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The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments has forged a reputation for being one of our finest exponents of early music. They enchant and amaze in equal measure.' The Musician
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The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments was founded in 2010 to explore a repertoire that ranges from folk songs and earthy dances to high art music from the 18th century and before, as well as newly composed pieces. The members of The Society are all leaders in the fields of historical performance and traditional music with years of performing and recording experience. They play on a plethora of unusual and extraordinary instruments. Since its inception, the group has performed many concerts, released two CDs and given several radio broadcasts including a live concert performance of their programme, ‘The Ministry of Angels’, broadcast on 'The Early Music Show' on BBC Radio 3.

'Nine Daies Wonder', our current programme, is touring through 2015 and beyond. Remarkable...a stunning show from start to finish. It roars along. Libby Purves, Theatre Cat. Read more reviews of Nine Daies Wonder here.
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We think of the publicity stunt as peculiar to our age but the antics of Will Kemp, a shameless self-publicist and one of the leading actors in Shakespeare’s company, prove otherwise. In 1600 he danced his way from London to Norwich in nine days, entertaining an adoring public en route. The Society of Strange and Ancient instruments, with dancer, Steven Player, celebrate Will Kemp’s account of the journey, ‘Nine Daies Wonder’, with raucous dance tunes and more refined music of the Elizabethan age.

They breathe new life into this celebrated event, which remains awe-inspiring 400 years on, and still has the power to delight, baffle and amuse.

Nine Daies Wonder TRAILER
Player’s dancing was sublime as he switched from serene galliard or graceful pavane to kickabout jig. The Times 4 stars

‘The incredible joy in the room was palpable.’ Nick Wells, Director of The Bury Festival

The best sort of early music concert: a strong thematic concept with a splendid mix of less and more well-known music on an interesting array of instruments – and there was something for everyone.
Early Music Review

The musical backing for his journey was provided by four musicians, masters in their field of ancient music, with beautiful vocals from Jeremy Avis and harmonious sounds from the ancient instruments.
Bury Free Press

Touring 2015


More reviews...

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Francis Bacon, 17th century philosopher, statesman and visionary, is widely regarded as the father of modern science. Despite this, his investigations into the nature of sound are little known. The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments’ project for 2015/16 explores some of the seemingly magical and musical phenomena that Bacon sought to explain. Reproducing some of his experiments and using his observations and predictions as a starting point, The Society will make new presentations of exquisite 17th century instrumental music in collaboration with sound designer and composer, Jon Nicholls. The performers play unusual and historically appropriate instruments, most furnished with sympathetic strings, including the tromba marina, a magnificent buzzing monochord, and the little known viola bastarda. Read more here
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The Ministry of Angels
In this programme we explore music associated with angels, the maverick and fallen as well as the divine and perfect. Playing some of the instruments that appear in descriptions and depictions of angels through the ages, as well as other strange and ethereal sounding instruments, we present traditional tunes, dances, songs and carols in a celebration of these heavenly creatures. Read more
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La Société des Instruments Anciens
A recreation of a concert given by our predecessors, La Société des Instruments Anciens, who gave a series of historical performances in the Salon Pleyel in Paris in the years around 1900. We play the instruments used in the original programme - hurdy gurdy, viola d'amore, viola da gamba and harpsichord - in a programme of old favourites and fascinating oddities from the 18th century.
Read more
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