I have been enjoying the various on-line Bardic ”Circles” (or ”Sprawls” as at least one of them is called) that have sprung up during the year of the plague, so when I heard about the Around the Known World Bardic that was planned for the 24 hours which has just ended (as I write this), I put it onto my calendar.
I might have joined from the beginning, since it was scheduled to start at 01:00 Saturday in my timezone, and normally that isn’t too late for me on a weekend. However, on Thursday evening I was inspired and fell so deeply into doing data processing for my PhD project in progress that I wound up working till 05:00 on Friday morning (which meant that by the time I finished yoga and got to bed it was nearly 06:00). Friday was also busy, so I was too tired to stay up till the bardic was to start.
So I got a good night’s sleep (nine hours!), had breakfast, and then joined the bardic in progress at about 10:15 Saturday I had thought to just listen whilst working (since I had gone berry picking on Friday instead of working), but when I joined there were only about six bards taking turns, so I wound up joining in the queue. I did manage to accomplish some data processing in between my turns, till around 15:00, at which point I gave up all pretence of working, and got out my nålbindning project in progress to keep my hands busy as I just enjoyed the bardic.
We had a spreadsheet to keep track of whose turn it was, and who performed what, which also has a column for a link to the song (if there is one). Looking back at that list now, we did a total of 350 performances, over the 24-hours the bardic ran, of which I contributed 24 songs, eleven of which are my own composition, seven of which were written by bards I love in the West, and rest were other SCA songs or period instrumental pieces I played on hammer dulcimer. The bardic host changed every few hours, with a new host in a time-zone that was appropriate for the moment, moving slowly around the world, and they did a wonderful job of keeping things going, with not more than a short bit of chatter after a song now and then (usually just giving one or two people the chance to say something nice about the last performance) before calling on the next person on the list.
I really, really enjoyed the whole day, but the absolute highlight for me was when my SCA Identical Twin Sister, Amanda de Spenser, came in briefly and performed, along with her family Turning of the Seasons by Lisa Theriot. They did such an amazing job–beautiful voices, lovely harmonies, and they each took turns being the primary voice. I was very much in tears of joy for it–my favourite part of SCA bardics has always been the part where people sing together, but, of course, we can’t do that over video calls due to the slight time-lag, which is different for every connection. Sure, I was able to sing along with most of the songs today, microphone muted, but that isn’t the same as actually getting to hear everyone. While Amanda and her children aren’t ”everyone”, they made enough beautiful music together with that song to count for rather a lot. Soon after they performed they had to step out to attend another event, and didn’t return till late in the bardic, about an hour before it ended. She put her name on the list when she arrived, but I wanted to be certain we would have time to get to her, so when my turn next came up I asked her if she would take it, and she did, and shared one she has written herself, as an answer to the song ”The Veil”. Her’s is called ”The Promise,” and is written from the perspective of the the lady who gave her fighter the veil in the first song, and it is amazing. I was not the only person I could see who was crying as she sung it.
It was generally agreed that the experiment was a success, and that it would be very much worth doing such a 24-hour bardic again, and I can heartily recommend joining in when they do the next in January!