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Cantiga | Martha's Dragon

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Martha's Dragon

by Cantiga

Whimsical, light-hearted, madcap or melancholy, Cantiga's music delights the ear and the heart. Haunting ancient tunes and catchy originals played on flute fiddle harp charango cello and percussion by America's premier Renaissance Festival Band".
Genre: World: World Traditions
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Cantiga 108
5:05 $0.99
2. Martha's Dragon
5:09 $0.99
3. Andaluz
5:45 $0.99
4. Skillywidden
5:39 $0.99
5. Valle De Lo Alto
3:47 $0.99
6. White Petticoat a La Turk
3:10 $0.99
7. Bourees
3:09 $0.99
8. Spagnoletta
3:39 $0.99
9. Branle De Bourgogne
2:16 $0.99
10. Eres Agueda Gloriosa
3:27 $0.99
11. Fischiettando
3:10 $0.99
12. Argeers
3:53 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
CANTIGA has delighted visitors to Renaissance Festivals across North America with their magical music for almost 30 years.

The word CANTIGA means 'song' in the language of Alfonso X, the 13th century Spanish king whose royal court was a haven for Christian, Muslim, and Jewish musicians.

We are dedicated to the spirit of musical improvisation which has flourished in such cultural crossroads throughout history and continues to be celebrated in today's Global Village.

"I must say you've outdone yourselves with "Martha's Dragon." Every CD by Cantiga and the NWRB has simply captivated me! And the delight grows with each listening."
Walt Haake
WDVR FM, Sergeantsville, NJ

"Their music is fresh enough to listen to in any setting, yet it gives that warm, old world feeling of times gone by...of loves lost and gained...of celebrations...of the taming of dragons! Martha's Dragon is history and freshness all wrapped into one beautiful musical package! Bravo!-"

Overall Rating - 10 out of 10
Jen Lush,
Midwestbands.com, 7/31/05


Notes for the tunes on "Martha's Dragon":

1. CANTIGA 108
This cantiga, a 13th century song from Alfonso X's 'Cantigas de Santa Maria' tells a bizarre story involving Merlin the Magician, a Jewish wise man and Santa Maria.


St. Martha is known for taming, not for slaying her dragon. This tune was written by Bob Bielefeld in the early 1990's.


A medieval Andalusian melody brought to light by Julián Ribera y Tarragó (1858-1934).


Part of our legacy from Cantiga fiddler Malcolm Smith (1951-1996), this tune began life as a playful response to too many choruses of 'It's a Long, Long Way from Clare to Here', and morphed into our favorite jam tune.


We first heard this melody performed by the Andean band Pachacamac and were delighted to discover that it was written by Conrado "Charry" Garcia, our newest member. Charry wrote this tune in Chile in the 1980's. Valle de lo Alto means 'High Valley'.


Mark became fixated on odd time signatures after borrowing Bob's book of Bulgarian tunes, and an innocent Irish jig in 6/8 slipped into 7!


These two bourées were published by German composer Michael Praetorius in his collection of French court and country dance music 'Terpsichore' (1612).


A well-known ancient air also published in 'Terpsichore'. We dedicate this dance to the Court Dancers of Scarborough Faire.


This 16th century French dance tune by Adrian Le Roy alternates four and six-measure phrases. Mark discovered it on a recording of Early Music from the '70s.


We learned this Spanish Renaissance melody for Jeff Baldwin of the Texas Renaissance Festival, who chose it for his production 'Masque of the Conquistadors'. This song is a serenade of love to the beautiful Agueda, who appears to her suitor as radiant as an angel in the midst of her nine sisters.


A tarantella, popular with whistling Sicilianos. The fischietto is the Italian version of the penny-whistle. Fischiettando means 'whistling'.


This perky little tune is from John Playford's 'The English Dancing Master' , in print from 1651 to 1728.


The Members of Cantiga are:

Martha Gay,

Mark Caudill,

Bob Bielefeld,
Wood Flute, Fife

Conrado Garcia,
Charango, Percussion (Birimbao, Caxixi, Semilla, Triangle), Toyos (bass pan-pipes)

Max Dyer,

Also featured on this album,
special guest artist Jamal Mohamed,
Percussion: Doumbeks (Middle Eastern Goblet drums), Djembe (West African Goblet drum) Riq (Egyptian tambourine), Mazhar (Egyptian Frame drum).


Original Cover painting for Martha's Dragon by illustrator Richard Hull.


A Review from Ted Young, New York:

"For those not familiar with their work, Cantiga brings together music from all over medieval and renaissance Europe.

Cantiga¹s fourth CD continues to preserve their enchanting sound while bringing us new and exciting songs. Conrado Garcia, Cantiga¹s newest member, and guest star, Jamal Mohamed, add a new dimension to the group with their subtle additions of charango, toyos, doumbek, and more.

As with their past works, 'Martha¹s Dragon' is full of lively, upbeat music from long ago played with amazing skill. The title track comes to life with a vibrant bass and rhythm. Conrado¹s beautiful Andean composition, Valle de lo Alto, is combined with Cantiga¹s style creating an inspirational fusion. And White Petticoat a là Turk is a traditional Irish jig performed in 7/8 giving it a Turkish flare and providing another example of Cantiga¹s remarkable creativity.

I would highly suggest treating yourself to these twelve lovely songs,especially if this is your first Cantiga CD. And if you don¹t own a CD player, it is worth buying it just for the stunning cover art."

Reviewer: Ted Young, who enjoys Cantiga performances each summer at the Sterling Renaissance Faire in Oswego New York.



to write a review

Wesley Knoch

Gets my vote for the best in their great series of CD's.
Martha's Dragon is incredible! What inspired minds it must have taken to put these melodies and sounds together. I have listened to it over and over again as I try to infuse it into my own soul. I have played it for my music students and blown them away as well. Thank you Cantiga for blessing the world with your presence as well as for recording Martha's Dragon.

Shirl Jae Atwell

A very good cd
I have always enjoyed the musicianship of Cantiga and Martha's Dragon is no exception. It has quickly become one of my favorites. The blend of cello, violin, harp, guitar, & percussion is exquisite and I highly recommend Cantiga and especially Martha's Dragon to anyone.

Marc Gunn of the Celtic MP3s Music Magazine

Lighted-hearted, upbeat and a lot of fun
A few months ago, I received some CDs from Cantiga, the premiere Renaissance Festival jam band. I started listening, and I tell ye what, they've become one of my favorite bands out there. They also have a brand new CD called "Martha's Dragon."

Cantiga has played World, Celtic and Renaissance music at festivals since the 70s. The name Cantiga means 'song' in the language of Alfonso X, the 13th century Spanish king whose royal court was a haven for Christian, Muslim, and Jewish musicians. Their music is filled with the spirit of improvisation which has flourished among musicians in such cross cultural crossroads throughout history.

This is album isn't much of a "Celtic" album per se. Rather, it's filled with beautiful blend of tunes from throughout Europe from Spain to Bulgaria, France and Germany to the British Isles.

I think that word that best comes to mind with Martha's Dragon is 'joyous.' That's the spirit that they share with their music. It's light-hearted, upbeat, and a lot of fun. I could so see this band performing a five hundred years ago or in a modern music hall. In both case, they will captivate their audiences like they do at the entrance of the Texas Renaissance Festival this year and at faires throughout the nation.

Steve O

Breath taking.....................
I've not heard of this group before, but found this CD on this website. Love the cello, and wind instruments. Ordered it for my 12 year old daughter, and after two weeks of listening to it, she's playing the penny whistle. Absolutely delightful! Highly recommended.

Margie P.

Magical Music!
Discoverd Cantiga at this years So. Florida Renaissance Faire. Their music capitvated me immediately- I bought their CD at the Faire right after their performance. It always puts me in a good mood when I listen to it. I recently sent a copy of Martha's Dragon to by brother for his birthday and he very much enjoyed it. He said it sounded a little Celtic to him. I especially enjoy the flute influence in their tunes. Treat yourself to a copy of this CD- you won't be disappointed! :-)

allen schweiger

we enjoyed it immensly, thank you.
the music was exactly what my son was looking for, he and his wife are into ren faire big time and have been looking for fitting music.
i appreciate you being there for me to bring this music to my son find the fit.

Mad Terran Music

Brilliant CD, some of the best improvisational music I've heard.

Jeff Rudy

i saw you guys in sterling this summer where you played a few of the songs of Martha's dragon. i have to say i love the different timing of the songs it adds a twist that makes me want to keep listening all day long! being a flautist i love love love the sound of the wooden flutes and fifes! all around great album! cant wait to see you at next years ren fest in sterling NY.

huge fan!!
~Jeff Rudy


Ancient Europe and old Peru
This is very nice music indeed. The Andean pipes were a little unexpected as were the South American guitar licks -- but no less welcome in this lovely CD.