A few weeks ago I noticed a promotion on Facebook that let me know that the Mediæval Bæbes would have a concert in Boston on October 5th. I checked the time and location and realized I could easily make it. I am not an avid concert-goer. I might go to one a year, if that. For a long time, it was simply an expense I could not bear. I suppose these are hard habits to break. So for me to go to a concert is a fairly big deal.
I was introduced to the Bæbes’ music by my friend, B. She let me burn her CDs six years ago and I was hooked. I bought the next two albums that came out and have definitely kept an eye on their social media. I am grateful I found out about the concert! The Bæbes rarely tour in the United States, so the discovery that they would not only be in my region but a very short drive from my home was too much to pass up.
I ended up going by myself (all of my friends, including B, were occupied) but still had a great time. The concert was held at Story Chapel on the grounds at the Mount Auburn Cemetery.
Mt Auburn Cemetery is called “America’s first garden cemetery.” It was built in 1831 and is laid out like a park where people happen to be buried, rather than the traditional rows upon rows of tombstones.
The chapel is small and intimate, seating perhaps 160 people – and that’s with no space between guests. I was fortunate enough to beg an aisle seat thanks to my busted knee, so was well-positioned to take photos of the event. It was entirely acoustic and the Bæbes were debuting songs from their new album, which had everyone excited.
They got started about a half-hour late, unfortunately, due to some nasty traffic coming up from New York city. The concert was meant to begin at 5 PM and they showed up at 5:15, flying down the aisle, carrying all their gear. Fortunately, since it was an acoustic event, there was no need to do an involved sound check. They quickly changed, thanked us for our patience, and got started promptly.
It was superb. Their voices blended gorgeously and exactly as you hear on their recordings. Every one of the singers brought something to the table beyond their admittedly beautiful voices. Personalities were evident in their wardrobe (diaphanous and modern-Celtic in feel) and many played other instruments. I saw a violin, a hurdy-gurdy, and several voices of recorders (soprano, alto, bass, and sopranino) played by the Bæbes themselves, in addition to the guitarist, cellist, and drummer they had brought along with them. They also, of course, had tambourines. One of the Bæbes is a talented clogger and showed off for us in a couple of their songs.
Their set list was strong and well-presented. A song with lines about dusk and falling darkness was timed to be sung at sunset, as we lost the light in the stained-glass windows of the chapel. I got goosebumps frequently throughout the performance.
They switched into red dresses about halfway through, managing amazingly swift costume changes. From my vantage point, I could only ever capture pictures of five of them at a time, although six were present.
Afterwards, I picked up their new CD, “The Huntress,” which is as gorgeous as ever. I highly recommend it. They do a superb job writing and performing mediæval music for a modern ear.
As you can see, I stuck around and had them sign my CD. I would have done a gleeful jig if my knee had allowed it. I got to chat with them for a few minutes about how much I loved their music and wished I still lived in the UK so I could attend their concerts regularly.
The concert ended at 7 PM sharp, despite the late start, so we lost out on nearly a quarter of our concert. A bit disappointing on that front, but I still feel like I got my $25 worth.
All in all, it was an awesome concert in a great venue. No regrets!