Old Music Monday: Blow Northern Wynd

blownorthernewyndmsI’ve been busy the past few days getting another Renaissance English History Podcast episode researched, written, recorded, and posted.  I’m always getting emails and facebook messages asking me what the music is that I use in the intro.  So I decided to do my Old Music Monday on the intro music to my podcast, which is Blow Northern Wynd.  I use a version by John Fleagle, available in full on YouTube.  I started using it back in 2009 when Magnatune would let not-for-profit and amateurs use their music royalty free.  Now that my podcast gets over 100k downloads/month, I kind of wonder if I’ve helped his career at all?  #ego #IAmTheCenterOfTheUniverse

It’s actually a really ancient song, probably one of the oldest songs in the English language, with lyrics dating from about 1200, according to this Very Important Looking Library Book.  The lyrics, which are available here, show the way English was a changing language at this time, 150 years after the Norman Conquest where Norman French was still co-mingling with the Germanic languages of the Vikings, and the Anglo Saxon tribes.  For example:

ICHOT 1 a burde 1b in boure bryht,1c
That fully semly is on syht,2
Menskful 3 maiden of myht;
Feir 4 ant fre to fonde

1b burde: maiden.
1c boure bryht: bright bower.
2 fully semly… syht: very pleasing to sight.
3 menskful: worshipful.
4 feir: fair.

So very cool – like reading Chaucer, but you can sing it, as John Fleagle does beautifully, below.

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