. Blackmore's Night, for example, who mix their own original songs with mediaeval themes- a little bit twee at times but great musicians and very exciting. Then there's Maggie Sand who combines mediaeval tunes with trad. songs- anachronistic maybe, but she and her band do it so well. My current faves are Circulus, although they probably don't classify as folk and you wouldn't see them on the folk circuit, I love the way they blend folky-prog-rock with mediaeval themes.

What all four have in common, imo, is that they render mediaeval music in a way that, though it may not be authentic (though who knows what "authentic" would be in this case?) is musical and, I think, in the right spirit.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 05:10 AM

though who knows what "authentic" would be in this case?

Authentic in this context must be simply getting on with the music without dressing it up & dumbing it down, which is evidently the case with the Baebes, et al.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: MaW
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 05:26 AM

Definitely not authentic, but if you like the sound they make, who cares? They don't market themselves as recreating old music, after all, and that's the only time I'd complain about it.

Personally, I can't get most of their latest album (Illumination) out of my head - but I've never seen them live.


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Subject: RE: Mediaeval Baebes?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Feb 09 - 06:04 AM

I once proposed a study entitled "Early Music as a 20th Century Phenomenon and the Changes Therein with Regard to Modernism & Post-Modernism" analysing the various changes of attitude and approach to medieval & early music from when such things first begin to be recorded to Purcell's tercentenary year.

Been done, more or less. See the writings of Richard Taruskin and Joseph Haskell.


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