|In Memory of Owain Phyfe
I first met Owain Phyfe at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival around 1997. Little then did I know the influence and magic his music would have on my life to come. Owain sang Renaissance and Medieval songs in English, Spanish, Italian, Welsh, German, and so many others...his voice was a lure that captivated my imagination, and transported me across time to a gilded age. What was a mere hobby became a way of life, a business, and a living, and through it all, Owain Phyfe became a rich part of the soundtrack of my life. His voice has lifted me up in times of despair, walked with me in celebrations of great joy, and one of the greatest pleasures of traveling from faire to faire were the times when I would encounter him in person and get to sit and listen to him sing live. He was always kind and gracious, and I was proud and humbled to call him a friend. Owain passed beyond this life in September of 2012, but his music and friendship remain with me always. In all my travels, there was no voice and no talent I ever met that compared to his. I miss him greatly. Experiencing Owain has always best been summed up for me by this passage from the liner notes of his album Odyssey :
"How did I get here?" I wondered as I surveyed the tapestry clad walls of the candle-lit chamber where I found myself. Music, laughter, and discourse in language unknown rang through the stone passage from the Great Hall, indicating the remnants of a feast. The distant smell of smoke and horses from the dark outside my window mingled in proximity with the scent of lavender, wine and vanilla. I was not alone. There you were. I saw the soft white of your chemise and the outline of your smile. ... And then, like a fool, I chanced to open my eyes. The odyssey was over. The scene vanished from before me. I smiled to myself realizing that: it was the song that had transported me there.
If you have a love of times gone by, if you dream of romantic quests, castles and love, then please, go and listen for yourself, and purchase his albums and help keep his music alive. He sings on all albums by the New World Renaissance Band. http://www.cdbaby.com/group/
We often carry Owain's CDs, with all proceeds going to his wife, Lady Paula. If you are interested in an album, you can also contact us to see which we have in stock.
Here are a few photos I took of Owain over the years.
Owain singing at the Tennessee Renaissance festival around 1998, and posing with his wonderful wife, Lady Paula. Also playing with our friends the Roses, Michael Rosa and Laurie Rousseau.
Owain with me and my wife and some of our friends at the Tennessee Renaissance Faire
Owain playing at the Pennsic War inside the wondrous setting of Casa Bardicci, a recreation of renaissance Venice at the War. Playing with Michael Gartner of Wolgemut, and Alexander Korolov, this candlelit concert was the most amazing, beautiful evening I ever heard.
Owain playing in front of Hamish's Dreck at Gulf Wars in 2010.
I was fortunate to record on video a few songs that were never released on cd, that I dearly loved to hear him sing. Here they are, with apologies for poor sound and visual quality.
"Ode to Joy"
"The Ash Grove" (in Welsh)
Owain would often make an on stage joke about the song "All my Exes Live In Texas".
I told Owain several times over the years he should modify it for SCA war performances. This was the result, as far as I know, the one and only time he ever did this, for Gulf Wars 2012, 6 months before his passing.