#281: Music to Have Revelations To
Siblings Ruthie and Nathan Prillaman are classically trained musicians who have put their knowledge of counterpoint and unusual time signatures to use in their medieval-inspired folk band, Small Fools. Renaissance madrigal meets contemporary queer meme in songs like “Crying in My Subaru” (also the title of their debut EP) and “Horseradish,” inspired by the words on a pickle jar. Such strange musical pairings—the marriage of Gregorian chant with lighthearted lyrics about gnomes, for example—might sound gimmicky, but in the siblings’ hands, they somehow achieve transcendence. The Prillamans join the podcast this week to talk about Small Fools, big ideas, and which 16th-century mystics they find most inspiring.
Go beyond the episode:
- Listen to Small Fools on Spotify or Apple Music
- We dare you not to hum the hook in “Horseradish”
- Check out the Small Fools TikTok
- Read more about the lives of anchoresses in this article by Mary Wellesley, cohost of The London Review of Books’s Medieval Beginnings podcast (and a one-time guest on this podcast)
- Polymath Hildegard of Bingen, one of the first named composers, is still one of the most famous female composers
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