The Terra Nova Consort, a traditional Renaissance Galician ensemble, gathered in the Ashland Daily Tidings newsroom studio for the most recent Tidings Café mini-concert performance.
The piece they played has no name because it's a traditional song, the group tried to explain as they sat down with their instruments under the blazing studio lights.
The group was founded in 1990 by Pat O'Scannell, who played the recorder and shawm (an intriguing woodwind instrument), and Sue Carney, who strummed the guitaria (a pint-sized Spanish guitar).
Accompanying them for this unique instrumental performance was Eddie Condon on the lute (a bulbous, guitar-like string instrument that's also bent at the neck before the headstock), Tina Chaney on the fiddle, Rebecca Merusi on shells (a percussion element) and Nicholas Tennat on the vibrant triangle.
Depending on the program the group plays, it changes personnel, O'Scannell said. Only Tina Chaney is traveling from her home in Washington, D.C., for the group's week of Oregon Shakespeare Festival Green Show performances; the rest reside in Ashland. Chaney is filling in for Shira Kammen, who developed the program now titled "The Song That Never Ends and Traditional Music of Galicia."
Their style and genre of music is considered a subdivision of the classical music industry, O'Scannell said.
This particular ensemble specializes in the traditional music of the Mediterranean basin.
"We're seeking to bring out the music of the people. Music you might hear on the street," said O'Scannell, the group's music director for 25 years.
"People were afraid we would lose the stuff," she said of the cultural importance of the mostly secular, traditional Spanish-Celtic music.
The group has had recent success around the world with three studio-recorded CDs that have been released in 52 countries and frequent air time on West Coast Live and National Public Radio. Locally, the group may be better known for their 17-year run as the resident ensemble for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, ending in 2007.
There's singing in their performances — in styles that you may not hear in opera or other classically trained styles, O'Scannell said. The vocal aspect of the performance is similar to the Gypsy Kings, she said.
The Terra Nova Consort will perform OSF's Green Shows tonight, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. The ensemble has two programs prepared, more instruments and more singing, so you can show up two nights in a row and hear something different. More information on the group is available at www.terranovaconsort.com.
The in-house instrumental performance of the song with no name can be seen on the Tidings Café group page of connectashland.com and at dailytidings.com.