Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, the Hurdy-Gurdy!


I asked the multi-talented musician Robert Resnik (who knows how to play more than 30 instruments) for recommendations on hurdy-gurdy music. Resnik pointed me to Nigel Eaton. If you've ever listened to a Loreena McKennitt album or some of Robert Plant's and Jimmy Page's music in the mid-nineties, you've probably heard Nigel Eaton. [03/11/08 Corrected to add: Ben Grossman is Loreena McKennitt's hurdy gurdy player.] Eaton's MySpace page has free music downloads and links to videos of him playing onstage with McKennitt and Plant/Page.

Last evening, Lucia was running and dancing around the house singing, "It's a wheel-fiddle! It's a hurdy-gurdy!" I called her a "hurdy-gurdy girl," and she retorted, "I'm not a hurdy-gurdy girl-- I'm Lucia." Still, I think she hasn't been this thrilled about an instrument since she heard about the bouzouki via Rosemary Wells's My Kindergarten.* Then again, when a little two octave piano entered our house, she woke up at midnight, singing, "Pi-a-no! Pi-a-no!" and didn't go back to sleep until 2 a.m.

*Pssst: follow the link here to download free songs that accompany the book (no hurdy-gurdy music that I know of). Thank you, Judy Freeman and Hyperion. Judy deserves a blog post all her own...

03/11/08 Update: In the comments section, a reader named Scott writes: For music look into Patrick Bouffard (the best player in the world), Blowzabella, Gille Chabernaz, Le Brayauds, Matthais Loibner, and Tarif De Nuit. Most Renaissance and Medieval music will fit in the range of the instrument or transpose to fit. By the way the HG player for Loreena McKennit is Ben Grossman who is a great player in his own right from Canada. If I read correctly you are in Seattle which is the HG Mecca of the US. Olympic Music is there as well as the Over the Water Hurdy Gurdy Festival every September.

5 comments:

HipWriterMama said...

What an interesting looking instrument. Thanks for sharing this!

jules said...

So, that's what one looks like?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HWM: You're welcome! I think it has a really cool sound.

Jules: You were expecting a barrel-organ, yes?;)

Scott said...

For music look into Patrick Bouffard (the best player in the world), Blowzabella, Gille Chabernaz, Le Brayauds, Matthais Loibner, and Tarif De Nuit. Most Renaissance and Medieval music will fit in the range of the instrument or transpose to fit. By the way the HG player for Loreena McKennit is Ben Grossman who is a great player in his own right from Canada.
If I read correctly you are in Seattle which is the HG Mecca of the US. Olympic Music is there as well as the Over the Water Hurdy Gurdy Festival every September.

Scott

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Scott: Thanks so much! I really appreciate all of these resources. I'll amend my blog post to reflect that the HG player for Loreena McKennitt is Ben Grossman (though I did see videos of Eaton playing live for McKennitt). As I understand it, the Over the Water Hurdy Gurdy Festival is for HG players, not listeners-- is that correct?