Mediaeval Baebes performance in Ryde reviewed

We all followed them in to sit in wooden pews, inside one of the Isle of Wight’s oldest churches.

We were here to listen to the Mediaeval Baebes.

Founded for fun in 1996, as a cappella vocal group, they became the fastest selling act on the Virgin record label, second only to the Spice Girls.

Isle of Wight County Press: The Mediaeval Baebes, who performed in RydeThe Mediaeval Baebes, who performed in Ryde (Image: Ashley Jones)

Their vocal musical style, steeped in ancient traditions, has topped the charts.

Listening to the blend of this sensational singing, echoing out from the Chancel, across the crowded nave, was a real joy.

Their fresh, sweet voices performed with elegance, but with a kind of innocence of purity of tone and intonation.

One of the founders of this magical group, Katherine Blake, sources lyrics from mediaeval and romantic texts and sets them to original scores, taking from the past and making new. The ancient poet, Chaucer, would have been thrilled.

Katherine also conjures up ways to present traditional songs and folk songs – with different notes, different rhythms, different parts and new harmonies of tone and pitch.

Hearing so many melodies and tempos mixing together is extraordinary.

Comprehending how each singer sings a different speed, in a different octave and tune, hearing it blend into one beautiful song, is truly magical.

These six beautiful women can dance, play instruments – flutes, a cello, and with percussion, a guitar and a piper behind it all.

As the audience rose up, clapping wildly at the finish, we were treated to a wonderful encore of a Christmas carol and Auld Lang Syne.

Perfect! What an evening of pure magic.

Isle of Wight County Press | News