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.

And more from I-Con
Well obviously being brain-dead still from the weekend, I've got to mention a few more things that are important and fun from I-Con.

First, an exceptionally special thanks to our bard booth babes, Kate and Chelsea. They did an amazing job helping us out at the table. If you see either of them at ANY time in the future, give them a great big bardic bear hug. :)

Second, Karaoke Elves. Yes, we went downstairs at one point and sang along with Kyara, Brother Bart, Starshadow, and their Elven brothers and sisters of FALO (Fantasy and Legends Organization). They had our CD playing "Wild Rover", so we all sang along with us... bards and elves... together again.

Third, our Nagian Gathering Sunday night was a blast. A whole mess of Nagians made it out. I think Debbie is supposed to provide photos at some point. So stay tuned. Also got a bunch of photos from pasts I-Cons from Filker and Photographer, Lenny. Haven't had a chance to look at them yet, but I'll post 'em ASAIC (as soon as I can).

Oh, and speaking of filk, had a great time Saturday night at filking. Kyara brought the belated b-day cheese cake. I was voiceless, but got everyone singing along to my "Wild Kitty" parody. Heard a very funny filk about a Voltaire and a Con Girl. (part of what made "Ducats" so much fun on Sunday)

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Wednesday, March 31, 2004
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The Bubblewrap Jig at I-Con
Well, it seems Andrew beat me to a detailed description of the event. But he left off one very important memory--the Bubblewrap Jig. Thanks to those who reminded me.

We were jamming at our table, playing lots o'upbeat songs when folks started joining in. First it was percussion. Then Voltaire joined in with Bubblewrap while we started playing, "Donald, Where's Your Trousers Medley". We extended it a bit when folks started dancing. Then Voltaire set the bubblewrap on the ground, and a nice bubblewrap jig ala Riverdance started up. It was hilarious.

Oh, and I got give another plug to Emerald Rose who have a song I just absolutely love! I don't even know the name, but it's a song about Enterprise and involves T'Pol and disinfectant gel. It's freakin' hilarious!!! Can't wait till they get that recorded.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Wednesday, March 31, 2004
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From ICON to Post-Con
What an amazing weekend. ICON was the first convention we ever played at and it still holds a place in our hearts. All the people up there are just wonderful and we had loads of fun. It is odd that such a great weekend started with a day of problems.

Due to a clerical error, and yes it was actually my fault, we missed our flight so we had to take a later flight which meant two things occurred.

1. We didn't get to set up our table on Friday since we didn't get in till 10pm.
2. I didn't get to play Celebrity Poker with the media guests.

Now the second one really disturbs me since they were playing Texas Hold-em and I felt I had a responsibility to show that Texas was in the name for a reason. Ah well... as Whittier said, "Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, it might have been." But I wanted to play poker with Peter Jurasik from Babylon 5!!!!! Sometimes poetry fails to capture the disappointment.

Everything else was great though. The shows were some of the silliest we have ever had. I do though wish that everyone would stop suggesting hedgehogs for Ducats every time!!! I may have to institute a ban here.. *grin* We had so much fun playing music and jamming with Emerald Rose at the hotel Sunday night. Great bunch of guys. To let everyone know, I am working on more gigs up there so stay tuned.

--posted by Andrew of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Monday, March 29, 2004
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Share your show reviews!
Slowly, but surely the Bard Forum is growing. Drop on by and share your reviews of our recent shows so others can know how they went.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Wednesday, March 24, 2004
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We're Second Best!

Brobdingnagian Bards Voted Second Best Folk Band in Austin

What a pleasant surprise! On St Patrick's Day, we played for a few hundred cheering Celtic music lovers at the Irish Dragoon Pub in Killeen. The next day, we learned we were voted the second best folk band in the Live Music Capital of the World via the Austin Music Poll.

Second best might mean nothing to some, but for us, it's the culmination of five years introducing Austinites to fun Celtic folk music. It began with a daily performance on the South Mall of UT Austin--a tradition that lasted two years. Since then, we’ve played at festivals and conventions from coast to coast, including a showcase at SXSW, and most recently, a wild performance at a Lord of the Rings Oscar Party in Hollywood after LOTR swept the Oscars.

While we may be an unsigned band, we've successfully released six studio albums, sold over 5,000 CDs, and had over five million MP3s downloaded. I guess it just goes to show that it doesn't take a big budget, a label, or even having "radio-ready" music to make a difference to people. All it takes is a sincere desire to entertain and make music that your fans will enjoy.

So to our many fans in Austin and around the world who voted for us in the Austin Music Poll, Andrew and I would like to say, "Thank you!"

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Friday, March 19, 2004
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Radio Rivendell adds Bards to their Lineup
Actually, we've been on Radio Rivendell for a while, but I just found out about it this week. I'm sending them Memories of Middle Earth so they'll have a lot more music to choose from. If you like LOTR music, you'll love this station.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Friday, March 19, 2004
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St Patrick's Day and the Austin Music Awards
What a great way to celebrate my birthday! We had one wild exciting evening at the Irish Dragoon Pub in Killeen last night. There were a couple hundred folks packed into the pub singing, clapping, drinking, and having as great a time as we did.

I want to thank everyone who came out. You made it a very special evening that left us wired all the way home.

And to top it off, I learned that we were voted the Second most-popular folk group in Austin in the Austin Music Awards!

A special thanks to everyone who voted in January. Next year, we'll show Austin what we're all about!

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Thursday, March 18, 2004
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St Patrick's Day - Fantasy vs Fact
Find out where the craic is, brush up on your knowledge of Saint Patrick and the Irish, and perhaps you can learn a bit of local slang while you're there. Find out more about St Patrick's Day now.

A St Patrick's Day Poem. Last year, we had a wonderfully busy St Patrick's Day performing throughout Central Texas. It inspired me to write this wee poem about what St Patrick's Day means to others.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Wednesday, March 17, 2004
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Excalibur is magically reborn
What a great start to another year at our home faire, Excalibur Fantasy Faire! I wasn't quite ready for the year to begin. So much to do and so little time. So I was a wee bit surprised when the year started up without me being ready, but despite the taunts of rain it was a fantastic weekend.

If you were turned off by the threat of storm, big mistake. It rained at night, but the days were good English weather--dark, overcast, and cool. I expected more rain than there was, but the weather was held at bay allowing us to have a delightfully, relaxing weekend.

Saturday morning we had a packed show at the Royal Oak stage by front gate. A whole slew of people showed up. Shows are short, but we played some old favorites mixed with a bunch of new ones from our upcoming Real Men Wear Kilts CD (still in production).

A few shows were kinda slow, but we made some changes on Sunday that helped improve the performance at the Golden Cockrell on Sunday. It was a joy to see all our wonderful friends out there. Comraderie is what I love best about this small faire, and it was plentiful.

Oh, and Hagar Hahn became our first contributing patron for the Real Men Wear Kilts CD, and we've just barely scratched the surface of starting the album! Thanks Hagar!

All in all a beautiful start to a great faire. Meantime, we are looking for folks to help promote us out at Excalibur. Check the Bard Forum for details. The faire really needs a big year, so please come out if ye can and tell All your friends about the best little Renaissance festival in Texas.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Monday, March 15, 2004

Join our Street Team!
We're attempting to do a bunch of promotion for some upcoming gigs. We're looking for folks who'd be interested in helping out.

I posted info about what we're looking for in our new forum.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Thursday, March 11, 2004
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Hollywood from Andrew's Point of View
I'm glad I waited a few days to write this because to be blunt, I needed the rest.

Marc wrote a huge essay on the trip so I can only add a few memories and say that I concur that the trip was wonderful. It was funny seeing the T2 show at Universal Studios that Arnold Schwarzenegger acted for several years ago. Let's just say that the Governor jokes were flying from everyone in the place. Parking was a $@#&% or in other words NOT EASY! There is definitely a style to L.A. that is difficult to describe. I would need to spend lots of time there to even have a shot at it. Everyone at the party was wonderful and the fact that they all loved our music didn't hurt either. Really though, I do want to emphasize that we had a magnificent time and Peter Jackson needs to get busy with the Hobbit so we can go to that Oscar party.

As far as California goes to fans around there, I received many suggestions and will be looking at other gigs and venues there. So in the immortal words of the Governor, I'll be back!

--posted by Andrew of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Wednesday, March 03, 2004
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Bards Out on the Porch Now Available to Watch
If you were waiting for our live interview with KXAN News 36 regarding our trip to Hollywood. You can now watch it direct from the KXAN website.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Tuesday, March 02, 2004
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Going to Hollywood for the Into the West LOTR Oscar Party!
What an amazing weekend! Now, where do I begin...?

Hollywood was awesome! Ye know, I didn't really expect to enjoy the city as much as I did. I had quite a very negative stereotypes towards the Los Angeles area, but now I see why people flock to that city and California in general. There's definitely something out there that gets under your skin.

We arrived Friday a bit later than I hoped, but we spent some time driving around and familiarizing ourselves with the area. Those famous streets flew by: Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd, Vine... on and on. It was a bit late when we finally arrived at a Motel 6 just four blocks from the Oscar ceremonies. We crashed hard.

Visiting Universal Studios
But we got up fairly early on Saturday. We had big plans. First, we went walking down Hollywood Blvd chatting about all the stars at our feet. We stopped at a wee restaurant and had breakfast with Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge's stars while we sat on the sidewalk in the cool brisk air and watched passerbys.

Fortunately, it had a rained the day before, so the sky looked like the Texas sky had come to L.A.. It was a beautiful baby blue.

Then up we walked up to the Kodak Theatre, took some pictures, and saw a few shops before we made it to a beautiful, scenic view of the big Hollywood letters where Dr. Evil makes his lair.

Then off we went to meet up with my friend Rimbo as the three of us went to Universal Studios for the afternoon.

First BIG suggestion. If you ever go to Universal Studios, remember two things. First, it's a theme park. I was a wee bit disappointed since although there were a lot o'cool shows, what I really wanted was to tour the studios. Think they offered that, but didn't want to shell out the $139 for it.

Second, get the Front of the Line Pass. I hate lines with a passion. This sweet little pass got us in to every show first. We walked by hundreds of folks laughing and smiling as we passed people. It's well-worth the extra thirty dollars! Yeah, the place is expensive as is ($50 tickets), but for $30 more you will be able to see the whole place in a day and NOT have to wait in line!

I totally dug the Shrek attraction and the T2 show as pretty sweet as well. The whole afternoon as a big inspiration for me. It's amazing how these studios have gone about to promote their movies. It's just brilliant.

The Pre-Into the West Oscar Party
After we got back from Universal Studios, I took a brief nap before we headed over to the Hollywood Athletic Club for our show. People were already starting to gather around 7ish when we arrived.

I gave Rimbo my camera to take pictures of this pre-Oscar Party which he did quite well. Unfortunately, totally forgot to bring out the camera on Sunday evening. Ah well...

We were extremely anxious to play, but not supposed to go on until after some Tolkien poetry readings after 10pm. So we chatted with folks, and then as our showtime approached and passed, we decided to just go ahead and play music while we waited in the hall.

Folks were gathered from all around the world: Los Angeles, Utah, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, London, Austria, New Zealand... Met a few people from right here in Dallas, San Antonio, and even Austin too.

I'm glad we put on this mini-show, because around 11:15pm, we found out that there was an error and that the event was supposed to end AT 11pm! They talked the Club into keeping it open till midnight, but that meant our set was to be cut wayyy short.

So we put on a fiery 30-minute show with poor sound, but an excited audience. Everyone seemed to leave on-fire!

The Big Day of the Oscars
We awoke a bit later on Sunday and returned to have breakfast with Bellafonte and Dandridge and started perusing the streets with me dressed in my Clan Gunn finest kilt. The streets were a bit busy. It was amazing to see people packed at the corner of Hollywood and Highland trying to catch a *glimpse* of someone famous. But security was tight, so there was not getting too close.

After a bit o'a walk around, we decided to visit our good friends, Emerald Rose. They were performing for their second year at TheOneRing.Net Oscar Party that evening. I wish I could've seen that even too. They're just an incredibly fun Celtic group. We went out and joined them in the hot tub as we all relished the fact that we were in Hollywood playing for Oscar Parties (c'mon, it's just too cool!), before duty called us back to our respective events.

After getting ready, we headed back to the Hollywood Athletic Club. The place was already full of people waiting for the Oscars to begin. Black ties, beautiful dresses, exquisite costumes. Energy was high.

We hobnobbed with a huge number of folks from various Tolkien groups online, made some great connections for other possible LOTR events in the near future, as we waited for it to begin.

I gotta say that there's nothing like a few hundred people gathered together cheering every time a LOTR category was mentioned... and won! Wow! The celebration was dumbfounding. During commercials, swords, and books, and Tolkien art were given away.

Course my favorite part of the Oscars was when Mickey and Mitch played "Kiss At the End of the Rainbow". I was yelling "autoharps rule!" for my part. ;) We even talked about performing a bit of it during our set later, but slipped my mind when show time arrived.

Finally, the anticipation grew as we racked up more and more awards. Andrew made the comment at one point that the only worry after winning so many awards was that we wouldn't win best picture!

Course by the end, everyone went wild! Cheering, hugs, salutes, and non-stop fun kicked as Kevin Henry started the music part of the evening with a short folk set of music inspired by Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

We took the stage and had people rolling laughing and cheering with a wonderful mix of drinking sing-a-longs and some of our best sci-fi, fantasy filks. But for me, the classic point of the evening was while we were playing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" and Andrew comically dedicated it to all the poor movies that were up against The Lord of the Rings at the Oscars. There was a uproar of laughter that rang loud and had me busting up on stage as well!

With our show finally over, we kicked back and relaxed as Avalon Rising kicked it into full-gear with a powerful mix of Celtic rock music reminiscent of Jethro Tull. That was a blast. I'd heard so much about them since the days when they were all over the charts, and chatted with singer and harpist, Margaret Davis, quite a bit. Killer to see them live at last.

The evening flew by way too quickly. Before we knew it, it was almost closing time at 1am. Sadly, none of the LOTR cast made it out to the Party, but that didn't stop it from being one wild, exciting evening!

But ye know the funniest thing of all is that we actually didn't see one celebrity during our visit... until we got off the plane in Austin and saw Jason Lee from Dogma out gathering his bags.

Ah, well, it was an incredible adventure. Now I just need to catch up on my sleep and try see what I forgot to mention. Slainte!

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Tuesday, March 02, 2004
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