|ALYSSA GALE OF THE BRITON ENSEMBLE|
This week’s arts and culture column is on a merry olde ensemble that sings madrigals.
Here’s how it begins:
A few Sundays ago, I made my way toward Altadena, north of Pasadena. The neighborhood is lovely: up against the mountains, up above the city, quiet.
The homes were large, graceful and charmingly landscaped.
When I arrived, a woman in a medieval wench costume with a gigantic bosom and a feather wreath in her hair was sitting cross-legged in the driveway. “Welcome!” she said brightly — and I did feel welcome, right away.
Inside I felt as if I’d stepped onto the extras lot of the Errol Flynn “Three Musketeers” shoot. There were more wenches, in tightly-cinched corset-style bodices and long full skirts. There were men in leather jerkins, harlequin-style pantaloons, striped stockings and fawn-colored boots. Fringed, ruffled, medallioned — sporting an astonishing array of feather-bedecked headgear, the whole merry group toasted with another with tankards of what could only be mead.
This was The Briton Ensemble, whose work has been described by “Splash Magazine” as “madrigal magic.”