I love attending Renaissance and Medieval Faires, and one of the highlights is seeing some excellent musical performances. I've made it a habit to try and buy CDs from my favorite performers so that I can listen to their music year round. It's become some of my favorite music to listen to when I want something upbeat. My daughter loves it too! Here are some of my favorite acts--check them out the next time you're at the Fair!
1. Sarah Marie Mullen, Renaissance Harp
I first saw Sarah Marie Mullen playing harp at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I loved her music so much I've bought two of her CDs, We Brought the Summer With Us and The Wild Woods. I listen to them constantly. It's gorgeous music that feels peaceful and upbeat at the same time--the perfect soundtrack to a busy morning. It just puts me in a good mood, and I think it has the same effect on my sweet little toddler. Mullen plays both traditional Irish harp tunes as well as Renaissance favorites. I'd recommend her music to anyone who loves classical or folk music.
2. Circa Paleo
I've loved watching this band perform at the Sherwood Forest Faire just outside of Austin, TX. They have great energy and an eclectic sound that draws on music from around the world, from gypsy violin to Led Zeppelin. I have two of their CDs, Eleven Lives and Roseland; I love their upbeat violin solos and blend of Old World music and modern sounds--we listen to their CDs all the time. Their shows are always fun to watch.
3. Saxon Moon
These guys are Renaissance Faire staples! I've seen them at several faires, including Texas Renaissance Festival, Sherwood Forest Faire, and Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I bought one of their CDs, Opera Omnia, and I've enjoyed listening to it regularly (it's fun to dance to it with my little girl). They have a more "Rock" sound than other Renaissance acts, but it still captures the feeling of a Renaissance Faire.
4. The Bedlam Bards
I first saw the Bedlam Bards at Sherwood Forest Faire. In fact, I had a lovely conversation with the fiddler, Cedric--he's a great guy, very approachable and fun to talk with. He's got a "pocket" violin, which is a small sized violin that French dancing masters used to carry around with them to play music for nobles learning how to dance. What's more, the Bedlam Bards are huge fans of one of my favorite science fiction TV shows, Joss Whedon's much mourned "Firefly." I found their CD On the Drift an irresistible purchase--it's a collection of original songs inspired by Firefly: The Complete Series and the great Joss Whedon. Their music is wonderful "Renfolk"--a mix of Celtic, English, and other folk tunes mixed with Renaissance and Medieval songs.
This is every Renaissance Fair attendee's favorite Scottish band. I've seen them perform at Sherwood Forest Faire and the Texas Renaissance Festival, and their performances are always tons of fun. While I haven't gotten one of their CDs yet, it's on my Faire wish list:) We're planning on going to the Texas Renaissance Festival the first weekend in November, and I can't wait to hear all the great music there!