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English Folk Songs and Madrigals

The following traditional English folk songs and madrigals music CDs are just a sampling of the English medieval and renaissance music currently available, mainly geared toward new listeners.

Buy Madrigals and English Folk Songs on CD
Madrigal History Tour
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The King's Singers' Madrigal History Tour (1989)
The King's Singers

All male choir singing both a capella and with instrumental background in original style on this fabulous and unique album covering madrigals from all over Europe. A wonderful compilation - not to be missed.

Another for your collection: King's Singers - Chanson D'Amour (1993) - sung completely a capella, traditional love songs from around the world.
The Lark In The Clear Air & Other Traditional Songs (1993)
The Cambridge Singers

Wonderful renditions of a wide variety of English, Irish and Scottish traditional folk songs performed by the Cambridge Singers. Take a listen. Delightful.

Or try the Cambridge Singers a capella Olde English Madrigals and Folk Songs At Ely Cathedral (1990). Really lovely.
The Lady and The Unicorn
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The Lady and the Unicorn (1971)
John Renbourn

John Renbourn is an extremely gifted guitarist who has updated medieval and renaissance music with a slightly contemporary, jazzy feel, all acoustic, very jolly. Reminds me of being at a Renaissance or People's Fair.

He's got scads of albums, one of his more popular being Sir John Alot of Merrie Englandes Musyk & ye Grene Knyghte - what a title!
Watkins Ale
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Watkins Ale (1992)
The Baltimore Consort

"If you think people didn't have much fun in the 16th century, you may change your mind after you hear the kind of music the ordinary folks were singing, playing, and listening to. The Baltimore Consort, internationally recognized for its outstanding programs and performances of early music, offer us an immediately appealing--and irresistible--assortment of popular tunes from 16th-century England, some of which you may recognize in their modern incarnations. "There were three ravens," "Greensleeves," and John Dowland's famous "Lachrimae Pavan" are a few of the better-known pieces." --David Vernier for amazon.com
Renaissance Songs of Spring
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O Lusty May: Renaissance Songs of Spring (1997)
Toronto Consort

"Those Renaissance Europeans really knew how to celebrate spring, a fact colorfully evident in popular music of the period from countries such as England, Scotland, and France. This varied and technically polished recording of vocal and instrumental songs and dances features selections from all of the above regions--and thankfully mixes many unfamiliar tunes among a few favorites such as Morley's "Now is the month of maying" and the title song. The seven-member Toronto Consort demonstrates the precise phrasing and well-developed sense of blend and balance that mark a mature ensemble of intelligent singers. It also offers impressive harpsichord, lute, and recorder performances. The recording places the voices very close to the listener, and not everyone will appreciate the animal noises and "authentic" accents used in "Willy prithee go to bed," but most listeners will find this an entertaining and spirited celebration. --David Vernier for amazon.com