Banquo Folk Ensemble performs Sunday, December 10, 2 p..m. at Oak Bay United Church. Tickets are $20 at the door, or in advance at Ivy’s Bookshop, Munro’s Books, or online at (Submitted photo)

Take a twist away from commercial with Banquo

Banquo Folk Ensemble performs Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. at Oak Bay United Church

Avoid the commercial standards of the season with Banquo Folk Ensemble, at Oak Bay United Church on Sunday afternoon.

“We will be presenting a Yule-time concert of music that spans over 600 years,” says Ensemble member and Oak Bay resident Bill Jamieson. “We try to avoid the commercial standards of the season. Most of the program will be music handed down over the centuries through aural traditions, along with some lesser-known pieces that have survived in written form.”

The program includes familiar but ancient carols, medieval pilgrim songs praising the Virgin Mary, music composed by Henry VIII, English folk music that hearkens back to the pagan origins of many of the Yule-time traditions, and some haunting folk tunes from other lands that speak of the experiences of common people at this time of year.

All of this music will be performed on voice and more than 25 different instruments in a repertoire Jamieson describes as part early music ensemble, part folk band. Along with a more familiar lineup of guitar, flute, mandolin, harp and percussion will be a number of exotic instruments from the past: cittern, recorders, shawm, crumhorn, medieval vielle, several different types of bagpipes, and the rarely-heard hurdy-gurdy.

“We’re claiming a Victoria first for this concert: a piece featuring not one, but three hurdy-gurdies,” says Jamieson. “The hurdy-gurdy has been around for the better part of a millennium. It’s a complex instrument, capable of creating many different sounds and effects, and suits our type of music perfectly.”

Victoria-based Banquo Folk Ensemble has been performing early music with a folk vibe for nineteen years. A bit of a family affair, the group currently consists of siblings Amy and Eric Reiswig, father and daughter Bill and Gwendolyn Jamieson, and author, folk singer and Mayne Island resident Lael Whitehead.

Banquo Folk Ensemble performs Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. at Oak Bay United Church. Tickets are $20 at the door, Ivy’s Bookshop, Munro’s Books, or

For a taste of the music visit


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