5.0 3
by Mediæval Bæbes

Although on paper the Mediaeval Baebes may look like a novelty act -- eight young women who sing ancient Latin and Middle English texts to music that falls somewhere between classical and pop, new age and folk -- they're still going strong after nearly a decade together, and they've grown artistically, too, as shown on their…  See more details below


Although on paper the Mediaeval Baebes may look like a novelty act -- eight young women who sing ancient Latin and Middle English texts to music that falls somewhere between classical and pop, new age and folk -- they're still going strong after nearly a decade together, and they've grown artistically, too, as shown on their hauntingly beautiful fifth album, Mirabilis. The program takes the listener on an enchanting journey that leads to both innocent delight and to a darker, more perilous place, and while there's little pretense of medieval authenticity (aside from occasionally using the hurdy-gurdy, psaltery, cittern, and other colorful instruments), there's an endlessly refreshing variety within the Baebes' distinctive sound. "Musa Venit Carmine" conjures up a pagan-sounding dance (if a gentle one); the Gaelic "Lhiannan Shee" takes us to an aquatic world of tempting sirens; "Return of the Birds" rediscovers a pristine, pastoral world; and each of the 15 other tracks undertakes its own magical travels in time. The Baebes also offer a taste of the familiar -- the traditional "Scarborough Fayre" -- and expand their own horizons by singing in Swedish for the first time on "Märk Hur Var Skugga." But whatever they sing, it's always striking how they manage to penetrate to the essence of the mystical lyrics they choose.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
The Mediaeval Baebes combine elements of Western European myth and folkloric tradition with linguistic fancy and overdone sensualism. An example of the latter: in photos the octet will stand at the threshold of a leafy green forest, like an artisan's glistening porcelain figurines fashioned to please the provincial lord. On the other hand they'll perform in haunting a cappella, singing in Middle English, archaic Latin and Italian, Cornish, or even Manx, a unique Gaelic dialect originally spoken on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. So the Baebes are a study in contrasts, their work running fluidly between past and present. Mirabilis continues that conversation, collecting folk ballads, pagan dance music, ancient love songs, and parcels of pure mystery. Where some earlier albums emphasized synths and worldbeat textures too much -- whether as a crossover tactic or at the whim of a producer -- Mirabilis is happy with its zithers and recorders, finger cymbals and glockenspiels, and above all features voice. When a keyboard does surface ("Kilmeny"), it's as a mood accompanist. Opener "Star of the Sea" feels too much like a single, its Medieval English lilt too "period film" obvious. But the Baebes are better with something like "San'c Fuy Bellha Ni Prezada," with its unadorned vocal and twining autoharp, or "Musa Venit Carmine," sung in Latin, in the round, and stippled with dynamic percussion. These selections are exuberant, even catchy, but the mystery that lies in the heart of the Mediaeval Baebes' sound is never sacrificed. "Märk Hur Vår Skugga" is even better. A vocal trio harmonizes in an ancient Swedish tongue over the pluck of a zither and a violin's mournful sway; it's weird, cool, and beautiful. The ethereal "Lhiannan Shee" is another highlight -- its layers of beckoning voices are like lures to a spirit world -- and "Cittern Segue" is a gentle interlude played on the titular instrument, a Renaissance relic which sort of sounds like a mandolin crossed with a harpsichord.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Nettwerk Records


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mediæval Bæbes   Primary Artist
Graham Henderson   Dulcimer
Sally Herbert   Violin
David Levine   Bowed Cymbals
Nick Marsh   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Double Bass,Slide Guitar
Steve Yates   Acoustic Guitar,Saz,Sitar,Oud,Hurdy-Gurdy,Cittern
Calina de la Mare   Violin
Andrew Blick   Trumpet
Andy Nice   Cello
Teresa Casella   Vocals,Group Member
Rachel Van Asch   Vocals,Group Member
Sally Ward   Viola
Ruth Galloway   Acoustic Guitar,Autoharp,Recorder,Chant,Bass Recorder
Vince Johnson   Percussion,Drums,Tabla,Tambourine,finger cymbals
Audrey Evans   Harmonium,Vocals,Group Member
Marie Findley   Vocals,Background Vocals,Group Member
Cylindra Sapphire   Mellotron,Group Member
Emily Ovenden   Concertina,Vocals,Bass Recorder,Group Member
Maple Bee   Recorder,Vocals,Soprano Recorder,Bass Recorder,Tenor Recorder,Group Member
Pike Galloway   Zither,E-bow
Carl J. Magnusson   Percussion,Vocals
Mike Servant   Keyboards
Katherine Blake   Violin,Keyboards,Recorder,Tambourine,Vocals,Zither,Bells,Descant,Soprano Recorder,Shaker,Bowed Psaltery,Musical Direction,Group Member
Marie Findley   Vocals
Dru Masters   Trumpet,Electric Guitar,Zither
Stephen Yates   Sitar,Cittern
Pike Galloway   Zither,E-bow
Rachel Van Asch   Vocals
Vince Johnson   Drums

Technical Credits

Carl Michael Bellman   Composer
David Levine   Cover Photo
Nick Marsh   Composer
Gareth Williams   translation
Steve Yates   Arranger
Toby Wood   Engineer
Teresa Casella   Composer
Rachel Van Asch   Arranger
Ruth Galloway   Arranger,Composer,Contributor
Traditional   Composer
Audrey Evans   Arranger,Composer,Contributor
Cylindra Sapphire   Composer
James Myer Hogg   Composer
Emily Ovenden   Arranger,Composer
Maple Bee   Arranger,Composer
Robert M. Durling   translation
Carl J. Magnusson   Arranger,translation
Katherine Blake   Arranger,Composer,Music Direction
Dru Masters   Audio Production

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Mirabilis 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard trhis in a book store and it blew me away. I am not a classical music fan, but this is just great music no matter what your interest is. Star of the Sea and Tam Lin will take you on a fantastic voyage. Looks like I will have to clean some of the Rock CD's out of my carrying case, I know I'll be getting more of the Mediaeval Babes CD's.
Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
I admit that I spotted this music collection when I was browsing one of the new age music sections in downtown D.C. “Mirabilis” by Mediaeval Babes is a collection of tranquil songs from the new age music genre. “Star Of The Sea”, “Temptasyon”, “All For Love Of One”, “All For Love Of One”, “Return Of The Birds”, and “Scarborough Fayre” are some of multiple soothing musical tracks on this cd. The other positive feature is that all of the voices within the group are utilized in harmony with each other. “Mirabilis” by Mediaeval Babes is a strong musical set of songs for those who like relaxing new age music.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago