Jan. 25th, 2009 09:11 am
minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
I am stunned.  

Blow-by-blow details later.

I learned a hell of a lot yesterday.

Several people gave me suggestions and for-real assignments after I won  -- I'm gonna be busy  8)

It's official -- more people recognize / remember me than I remember back.      Compensatory mechanisms needed.    

If you're reading this,    (((((((((HUGZ!!!HUGZ!!!HUGZ!!!!)))))))))    Thank you all so much for support, good counsel, good jokes and good sense     8)

I'm lucky to be me.
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." ("Minstrel" Mummers)
There was a degree to which I seemed to be living a charmed life last week.    

Saturday Wanderings )
Sunday Runnings )
I will continue later as I have become tired all over again just typing this.
minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
Courtesy of [personal profile] shalmestere and [personal profile] hudebnik , I had a lovely time at Bhakail's Investiture on Saturday.       We nearly didn't connect in time for me to travel with them  (because I'm an idiot and had my phone's ringer turned off   8P  ), but met up and left in good order.     The traffic was blessedly light (going both ways, actually).     The Taverner  "Alleluias"  that  [profile] siobhan1214 had distributed were beautiful, and the rehearsal went very well considering we hadn't actually sung the songs together before.     They let us up into the choir loft for performances, so we could both see everything  and occasionally whisper and giggle  8) 

I was privileged to enter the competition for Bhakail's first Bardic Champion (I never knew there wasn't one); I told the organizer that I could not win/serve as Champion (potential conflict of interest with Ostgardr).   All four competitors used historically-informed songs and original languages (mostly), and we rated each other courtesy of forms  [profile] t_bard  developed, like (if not the same as) those which evolved for judging Kingdom Bardic, with categories like Audience impact and performance skill and appropriateness for the event (research, etc.), and (my favorite category) additional impressions not covered by other criteria.      My only suggestion for the future would be adding a space of one or two lines for specific remarks per entrant.      I'd like to see more competitors familiarized with those criteria -- I think it can only improve future competitions.   

A lady named Lionora (sp?) did a 15th-century Portugese song.     A young man named Martin with an opera background did a 16th-century aria.   (He later said that he briefly considered accompanying himself on the organ, but did not "because no one else was doing that"   **"C'MERE!!!"  ::::::smackSMACKsmack::::::**   He was encouraged to show off his skillset to the maximum in future    8)

The guy who won had contrafacted a roster of Bhakail's past and present baronage, to the tune of "Gaudete".      Some dude named [profile] t_bard    8)   8)      (I'd like to see the lyrics again if I may...)

I had been wanting to write something for the investiture and for [personal profile] woodwindy and her LC,  but I also didn't want to cause embarrassment with my fulsomeness.       So I wrote about Mina:

( Contrafact, to the tune of "Packington's Pound" )

Sweetly-blown melody borne on the air
Met with the sheltering arm of the earth
Wedded in harmony wondrous fair;
This is the union that led to thy birth.
How else couldst thou be, but lovely to see
Thus fashioned from love in the highest degree?
Joy you inspire with the force of a gale,
Beloved and Beautiful Babe of Bhakail!

Happiness sparkles from thy shining eye
Such is thy pleasure to bring us delight;
All gaze in wonder as arms are thrown high,
Every life moment new to thy sight.
With innocent style dost thou sweetly beguile
All who behold thee with a laugh and a smile.
Joy you inspire with the force of a gale,
Beloved and Beautiful Babe of Bhakail!

Much to my relief, my voice held (mostly) for the higher notes, and people enjoyed the song.      I got to join in some enjoyable pick-up singing between the two courts and later during feast, and met the Princess and Consort.     She had asked whether I have a CD, and since I've gotten into the habit of carrying several with me for just such an occasion  (it serves as both business card and demo), I was able to present one with a hasty explanation that it's  Mostly Modern Music (It does have "Sacred Night" and "One More Song to the Tune of Greensleeves").      Turns out she LOVES "Carrot Juice Is Murder" and has heard it back-to-back with something called "Cows with Guns"   (must research this...)    I've corresponded once or twice with [personal profile] liamstliam, but hadn't been formally introduced or anything.      Very nice man.   

The food was abundant   (!)    and delicious   (!!!).     There was leftover Ember Day tart with plenty of greens and cheese.     I was tired and happy  8)
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
 Dear F-listers,

Those of you with connections to SF fandom already know about filker Leslie Fish and may have heard her evocative song "Valhalla".    If you haven't....well, now there's an mp3 on her website:

There is a ten-second burst of music when you connect to the site.     It stops on its own.


"Valhalla" is on the album "Serious Steel".      (mp3 player is QuickTime)

I realize not everyone's dream of the SCA looks (or ever looked) like it does to the hero of the song, but...

Anyway, enjoy.
minstrlmummr: (Tuba Rocker)
 Gotta love spending the whole day jamming with other musicians from all over    8)       8)
Many many thanks to [personal profile] woodwindy  for the invite!

I understand how this event might not be for everyone;  There was a lot of post-period music jamming.     There were a lot of post-period dances.     According to my dance maven friends,  some post-period dances are always presented there as The  Easier, More Fun Alternative.     sigh. 

That said, there were up to thirty enthusiastic dancers (led by two masters) on the floor at one point, I think.      Dinner and dessert were abundant, varied (the vegetarians were VERY happy) and delicious -- especially the boiled cream  with spices and the marzipan subtlety   (this was the first marzipan I've ever eaten that wasn't cloyingly sweet and overwhelming with almond extract.     I had seconds   8).   

Afternoon before dinner and evening after dinner I was on a stage surrounded by new (to me) music and instrument toys (including a "professional-level" tambourine...just like Linda McCartney's, I guess  8) ...it WAS a lot of fun to play since it was designed to respond to even very slight hand movements)    The Blondel was examined a little and played by several of us, and I borrowed a bodhran when my frame drum went "flump" due to moisture absorption   8(

The shire made a lovely presentation to the Branslers, of embroidered (and scotch-garded) table linens, with the theme of animals playing instruments.    It all came in a beautifully decorated wooden chest -- I heard someone say it was "like a gift for a king", which made me realize how much I approve of bestowing such gifts on any gentle(s) one deems worthy, not just the ones who are the Focus Of Everyone's Attention (tm).      

It was nice   8)
minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
 This was my first sleepover Birka.    In return for space with three other people, I supplied vehicle and gasoline.      We met up at UnHolyrood House (home of Burly Scots Man and Tiny Lass) near New Haven Friday night, for dinner, cheesecake and Kittyslut Love from Teh Ankle-Snatching Meow-Meow Factory.     Saturday morning we were on-site before 11, gate check-in was nice and brisk.     Many of the wares were kind of "meh" for me this year, but I had very specific requirements -- if there was no lilac soap I didn't want to buy soap, I only wanted a RED felt hat (my tip hat escaped after a subway show in December), the only dress linen I wanted was green or maybe red, etc.     I've now heard from a few people that this event, like Twelfth Night, had fewer people than last year.

The designated performers' space inside the hall was next to two instrument dealers.      This concerned me since usually they need for their customers to be able to sound-test without any aural conflict, but it was fine that day.      I got to pass the case (needNeedNEED new tip hat!) and after my set was over, heavy-duty schmoozing commenced.       It was wonderful to touch base with so many people and to share a few things I'd been in mind to share for a couple of months.     Court was over two hours.      I learned how to spell a gaelic harper's name correctly (filing it away for future reference) after court.     There were long discussions during dinner regarding several events, including Fools of Gotham.     Tiny Lass has agreed to coordinate the games (she and BSM were suggesting "Cheese Bocce" rather than Cheese-rolling, and perhaps "toss your rent down the hare/rabbit hole").    Conversations will need to continue.      The two of them pre-reg'd and were talking up the event at the mead-tasting party they went to after the dancing was over ( [profile] greenman73's plan for "shooting at the butts" is getting raves and giggles    8).     This made it easier to take when I was told that Crystal Snowflake Ball in Concordia is being planned for -- you guessed it -- April 5th.    sigh.    (The EKU made me a little madder since I'd really like to teach again at an EKU...)      

I was supposed to meet them at the mead-tasting after dropping stuph off in the room, but...damn, that bed looked good, and I was feeling cable-deprived (I get VHF plus local 24-hr news, TBS and  the Food Network) ... that was that    8)

Sunday morning I had a nice long tub soak   (accept no substitutes) before breakfast.     Some people were hustling to get on the road because of snow, others from snowier areas just looked out the window and shrugged  "What?"     I got to have a nice long musical talk with [personal profile] woodwindy  (which put Mina to sleep?   8)   while my companions breakfasted.      We had a nice peaceful drama-free drive to our respective homes.

It was a lovely weekend.

minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
...was lovely, she said, taking a break from looking up web-copies of Colonial documents relating to religious freedom (last website mentioned in passing that at one time, nine of the thirteen colonies had officially-endorsed state religions...um, oops...).

While I had very much enjoyed driving up to the event via the (new to me) Merritt Parkway  (lots of trees, rolling hills, light traffic, no visible heavy industry) ,  I didn't relish trying to find my way back to it through unfamiliar territory in the dark, so I stuck to the Interstates til I got back to the 3rd Avenue Bridge in Manhattan.

Time well spent    8)

minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
 When I realized this week that I could make it to Twelfth Night,  I saw the Aragon/Spanish theme in the event announcement.     While the repeated (albeit historically-accurate)  mention of  "celebrating having made Spain a Christian nation" made me a little queasy,  I also realized this might be a good opportunity to trot out the Spanish songs I'd collected....Oh...wait...

Fortunately,   [personal profile] shalmestere  pointed me towards the Choral Public Domain Library http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page  several years ago, and they had the songs, the tunes of which I knew by heart but not so much on the words.

I now have several copies of:

Ay Triste Que Vengo
Calabaza No Se Buen Amor
Hoy Comamos Y Bebamos 
Mas Vale Trocar
Pase El Agoa
So Ell Enzina  (For which I wrote English lyrics)
Una Sanosa Porfia (Which inspired/supplied the original melody for another song  8)

If anyone is going to be at Twelfth Night, I have copies to share.
minstrlmummr: (AAUGHH!!11!!!)
 Three weeks ago my friend BagLadyLorraine booked me for the busking job I did last year at the Phoenixville PA Firebird Festival (aka "Burning Bird"   8).      This year I may get a fee in addition to what I can get people to drop in my hat or pay me for CD's.    All seems good.

One of my favorite events of the last few years has been Bhakail Yule    (aka Branslers and Extended Family Christmas and Dance Music Jam).     I haven't seen  [personal profile] woodwindy  since before Mina was a bump   8(     I want to sing with  [profile] siobhan1214   and   [profile] t_bard   and  [personal profile] shalmestere  and  [personal profile] hudebnik   (although, fair's fair, the three of us can jam whenever the mood and the schedules allow   8)   and whoever else comes along.

You all know what I'm about to say, so I'm not gonna bother to say it    8(

All activities featuring the local Champions of Ahistorical Dysfunction are miserably spread throughout my calendar with no escape in sight.     If I want to see my friends  at all,  I'm still gonna have to leave Yule at 3 in the afternoon to go to work.

Anybody going to Hundred Minutes War?       I'll bring sheet music and a guitar....
minstrlmummr: (southparkme)
In between tent - bailing episodes (my tent is actually good sound canvas -- it just rained TOO #$%&!!!  MUCH ) several lovely things happened.    

Now if the sun could just return here the way it finally did in Slippery Rock...

minstrlmummr: (daffy lute)
Governor's Island, even with a steady sea breeze, was hot today.    The three of us were among the first ones there, and setup hummed along nicely.      There was a problem when we were told the field where they permitted us to set up did not in fact belong to NYC Parks or whoever but was Federal land, and so we moved and they helped.     Modern art was all over the place, including three life-size  metal rocking horses, and a wheeled sculpture with four manual scooters which played a piece of classical music when spun.    Art-festival denizens contain people whose interests overlap with many SCAdians (also Burning Man denizens), and the Chatelaine said it might be useful to look for other such festivals in the city.     There were fiber geeks and fencers and stone carvers and glass blowers / glasswork exhibitors (see below) and weapons collectors and "heavy" weapon fighters and mummers  ( *HI* ::::::waves::::::).    We were too close to the amplified music to make audible SCA - demo music.     We had a much larger crowd than the organizers expected (we were told that by the later hours, they were turning people away at the ferry because they were at maximum capacity for the return trips before 5 pm. (last ferry).   I had lots of customers to try on the masks, and (a first) lots of requests to take pictures of people wearing masks.    I got to see how several cameras worked but I behaved and returned them all afterwards.     My reputation as a low criminal entertainer-type is in tatters   8)
The other Big Problem of the day was that the glass blowers had been told they were permitted to practice said craft today, which necessitates a blowtorch flame.     Equipment was rented and hauled on-site.    Site management refused to permit flame of any kind -- not nowhere, not no how.   Glassblowing demo became finished - glasswork exhibit.    Cut to shot of frustrated glassblower stating, "If I'd known there was a problem, I could have done music."    Several serious discussions took place, hopefully all is improving.

The site is lovely, and the Feds who turfed us out wanted and received our contact info for future reference (apparently one of the rangers has been to Pennsic, or at least knows about it).    

Tear-down had to start at 3 pm, and we got packed in time for the 4 o'clock ferry.     Early supper followed.
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
Yesterday I finally made it to the Union Square Greenmarket.      It was hot and crowded  (I was outfitted for a show, maybe it wasn't all that hot and crowded...)     I missed the strawberries, but to my joy, black raspberries were everywhere.     One of the things I miss about the house I grew up in is the multiple patches of black raspberries.      I pounced.     Another booth had the miniature new potatoes [personal profile] shalmestere  talked about last month.    I just made it home in time to meet Mr. and Mrs. [profile] greenman73 for transport to their Love Nest Among The Eateries.    I packed masks and my good outdoor chair and sheet music for the Sunday demo. They made some very healthy meat sauce over veggies  for dinner  (I asked not to eat grains and they were very kind).      There was lots of music (including a 2000 Harpers' Retreat CD)  and I introduced them to cat macros, the favorites of which were    http://porchtalk.com/upload/files/12/proof.jpg   and http://a2.vox.com/6a00c2251d84868fdb00cdf3aad91acb8f-500pi  .

Demo report in separate post. 
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
My first sonnet.

From far-off days when fancy japed a hay
My weary spirit leapt, a home to see;
As kindred souls dared brave the glare of day
They open'd wide their welcoming arms to me.
Maturity descended all too soon;
Ungentle hands dealt tutelage unneeded--
As I heard clashing drums and sour tune,
I needed balm with bitterness unseeded;
My back must bring the joy I wish to find,
So hidden jaws and talons of this life
Our sweet pastimes, and sweeter companies, bind--
In such a Healing-House I'll weather strife;
              I teach and learn--for now and for all time,
             The hands that hold my Dream are none but mine.

minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
to [personal profile] hotspurreand [profile] scaharp, new Kings' and Queens' Bardic Champions!

Round One started with eleven competitors (including a singer all of eight years old!!), whittled down to seven, then the Final Four (also [profile] t_bardand Frau Baumhecker  8).      Performances took place in the sanctuary of the church where the event was held, and I didn't see/hear a bad performance in the lot.     Frau B in particular impressed me this day--she chose two pieces with which she was sufficiently comfortable to give a relaxed appearance onstage, and it made all the difference in the world!    I saw a number of entrants using pieces they knew well enough to take the performance to that next level--it definitely works, as well as being more professional artistically!    (also more like what an entertainer's persona would have done...)      I have heard sad things about the state of the performing art in other kingdoms, and I'm never more proud to be an Easterner than when I see this competition.

I got to do both the pieces I had prepared.    I also got to see two of the performers who'd come with me entertain at feast (concert got cancelled because everything else ran late...big surprise) and receive praises and largesse.     I hope they both compete locally and at Kingdom   8)

Full disclosure--I didn't have My Best Day.     Performing at feast helped to restore equilibrium a little (took my own advice and did the Dead Jester again).     I have much to ponder.
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
Today I went to St. Andrews' tourney for the first time.     They protected the hall and had indoor fighting.    (New heavy weapons champ) Afternoon dancing.   Merchants.    Mucho shmoozing.    Some performer networking and mutual feedback  (dance and drum which is great to watch but large enough to need its own stage manager.    Singer I hadn't met before doing Irish trad.  Lovely voice.).    Hot and sour duck soup (the kitchener had to do without the blood the recipe called for...something about the butcher not killing anything in this cold weather.   No Idea what he meant  8)    Gawumpkes (sp?).    Different sausages mit kraut.    Rutabagas.     Roasted pork with a crackling top.     

Last but not least, I got to audience-test "Pyramus and Thisbe".     Got lots of encouragement and some very useful, specific feedback which I can use during final rehearsals this week.     (My Coxcomb teachers were the ones who reminded us that professional live productions have out-of-town tryouts and previews to get this kind of feedback as well as knocking out bugs.)

Time and coin well spent   8)
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
Last night I ran what I hope will be the first of a number of regular Peformers' Circles (meant to include performers who do not necessarily perform in Bardic Arts). The turnout was small, should be better next month. A friend whose apartment is larger and more transit-friendly than mine was a most gracious hostess and her home is a source of some justifiable pride.

We talked a little about stage presence, and one girl who sings in and out of the SCA had a lot of questions and was open to some coaching (as soon as I find it, I'll get her a copy of Coxcomb's "Don't Forget The Audience".)    She's told me about a couple of problem areas, and we're working on some of that a little.    She will be singing at the evening concert at Noisemakers.      

There is another lady who also says she wants to learn from me.     Queens is harder for her to reach by train, so I did not see her last night but we're in regular correspondence.

Four and a half years ago I couldn't sing more than two songs without my throat hurting.

How the #^%&! did this happen?
minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)
Life has been hectic  this week, so I will be updating all at once now.

Last weekend, [personal profile] shalmestere and Dr. Science and the Things took me along to Concordia to attend Winter's Night.    We stayed with D and M and their girl Things, and Y was visiting.       I slept in a room with a fireplace, which was warm (I would say "it was cool", but, well...).    The event was a lot of fun; I had a chance to trot out  "The Green and The White" again and got a lot of helpful feedback--people were stretching themselves during the competition, doing works-in-progress, like that .     For me, feast was wonderful because almost everything was served warm.  Saw lots of people performing  their bardic best at the concert in the evening (Y's lament got me right here), plus I got to hear  [profile] jousterbard  sing for the first time, which was a treat because he doesn't always perform at events.

Sunday was relaxing and full of good food (I brought a Mississippi Mud Pie (from The Little Pie Company of the Big Apple), which cannot be sliced unless it's been warmed up first   8)   and music    (16th-Century French songs after the Loud Practice for Investiture--  [personal profile] woodwindy    ,   weeeee  miiiisssssed   yooouuuuuu....).     Last but not least, I got acquainted with some music I hadn't heard before during the trip up and back.     There was Sting doing Dowland (which I'd buy for the readings he did, although he still sang like he was doing his own songs),  Malicorne, and some very energetic ensemble called....Burlap Lute   8)


minstrlmummr: Line from Wonder Woman movie:  "What I do is not up to you." (Default)

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