OUR NEW SITE IS
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.
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Thanks for visiting. We hope to see you at one of our concerts.
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Coming Soon . . .
News and Upcoming Events
We're so pleased to be back performing live after a hiatus during the COVID pandemic.
This past summer we appeared in two garden concerts of medieval music for the Early Music Society of the Islands, and at Splash of Light Festival in Esquimalt.
Our most recent concert was a Christmas Concert on Salt Spring Island on December 3, 2022.
Our next concert, Lamento will be performed May 13 on Mayne Island and on May 20 at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Victoria on May20.
Details on our Concert page.
You may check out the living room video we produced during COVID on our Video page, as well as two videos from our recent CD.
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 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
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 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, and has recently been appointed Executive and Artistic Director of the Early Music Society of the Islands.
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, medieval vielle, vocals
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. She has been invited to appear as featured soloist in four concerts with the Bach on the Rock Chamber Choir and Orchestra. In 2021, Gwen was featured in a video main-stage recital with the Early Music Society of the Islands. .
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, and the Lissberg, Germany Hurdy Gurdy Conference, where she studied with British hurdy gurdy virtuoso, Scott Marshall.
Gwen holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Victoria.
Voice, hurdy gurdy, harp, guitar
Since she can remember, Linda has had a big passion for folk music. She often listened to CDs of Loreena McKennitt, Molly Newman, and other local and international folk artists, and enjoyed singing folk songs with her 3 siblings on long car rides. Linda has fond memories of attending the Salt Spring Island Fiddle Fest when she was 8, where she first got the opportunity to play folk music in an ensemble. Linda moved to Victoria to attend the University of Victoria, where she completed a Bachelor of Music for violin and a Bachelor of Education. It was during her time at UVic that she joined a local choir as an alto scholar and found a new joy for singing early music. She also performed in the Pacific Baroque Festival and UVic’s annual Bach Competition.
Since graduating, Linda has found time to play music outside of her job as an elementary music and French teacher. She plays violin and viola in the Victoria Chamber Orchestra and facilitates at various youth string and music camps. Linda joined Banquo Folk Ensemble in March 2022 and is excited to be a part of the ensemble.
Voice, fiddle, medieval vielle, recorders
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