Catching up with the Mediaeval Baebes
The Mediaeval Baebes a timeless treat of music, dance and theatre, as Heather Joy discovers
Most recognised for their title track to the renowned ITV series Victoria, the internationally acclaimed Mediaeval Baebes are once again returning to St Mary’s Church in Horsham, where they will escort their audience through a musical journey inspired by a time when poetry and music was created to invoke sensory pleasure.
But who are the Mediaeval Baebes and what has made this septet’s haunting vocal harmonies become renowned across the globe?
The Mediaeval Baebes began more than 20 years ago when a group of friends broke into a cemetery and sang together, clad in flowing white grounds and crowns of ivy. After three chart-topping classical albums, an Ivor Novello Award, numerous sell-out tours of the UK, USA, Europe and Asia, and most recently, two Emmy-Award nominations for their soundtrack to ITV’s hit period drama Victoria; the Mediaeval Baebes are established as one the most successful, female-led early music and folk ensembles in Europe.
Performing in many stunning and historically significant venues across the world, ranging from castles and caves through to nightclubs and renaissance fayres, some of their favourites have included Hampton Court Palace, Berkley Castle, The Royal Albert Hall, Chateau de Fontainebleau in France and Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall. In addition, the Mediaeval Baebes have also toured with Jules Holland, supported Michael Flatley in Hyde Park, performed at the The Game Of Thrones Festival in Canada and appeared as joint guests on a show with Meatloaf.
But as their ethereal harmonies transport the listeners through a myriad of ancient and forgotten languages, whilst being accompanied by a dazzling array of exotic and period instruments, this unique group of vocalists and musicians weave their story-telling magic through the original settings of mediaeval texts, traditional folk songs, nursery rhymes and carols.
This is a show that I cannot wait to see, and Katheryn Blake their musical director, composer and produce explains “Our new winter show is set to be a vibrant performance that will be moving, amusing, rousing and spell-binding. Our music comes alive when we sing in churches and cathedrals because it was designed to be sung there, so it really is mediaeval music coming home! We will be celebrating this magical time of year by performing Christmas carol classics from our top ten album Of Kings & Angels, in addition to songs from our new album A Pocketful of Posies, the uplifting title theme for ITV’s Victoria and some other contemporary and traditional songs.”
Their recently released A Pocketful of Posies album re-creates nursery rhymes as exquisitely arranged pieces for all ages to enjoy and may at first glance, appear to be a strange project to embark on. However, this album which is accompanied by a hardback book pull-out, with beautiful illustrations and an in-depth literary background on the featured nursery rhymes, celebrates the ancient teaching tools that run throughout our culture and folklore. Many of these you will be familiar with, but others have been lost in the mists of time and this edgy and mystic album has impressively created an important musical document of English folklore and history.
So the Mediaeval Baebes creatively combine music, dance and theatre. And, with mediaeval choreography, some fascinating historical facts and the occasional saucy joke, their enjoyment of all things mediaeval and love of music cannot help but captivate all who are lucky enough to see them perform.
The Mediaeval Baebes are really set to enchant and uplift their audiences in St Mary’s Church, Horsham on Saturday, December 7 so don’t miss this magical experience that will immerse your senses in a timeless treat of unique musical beauty.
Tickets are now available from www.mediaevalbaebes.com at a cost of £25 each.