Edinburgh Renaissance Band at St Mark's

It isn’t just through watching the plays of the Bard that you can get a taste of culture here at the Fringe; the Edinburgh Renaissance Band are bards of a different sort. Collaborating with the Polyhymnia Dancers, this seventeen piece ensemble boasts a repertoire of songs from the thirteenth century to the early eighteenth. There are a range of genres from laments and love songs to songs from the court and even drinking songs, with tunes from Scotland, Italy, France and even the court of Henry VIII. Most members of the band play multiple instruments, and three of them sing as well, displaying a diverse range of musical and vocal talent.

It’s not just an old concert; it’s a sixteenth century concert.

The free programme provided at the start of the performance proves brilliantly detailed, giving the names of the songs, their composers, approximate dates and more, as well as some lyrics. This is accentuated throughout the performance by the band’s musical director Murray Campbell; not only do we get to hear music from hundreds of years ago, but we gain a better understanding of it as well. It’s presented in lively ways, such as the humorous demonstration of the buzzing sound of the crumhorns and adds to, rather than hinders, the band’s presentation of their music.

The way in which the Edinburgh Renaissance Band performs is spectacular – beginning with a rousing battle fanfare to announce their presence as they enter the church, they perform comic songs of the court, laments and stately dance tunes all with great energy and passion. Not only did the band play well but they dress the part too, as do the dancers, in full period costume; it felt as though one had travelled back in time to watch the minstrels play at court.

A great number of the songs the band play are Scottish; as Campbell states, “it’s an international festival, so it ought to contain some Scottish music from hundreds of years ago!” This being said, particular highlights from the performance include the Italian song La Romana, in which the band splits into two choirs with the instruments battling or echoing each other, and the Regina Coeli; once played at St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Campbell explains, it is only fitting that the band perform it at St Mark’s, Castle Terrace. The final song of the evening combined vocals, dance and instruments in a culmination of the band’s talents, and with this they were urged back to the stage, having left the church, to take a bow for a second time. There are only two more days of performances for the Edinburgh Renaissance Band - don’t miss this display of beautiful music and dance. It’s not just an old concert; it’s a sixteenth century concert.

Reviews by Catriona Scott

Laughing Horse @ Espionage

Shakespeare Catalysts

Greenside @ Nicolson Square


Paradise in The Vault

Holy Sh*t

Assembly Rooms


Palmerston Place Church

Legacy: The Story of Martin Luther

theSpace on the Mile



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

The Band returns for 2015 to our new venue in St Mark’s Church, Castle Terrace – with a varied programme of music and dance from the middle ages and renaissance. The thirteen musicians are joined by historical dance group Polyhymnia. We show off a large range of period instruments including shawms, cornetts, sackbuts, nakers, crumhorns, viols, fiddles, recorders, bells, bagpipes, racketts and a serpent. The show is introduced by Musical Director Murray Campbell, whose lively presentation provides a show that is a truly joyous experience, suitable for all ages, newcomers and regulars alike. www.edinburghrenaissanceband.com

Most Popular See More

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets