2015 sees the release of Myths & Muses, the second album from the UK’s premier ‘Medieval-World-Folk-Rock’ band, Serpentyne.
Led by the voice of Maggie-Beth Sand and multi-instrumentalist Mark Powell on guitar, cittern and hurdy-gurdy, they fuse traditional music with modern, atmospheric, ambient and dance sounds. Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle, the band appearing in flamboyant costumes and with immersive visuals, leading to triumphant performances across the UK and Europe, including opening slots for Rick Wakeman and The Orb.
The band has been compared to the likes of Faun, Blowzabella, Steeleye Span, Gryphon and Blackmore's Night, with the vocal textures of the Mediaeval Baebes and Loreena McKennit. Having studied voice, piano and composition from an early age, Sand, together with Powell (a musical director and producer for artists such as The Albion Band and Fairport Convention) developed a fascination for composing vocal and instrumental arrangements around mythical and epic musical themes.
"On our first album, Stella Splendens, we took traditional songs and texts in old languages such as Latin, Occitain and Old English, and arranged them in our own way. On our second album Myths and Muses, apart from including some new-found traditional songs and tunes, we are now writing new lyrics and music which are sometimes combined with the old tunes. I was particularly interested in writing about women warriors, and other muses that have inspired men and women through history."
Maggie’s point is driven home straight away in the opening track Boudicca, an homage to the famed queen of the Iceni tribe, who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Driving percussion and mercurial atmospherics on an underlying bed of subtle, fizzing, electronics set the tone for the album. Forthcoming single Valkyries in turn takes the listener on a dramatic, 6 minute, medieval choral jaunt.
With a social media following now approaching 30,000, Serpentyne is firmly established as the UK's leading band of its kind, and looks set to have an especially exciting 2015.
Maggie-Beth Sand – Lead vocal, harmonium, bouzouki. Mark Powell – Hurdy-gurdy, cittern, guitar, backing vocals. Pam Pecko Smith – Flute, piccolo, recorder, tin whistle, backing vocals. Mark Jenkins – Lead and bass keyboards, mandolin. Andrea Furlan – Didgeridoo, overtone flute. Jay Tubsman – Drums, percussion, backing vocals.