Faux Epic / Archaic Music?

The musician, Peter Pringle, has a few songs up on YouTube like this one:

It and another using the Hurdy Gurdy to tell the Epic of Beowulf are his attempts to reconstruct the sort of sound that an ancient epic singing might have had. I doubt that it's particularly authentic (given the lack of information available), but the sound he has chosen is quite appealing, and he has a great voice. Unfortunately, he doesn't have an album out and most of his stuff is for the theremin (which I do not like) so there's not enough for me to assemble to make a fulfilling compilation.

Does anyone know of another artist who is creating something similar to the above?

Hmm. Maybe not exactly what you’re looking for, but Loreena McKinnitt recorded her Book of Secrets album with a lot of hurdy-gurdy and lutes and things. It has a very archaic feel to me. Love it.

I am not sure if it is as epic as the first example but scholars have reconstructed ancient Greek music as well. It took a long time but the information to do it well was supposedly there albeit in bits and pieces. The sample is in the middle of the page.

Maybe it’s just me, but the instrumental portions of that sound like they’d be right at home as background music in an old Western. Which is cool.

I’m sure it’s not authentic, but the Tristram song from Diablo is the first thing this thread made me think of. Matt Uelmen is the artist.

There is a whole genre of artists, mostly German, doing medieval music with various levels of adherence to authenticity; the more authentic using instruments that most people haven’t heard of. Corvus Corvax is probably the best example.

I listened to the Sumerian track with my wife, the medieval musicologist. (Who has spent a lot of time thinking about/working on the reconstruction of lost performance practices.) Her take was that the performance is not rhythmic enough for a preliterate work. Too much emphasis on making it sound old-timey and mystical, not enough emphasis on storytelling and mnemonic repetition.

She recommends the reconstruction of Beowulf by Ben Bagby as a more historically informed approach to this sort of oral epic.

Of slight relevance, a lot of people seems to assume Ashokan Farewell is a Civil War tune, when it was composed in 1982 and was simply used as mood music for the 1990 PBS documentary Civil War.

Stef Conner recorded an entire album trying to recreate ancient Sumerian and Babylonian music called The Flood, some of which you might enjoy. It is similarly minimalist in arrangement and modal.

Excerpt (from the Epic of Gilgamesh)

Since I’m not sure what exactly you’re focused on (vocal style, hurdy-gurdy, modality, epic narrative, authenticity) I’ll just run with similar modality since that’s the easiest stuff to find :slight_smile: If you’re dead-set on just one or two voices singing an epic to minimal accompaniment, you can probably ignore the rest of this post.

If you don’t mind fuller instrumentation, there’s quite a bit of folk music revivals in the Middle East / North Africa / South Asia region that’s taking very old folk songs into a more modern setting (using modern instruments, sometimes even electronics).

Coke Studio Pakistan is a TV series highlighting local musicians, and they range from modern to more traditional styles. They’re on their 8th season now, and all the music is posted to youtube and available for free mp3 download from their website. You’d have to sift through quite a bit of music you’re not looking for to identify the stuff more to your liking, obviously.

Kangna, Chori, Chori

Coke Studio also has an India series that may have similar traditional music highlights, since they’re arguably the same people divided mostly by political history.

Niyaz focuses on Persian/Sufi poetry from the Iran/Aghanistan region, but they also modernize it (including electronics) and are anything but minimalistic.


Vas is an alt world music group involving Niyaz’s singer Azam Ali (I think predates Niyaz). Comparisons to Dead Can Dance are inevitable (a good thing, if you like DCD’s later, less gothic-industrial, more world-music-focused offerings).


Faran Ensemble if you’re into instrumentals from that region: Dune

I’m probably way off the mark though, this is just the stuff my brain linked to when listening to your OP.

The Estonian band Rondellus has recorded an entire album of Black Sabbath cover songs using authentic medieval instruments.