Historical Story Songs

The Story Wrens (formerly Wren of Iniquity) found their inspiration in the magical scene of the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Agoura, California and the resurgent folk arts and early music there.  Research and authenticity were the lay of the cultural landscape.  The music and songs became the tresor trové, literally the “treasure found” that would offer connection through time.

 

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Musical director Mark Sellin started as a classically trained cellist, but also fell in love with Irish fiddle and with story songs.  He also worked with numerous acting troupes of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, writing and performing comedies and musicals with members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, among others.

Mark brought his musical and theatrical sensibilities to the songs celebrated by the Faire genre.  With fellow musicians of the scene, including the Merry Wives of Windsor and the Poxy Boggards, the Wrens and Mark curated and arranged ancient songs with an emphasis on storytelling, tight harmonies and instrumental drive.

Victoria Bottelson is a singer, songwriter and storyteller.  With an impressive resume and years touring as a lead or back-up singer for artists, heathens and libertines, her story tells like a Dylan ballad from the spotlight to moonlight.  Her voice is captivating, her interpretations deep and she just might make you laugh when she sings you a silly sea song.  Here she is walking onto the ice and singing the National Anthem (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrrvluaBbgc)!

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Shawna Selline was enchanted by the harp and began playing at age eleven. Following several years as a street musician, she traveled to Ireland to study traditional music with the famed Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann music school. At age eighteen she won the All-Ireland championship, returned to tour the U.S. twice, published a book of compositions, an instructional guide and even played on a Joan Baez album.  While raising her three children, she continued Celtic and classical harp, playing for countless events, teaching and recording. For over fifteen years, Shawna has provided harp therapy for Kaiser, the VA and other institutions. In 2016, Shawna was delighted to travel to Chicago as a guest artist with the Chieftains. Shawna promotes the Irish harp tradition and with this beloved group, performs for soundtracks, concerts and fairs.

We are proud to announce: Two time Grammy Award winning percussionist Forrest Robinson brings his rhythmic savvy and enthusiasm for Renaissance fairs, history and songs of old, to the Storywrens!  When his extensive touring and busy schedule allow, he joins us for our musical journeys through time!

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Raised in Michigan, Megan Doyle became enamored with the piano at age five and begged her parents to let her get lessons. Her study of classical piano led her to explore all manner of instruments (she never met an instrument she didn't like!), including voice. A move to California found Megan performing at Renaissance Faires and other cultural events, deepening her love for traditional folk music, songs, and ballads of the British Isles. Many of her performance songs appear on her album "Nightingale in the Trees." Megan also plays saxophone, flute, trumpet, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, tin whistle, bass guitar, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, autoharp, didgeridoo, kalimba, hurdy-gurdy, and nyckelharpa, a collection of instruments that takes some time to get through the spell-checker.

Guest Artist, Nathaniel Sellin was brought up in the California folk scene.  He was trained classically on acoustic bass and studied Jazz with Charlie Haden student, Evan Conway. Additionally, Nathaniel immersed himself in world percussion with an emphasis on folk instruments, Celtic bodhran and Balkan tapan.  Storywrens have been thrilled to have his technical and artistic flair on both studio recordings as well as live performances as his schedule permits.