A Kinrowan Estate story: Elven Contradance Band


It was one of the oddest contradance bands I had the privilege to call for, as it was comprised solely of musicians from across the Border. Now the Elves tell us next to nothing about their culture, so what we do know of the True Bloods is centuries old. We do have True Bloods music preserved in shards of glass that play within our heads when we hold them but the idea that True Bloods had a taste for contradance music was particularly surprising given that they have a disdain for anything of our culture past that of Elizabethian Era, when True Bloods such as Peasblossom and Moth got name-checked by Shakespeare.

Contradance music being less than a century old in any meaningful sense, I figured that they hadn’t noticed it yet. But it turned out Gutmansdottir, the botanist studying our Wild Wood, had been playing contradance tunes on her fiddle while out there and two younger elves, still only in their second century, had listened to her with keen interest. A trio of them has been part of our dances for some three years now — they were amazingly superb dancers.k

So when I was approached to call for them, I was surprised. Truly surprised. Their band name was Spritely Tunes (more or less) in English. One player had what looked like a violin but was pitched oddly, another had a double-headed harp, and the third player had what was obviously their version of Border pipes.

It perhaps was Elizabethian court music filtered through their own not-human sensibilities. It was haunting though upbeat music fit for the Winter night they played. Their versions of reels, waltzes and even jigs were quickly learned by me and I gave instructions to the dancers. Three hours later, dancers and musicians (not to mention me) were ecstatic but bloody tired.

We all bowed to them as one and they left our dance for (presumably) The Border but that was only a guess. All I know is they’ve shown up three times since, each time in deep Winter, after a messenger tells me they’re coming in a week. Being True Bloods, they assume that we would of course be there to dance if they so requested.


About Gus the Estate Head Gardener

I’m the person responsible for both the grounds and the livestock which are raised here. I live with Bree (my wife) in one of the cottages that has been here for centuries.

I actually enjoy Winters here as my work load is considerably reduced as I let the younger staff members handle the needed work which leaves me time for reading, ice skating and skiing, not to mention just being with my wife. Bliss!

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