Listen to Medieval Covers of “Creep,” “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Bad Romance” & More by Hildegard von Blingin’

All ye bul­ly-rooks with your buskin boots 

Best ye go, best ye go

Out­run my bow

All ye bul­ly-rooks with your buskin boots

Best ye go, best ye go, faster than mine arrow

If bard­core is a thing—and trust us, it is right now—Hilde­gard von Blin­gin’ is the bright­est star in its fir­ma­ment.

The unknown vocal­ist, pure of throat, pays heed to the fas­ci­nat­ing 12th-cen­tu­ry abbess and com­pos­er Saint Hilde­gard of Bin­gen by choice of pseu­do­nym, while demon­strat­ing a sim­i­lar flair for poet­ic lan­guage.

Von Blingin’s nim­ble lyri­cal rework­ing of Fos­ter the People’s 2010 mon­ster hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” makes deft use of fel­low bard­core prac­tion­er Cor­nelius Link’s copy­right-free instru­men­tal score and the clos­est medieval syn­onyms avail­able.

For the record, Webster’s 1913 dic­tio­nary defines a “bul­ly-rook” as a bul­ly, but the term could also be used in a josh­ing, chops-bust­ing sort of way, such as when The Mer­ry Wives of Windsor’s innkeep­er trots it out to greet lov­able repro­bate, Sir John Fal­staff.

And as any fan of Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games can attest, an arrow can prove as lethal as a gun.

Song­writer Mark Fos­ter told Billboard’s Xan­der Zell­ner last Decem­ber that he had been think­ing of retir­ing “Pumped Up Kicks,” as lis­ten­ers are now con­vinced it’s a boun­cy-sound­ing take on school shoot­ings, rather than a more gen­er­al­ized attempt to get inside the head of a troubled—and fictional—youngster.

With school out of ses­sion since March, it’s an excel­lent time for von Blin­gin’ to pick up the torch and bear this song back to the past.

Dit­to the tim­ing of von Blingin’s ode to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”:

I want thine ugly, I want thy dis­ease

Take aught from thee shall I if it can be free

No Celtic harp, wood­en recorders, or adjust­ment of pos­ses­sive pro­nouns can dis­guise the jolt those open­ing lyrics assume in the mid­dle of a glob­al pan­dem­ic.

(St. Hilde­gard escaped the medieval period’s best known plague, the Black Death, by virtue of hav­ing been born some 250 years before it struck.)

Von Blingin’s lat­est release is an extreme­ly faith­ful take on Radiohead’s “Creep”, with just a few minor tweaks to pull it into medieval lyri­cal align­ment:

Thou float’st like a feath­er

In a beau­ti­ful world

The com­ments sec­tion sug­gest that the peas­ants are eager to get in on the act.

Some are express­ing their enthu­si­asm in approx­i­mate olde Eng­lish…

Oth­ers ques­tion why smygel, eldrich, wyr­den or wastrel were not pressed into ser­vice as replace­ments for creep and weirdo..

To bor­row a phrase from one such jester, best get your requests in “before the tik­toks come for it.”

Lis­ten to Hilde­gard Von Blin­gin’ on Sound Cloud and check out the bard­core sub-red­dit for more exam­ples of the form.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Expe­ri­ence the Mys­ti­cal Music of Hilde­gard Von Bin­gen: The First Known Com­pos­er in His­to­ry (1098 – 1179)

Man­u­script Reveals How Medieval Nun, Joan of Leeds, Faked Her Own Death to Escape the Con­vent

1200 Years of Women Com­posers: A Free 78-Hour Music Playlist That Takes You From Medieval Times to Now

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Help con­tain the plague spread with her series of free down­load­able posters, encour­ag­ing cit­i­zens to wear masks in pub­lic set­tings. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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Comments (7)
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  • Jimmy Stephens says:

    “Ye” is pro­nounced “the” The“Y” was real­ly a thorn, but type­set­ters had only “Y”
    Descrip­tion­Thorn or þorn is a let­ter in the Old Eng­lish, Goth­ic, Old Norse, Old Swedish, and mod­ern Ice­landic alpha­bets, as well as some dialects of Mid­dle Eng­lish. It was also used in medieval Scan­di­navia, but was lat­er replaced with the digraph th, except in Ice­land, where it sur­vives. Wikipedia
    Lan­guage of ori­gin: Old Eng­lish lan­guage; Old Norse lan­guage
    Oth­er let­ters com­mon­ly used with: th, dh
    Writ­ing sys­tem: Latin script
    Pho­net­ic usage: /θɔːrn/
    Translit­er­a­tion equiv­a­lents: Θ, th
    Devel­op­ment: ᚦ: Þ þ
    Descen­dants: ꝥ, þͤ, þͭ, þͧ, yᷤ, yͤ, yͭ

  • Ye Old Watkins says:

    These are great — espe­cial­ly Pumped Up Kicks. She has a great voice too :)

  • Angela says:

    Inter­est­ing ver­sions.
    The wood­en recorder worked well on Bad Romance!
    Great arti­cle, loved this bit espe­cial­ly, re:
    ” von Blingin’s ode to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”:

    I want thine ugly, I want thy dis­ease

    Take aught from thee shall I if it can be free

    No Celtic harp, wood­en recorders, or adjust­ment of pos­ses­sive pro­nouns can dis­guise the jolt those open­ing lyrics assume in the mid­dle of a glob­al pan­dem­ic.”

    - indeed!

  • Claudia says:

    What a beau­ti­ful voice. Do you have more songs?

  • Todd Sherman says:

    These ren­di­tions are bril­liance!

  • Savvy says:

    Not sure which I like bet­ter! The orig­i­nals, or these. And “von Blin­gen?!” Rolling in thine floor laugh­ing mine but­tocks off. However—eek! It should be “thou and I can write a bad romance.”

  • Dave Merman says:

    Check this out:

    Who was Tris­tan Shoute? When did he live? Is he dead yet, or what? In the words of musi­col­o­gist Winchurch Ston­hill, he was “a fid­dle, wrapped in a mis­ery, inside an echid­na.” Indeed, there can be found lit­tle or no fac­tu­al evi­dence of his exis­tence… How­ev­er, as ear­ly as the 12th cen­tu­ry, reports began to cir­cu­late of a “Tris­tan Showde,” a strange itin­er­ant fig­ure who cre­at­ed mirac­u­lous music wher­ev­er he appeared, on numer­ous instru­ments, both known and unknown. Even more con­found­ing was the asser­tion that, upon reach­ing a cer­tain age, this min­strel would dis­ap­pear for a length of time, only to reap­pear in reju­ve­nat­ed form in anoth­er era.”

    The musi­cal mys­tery of Tris­tan Shoute is at the heart of Wid­der­shins, the lat­est release by cel­e­brat­ed Cana­di­an com­pos­er and mul­ti-instru­men­tal­ist Kirk Elliott,

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