The Waits of Southwark Renaissance Band is:
Robert Blechman, recorders, perc.
Dean Bower, mandolins, belches
Nan Myer, recorders, perc.
Steve Myer, frame drum, side drum, snare drum, perc.
David Uebersax, tenor sackbutt, perc.
Silence Is Deadly is a compilation of Renaissance dance music from England, Ireland and Italy. This recording was performed and recorded live on period instruments in the studio to capture and preserve the true improvisational and fiery nature of the music as it was played so many years ago.
Several reviews speak as such:
The Waits of Southwark - Silence is Deadly
A very lively collection of Renaissance Dances from England, Ireland and Italy.
The instruments used on the CD contain the usual suspects-sackbutt, mandolins, recorders and such. But, a most wonderful treat is provided by Dean Bower, with his masterful performance of that ancient wind instrument, the belches. Listen to "Martin Said To His Man-Drinking Version" (track 12) , and you will quickly see why "bel canto" (operatic singing that cultivates beauty of tone) comes just before "belch" in my dictionary. It's truly a most erudite eructation. And, yes, it was the reason I bought the CD. "Gosh, I hope this is what I think it is, I really need a good laugh today", I thought as I headed toward the check out counter at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) gift shop. "Whoa, what if 'belches' is just an ancient name for the bagpipe?", I worried to myself. I needn't have fretted, belches really are played on the wind pipe, and unlike the bagpipe, it's, well, a real gas to listen to. Sort of like Southwark goes South Park.
All of the other performers burst forth in joyous sound in a very talented manner on all the other 22 songs. In addition to the hoped for laugh, the rest of the CD provided very energetic music and was a great 50 minute escape from the 21st century (which was only 2 days old at the time of my purchase).
The group has also shown remarkably good taste in choosing "The Wedding Dance" as the cover pic for the CD. This Pieter Bruegel the Elder painting is one of the DIA's most treasured works, and it's one of my favorites to visit whenever I'm up on the 3rd floor of the museum. Bruegel was not content to imitate the themes and styles of Italian artists, and found his artistic inspiration in life around him. So, too, the Waits of Southwark invest a similarly vigorous, vibrant quality to their work, and present these songs recorded during live performances.
Highly recommended.-The Tudor Times
I've purchased several copies of this cd as gifts for friends. I defy anyone to find a better cd of traditional renaissance country dance music. It's such a rare find and such a pleasure to listen to. And the quality of the recording is superb. This makes an excellent and unique gift.-Pahool, Culver City, CA
This is a gathering of Renaissance country dancing music at its best. Recorders, mandolins, sacbutt and percussion all blend together in a hard-driving and very danceable set of standard tunes from perhaps history's greatest period for art and music. This album is innovative, improvisatory, yet faithful to the original concepts of musical and dance forms of its era.
-Ren Rob, CA
Finally, a Renaissance dance music collection that allows the music to live. That is, wonderful melodies simmering with great harmony and rhythm. Along with country dances, one finds Morris tunes, courtly tunes and Celtic mainstays. This album comes highly recommended.-Handsome Dancer, CA