Banquo Folk Ensemble
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About Us
The Players
The Music
Our Instruments




Everything you always wanted to know about
Banquo but never thought to ask...

Banquo plays (mostly) folk music and early music from (mostly) all over Europe, (mostly) from about the 12th century to present day.

harper & piper imageWe started out in the summer/fall of 1998, playing primarily Irish traditional music, and wanting to explore a fusion with early music. Since then, our vision has expanded dramatically to include basically, whatever we want. :) Part of the philosophy is that we refuse to be pigeonhole-able, which would tend to restrict us to a particular tradition or time period. And we're not willing to be so restricted. All this music is too interesting to leave behind just because it doesn't "fit" in some way.

The vast majority of our repertoire comes from various folk traditions, though we do also have some original pieces. Sometimes, we've written a new tune for an existing song; sometimes we'll tinker with a folk tune until it becomes something else entirely.

We typically perform in historical costume, not necessarily striving for complete historical or regional accuracy, but rather for the "vibe" of taking people away from the present day and into a simpler time and place where they can enjoy the music on its own terms. We often incorporate theatrical elements into performances, including snippets of historical (and sometimes original) drama and literature. Historically accurate performance is not of primary concern (or even secondary, for that matter); we arrange and play the music the way we feel it speak to us, on whatever instruments we want to hear playing it.

Our current regular complement of instruments includes mandolin, mandola, cittern, flute, penny- and low whistle, recorders, Scottish small pipes, Northumbrian small pipes, dumbek and other assorted percussion. We have lots of other instruments at our disposal, including Appalachian dulcimer, Irish uilleann pipes, banjo-mandolin, French bagpipes (cornemuse), hurdy-gurdy, surpeti and others. New instruments are always being collected, in eternal pursuit of the "perfect sound" for a given piece. We're also actively interested in instrument making. Several of the above-listed instruments have been made in one of our workshops, and new and different projects are always ongoing.


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