The best-selling vocal ensemble Mediæval Bæbes began in 1996 when ex-Miranda Sex Garden chanteuse Katharine Blake aimed to set her fascination with the Middle Ages to music and theater. She and 11 additional musicians and singers -- Miranda Sex Garden's Teresa Casella, Audrey Evans, comic writer Marie Findley, Nicole Frobusch, Ruth Galloway, Karen Lupton, Claire Ravel, Australian native Cylindra Sapphire, Carmen Schneider, Nichole Sleet, and New Zealander Rachel Van Asch -- defined a contemporary musical approach while incorporating Middle Ages Paganism and spiritual moods and sentiments. Their 1997 debut, Salva Nos, was the fastest-selling debut from Virgin's classical distributor Venture, and became one of the most popular classical recordings of the year.
Two years later, Worldes Blysse was released and that, too, became a success on the British charts. Third album Undrentide, which called upon production from the Velvet Underground's John Cale, was issued in fall 2000. Frobusch, Lupton, and Sleet had left the Bæbes family, and Blake's vision had scaled down to nine women. The newly downsized group kept on, scoring the music for the 2000 black comedy American Psycho. A fourth album, The Rose, followed in spring 2002, named in honor of the Medieval symbol of love. Aside from singing in Italian, Latin, German, Middle English, and Medieval French, the Bæbes added Medieval Welsh and Russian to their musical palette. In fall 2003, the John Cale-produced -- and the group's first-ever holiday album -- Mistletoe and Wine was released, their fifth for Nettwerk. By the occasion of 2005's Mirabilis, the Bæbes' lineup included Blake, Casella, Evans, Van Asch, Sapphire, Findley, and newcomers Maple Bee and Emily Ovenden. The album continued their mystical blend of ancient linguistics, folkloric tradition, and lush soundscapes. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi