Autobiography (from a concert program insert)

Owain Phyfe

Vocalist, instrumentalist, and composer. Owain Phyfe grew up in a bilingual family where Welsh was a second language. Nourished by his grandparent's appreciation for song. Phyfe's study of languages in college and his travels abroad to England. France, and Spain as well as his experience later as a musician in New York City's Greenwich Village led to the kindling of his own Renaissance spirit.

In the mid-1980s, Phyfe and his wife Paula became festival performers at the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Spellbound by early music, Phyfe decided to develop a "singer of songs" persona. While researching late medieval and renaissance music, he found himself favoring faire life over the automotive engineering company he had started in 1983. "It became my dream to present the beauty of Renaissance music." Phyfe explains. "not as a documentary , but as a living expression."

Phyfe believes that good renaissance music and lyrics imbues its listener with the Irnowledge that man should exist in freedom. that virtue is worth pursuing, happiness is not to be sacrificed, and that life is an adventure worth living. Through his music, Phyfe endeavors to contribute to humanity these ancient values he cherishes so greatly.

Although Phyfe considers the re-creation of period music as an homage to the era, he does not perform his music exactly as it was historically played. Rather, he uses modern performance practices because, according to Phyfe. early music played in a scholarly fashion does not "press the same buttons" with modern audiences than it would have to audiences of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Purely as an esthetic choice, where lyrics would have been historically sung with an Italian or French flavor, Phyfe's songs have a distinctly American folk flavor.

"We will never be 16th-century musicians," Phyfe chides. "We like modern conveniences like indoor plumbing too much." But with 250 radio stations nationwide now placing his recordings in regular rotation, Owain Phyfe certainly seems to be coming close.

Owain Phyfe (2001)

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