Towns and grand households across Europe employed musicians to entertain at dances and banquets and as a symbol of their prestige. Professional wind players would have been expected to play on a wide range of instruments, the foremost of which were the double-reeded shawms.
It is easy to imagine how the strident sound of the shawm band cut across the hustle and bustle of the dance and banquet halls, or even the city square. More surprising to modern ears is their sophistication of expression and blend of sound which gives them a unique and joyful beauty of their own.
Blondel have been playing at Hedingham Castle for four years, enhancing our Event Days with their superlative medieval music. Beautifully turned out, hard-working and utterly reliable, they are tuneful and intricate, lively and mellow. Blondel are as happy creating wonderfully atmospheric background music as they are performing to a static audience or engaging with our visitors, explaining their instruments and the origins of their music. Great fun, and great musicians.