Degrees of Separation (Part 1: Wine and Alchemy)

Follow me as I take you on a journey around the globe to explore new types of early and folk music, discover amazing musicians, and possibly find something we are missing along the way.  In this first part, we start our journey in Texas, USA.

In our modern society, we tend to try to optimize everything we do.  We are focused on goals, and not the journey.  Sometimes, taking the long way around a problem can yield many unforeseen benefits.

For example, at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX, I work for a band called Cantiga and right across the lane from another called Wine and Alchemy.  As is the case with most Renaissance festival bands, they are amazingly talented and often cross pollinate (my euphemism for members of bands playing with each other — musically that is).  When explaining the relationship between these two bands, one could stop there.  But, one would end up missing so much amazing music.

Through this multi-part series, I will take you from Wine and Alchemy to Cantiga.  But, instead of crossing the lane, we will go the other way and circumscribe the globe.

Wine and Alchemy

Let’s start first with Wine and Alchemy themselves.   From their website:

Wine & Alchemy is a unique experience in World Music, providing a delicious blend of original and traditional world fusion music derived from a wide variety of genres including Celtic, Renaissance, French, Greek, Armenian, “Gypsy”, Flamenco, Sephardic, Middle Eastern and others.

Their music is amazing to say the least:

That is Mark on the sitar and Roxanne on the hurdy gurdy.

But, this group excels at more than just music:

Honestly, I never had any interest in belly dancing until I saw Roxanne dance.

Wine and Alchemy CDs and MP3s can be purchased from their web site.

Siberian Gypsies

Every year, during the Texas Renaissance Festival north of Houston, TX, festival performers, workers, and family meet on a private residence and hold a performance called SPANC fest.  Yes, I think it is an acronym; but I don’t know for what.  Anyway, in 2008, Roxanne (from Wine and Alchemy), Marquis, and Frannie threw together an one time performance called the Siberian Gypsies.

In my next part, we will begin our trip around the world.


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