Austin Texas is known for its music scene, and it also happens to be the home of the Brobdingnagian Bards--a Celtic Renaissance musical duo. The Bards combine the folk songs of Ireland and Scotland with a little Lord of the Rings styling as well, making for a truly unique and interesting sound. The instrumentation is not necessarily what you might find in all the old country songs; mandolin, autoharp and recorder, but then again, the Bards are pretty much known for doing their own thing . . .
Wearing kilts on campus at the University of Texas could get you a few odd stares. For Brobdingnagian Bards members Andrew McKee and Marc Gunn, however, it got them into a band. The Bards didn't limit themselves to on-campus play, and their music spread quickly, branching out with loyal followers to everything from music festivals to renaissance faires and weddings.
The next logical step was to produce a CD. The duo's first effort was "Marked By Great Size" in 1999. "Gullible's Travels" was next in 2000, followed by "Songs of the Muse," an instrumental album in 2001. The group continued producing CDs, and two themed ones were next; "A Faire To Remember" and "A Celtic Renaissance Wedding." Next came "Songs of Ireland" in 2002, followed by "Memories of Middle Earth" in 2003. "Brobdingnagain Fairy Tales" came out in 2005, and hit #1 on CDBaby's charts.
Awards and recognition have come to the duo, and they have garnered many, including Best Renaissance Men in the Best of Austin poll for the Austin Chronicle in 2003. They blazed trails as the first Celtic band ever to win for Best Novelty Band, and received an Austin Music Award for that honor. The Bards also were the headliners for the Oscar party for "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."
Things just keep getting bigger and better for the duo, and Gunn has had more than a few spin off's from the humble beginnings at school to keep him busy. He holds a weekly podcast for Celtic music fans, puts out an E-Zine "The Bards Crier" for music marketing and promotion tips and operates the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine, which reviews Celtic music and offers free downloads to tempt readers with the latest bands. Gunn also runs his own Celtic CD label, Mage Records.
Since it seems like these guys are going somewhere pretty darn fast (or because you like to look really smart), you might also want to learn how to pronounce their name; its brAHb'ding-näg-EE-en. Go ahead, say it!
Visit the Brobdingnagian Bards at www.TheBards.net or book them at www.BardBooking.com.
posted by Marc Gunn @ Wednesday, November 08, 2006