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.

Back from Louisiana, I Guar-an-tee!

We had a marvelous time last weekend in Louisiana. There must've been forty or fifty people piled into Jamie Hauser's wee cottage as we performed our first house concert in Louisiana. But it wasn't just the performance that was the cool part. It was the whole experience.

We arrived on Friday evening after a lonnng car drive to East Louisiana. Had a marvelous gumbo dinner and enjoyed the kind hospitality of Jamie and her husband Bob. The food, as usual, was delicious. We chatted about Jamie's frequent trips to Russia and even Bob and I even had a wee political debate. Obviously, we were both fairly well stuck in our ways. ;)

Next morning, I awoke early had coffee with Jamie out on her porch. She has a huge secluded back yard, with deer running through, and hummingbirds. We sat and dreamt about winning the lottery and owning our own faires. I related my excitement about heading to Italy next year for Carnevale. She talked about her travels and amazing life. It was very peaceful, and something I'll cherish for years to come.

Around noon, faire folk started arriving. The show served a dual purpose as a Louisiana Renaissance Festival costume preparation and cast group entertainment, which is one of the things Jamie does as the Assistant Entertainment Director of LARF.

Folks gathered and we got to meet a lot of wonderful people and see many of our friends we met last year at faire. Oh! And we stopped by the LARF festival site to see what was new. Bob was out there building Jamie's wee Renaissance cottage at the side of the lake. Beautiful wee building, and she's also hoping to turn it into another little stage.

Sounds like there are a lot of changes coming to the faire too, including moving stages and what not. They've a lot o'work ahead, but there seems to be a really great crew out there working and building it all up.

Well, come evening, the place was packed! Our artistic friend, Marrus arrived for the show. I spent some time with the LARF Queen and her entourage chatting, and also a bit o'time with ethnobotanical fiddler friend, Stephanie, watching some movies on Jamie's computer, or wandering around listening to Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton on the speakers.

Finally, show time came. We were all set too. We had Katie's (Jamie's daughter) face taped to a cardboard cut out of Legolas, which was all we needed to start the show. If Andrew or I had remembered to carry a time piece, we might not've power driven our way through well over two hours of music, with people laughing and clapping throughout. But hey... I'm not complaining, because it was a blast!

Folks were really seemed to dig, "Lily the Pink", "Jedi Drinking Song", and one of our newest that we learned from Boogie Knights, "Exclamations." I was wishing we actually DID bring the sound equipment, because it would've made a brilliant recording. But the sound in Jamie's house was pristine. Traveled so well. Course it helps that we're used to performing at faires and belting out our vocals.

After the show, I collapsed to recover. I was wiped, but the party didn't end. I was brought some Scotch and wine, and people partied till the wee hours. At one point, I remember coming out and hearing Andrew on the guitar. Sheesh! I never knew he played guitar so well!!! Guess that comes from years of jazz band.

I crashed fairly early. Aside from being exhausted, I was also hoping to spend another quite morning on the porch with Jamie. And I did. Pancakes and packing and we were on our way home.

Way too short a weekend, but it went so well, we're looking forward to doing some more. We'll be back at Louisiana Renaissance Festival for one weekend this fall, and may also do some other shows in New Orleans if we can get it all rolling. Meantime, we'll have many, many fond memories on our drive to Georgia this weekend.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Tuesday, July 27, 2004
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Synchronicity and The Chalice Well

Way back in the early days of the Brobdingnagian Bards, when we were still trying to figure out if we were gonna keep the long band name, we were also trying to find a cool logo.

I spent many hours making tiny pencil sketches filled with autoharps and recorders and mandolins, Oh My!

Then one day, while walking under the huge Live Oak during the first season of Excalibur Fantasy Faire, I happened to glance at my then-girlfriend's earrings. They were really cool looking. They were circular, had a copper color to them and a great design.

When I got home, I jumped onto Adobe Illustrator and recreated the image on my computer. I showed it to Andrew. He thought it looked good too, so it became the Bard Logo.

Six months later, we finished recording Marked By Great Size. You see, the original Bard CD labels were not only individually named and numbered, they also hosted the Bard Logo when we took them to Things Celtic to put on consignment. I remember feeling quite proud as I showed off my handywork. They nodded with approval and said they thought that the logo was actually a Medieval design.

Medieval, really? Could be?

Another year passed before a fan revealed to us the secret of our logo. "Yeah, that's The Chalice Well. It was a part of the King Arthur legends."

All of a sudden, I realized the synchronicity of the situation. Our first Renaissance Festival was Excalibur Fantasy Faire, an arthurian-themed Ren Faire. And our logo, by chance, happened to be straight out of the mythos.

Now, I've long been a fan of King Arthur legends. I even remember listening to a taped reading of Malory's "Le Morte D'Arthur" during my summer breaks in Italy. But I never really got that deep into the lore. Now, here it was, staring us in the face.

I sometimes joke that since I was born on St. Patrick's Day and of Scottish descent, I was destined to play Celtic music. Be it destiny or synchronicity, it seems to me there is more at work here than just two bards trying to make a modern living of an ancient tradition.

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Thursday, July 15, 2004
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The Year of the Kilt

I love free stuff. I've given away MP3s, CDs, stickers, t-shirts, you name it. But it's the free stickers that have become one of my favorite freebies of recent.

I don't even remember where we got that slogan. I think it was thrown around on our Nagians discussion group. But last year, we started giving away free stickers that read "Real Men Wear Kilts".

We just wanted something to promote the Brobdingnagian Bards. These days, we pretty much only wear kilts at gigs. It seemed like a natural slogan, especially as much as I dance on stage, kilt swaying, women trying to look for a blue ribbon.

Any case, our first run was just a thousand stickers. We gave the free stickers away from our website with a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. I was pretty surpised at how quickly they disappeared. I think the first batch was gone in three months.

So I decided to get serious. I hired fantasy art guru, Jen Clower-Brown to create a new design. I ordered another thousand stickers. This one disappeared in two months!

I was blown away! This was pretty much a vanity project. I don't think we make a dime on these stickers. In fact, I had to really talk Andrew into agreeing to print two thousand more since we were losing money. But it's promotion. So he finally agreed.

It helped that one day, I had a brainstorm. We were already planning on making our next CD an album of Scottish folk music. The tentative title, Songs of Scotland, would match our Irish folk song CD, Songs of Ireland. But the more I think about it, the more happy I am we scrapped that first CD title.

It kinda hit me like a baseball in the head. "Duh, Marc! Real Men Wear Kilts."

I mean, we've been doing all this promotion for this Scottish CD using that slogan. Why not just name the CD "Real Men Wear Kilts." And that's what we're doing.

We're now into our fourth printing of stickers. That means, over four thousand stickers are already decorating the cars, books, computers, and instrument cases of America. And there seems to be no end in sight. Which is grand!

So 2005, we're declaring "The Year of the Kilt". So hit your local kilt retailer, don your plaid, and show your Kiltic colours. And to start it off, don't forget to pick up your copy of our free stickers, "Real Men Wear Kilts. OH! And now you can order a hundred stickers at a time for just thirty bucks!

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--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Thursday, July 08, 2004
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Bard Limited Edition CD Search Underway

In 1999, we recorded and released our first CD, Marked By Great Size. We didn't have the money or a fanbase to really mass-produce the album. So instead Andrew burned the CDs at his home and printed paper CD labels of each CD. I then photocopied the black and white cover at Kinkos and assembled the cases.

But we were planned ahead. Each CD label was individually numbered and named. Such that you could find the "The Galway Album - 1 of X." I don't remember the exact CDs made though Andrew has a copy of that information.

I also inserted a proof of purchase underneath the CD tray. You'll have to disassemble the CD case to find it.

Now, several years later, the CD has been discontinued, but I'm curious what has happened with all those CDs. If you purchased one of those early copies of Marked By Great Size, please drop me an email. Tell me which CD you have. And if you can mail in your Proof of Purchase, we'll send you a special thank you gift. If you have one of these early albums, but can't find your Proof of Purchase, let me know, and I'll show you how to find it.

To you early-adopters and to everyone who's supported our music over the years. Thank you!

--posted by Marc Gunn of the Brobdingnagian Bards, Celtic Folk Music
  Thursday, July 01, 2004
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