Mediaeval Baebes, a stunning group of female vocalists who specialize in Mediaeval music, captured a packed audience in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral with their astounding sounds.
Their pure voices in perfectly gelled harmony and the impact of skilful instrumental support entranced the listeners with music that brought Mediaeval culture alive. With interesting descriptions of the way mediaeval people saw the world, we were taken on a magical journey to those times. Their songs told tales of love, mythical beings, and mystical religious adoration. A body-crushing snake, sweet soothing reflections on the rose and its symbolism, a tantrum throwing queen, and a song of the debilitating effects of alcohol were all par for the course.
Highlights included “The Lord’s Prayer” beautifully arranged and sung in Cornish and “Dringo Bell”. This song was made more effective by the delightful mocking tones used. Another special item was their mesmerising “Coventry Carol” – one of the two well-deserved encores.
Unforgettable moments also included the endearing choreography of the girls in their glamorous costumes, the striking effects of the lighting after the interval when the instrumentalists were starkly silhouetted as they wowed the audience with their skill. The mediaeval instruments included a mediaeval fiddle, a hurdy gurdy, the whole family of recorders including the highest ‘garklein’, a cittern, a guitar and drums. Instruments and voices were exquisitely and naturally interwoven to produce a gripping folk-like effect.
This was an evocative event that was undoubtedly highly successful. The Baebes expressed a desire to return to the Lady Chapel next year with the possibility of singing without amplification. (They certainly have the voice for it and the instrumentalists the ability to balance well). Let us hope that we will be able to see this excellent team in Ely again soon.
The Baebes are Katharine Blake, Bev Lee, Emily Ovenden, Melpomeni Kermanidou, Sofia Escobar, Maxine Fone and Clair Rabbit.