Monday, October 27, 2008

Videos of Diabolis In Musica

Okay, after weeks of wrangling, we got all the tapes that people took of our shows at King Richard's Faire, and digitized them onto a computer. We then cut the best stuff down to our favorite songs, and put it up on You Tube. So far, we only have seven complete videos, but there are more being worked on. We have about 4 GB worth of video to go through, and what you see so far is merely one weekend's worth of tape.

You can check the videos out at the new official YouTube channel for Diabolis In Musica:

Alternatively, we have also embedded the videos on our Official Website:

Some notes:

  • Raven's Ballade

    On "Raven's Ballade", the song is medieval, but the original English Lyrics were full of words that nobody uses. "Twa Corbies" means "Tree Ravens" in Old English, and "dithers" refers to "innards", and there are other words that would require explaining to the audience. I've heard plenty of people just play the song with the original lyrics, but the story is a bit lost, since the audience doesn't know the meaning of the words, and would not sit still for a lecture on the word meanings. So I made new lyrics, based on the old ones, with modern words that people understand.

    Since the song is rather morbid and dreary (it ends with a maiden burying her husband, and then dyng herself,presumably of grief), and our band is comedic, we introduced it as a kid's song, "because it's got animals... and kids love stories about animals!", and then, as the grossest part of the song, Lady Jocelyn screams in protest. I invent new lyrics on the spot to make it less gruesome, all for laughs, of course.

  • Douce Dame Joliet

    In the middle of this song, Lady Jocelyn plays a solo... very badly! This was intentional. Watch how the dancer reacts to the dissonant notes!

  • Falkenlied

    This song is a real medieval song from the 14th century. It's a happy tune, but the original lyrics were downbeat, and about infidelity and how a man's wife leaves him because he doesn't treat her well. Since this isn't really a happy topic, I decided to take a theme from the original song (Training a Falcon, then losing it), and I made up new lyrics to tell a funny story that audiences would like. The music is true to the original, though.

  • Eisbärentanz

    This song is one of our signature medleys, and was played at the end revels of the faire, in which all the musicial acts show up, and play one last time before closing. The boar's head theater is the location, which we loved to play at, because it's curved shell-design allowed us to work without amplification, even with soft numbers. It's also one of the biggest crowds we saw, and we played it a little faster than usual.

  • Cantiga 100

    Cantiga 100 is a real medieval song, written by King Alfonso Xavier X of Spain in the 13th century. It's notable for having an A-part that's in a major chord, and B part that's in a minor part, which is unusual to today's ears. We decided to stage it as a battle between the parts, with the A part being dainty, and the B part being rowdy and obnoxious. Listen to how Lady Jocelyn describes the sound of a Rauschpfeife.

  • Nonesuch

    Nonesuch was the band's first song, and is our most popular number. I used to randomly play different tunes that fit with the 4/4 beat, but we eventually settled on a consistant medley where the same songs are played every time. Nonesuch is an English Country dance from the 1600s. Saltarello I, the second song in the medley, is a long-popular medieval dance song. "Dödetium" is the third song in the medley, and was simply selected because it kind of fit, and allowed for a drum break. We conclude every show with Nonesuch, and usually, dancers come and join us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

King Richard's Faire is finally over!

And boy, are we beat! This was the biggest weekend we've seen. Attendance was huge, and we got seen by hundreds of people every day. The place was mobbed to the extent that you could hardly walk around because people were in lines waiting to get to various attractions.

On saturday, we played to some of the most packed shows of the season. We're new, so lots of people don't know us yet, but we got a lot of tips and cheers. We saw a lot of people taping and taking pictures, too. it was very encouraging. We noticed that several people came back for a second show, too.

At the end revels, we played our weird version of Platerspiel, which got some "WTF" looks from a lot of people. They didn't know what to make of it. Our version of the song is done with Rauschpfeife and Hurdy-Gurdy, as opposed to the traditional bagpipe duet that most bands to. It sounds very strange, and we bang our heads like heavy metal musicians during the fast part, which makes it even stranger, but funny, because people don't expect medieval music to rock.

At the gate closing, we had our first time ever where the whole band was able to show up. We played a few of our numbers, and used the opportunity to practice some new material, like Bransle Burgunde. All in all, Saturday was great. We got home tired and aching as usual, but thrilled that it turned out well.

Sunday was equally fantastic. It was packed just as much as Saturday, and we made about the same in tips. We invited dancers and children on the stage with us to be our "Diabolettes", quite out of the blue. It just sort of happened, and so we continued inviting people up on stage to dance while we played. We played Eisbaertanz for the end revels, and the crowd loved it.

Monday, our last day of the Faire, was the best of all. We ran the Musicians of the Realm, just as we did the first weekend. The magical Madrigals played a few English carols on kazoos, and it was hilarious, because they did it all so well, and it sounded like a consort of crummhorms. As we left, all the actors stopped us to let us know ho much they appreciated us and what we did. It felt really good. The Entertainment coordinator told us that they'd like us back next year (and no audition required, either). We know we'll do it, but we don't know about doing it every weekend yet. It certainly was a lot of work, and we're all tired. Perhaps money may convince us.

We are planning on spending the next few months recording a CD to sell at future shows. We can make hundreds more per show that way. All the hard work seems to be paying off. I think we're a success.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our performances at King Richard's Faire

Well, our run of King Richard's Fair is almost over, and it's been plagued by bad weather. We had one whole weekend cancelled due to rain (The remains of Hurricane Ike), and had one day where the fair decided to open in the rain, because the rain was dying down, but attendance was extremely low.

Not a lot of people have seen us as a result, and we've only seen one review on a rennie board, which gave us a "wow" review.

So here is how everything went so far.

On the weekend of Aug 30, 31, and Sept 1:

Our debut weekend was prepared for by having band members go to the fair a week before the show, and scope out the stage. We were told that we needed to be amplified, because the stage is in an open area, and sound doesn't travel far. The stage is electrified, so we looked where the power outlets were, and made sure that we had enough cables to reach everything. We also had to map out where we were going to stand, as we had to ensure enough room for the dancer.

Our first weekend had slight misty showers, but thankfully they stopped in time for our shows. We performed 4 shows, and got a sort of feel for which songs people liked, and which ones they didn't. After the first day, we realized that the March of Cambreadth was not a hit. Part of the reason is due to the fact that it's got a few strong words in it, and it's all about blood and war. With lyrics like "Send these bastards back to hell!" and "fight till everyone is dead!", parents with children could be seen picking up their kids and moving away. So we abandoned that number.

Since I had injured my Achilles tendon a week earlier, I wasn't able to dance around much at all, and was sort of stiff while playing. Fortunately, I wasn't in too much pain, but I played it safe to prevent re-injury.

On the second day, we were asked to take over the "Musicians Of The Realm" part of the show, which is a slot where all the music acts show up at the end of the day, and do impromptu jams. We had no idea what we were supposed to be doing, but we fell into the role quite well, and the other musicians really loved us. We played along with several musicians, and made new friends. By the third day, we were being stopped around the fair by various performers and they complimented us, which felt really good. Sometimes, a few good words really makes up for lack of pay.

On the weekend of Sept. 13 & 14:

We returned to soggy weather. We heard that the weekend before, one which we were not scheduled to play, that the fair actually closed due to rain. They were expecting to close on Saturday, because it was pouring. We all huddled in the barn, and waited for the official word on what would happen. As the time approached 11:00am, the rain started to taper off, and they said the Faire would open.

As we set up our stuff on the stage, the rain started up again, and we put our instruments back in their cases, and moved everything under a nearby roof. Fortunately, the roof we sheltered under was an un-used food court stall, and it was not scheduled to be open all day. We got permission to play there, since the rain was not stopping. The attendence that Saturday was terrible. It looked like only about 50 patrons showed up. Fortunately, our shelter allowed us to play without amplification. At the time slot of our first performance, the rain got rather heavy, and patrons sheltered under the roof with us. We took this opportunity to perform a nice close and personal show for the people, of both our usual numbers and some impromptu jams. People really liked it, and near the end of the performance, the rain stopped, and we were able to do some bagpipe numbers.

This weekend, my Achilles tendon was much better, and I danced around with my pipes, which seemed to really improve the act. From that point on, I made sure to dance around during all the bagpipe numbers.

Sunday was clearer, and there was no rain. We seemed to repeat our success of the previous weekend, albeit, the damp weather didn't help.

On The Weekend of Sept. 27 & 28:

Rain, rain, and more rain! The remnants of Hurricane Ike were over New England, and the fair was called off. We stayed home watching the weather reports, but there wasn't any encouragement. We were slightly disappointed.

On The weekend of Oct. 11 - 13:

As we approach the last weekend of the fair, the weather forecast is clear and dry, and only slightly cloudy. We're preparing to make this last weekend work well, by having a large banner draped on the front of the stage, as well as planning on some new numbers to do for the Musicians of the Realm and the closing ceremonies. The Faire decided to stay open for another weekend to make up for all the closings, but we already had other plans made, since we had to put aside all of our weekend time for the fair. We're hoping to get some videotaping done, so we have video to send around to other faires, and for publicity. We want this final weekend to go out with a bang, and be remembered so we can get better paying gigs in the future.