Mistress Bawd "Interactive Musical Comedy"


Outstanding Album, June 5, 2001 By Joe Vancil (Columbia, MO USA) - See all my reviews Mistress Bawd's "A Touch Of Renaissance" offers a range of music from sweet to bawdy. With a powerful yet charming voice, Mistress Bawd gives the listener a treat, and is especially outstanding when layering her own voice on as a harmony voice. The song "Renaissance Theme" provides an excellent introduction to the feel of a Renaissance Festival, as well as giving a bit of insight into the character, "Mistress Bawd." "Blow The Candle Out" is an excellent up-tempo song. My personal favorite, "Today," is an excellent studio recreation of Mistress Bawd's live performance, however I would have preferred that she had done the layered harmony on this one as a studio version. I often find myself singing in harmony along to "Peggy O." The album is positive and up-tempo, and while there's a bit of bawdy content, it's very tame and will go right over the heads of most young children. Definitely a top-flight album.


exceptional fun listening, January 15, 2000 By Lori (USA) - Susan's wonderful voice combined with classical period and original tunes, makes this a must own cd! There is a nice varity of songs. It is hard to pick a favorite.


Wonderful, January 9, 2000 Reviewer: A music fan This artist is unique in their message of re-acquainting the audiences to a different time a slower and melodic time. The whisper of magic in the air as a listener closes their eyes to envision dancing in circles with either their pheasant dresses or leotards on. I prefer envisioning the magic of (for one moment): being in a slower time, stoking the fire, talking in an English accent and humming along (without the English accent). She is indeed one of the finest artist to paint visions in our heads and the rich colors of the day.


Touch of Renaissance, January 5, 2000 Susan a.k.a. Mistress Bawd has now made it possible to bring more of the 'fun' home from the Renaissance Festival. The bawdy songs are fun to listen to on the way to work and intimate family gatherings. :)


The name says it all!, January 4, 2000 Hearing Susan's delightful, strong, lusty voice brings the Renaissance Festival home with you. The songs will make you laugh, dance or cry, depending on which song it is. The "Renaissance Theme" that she wrote is truly a work of art. My favorite song is "Today". Just thinking about how she sings it brings tears to my eyes and makes you want to hold your loved ones close! It would be wonderful to have her sing it at a wedding. This is an album that you will play over and over, never tiring of it!


Her Bawdiness is sublime!, December 5, 1999 This is an absolute must have for fans of great quality, fun renaissance music. Susan Kay aka Mistress Bawd has compiled a wonderful selection of her most endearing works. Her personality and charm come through in every piece! Mistress Bawd has a renaissance voice that is delightful to the heart, mind and soul! This C.D. is the next best thing to having her live in your own living room!

Siouxland Renaissance festival in Sioux Falls, SD

I enjoyed Susan Kay’s performances as Mistress Bawd at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for many years. Her talent, energy, crowd interaction and love of life made her performance a joy to participate in every weekend. That’s why when I became the Entertainment Director of the Siouxland Renaissance festival in Sioux Falls, SD one of my top priorities was to hire her for our show. The same things I’ve enjoyed in her shows for almost a decade have made her one of our most popular performers since 2003.

Devoted Fan

Hello, My name is John. I am not just a Bawdaholic, I am THE Bawdaholic. I have had the singular pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mistress Bawd at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and have been a Bawdaholic ever since. I have all of her published music to date and have traveled across the North American continent at one point to see her perform. Mistress Bawd is no mere novelty performer, she is a quintessential artist and troubadour. She writes and plays her own music as well as old English folk and bawdy songs. I am proud to have the privilege of calling Mistress Bawd my friend. John Lord of Little ( and even less when my wife is home )

Winona Post - Wednesday, August 28, 2002

"Mistress Bawd, or Susan Kay, knows what that glow feels like. A versatile performer who sings both bawdy pub songs and sweet melodies, she feels the magic every day, and marvels at the loyalty of her fans. "When I'm coming down the hill for my next show, and they're already waiting in the pub for me, it's an amazing feeling," she said. Infatuated with Medieval England from an early age, she ached to be a part of it. "I told my sister I wanted to move to England, and she said, 'Move to Shakopee, England's right there,'" she said. The entertainment industry, Kay said, has been hard hit by the tragedies of September 11, and many performers she knows across the country have struggled through the last year. In spite of the hard times, her popularity has soared, and Kay is preparing to release her second CD through Hot Springs Records. Like many performers before her, Kay's success at the festival is poised to propel her into the mainstream music industry in the Twin Cities, and she is considering adding appearances to her schedule throughout the metropolitan area. Time will tell, she said, but for now, she is content to bury herself in the Renaissance festival where she feels like she is part of a giant family."

City Pages - Volume 20 - Issue 978 - Cover Story - September 1, 1999

The peasants seem to be slogging in a counterclockwise direction and, it being fairly crowded, the traffic ushers one down a narrow lane lined with small shops selling cappuccino and bracelets, past a woman trying to guide a stroller through a muddy ditch without tipping its contents into the water, and around a corner, to where a small crowd has gathered to listen to a pub wench calling herself Mistress Bawd sing risqué madrigals. After two songs, a woman in the audience says, "This is hardly family entertainment" and stalks off, dragging behind her two pretty little blond girls with pink fairy wings strapped to their backs. The Wench's Tale For a nominal fee, you can become an official Wench, which according to the Wenches Guild is actually an acronym for Women Entitled to Nothing but Complete Happiness. "The Guild," the group's Web site (www.wench.org) explains, "is a loose (not necessarily literally) yet powerful confederation of women who share beliefs that some may consider sexist but we feel are just fine. Among those beliefs are the ideas that it is every woman's right to choose what she does with her body, with whom she does it and where and when...We are not content to sit idly by and watch as ourselves and our sisters are being stifled, ignored, abused, abandoned, raped, murdered, stereotyped or mistreated in any other way, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or socially." And then: "You too can become a Wench." All bawdy madrigals, all the time: Mistress Bawd (Susan Kay) plays it loose and lusty The laissez-faire sexual attitude is pervasive among visiting wenches (who are pervasive among festival goers: Demographic studies quoted in an industry journal show that women ages 25-45 are the most frequent visitors). The mix of bawdy banter and Wench Power presents an unusual duality, but it is also one that has its roots in the Renaissance. In her A History of the Breast, Marilyn Yalow of the Stanford University Institute for Women and Gender, argues that the sexualization of the female mammary gland was actually a manifestation of the shift from medieval to neo-Platonic aesthetic models. "Whether in Rome at the seat of the Papacy," she writes, "or in the notoriously venal city of Venice, or at any number of regional Italian courts, breasts were celebrated as a part of the new sexual freedom that marked the Renaissance." But to cut through ye olde crap, the décolletage of festival fashion is marked both in its omnipresence and in the infinite variety of shapes into which bodies are pushed, pulled, and manipulated. "French a Wench" was once a popular festival contest, and fairgoers occasionally still give each other "wubbies," which involves burying a man's face in a wench's cleavage. Susan Kay, whose character, Mistress Bawd, is perhaps the embodiment of this carefree lustiness, has come to appreciate the banter, and actually prefers it to the more overt sexual chatter of the real world. "Some of Shakespeare's plays are pretty raunchy," she says. "I like it more as opposed to nowadays. It's all innuendo. You have to use your noggin. Like when I say, 'Good sir, would you like to travel into the mountains,' it adds a lot more mystery and romance than just talking about..." She trails off. Unlike most carnivals or theme parks, where sex is often sublimated, the fests thrive on double-entendre, suggestion, and imagination; here wallflowers become wenches, and computer programmers become swashbuckling rogues. If you think of the whole business as erotic role-playing, Mistress Bawd might fill the part of the Wife of Bath. "I didn't want to be just any old wench," she explains. "I wanted to sing rowdy beer-swinging songs like the guys. A woman just didn't do those things. I thought of Joan of Arc, but she's too serious. Then I thought of a pub wench." Mistress Bawd has her own theme song, a raved-up Scottish tune that includes crowing roosters and cocky catcalls. It is called, appropriately, "Renaissance Theme," and appears on her album, A Touch of Renaissance. Bawd has, incredibly, built a successful musical career playing the festival circuit. "I've been singing since I was a youngster and I always loved ballads," says Susan. My mother's parents came over from England, so I grew up on a lot of those old songs. I went over to England in '79 and fell in love with it, so I went out and auditioned for a Renaissance festival." "I've always leaned toward the poetic history," she explains. "In that time, they were able to sell wares they made with their own hands. I love to buy things that aren't factory-made. It just has more love in it." Susan grew up on a horse farm in Eden Prairie when the suburb was pastoral countryside. She was, she says, entranced by the fantasy world of C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and imagined herself as the demure heroine. If a career as a professional wench seems a far cry from such daydreams, she is also quick to point out that her wenchdom is just an act. "I come from a Christian background," she says. "I'm the most reserved wench you'll ever meet. People think Mistress Bawd and Susan are one, but they're not. Susan is sort of shy. She's definitely an alter ego." Susan was discovered while working in childcare, when an inspector with a friend of a friend in the music business came to examine her house. Before that, she'd been what she describes as a "Jackie of all trades." In the early Eighties, she was working for Hennepin County Detox and thinking about a career in chemical-dependency counseling. Later she took a job as an MTC bus driver, getting stuck, as most neophyte drivers do, on the inner-city lines. "I thought I'd listen to my parents for once and get a real job. That was right at the high point of the gang wars in Minneapolis and I was stuck on the routes that the veterans wouldn't take. It gave me a lot of experience dealing with the public and knowledge about things you don't read in the newspaper. But you see too much, in my opinion. It was starting to break my heart. I guess I'm a happy person and I want to stay happy." On the upshot, the experience did teach Susasn a thing or two about dealing with the drunk and disorderly, who are a fixture of the festival circuit. There are occasional scary moments--an obsessed fan or a man who gets sloshed and goes berserk during a banquet--but for the most part, she's learned to take it all in stride. When a tipsy fairgoer jumps on stage to try to kiss her on the neck, she artfully defuses the situation with a quip. She considers men to be "big children" when they're drunk, and treats them as such. Yet this is not always easy. In Houston a few years ago, she was deflecting the amorous overtures of a group of men by telling them to meet her at the gate after the festival closed for the evening. It was fine until one night when she stepped out at closing time and ran into a group of seven drunken cowboys. She ran, of course.

My Space

Mar 4, 2008 10:10 PM Hello there Mistress.. lol Just wanted to tell you that I now have a new favorite song. I have been listening to your CD Give back my bordello over and over again and Loch Lomond is the most beautiful song. I absolutely love it! And I have to say, I have heard Roll your leg over done in different ways and I certainly like yours the best, especially with the other lady and gentleman in there with you. Its awesome!
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