I've been visiting the Texas Renaissance Festival for three years now. I plan to attend for a fourth time next year. Despite having been to this festival so many times, one thing that somehow escaped my ears until my visit this year was the wonderful sounds and dances of Wine and Alchemy.
I stood near the back of the Dove Meadow stage and became entranced by this brilliant band. They played instruments that ranged from the sitar and accordian to the penny whistle and hurdy gurdy. They had dancers in Gypsy garb who gyrated to the music. One member of the band, who I found out was named Roxanne Bruscha, not only danced, but played instruments and sang on most of the songs.
As I watched the group, composed of Bruscha and, per their website, Mark Varelas, Neil Yamin, and Jake Cooper, I noticed that not only was the audience caught up in their music, but they were as well. You could see in their eyes that they loved what they were doing. They weren't just "paying the bills" with each performance. They played each song because they wanted to!
Describing their music is tough for me, since I'm still fairly new to their style. All I can really say is that they play an excellent mixture of styles ranging from German and French to Middle Eastern. I also found out that they like to throw in their own interpretations of surf guitar music and even the Appalachian sound.
I wanted to purchase one of their CDs after their performance, but having already spent most of my funds on mead and food, I didn't have a lot left in the account. I promised myself that I would seek the group out on the web and order one of their discs if they were available.
I recently ordered their Turning of the Seasons album and I am now anxiously awaiting its arrival. On the very same day that I placed that order, I received a rather strange text from my wife. She wanted to know who would send a package to me addressed as "My Jedi Master." The whole "Jedi" thing has nothing to do with this review and would take entirely too long to explain, so I'm just going to say that when I read that phrase, I knew immediately that a friend of mine had sent me something. That something was Wine and Alchemy's CD entitled What Dreams May Come. I was excited. I now have one of their CDs and a second one is on its way.
If you enjoy world music that features instruments such as the harmonium and the djembe, give Wine and Alchemy a listen. They are on the web at www.wineandalchemy.com. They have samples of their music available to listen to and you'll also see both of the albums I mentioned available for purchase.
I've now decided that each year I visit the Texas Renaissance Festival, Wine and Alchemy will be a part of my schedule.
I highly recommend this group!
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