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“Bringing the ancient story songs to life”

The Story Wrens were formed approximately 2008 by performers at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Sothern California who met at the St. Helena’s Guild, home to more than a few pagans, vegans and libertines, and a hotbed of traditional arts and lore.

“Let us form a pact”, said one, pulling hands in a circle after a particularly good trad singing set, “that next season, we will be a band”, and so it was, with the band passing the audition by making the Entertainment Director cry… in a good way.

While research and authenticity may have been the lay of the cultural landscape, the environment of the annual 6-week festival also pushed performers to create unique live entertainment, with fellow groups like the Merry Wives of Windsor and the Poxy Boggards not only singing gorgeously and powerfully, but also helping to create the concept of NC-17 stages and ushering in their Golden Age.

The Wrens, as one of the smallest, most instrumental and most unabashedly  artsy of these groups, had their struggles in the 80-decibel soundscape (no amps), the routine 90-degree heat, and the thousand competing distractions of a huge festival, but ultimately honed the mix of music, theater, and history they present today.

A few years later, the trad St. Helena’s guild was terminated, in part due to the aforementioned pagans, vegans and libertines – well, not so much the vegans – but the Wrens remained, and branched out with other engagements like the Lifetime channel series, American Princess, and the Hollywood premiere for the Netflix series, The Witcher. More changes came with the pandemic but, remarkably, the Wrens re- formed as a Northern California band, re-affirming their out-of-their-minds love of trad music and festival performing, and drawing even closer.

The Wrens bring a diversity of performing backgrounds:

  • Orchestral cello and 1000+ stage play performances (Mark, mandolin &  fiddle)
  • Musical theater and Nashville (Vickie, lead singer)
  • Champion trad harping (Shawna, with the Chieftains, Joan Baez, and all-Ireland)
  • R&B and Delta Blues (Forrest, percussion, he of 9 Grammy nominations and the Jazz Crusaders)
  • Playing Rachmaninov for fun (Megan, 12-string guitar)

With their second award-winning album, The Sailor and the Mermaid, the Wrens came to fully understand their focus on Story Songs. With an emphasis on storytelling, tight harmonies and instrumental drive, they work/play to curate the beautiful trad songs, updating them for a modern audience, and creating connections through time.

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