Media: Song Of Roland-New Audio Translation by Michael Newth

Carl, Greg and Michael at Ridges, Perth, WA July 2011The Roland Crew July 2011Michael Newth is a marvelous much-published translator of the medieval French epic poetry known as chansons de geste. I have blogged extensively about how I have used this rare period of literature as an inpirational trigger in my paintings for the last 2 years. One of the great things about collaboration is the friends we make along the way. Michael was looking around for a cast of voice actors to record his new version of The Roland for his next book to be published in the US. Quite by chance last yearI thought of my mate Greg Marston, a very well known voice actor and singer who has returned to Australia after many years in Europe on assignment to every major voice job you can imagine. And these two hit it off brilliantly.

Michael flew to Perth, and several months later they have just completed an inspiring and original production of The Song of Roland. I think, apart from the brilliant production values and talent of the actors and Michael's terrific script, their renditions of original medieval songs is a little hard to resist. To bring history alive, and to reinvigorate a literary tradition that pre-dates Shakespeare, ánd to be a part of that in just a purely accidental way, is just an amazing feeling. I cannot wait until it is published or (better yet) listen to it on the BBC or NPR...

Last night Michael and Sue Newth celebrated the achievement by hosting a meal at Ridges restaurant in Perth, so pictured are the three amigos hamming it up (that's us). We had a great time. I mean art for art's sake hardly happens these days so you have to enjoy the moment. I will beg for a short MP3 trailer, but we'll have to be patient as I think his NYC publisher has particular rules. Congratulations Michael, Greg,! Lost literature is alive and well...

Thanks to people like Michael we now have many other chansons de gestes to consider the genre as a whole. The Roland I think is one of the bloodier conflicts in poetry focused on a dial of emotions which many don't suspect represents the lost  diversity of chansons de geste that simply hasnt been translated. These eppic poems, once you get used to the medieval syntax, is as good a read as a Peter Jackson film script. What I find historically unusual is how the relationships between enemies change, gain respect and complexity on their journey toward acceptance. The role of women greatly expands, and the Saracen-Christian friendship and inter marriage themes make for ever more complex moral and cultural choices. Not unlike today's culture wars. Please take the opportunity to read Michael's other translations (below).   More Studio Diaries

[pictured above L-R: Myself, Greg Marston and Michael Newth at Ridges Restaurant in Perth, 9th July 2011. Below clockwise from left:  myself, Greg and Michael;  Michael Newth; Me and Greg. Michael's anthology and links to his book Heroes of the French Epic are below and I encourage people to read the full spectrum of this poetry.



OTHER BOOKS BY MICHAEL:  Aymeri of Narbonne: A French Epic RomanceFierabras and Floripas: A French Epic Allegory.



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