Scottish & Irish folk songs combined with Lord of the Rings music and Celtic music fun at Renaissance Faires

Brobdingnagian Bards Tales

The latest music news, stories, and events of The Original Celtic Renaissance music group, the Brobdingnagian Bards. CELTIC GEEK at its Best! Find out more from the Nagians page.

This past weekend, we performed at the Austin Celtic Festival and had a smashing time. It was the first time that Andrew and I have performed at the festival, and it was also the first year that it was not rained out... Coincidence? I think not... Rather, I am beginning to believe Andrew when he says, "I'm Irish. I'm lucky...with anything but women!" :)

Seriously though, it was a great festival. A few thousand people showed each day and it was the first time the ACA actually made a profit. We also had the joy of sharing a booth and the stage with our good friends and headliners, The Rogues who put on their usual incredible performance! To see the way they stir up the crowd and get them dancing in the stands, they really are an amazing inspiration to me.

Some other highlights in my book would have to be the Blarney Brothers who put on an amazing performance. Whenever I think of the Blarney Brothers, I think of the Jolly Rogers up in Kansas City, you know, pirate songs, right? Wrong. The Blarney Brothers actually remind me more of The Saw Doctors. They perform some pirate songs, but they are all performed with a pop rock beat. They have some beautiful harmonies and just put on a fantastic show.

Spot was another simple joy for the show. He plays guitar and banjo and tells some great stories in between some fantastic Celtic songwriting. Oh, and Michael Fracasso, the token non-Celtic songwriter also was a pleasure to see. I remember hearing him on the radio a few years back and was sorely disappointed, but this weekend, I stopped and listened. He really is a fantastic songwriter and vocalist.

Our friends, Widening Gyre, debuted their first CD this weekend and did so with a wonderful show. Canadian-born musicians, David and Aditi are always fun to watch. And I got to hear a few new songs I hadn't heard before, played better than ever. I'm looking forward to hearing their CD soon as well.

I didn't get to see enough of their show, but B.D. Riley's favorites, Pubcrawler also debuted at the ACF for the first time as well. I saw their opening song. An original crowd-pleaser that had the audience shouting for more. They play every Friday at B.D. Riley's here in Austin and man, this is a performance you've got to witness! They have no CDs out yet, but the music is by far one of the best at the festival!

Now, the hardest working musician at the festival would have to be Wolf Loescher from
Jiggernaut. He also performed in other bands, including The Rogues this weekend, and the guy didn't stop to breathe it seemed. But I got a good dose of Deanna Smith, the lead vocalist, and an amazing singer at that.

We got to play the run of the festival, and yesterday, we were even sitting in between the two stages strumming away some great old songs for the enjoyment of passerbys. I guess the one major downside to it all was when the Entertainment Director told us we couldn't play "Patriot Game" due to it's political content.

It's kinda silly IMO, but understandable. I think the Ent. Dir. seems to think that we are volatile supporters of the IRA. "Patriot Game" is a song written at the beginning of this century in support of the IRA. The song was written by Dominic Behan, brother of Brendan. It tells the story of Fergal O'Hanlon from Ballybay, Co Monaghan, who tried to abolish the border between the Six Counties and the Republic. He was killed during the Brookborough attack at the age of 17. The song has become world famous and even Bob Dylan recorded a version in the 60's. It is undoubtedly one of the best ballads ever to come out of the Irish struggles.

Well to set the record straight, I am not a supporter of the IRA. I am not proud of the actions of England against the Irish, and I do support the freedom of Ireland, but I do not support that freedom or any freedom by terrorist actions! "Patriot Game" to me is a great song! That's it! And as a bard, I consider it my duty to preserve great songs like this one for our children's children. I hope you will consider that too in the future.

Okay, that's all for my soapbox today. Thanks to the many people who came out and heard our music and bought our CDs and T-Shirts. Thanks for the scores of new people who have joined the ranks of Nagians this week. And thank you for sharing the news about our music with your family and friends. Slainte'!

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--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Monday, November 05, 2001


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