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Travelling Players

A bagpiper and drummer specialising in Medieval, Tudor and early Stuart music

(including Anglo-Saxon Lyre and Life)

ELIZABETHAN MUSICIANS

We play music from the reign of Elizabeth I, which saw, amongst other things, the threat from the Spanish Armada and the rise of William Shakespeare.

2016 celebrated 400 years since Shakespeare's death and as Elizabethan Musicians we bring to life some of the fabulous tunes that were around in Shakespearian England. 

This is our favourite period, not least because Peg gets to make and we wear some very tall hats.

TUDOR MUSICIANS

We have evolving costumes and music as the Tudor age unfolds, covering from the first Tudor, Henry VII, onto Henry VIII, Edward, Mary and finally Elizabeth.

Vying with Elizabeth as the most famous of these, Henry VIII, who changed the structure of England, is famed for his 6 wives.  According to his deathbed inventory, along with many other instruments, he is also said to have had 5 sets of ivory bagpipes.

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIEVAL MUSICIANS

We also recreate music and life from earlier times,  from the reign of  Edward I (who paid a bagpiper a whole 2 shillings for his services) through to the Cousins War (The War of the Roses). Included in the repertoire, the oldest secular tune written in the English Language and some wonderful tunes and dances from Derbyshire!

And what are we keeping under our hats?

STUART MUSICIANS

From the uniting of thrones under James I through to the Commonwealth under Cromwell and the English Civil War.  Who would believe that in those puritanical times the first edition of The English Dancing Master by  John Playford would be published.

A period with such a wealth of music. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . oh and great hats too!

 

Myal and Peg are "Living Historians" who specialise in the life and music of the common folk of the 13th to 17th centuries.

 

We work in historical venues, schools, banquets, parties and weddings, bringing the sounds and atmosphere of the Medieval and Renaissance periods to life.

Myal plays period bagpipes made by himself and based on examples found as carvings in churches right across England and Wales.  Peg accompanies him on the drum.  Together they create a big loud sound which is particularly well suited to outdoors where the sound carries and gives an auditory backdrop to the rest of the event, obscuring the noise of 21st Century and helping to create the ambience of another era.

Myal and Peg are always delighted to teach dance to any willing volunteers, after all that's what this music is all about, as is testified by this comment below (and they were really good as well!)

“Had a fantastic day today, could you please forward me the names of the groups involved and the wonderful musicians who taught my children to dance. If you ever need a rave review let me know. Thanks again. Yours M. Baxter. “

Received via English Heritage after an event at Pendennis Castle August 2014

   

We also work with other re-enactors so should your requirements not immediately appear to be catered for within these pages please contact us as we know many good people with interesting and varied skills.

 
 

 

The person behind Myal Pyper

 

Mark Harper has been a re-enactor working with the public and school children since 1993.

 

But previous to this and to the present he has worked within the field of music and the music industry.  From the mid to late 90s he performed as part of the duo “Two Little Boys” who took their raucous brand of foot tapping folk all over the UK and Germany, finally parting company after a near fatal accident in that country seeing Mark in hospital for 6 months.  Although on return to the UK, in 2000, he was straight out gigging by the mid “Noughties” he found that he was being drawn more and more to the bagpipes as the instrument most likely to be expressing his art.

As well as playing Mark is a sound technician, engineering the sound for a couple of bands that he has worked with for many a year.

 

As a historical interpreter or re-enactor he still has a close association with the country's foremost recreation of Tudor life at Kentwell Hall, in Suffolk.

When he is not making music, Mark might be found making instruments.  He has made harps, lyres, fiddles, medieval trumpets (buisines) and of course, bagpipes.  In 2009 he was commissioned to make a lyre for the Anglo Saxon Village Museum at West Stow in Suffolk (right).   He also makes many of the trappings for his living history encampment and no one who knows Mark would forget to mention that he is a maker of the finest beer.