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"(...) Nine beautiful
women with a provocative sense of humour and a pronounced sense of fun are not
going to come quietly. The Baebes are not bound by an obsession with
authenticity and historical accuracy - theirs is a more spirited response.
Although the Baebes do sing traditional Mediaeval material the majority of
their songs, to their credit, are original compositions - Mediaeval poems set
to music in their own inimitable Mediaeval style.
(...) All nine Mediaeval Baebes, as opposed to the original twelve, have become more focused and stronger than ever. Katharine Blake, founder of the Baebes and musical director, is still the principal composer. Dorothy Carter, instrumentalist, and Ruth Galloway, another founding member, act as the chief adaptors of traditional Mediaeval music. "
1997: Salva Nos
"Most tracks were recorded in a fairly "live" sort of untracked fashion. i.e. drums, instruments and vocals all went down at the same time, which led Katharine (who was conducting) to say at one point "This isn't music, this is sport!"
½ 1998: Worldes Blysse
"Any risk of monotony from a choir restricted to young women and thus a broadly similar vocal range is counterbalanced by material which is both racy and reflective, the use of massed voice, solo and leader-and-chorus forms, alterations in tempo and accompaniment by a range of instruments including drums, bells, triangle, tambourines, sticks, bombard, recorders, hurdy-gurdy, zither and hammered-dulcimer. While most of the lyrics are taken from mediaeval or renaissance sources, a great deal of the music is attributed to Katharine Blake. In view of the convincingly mediaeval sound, this is quite an achievement. The Baebes may not be taken seriously by the Early Music establishment, but you can't fault their timing in hitting the Yuletide market with a follow-up to their highly successful debut album, Salva Nos."
-- Rik, Flux Europa, 11/98
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2002: The Rose
"The Medieaval Baebes pay about as much attention to historical authenticity as do the makers of Xena: Warrior Princess. Anonymous 4 they're not, but still, they sing with relish, and in doing so make some very old songs sound fresh. They also sing their own compositions, and to their credit, it's sometimes difficult to tell which is which. The arrangements borrow from alt-pop and new age, though the tabor-like drumbeats evoke the mead hall. There is a pleasing variety here, too, from the mesmerizing "Slay Me Suddenly" (sung a cappella) to the exquisitely ornate "Laude Novella" to the lusty "Dringo Bell." If you've enjoyed the Baebes' three previous discs, you'll certainly like this one. If you've never experienced their music making, this is a good place to start."
-- Andrew Farach-Colton, bn.com
"On Mirabilis, the Mediaeval Baebes drill even deeper (and wider) into their chorale sound, making music with ancient roots and timeless designs. An octet of Englishwomen with a penchant for dressing up in flouncy gothic gowns just this side of Victoria's Secret, they've released several albums mining medieval hymns and plainsong. They're still at it here, matching obscure Latin, Gaelic, and old English texts (along with the odd Robert Burns poem) to music that is often newly composed but sounds as if it came out of a Dark Ages court or monastery. But without ever playing instruments more modern than the violin, they bring a modern arranger's head to tunes that float on percussion, recorder, concertina, cittern, hurdy-gurdy, and strings. Under the musical direction of founder Katherine Blake, the harmonies are richer and more complex than on previous Baebes discs. Emily Ovenden's Temptasyon flies with soaring three-part harmony and lush accompaniment of strings, both modern and ancient. The Baebes get a little arty on a horror-house reading of Tam Lin, and they perhaps had to cover Scarborough Fayre at some point. But they more than make up for it with the serene Star of the Sea. This is one time you won't mind having someone get Mediaeval on you."
-- John Diliberto, amazon.com
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