Recommended if You Like
Fairport Convention John Renbourn New World Renaissance Band

Genres You Will Love
World: World Traditions Moods: Type: Instrumental World: Celtic New Age: Celtic New Age Folk: Celtic Folk

By Location
United States - Texas United States - United States

band website Cantiga on Facebook Sell your music everywhere


CANTIGA's unique and magical music has delighted visitors to Renaissance Festivals across North America for almost forty years. Cantiga plays timeless Celtic, medieval and world music with harp, flute, fiddle, viola da gamba, cello and lute.

The word CANTIGA means 'song' in the language of Alfonso the Wise, the 13th century Spanish "King of the Three Religions" whose royal court was a haven for Christian, Muslim, and Jewish musicians. Following in their tradition, the members of Cantiga have been dedicated to the inclusive spirit of musical improvisation which has flourished among musicians in cultural crossroads throughout history.

Harpist Martha Gay, fiddler Malcolm Smith and flute and recorder specialist Bob Bielefeld joined forces at the 1979 Texas Renaissance Festival to form Cantiga. Living and performing year round in the Renfaire circuit they became an extremely versatile celtic and renaissance band.

Houston-based cellist Max Dyer has played with Cantiga since 1991 and has been instrumental in the production of all the Cantiga recordings. Following Malcolm’s untimely death in 1996, Cantiga has been joined by a succession of fine musicians, each bringing their own special qualities to the band: fiddlers Thomas Nuendel, Mark Caudill, Michelle Levy and Ian Stewart, as well as Chilean multi-instrumentalist Charry Garcia, Alex Korolov (viola da gamba and lute) and New Orleans fiddler Dr Sick.

In 1993, Cantiga teamed up with troubadour Owain Phyfe to form the "New World Renaissance Band", performing and recording early music for modern ears. "Live the Legend", "Where Beauty Moves" and "Odyssey” met with critical success and widespread airplay. They continued to perform frequently with Owain until his passing in 2012.

In the summer of 2010, Cantiga harpist Martha Gay, embarked on a 500-mile trek through France and Spain on the Camino de Santiago—an ancient pilgrimage trail leading to Santiago de Compostela, the resting place of St. James’ bones as well as the origin of the “Cantigas de Santa Maria”. On foot, Martha towed her harp over the high mountain passes playing the medieval cantiga tunes in ancient churches and villages along the way. Encountering fellow pilgrims from many lands, she followed in the footsteps of those much earlier musicians who also shared the refreshing music of the cantigas in the timeless journey of the Camino.

Bob Bielefeld wooden flute, fife, recorders, pennywhistles and percussion
Martha Gay Celtic harp
Malcolm Smith, Thomas Nuendal, Mark Caudill, Michelle Levy, Ian Stewart and Dr. Sick, fiddle
Charry Garcia charango, guitar, birimbao, percussion,
Max Dyer cello and bass guitar
Alex Korolov and Sasha Raykov viola da gamba and lute
Ray Dillard, Jamal Mohamed, Nestor Prieto and Jake Cooper, drums and percussion