Meet the Traveling Bilberries

What's the story behind your band's founding?

The Traveling Bilberries started as the brainchild of the sisters Aleford, well, for some value of the term 'brain' anyway and they wanted to gather a band of serious and capable musicians who would play quality music and the band should be large-ish, which we all thought at the time meant six or seven musicians though we are eight now and have been nine and frequently have some former band members, the Happyheart Sisters, help at performances and the Alefordses talked to me and I was just learning at the time but know a good thing when I see it and can be very hard to get rid of and I had made friends with Mr. Peppy who is a very capable musician and then the four of us had a meeting and all of us liked the idea and also we thought of some friends we'd like to have in the band too and some of them agreed to join and that was how The Traveling Bilberries began.

How did your band get its name?

The Aleford sisters are out of a family of traveling minstrels and as we are Hobbits how can we have a band name without Food in it, hence Bilberries. Which is a way of saying you need to ask the Alefordses that because the name was suggested to me by Allegretta Aleford.

How did your members meet one another?

Mr. Peppy and me met because I had been seeking someone to teach me to be a musician and Miz Toolee traveled to Laurelin and the two of us met and became friends and then the Alefordses decided to settle down and did that at Waymeet but the folks there are such square-heads and the Alefordses felt disliked and so they started showing up at our weekly Yard Parties at the Bird and Baby and we became friends too and Mr. Peppy knew Mr. Potty and the Happyheart Sisters Linsina and Anerra, well, I knew them too but did not know at the time they were such serious musicians and of course all Hobbits know Miz Acorne who is also my neighbour and Miz Bilbeto hosts the Yard Party and is friends with everyone.

How would you describe your band's music?

Our music is beautiful and mostly lively and benefits from some of the very bestest lyrics in all of Middle-Earth even if I say so myself. Style-wise it's something of a cornucopia which reflects variances in taste among band members. I have heard it said that people generally prefer the music they listen(ed) to while in their teens and if this is true, then as we for eggsample play music inspired by Duke Smellington, Oink Fluid, Black Salad, Bungo Ferry and Cringe Kimson one may deduce that at least some of us are now far beyond our teens - not that I actually know the ages of the other band members.

How do you decide which songs to play?

Somebody offers a tune for consideration and we try it out and (possibly after a few iterations) then when we are happy with it it goes in our Music Pack. Then when it's an impromptu performance we pull some tunes out of a hat (Potty ALWAYS wears a hat).

If it's a scheduled performance, we tend to designate a playlist maker for this, and we like to rotate this office between band members as our tastes vary and so by rotating we bring forth the diversity within our repertoire.

Do you have a signature song?

If we do, it's "Careful with them Eggs, Eugennetta" by Mr. Peppy which is brillant and we have played it at most performances as long as we are enough on that day to play it. But also recently we have begun playing a piece where all of us are drumming and this is very popular both with us and with our audience.

What's the highlight of your band's time together?

Whenever we perform! It is so eggshilarating! And if I have to pick out a particular performance, then when we had been going for some months and played now and then for 15-20 minutes at a time and it was felt we had so much good material that we would never get to play it all this way and so we did a two hour gig at Methel Stage and we had a comedian in the intermission and dancers! whom have since been assimilated into the Bilberries as musicians and that was really a glorious day.

Do you have any stories about a time when things didn't go so well?

Some of us, and I absolutely include myself, do not know to think before we speak and so there have been misunderstandings and even fury! but we have always managed to overcome this by talking things over.

There is no band leader, and I think it would be impossible for us to suffer one, we are individualists and sort of an anarcho-democratic-chaotic-autonomous-silly collective. But appointing one of us in charge for a specific event tends to work well.

Does your band play a regular concert? If so, when and where?

No we don't and many Laurelin bands do not do that, but for us it is impossible at least with the full band, as many of us have other duties at the oddest hours and also several of us are engaged in other projects too.

Does your band have a website, Twitter feed, Youtube channel, or links to any performances?

Our Laurelin Archives page which is horribly out of date: http://laurelinarchives.org/node/25696

Mr. Zedrock & his assistant Miz Zygg have recorded several of our performances, here is the Rockfest 2015 one: http://www.twitch.tv/barafunda/v/10390190

What's the one thing we should know about your band above all else?

Don't miss out on our gigs! We are (censored) good!

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your group?

So far we are performing on Laurelin, Landroval, Crickhollow and Belegaer and anyone interested in having us play for them should contact any band member, best in our homeland Laurelin.

Also I had better say that I alone am responsible for what is said in this interview.