The Kenneth and Adelaide (Ken and Lisa Theriot) Show at Pennsic 40 was awesome. Here is a review that appeared in the Pennsic newspaper, The Pennsic Independent.
Theriots Resound at Performing Arts Pavilion: The Kenneth and Adelaide Show
An excellent concert took place Tuesday night at the Performing Arts Pavilion Tuesday Night.
Sir Kenneth and Mistress Adelaide (Ken and Lisa Theriot) draw on the history and stories of the Middle Ages for inspiration in their songwriting. Their best-known releases are Human History by Ken Theriot, in which the s0ngs are often organized around a real historical figure of incident, and The Keys of Canterbury by Lisa Theriot, which sometimes retells and sometimes riffs on the Canterbury Tales. The Theriots are a creative team in both performance and production; they sing and play on each other’s albums.
Besides their strong songwriting talents, what makes these two special is their vocal flexibility, their expressiveness and their sense of fun. Their performance was inviting and light-hearted, a sharing rather than a presentation.
On Tuesday evening, they performed their original works and a few traditional pieces with the support of, the lovely Michele Buzbee on vocals, the equally lovely HR Grimolfr Einarsson on vocals and guitar, and Master Cynric of Bedwyn on drums and percussion.
The first few numbers in the show, including the popular opener “Gaudete,” were chosen from the Theriots’ new CD, The Gifts of Midwinter. Introducing “Drink to the Holly Berry.” Mistress Adelaide explained, “We wanted a wassail song on the CD…We’re musicians, so we know how to beg for booze, which is what most wassail songs are.”
While the audience was enthusiastic from the first song, their energy took a further jump when Mistress Adelaide led off “The Tabard Inn” from The Keys of Canterbury. She drew the hall into the song’s energy and vivid comic portraits of Chaucer’s pilgrims.
Sir Kenneth replied in turn with his “Agincourt,” the tale of a squire who “seeks a chain and spurs of gold” in the service of King Henry V. The audience welcomed the energy of the battlefield as eagerly as they had the tavern.
Both Michele and Grimolfr ad a featured turn. Michele successfully taught the audience to sing a line of “Sumer Is Icumen In” and kept them in time and in tune while the performers sand the lead. THL Grimolfr took a solo with his guitar in “Raven Banner,” to which his clear dark tenor voice was admirably suited.
Mistress Adelaide sand the grisly “Seek the Reaper,” based on the Pardoner’s Tale, as if she were Death himself; her vengeful glee brought actual laughter in response to the dark parable. More laughter followed with “The Feast Song,” a compilation of all the strange and unappealing foodstuffs Sir Kenneth has even envountered at SCA feasts. The crowd eagerly supported the chorus.
The show closed with “Band of Brothers.” One of Sir Kenneth’s best-known pieces and a huge audience favorite. Its lyrics recapitulate the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Henry V. Listening storyteller Lord Maraha Kahanikr commented, “Who else could use Shakespeare and turn it into such a heartpounding anthem?”
The music of Ken and Lisa Theriot is produced by Raven Boy Music and is available at Camelot Treasures, merchant space #30.