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Counterfeit Bards celebrate CD release

2004-04-16
By Sandi Davis
The Oklahoman


If you went to the Medieval Fair in Norman a few weeks ago, you heard a lot of music written around the Middle Ages, including sets by Norman-based The Counterfeit Bards.

Members Lee Agnew, Anna Holloway, Lessa Keller-Kenton and Leah Kenton combine to sing Scottish ballads, play lively dance tunes from the English Renaissance and Celtic times and sing toe- tapping tunes from Ireland.

You can hear the Counterfeit Bards live at 8 p.m. Saturday at Borders Books, 3209 Northwest Expressway, for the release of their compact disc "Bard From This Hall."

The title is a good indication of the band's onstage patter, but their music will take you back in time to the days of smoky peat fires, tales of murder, longing and good- byes.

Agnew, who sings and plays guitar, tin whistle, percussion and recorder, and Holloway, who sings and plays the recorder, guitar and bodhran (a Celtic traditional drum), provide the band's backbone.

Their voices are good for what they're singing, but it's Keller- Kenton and Kenton's additional instruments that make the band special.

Keller-Kenton plays fiddle, and Kenton plays a hammered dulcimer. Those combined sounds give the Irish tunes a wild edge and the songs in general an ethereal sound.

At a live show, there's also a chance that Keller-Kenton and Kenton will play the hammered dulcimer together for a lilting sound that is as fun to hear as it is to watch the four small hammers fly across the strings.

Agnew admits that while they try to interpret the music to fit the source where they learned it, there is no way they can be considered an authentic band.

"We present the old songs and tunes as well as we can in hopes that people who live in the modern world will enjoy them as much as we do," Agnew said.

If you like what you hear Saturday, you can buy the CD right then.

If you'd like to hear more, they play "First Fridays" at Borders in Norman and "Third Fridays" at The Celtic Cup, 2315 N Hudson, along with other Celtic bands.

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