Musical escapades

As the EARLY FOLK DUO, Gesine Bänfer & Ian Harrison worked as a duo on medieval music, folk songs from the Baroque era and their own compositions during the weeks when there were no performances during the Corona period. As a little window on the world during lockdown, we're posting it here with best regards. Enjoy listening!

We spent the last evening of the gloomy Corona year with Theodor Fontane's chilling ballad Silvesternacht (1851), set to the tune of 'Grim King of the Ghosts', first published on a ballad sheet in 1680. We are ready for times to get better!

As the EARLY FOLK DUO we play Kemp's Jig - a classic from John Playford's The English Dancing Master, a collection of dance music published in London in 1651. Will Kemp was a comedian in William Shakespeare's theater company. In 1600 he danced a jig from London to Norwich in nine days

Go no more a rushing - from our duo program Riddles & Reels - is an old riddle song that dates back to the 14th century. This melody comes from an English keyboard manuscript from the early 17th century. Have fun with it!

Les haulz et les bas - Lockdown Duo with Gesine Bänfer - bombard and Ian Harrison - shawm. We recorded this madrigal Quale lece move by Bartolino da Padova from the late 14th century for the Early Music Day on March 21, 2020. This was the first of our quarantunes.

Les haulz et les bas - Quarantune from the Middle Ages: Rostibolli Gioioso is one of the most popular courtly dances of the 15th century. Dance master Domenico da Piacenza was a dance teacher at the Este court in Ferrara and left a treatise with melodies and choreographies. We play on copies of 15th century harp and dulcimer.

Les haulz et les bas - Lockdown duo Gesine Bänfer and Ian Harrison with Jacopo da Bologna's madrigal Aquila altera in the decorated version from the Faenza Codex (15th century) on shawm and pommer. Have fun!


Les haulz et les bas - Lockdown Duo for bagpipes and shawm: Amor ch'al tuo sugetto, ballata by Francesco Landini (1325–1397)

Early Folk Duo - I will give my Love a Cherry is an old ballad that lives on in ever-changing form through the centuries. We dedicate this version to Fiona - the second of four daughters - who has now left home.

Old Sir Simon the King - a baroque hit and our quarantine of the week... "Singing makes a man laugh - and laughter long life does bring!"

Early Folk Duo - Quarantune: Gesine und Ian play the old English folk song Rue & Thyme: "There grows a flower in our garden called hope..."

Ian learned Polly put the kettle on from his parents, Brian and Margaret Harrison. The second tune is "Tormaid a bh'air a Ghille" or 'Willie made a wedding o't' from William Gunn's The Caledonian Repositary of Music Adapted to the Bagpipies published in Glasgow in 1843.

Beethoven's 250th birthday is canceled this year... so we celebrate a little with his Minuet in G major on two flageolets - Ian improvises a counterpoint :-)

One of the most painful cancellations we had in the Corona lockdown was a planned concert with Hirundo Maris in the beautiful church of Montserrat in Spain with music from the Llibre Vermell. A small consolation was the invitation from Arianna Savall and Petter Udland Johansen to play Stella splendens online with them. Also present: Pilar Figueras from Quebec - who inspired Ian to play medieval bagpipes in his youth...

Ensembles & Projekte:

Les haulz et les bas - Gothic and Renaissance Wind Music

ars supernova - medieval jazz –  an experience of timelessness...

The Early Folk Band - Ballads, Songs and Dance tunes from the Past