logo.jpg 350x249


How it all started...

Harpist Martha Gay, fiddler Malcolm Smith and flute and recorder specialist Bob Bielefeld joined forces at the Texas Renaissance Festival in the early 70's with a common love for ancient melodies and a flair for jamming. Their passion proved a marvelous alchemy as they were joined in the 90’s by cellist Max Dyer and later by Chilean multi-instrumentalist Conrado Garcia. Founding member Malcolm Smith died in 1996 to be succeeded by Thomas Nuendel, Boston fiddlers Mark Caudill and Michelle Levy, gamba/lute player Alex Korolov, and most recently, Austin TX based fiddler Sick.

The spirit of Malcolm's music lives on in Cantiga. His fiddle playing is featured especially on our "Magic Steps' CD.

In 1990, Cantiga teamed up with troubador Owain Phyfe, to form the "New World Renaissance Band", performing and recording early music for modern ears. Our CDs with Owain include "Live the Legend", "Where Beauty Moves" and "Odyssey" available through CDBaby.

malcolmdrop.jpg 124x150
Malcolm Smith
Memorial Site

owaindrop.jpg 208x293
Owain Phyfe

Cantiga is also joined by drummers Ray Dillard, Nestor Prieto and most recently Jamal Mohamed for recordings and concerts, and together we have recorded four critically acclaimed CDs: "Once Upon a Time", "Magic Steps", The Otter's Pool" and "Martha's Dragon".


About the artists...

bob_about.jpg 150x225 BOB BIELEFELD is a veteran festival and theatre performer. He plays flute, fife and specializes in the ancient instruments of the recorder family. His musical experience includes a wide spectrum of influences ranging from classical to jazz, ethnic to barbershop quartet. Bob has a large repertoire including European, Celtic and English Dance melodies. Cantiga's resident musicologist, Bob's research gives birth to many of Cantiga's arrangements. He has published a music book "Cantiga's Renaissance Festival Favorites" available through Mel Bay.
martha_about.jpg 150x204 MARTHA GAY is a founding member of Cantiga. Martha attended Oxford University where she majored in archaeology and has made her life in the Renaissance Festival circuit since the 70's. She studied harp with Mildred Milligan and with Derek Bell of the Chieftains. In 2010, Martha traveled through parts of France and Spain on the Camino de Santiago—an ancient pilgrim road leading to Santiago de Compostela, the resting place of St. James’ bones as well as the origin of the Cantigas de Santa Maria. On foot, Martha towed her harp through the high mountain passes so that she could play the cantigas in the ancient churches and villages along the way. Encountering fellow pilgrims from many lands, she followed in the footsteps of those much earlier musicians who also shared the cantigas on the Camino.
max_about.jpg 150x194 MAX DYER plays cello in every context from opera and chamber music to folk, jazz, and world music. He looks forward to playing with Cantiga each year at the Texas Renaissance Festival, as well as at various concerts. He works behind the scenes producing Cantiga's recordings. As a classical cellist, he performed for three years with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and has played with Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet Orchestra since 1984. During the summer of 2004, he was solo cellist with the Broadway musical "The Lion King" and has also been selected to join the performer’s roster for Cirque du Soleil. As a studio musician, he has recorded for many major labels as an orchestral player and as an improvising cello soloist on Grammy nominated albums. Max holds a Masters Degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where he studied with Shirley Trepel. His wife, Corky is also a cellist and they have three boys.
alex_about.jpg 150x225 ALEX KOROLOV has had the good fortune of being a student of early music from a young age. He began his studies under his father Alex Raykov, and has since graduated from Indiana University with a degree in early music performance, having studied viola da gamba and renaissance lute. Alex has performed around the United States and Canada with a number of ensembles and as a soloist at events such as the Bloomington Early Music Festival and the Boston Early Music Festival. He is glad to have the opportunity to play with Cantiga, an ensemble that he has known for most of his life.
sick_about.jpg 150x225 SICK is a musical jack-of-all-trades with over 25 years on the violin, 15 years on guitar and a knowledge in composition and arrangement with training in music theory. His list of credits range between being a street performer in New Orleans, three years with Austin-based Asylum Street Spankers, three years with Dallas' 3 Redneck Tenors as well as producing Burlesque and Variety shows in Texas and New York. He has a highly contagious performance style infecting audiences with his talent and passion.


© Copyright 2018: Cantiga. All Rights Reserved.