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Welcome to our website.

We are Banquo Folk Ensemble. We have been performing in and around Victoria, BC since 1998. Our music is from the written and oral traditions covering more than eight centuries,  performed with voice and our collection of instruments that includes recorders, hurdy gurdies, citterns, shawms, bagpipes, a battery of percussion instruments and more. 


Through the development of our own arrangements and interpretations of existing materials, we attempt to bridge the gap between “art” music and the folk tradition, always bearing in mind the goal of minstrels throughout the centuries to please and entertain their audiences. 

Check out our Music and Video page for some examples of our music. You'll find photo galleries on our Photos page, and a listing of upcoming concerts and other events on our Events page. 

Subscribe to our mailing list for notifications of news and upcoming events. 

Contact us if you have any questions. 

Thanks for visiting. We hope to see you at one of our concerts. 

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Coming Soon . . .

News and Upcoming Events

COVID - 19

Like all performing groups, our live performance activities have been put on hold during the COVID - 19 outbreak. We will be back offering concerts and other live performances when things get back to normal. 

In the meantime, we've been putting together some videos while practising good social distancing, thanks to the technological tools available. 

See our Video page for the latest in our concert from home series. 


In addition to the concert from home videos, we  filmed two videos, featuring two videos last year of pieces from our recent CD. Check them out on our Video page 

Our latestCD
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We're pleased to present our latest album,

Whither Are They Vanished

It features music from our concert programmes over the past two years, plus some new tunes. 

For a taste of what to expect on the CD, click on the video link below.

See more information



Penny Reiswig

Penny grew up in Montreal, a city rich in musical culture, but it wasn't until her late teens that she developed any interest in playing.  She started with electric guitar, but eventually hung it up to pursue Irish and English folk music on the tin whistle and recorder.  From there it was natural to discover the Irish uilleann pipes, and she has since decided to make it her life's work to play as much music on as many instruments as possible.

Since moving to Victoria in 1996, Penny has been active in traditional music locally, playing uilleann pipes, flute and whistles with Sheila Ryan, Daniel Lapp, Calvin Cairns, Oliver Swain, Paul O'Brien, and Quinn & Qristina Bachand (among others.)  Her musical heart has belonged to Banquo since our founding in 1998, which allows her to explore her more eclectic interests in the varied world of folk music and instruments.

Penny's fascination with obscure folk instruments, especially bagpipes, soon led her to start building her own.  When not playing, she can be found building an ever-increasing variety of instruments in her workshop.

Bagpipery, cittern, mandolin, dulcimer, recorders, whistles, flute, hurdy-gurdy, vocals, percussion

Lael Whitehead

Lael Whitehead divides her time between Victoria and Mayne Island, where she and her husband have planted an apple orchard! As a young woman, Lael studied classical voice, and sang in numerous choirs and chamber choirs, including the award-winning Elektra Women’s choir in Vancouver. She is also a multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger, who performs and records with the Dancehall Players and with Jaiya. 

Lael has loved Early Music since she was a child, and particularly enjoys Banquo’s playful approach to bringing these ancient songs and tunes back to life.

Vocals, guitar, dulcimer, cuatro, whistles, recorders, percussion

Amy Reiswig

You've heard of "found music" - Amy is a "found musician." She was sure she had no musical ability all those years living in Montreal, but after moving to Victoria, Banquo leader Penny convinced her to have a go at the drum, and... well, who knew! With no formal training comes no sense of fear. Her approach to music is essentially "why not!" so don't be surprised to find her playing African hand drum and Indian drone box at the same time.

Banquo's cultural blending and synthesis is what Amy loves most about the ensemble, as she is also involved in other creative cultural explorations including writing, visual art and the art of travel. Her favourite places outside of Canada to date include Nepal, India, Portugal, Russia and the Faroe Islands. Amy has worked as a research assistant at a Holocaust documentation archive, a college literature teacher and freelance researcher and editor. She has published travel articles (including an interview with the singer of a Faroese Viking heavy metal band), research on medieval monasticism, and book reviews nationally and internationally. Amy's work, travel and now musical experience has produced a strong belief in the power of the arts to change people's lives for the better. 

Percussion, surpeti, vocals

Bill Jamieson

Bill Jamieson was born in Vancouver, and was introduced to early wind instruments at UBC en route to a music performance degree from the University of Toronto. After a brief symphony career, Bill turned to accounting as a profession. Over the years he kept up an interest in early music, and developed a fascination with the traditional folk music of the British Isles.

Over the years, Bill has accumulated an impressive collection of early wind instruments, including Renaissance recorders, shawms, smallpipes, cornetto and crumhorn. He also counts a diatonic harp and hurdy-gurdy among his musical hoard.

Bill co-founded and remains a member of the Renaissance wind ensemble, A Great Noyse. He is the founding director of the Ancient Music Society of Victoria, which aims to encourage the appreciation and performance of Medieval and Renaissance music.

Bill believes that additional elements, like theatricality, narrative, and costumes help audience members connect with the wonderful, but neglected music of those earlier times.

Recorders, shawms, bagpipes, crumhorn, diatonic harp, hurdy-gurdy, vielle, vocals

Gwendolyn Jamieson

Gwen has cultivated a keen interest in early vocal music for many years. From age 10, she has sung in choirs, and was invited, at age 14, to join the women’s choir, Ensemble Laude. Gwen has performed as a soloist with the Renaissance ensemble A Great Noyse, and choirs Ensemble Laude and Via Choralis, and recently at the Gala Concert of the Ancient Music Society of Victoria.

Over five summers she has attended the Historically Informed Summer School in York, England, the UBC Summer Vocal Academy, the Victoria Conservatory of Music’s Summer Vocal Academy and Advanced Vocal Academy, where she studied with Nancy Argenta, Ingrid Attrot and Daniel Taylor, and the Lissberg, Germany Hurdy Gurdy Conference, where she studied with British hurdy gurdy virtuoso, Scott Marshall.

Gwen recently completed her Diploma in Vocal Performance from Camosun College and the Victora Conservatory of Music, and is continuing her studies by pursuing a degree in vocal performance at the University of Victoria. Her current teachers are Susan Young and Nathan McDonald. In addition to her singing, Gwen is also an accomplished instrumentalist on hurdy gurdy and harp.

Vocals, hurdy gurdy, gothic harp, bray harp

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