Fleurs de Lys

Fleurs de Lys

Mediaeval and Renaissance Music

 “The music and song was quite stunning”

“A wonderful evening! Your voices blended beautifully with stunning harmonies and the playing just as amazing – thank you!”

Fleurs de Lys are Anne Marie Summers, Helen Wilding and Charlotte Bulley, three like-minded musicians based in the Welsh Marches who specialize in Mediaeval and early Renaissance music. Using authentically reconstructed instruments and sourcing their material from mediaeval manuscripts they aim to re-create the beauty and stillness, energy and excitement of our distant musical past.

A Fleurs de Lys performance is a special mix of instrumental skill, exquisite vocal harmony and fascinating historical anecdote. Joyful, mesmeric dance music, played on a variety of instruments (including mediaeval fiddle, harp, hurdy-gurdy, English bagpipes, recorder and percussion) is off-set with poignant and ethereal songs of love and longing; devotion and duty; jealousy and rivalry and a little bit of triumphal pageantry.

Fleurs de Lys are accomplished singers who prefer to keep their voices natural and individual – a style far better suited to this repertoire.

Fleurs de Lys are seasoned concert performers and are also delighted to play at special events, private parties, weddings, hand-fastings and historical fairs. Their costume is colourful and historically accurate (15th c.), their manner is friendly and relaxed and all music is committed to memory for a more versatile and communicative performance.

“If Mediaeval music can rock, this did! We had a fantastic time!”

Fleurs de Lys with instruments

Annie with harpAnne Marie Summers is passionate about early music, particularly pre-renaissance music and has been playing and studying it for the last fifteen years. Her speciality is mediaeval bagpipes but she is also a proficient player of harp, recorder, shawm, and hurdy gurdy. She is a founder member of the mediaeval ensemble ‘Misericordia’ with whom she has recorded numerous cds and she has also recorded and played with many other artists.

Apart from early music, Anne Marie has a strong interest in traditional song, dance music and improvisation. Her own compositions and arrangements of folk and mediaeval pieces have been frequently aired on national radio.  

Lovely Helen at NRHelen Wilding is a classically trained violinist with a wide range of musical experiences from solo work and orchestral playing to quartets, duos and bands. She is accomplished in all genres of music from early music on authentic instruments to jazz and folk using a Vector five string electric violin. Helen has taught, played and recorded in both the U.K. and North America with award winning musicians. She is also a member of Worcestershire-based Ceilidh band Ringerike.

In 2009 Anne Marie and Helen were asked tocontribute a piece to the album”Blodeugerdd: an Anthology of Welsh Music and Song”, commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute. They provided an improvised estampie (mediaeval dance form) based on an old Welsh folk song using early bagpipes and mediaeval fiddle. Since then the album has won an International Music Award in the world music category.

Charlotte with hurdy gurdy

Charlotte Bulley has had a long and varied career including making glass sculpture, teaching English as a foreign language and working as a City lawyer.

She is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioner Network, because she believes there is almost nothing better than singing in harmony with other people. She manages and conducts a voice group where every song is taught by ear (so you don’t have to be able to read music to take part), and people’s voices are gently warmed up, cajoled and encouraged to sound out through bodily movement and vocal play.

She is a classically trained singer and pianist, and she sings and plays the hurdy gurdy with Fleurs de Lys.

Fleurs de Lys with instruments

Photos by the estimable Mike Lewis