This page was created on what would have been the Maryland Renaissance Festival’s Celtic Weekend 2020.
Here’s a link to one of our sets at the White Hart from 2019, a video taken by the excellent Steve Kosser: https://youtu.be/uV9Mx0j6oT0
And a video taken by our friend Rachael Rodgers in 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z2GByBzz88
The band is dedicated to getting people together and dancing and being close in all sorts of ways, so it was a shock this year when all those things became a public health hazard. We’re taking time to learn new skills, compose new tunes, and hopefully we’ll all be together again soon, even closer than ever.
A few months ago when I didn’t know the 2020 MDRF season would be cancelled Frances and I made this video for our friend Andrew at the Lifesafaire podcast. I’ve posted our part here and it’s basically the music we would play at our closing set of the day: https://vimeo.com/457293413/92c554b03d
We normally just throw down some fast hard tunes all weekend at Revel Grove but since it’s Celtic Weekend I figured you might be interested in the real “Celtic” part of what we do. One of the most important parts of “Celtic” music is the concept of the “Session” and it’s basically a gathering of folks who play the tunes together, a wonderful non-commercial community of people who are constantly learning. Frances and I made a video for a learning weekend recently, of a tune by Michael McGoldrick. https://vimeo.com/457186459/f78770961f
I first started playing faires when I was 16 and got a job as a “faire piper” way back then, getting up on the battlement of the front gate of my local renaissance faire in the morning and evening and playing parades and weddings during the day as well as playing with friends in various bands from 1991 to the present. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I could play traditional Scottish and Irish and Breton music there and all the tunes seem to fit the environment perfectly. Now in the Piper Jones Band with Frances Cunningham and our rotating lineup of percussionists we get to show off how traditional inter-Celtic music can make you feel on a day at a festival like Revel Grove (MDRF). Here are a couple of videos of us evolving some tunes into sets, in particular a tune by Allan MacDonald that caught Frances’s fancy a while ago: Highland pipe version Smallpipe version