30 Jul il Troubadore brings world music to the Eiteljorg
Founded in 2004, the band has been entertaining audiences around the nation by playing an eclectic assortment of world music and sci-fi movie music. The Eiteljorg Blog had the chance to chat with Dianna Davis, who performs in the band on clarinet, accordion, flute, and vocals. In 2015, Davis joined Ron Fife (dumbek, bodhran, vocals) and founding band members Jon Silpayamanant (cello, vocals) and Robert Bruce Scott (vocals, mandolin).
il Troubadore’s repertoire includes music from more than 60 countries, leading to their fitting tagline: “Putting the ‘world’ back into world music since 2004.” When not dressed in costumes, the band members wear black and a color that represents “the country we were born in or where our family is from.” For example, members Robert and Ron both have Scottish heritage so they wear black and red plaids, a traditional Scottish decoration. For the band members, “It’s important to know where the music is from. I believe in intention, knowing the history and why we’re playing the music,” Davis said.
The idea behind the band’s name comes from troubadours in the Middle Ages, traveling musicians who would compose and perform lyric poetry. “It’s the idea of old-school singing, like a 16th-century rock band. We sing everything from old European music and new music,” Davis said.
Davis refers to il Troubadore as a “fusion band,” due to the fact that they play both world music and “out of this world” music, from and inspired by classic science-fiction films. One of the many languages they sing in is Klingon, a language created for the alien villains in the Star Trek franchise. Two of the band’s side projects, “The il Troubadore Klingon Music Project” and “il Troubadore and the Wookiee Cellist,” have become part of the main set for many of their shows due to their audience popularity. Pictured above, (next to Davis in her Return of the Jedi costume) is Jon Silpayamanant as the Wookiee cellist, a fan favorite. Wearing an enormous furry Chewbacca costume, Silpayamanant is able to play standing up by using a half-size cello, which allows him to stay in character.
il Troubadore at Summer Under The Sails 2017
When asked what keeps il Troubadore coming back to the Eiteljorg, Davis says “I love venues like this that have a great way of getting people into the venue… I’ve come with a couple other groups and it’s a really fun and nice space to perform. It’s especially fun to do it in costume, because people are walking by and then they stop.”
For il Troubadore, the Aug. 1 performance kicks off a busy series of concerts during Gen Con in downtown Indianapolis, when thousands of science fiction and fantasy fans descend on the city for several days of serious fun. Davis comments that “It’s so much fun to do the Eiteljorg show to kick off Gen Con week. It’s a good way for people who don’t want to pay a lot of money for Gen Con to see us, and it’s a fun way for us to get excited.”
At the Eiteljorg performance, people can expect to hear “some familiar favorites — most people know the Star Wars music. They can expect to hear a lot of ‘Wookiee talk,’ which is always fun and people love that.” The band will also perform John Williams’ famous “Cantina Band” tune from Star Wars, which is hard to avoid getting up and dancing to. Aside from the sci-fi genre, il Troubadore will “introduce some music from other cultures that they maybe haven’t heard before; some music from the Middle East, some jazz . . . to give a diverse concert.”
“In general,” Davis said, “I’m always trying to tell people that there’s a lot of great local music in Indianapolis. We’re trying to bring authentic, diverse music from different parts of the world to (the Midwest.) We do our best to be intentional and faithful to the musical styles we’re playing while having fun with it.” Davis enjoys both the variety of the band’s repertoire and the chance to be part of the music community here in Indianapolis.
il Troubadore is ready to bring their best to The Sails on Aug. 1. The concert will conclude the Eiteljorg’s Summer Under The Sails concert series, which is free to all museum visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. with free admission to the museum itself starting at 5 p.m. Appetizers will be available for purchase at the museum café, as well as a cash bar.