The MEDIÆVAL BÆBES release their eleventh studio album MydWynter on 25 November 2022. A loose sequel to 2013’s Christmas-themed Of Kings and Angels, which reworked several well-known seasonal favourites, MydWynter is a darker reminder of the pre-Christian origins of the winter festival.
Produced and arranged by Queen Bæbe Katharine Blake, previously founder of the recently revived Miranda Sex Garden, MydWynter - and yes, the title is a gentle nod to Ari Aster’s unsettling pagan horror movie Midsommar - accepts that not every winter mystery can be wholly illuminated. Some things just stay obscured.
The opening track ‘Carol of the Bells’, its melody shared with a Ukrainian folk song, was written with a guest spot from avowed Bæbes fan Iggy Pop in mind. The wild acapella arrangements of ‘Mary Fre’, an old text set to Blake’s music, and the forceful Spanish hymn ‘Ríu Ríu Chíu’ feature the Bæbes Superchoir, ten women singing together in the former snooker room of green baize hero Steve Davis, who now devotes the space to musical pursuits. (Davis’s bandmate in The Utopia Strong, multi-instrumentalist Michael York plays many parts on the record alongside usual Baebes collaborator Charlie Cawood). More traditional is a take on Christmas favourite ‘Deck the Halls’, while a version of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, anchored by the drone of a tanpura, becomes ever stranger as the genuinely odd lyric of the fourth verse takes on a new meaning in this relentless context.
Heartier are the uplifting French favourite ‘Noël Nouvelet and ‘Gower Wassail’, a recipe in song for confused wassailers seeking to impress the spirits of the new year’s growth. Blake is particularly fond of the rousing ‘Personent Hodie’, built on the ‘We Shalt Rock Thou’ beat, while her own compositions for arrangements of ancient texts such as the 4th century ‘Laudes Celebret’, the earliest of Christmas hymns, and the appropriately Springtime-facing closer ‘This Flour is Fayre’ blur the old and the new. Today XS Noize is pleased to exclusively premiere the video for ‘Personent Hodie.’
Katharine Blick says about the video:
"We imagine we are mediaeval nuns from a very remote obscure order. We haven’t seen anyone else for a very long time; therefore, our traditions haven’t evolved in a wholly Christian manner. Although we are collecting materials for and building a cross, the ceremony that follows is more pagan in structure as we surround the cross, maypole style, rather than gather in front of it. The mood becomes more hedonistic as we sip and pass the ceremonial wine and fall into a delirium….. has one of the sisters slipped something into the wine?"
Watch the video for 'Personent Hodie' - BELOW:
The current Bæbes line-up - Katharine Blake, Fiona Fey, Marie Findlay, Sophia Halberstam, Maya McCourt and Josephine Ravenheart - go on their now familiar tour of sacred spaces in December, performing in churches and cathedrals (and the odd arts centre) from Cornwall to Northumberland. (Steve Jelbert 2022)
Mediæval Bæbes will play the following shows:
4th Cardiff, Acapela Studio
6th Milton Keynes, The Stables
7th Bolton, Bolton Parish Church of St Peter
8th Leeds, Leeds Minster
9th Stoke On Trent, Stoke Minster
10th Newcastle, The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas
11th King’s Lynn, St Nicholas’ Chapel
15th Truro, Truro Cathedral
16th Chagford, St Michael’s Church
17th Glastonbury, St John The Baptist Church
18th Sandwich, St Mary’s Art Centre
19th Colchester, Colchester Arts Centre
20th Horsham, St Mary’s Church
21st London, Heath Street Baptist Church, NW3
Tickets online at mediaevalbaebes.com/live