[Around Prog #3] Renaissance

The English band was founded in 1969 by the dissolution of the Yardbirds, when Keith Relf and Jim Mccarthy formed the Together, an acoustic group that produced a single single for Columbia. With the change of name in Renessaince the formation was also settled, composed by Keith Relf, ​​Jim Mccarthy, Louis Cennamo, John Haken and Jane Relf, ​​publishing the first self-titled album for Island, produced by Samwell-Smith. In 1971, they released for the American Label Elektra “Illusion”, to which several internal Renessaince groups worked and followed by an American tour. This is how a more unique thing happens in the musical field, the band was rebuilt with a lineup that doesn’t include any member of the previous formations, only in the first phase Hawken figure again, but he will enter in Strawbs. Soon the band was formed and Michael Dunford was the principal composer, while the lyrics are entrusted to the poet Betty Thatcher, who learns that the band was looking for a singer and proposes Annie Haslam. The singer, fresh from the studies carried out at the Art School in Cornovaglia, where she met the poet, was immediately hired, showing her great vocal talents. Found finally their stability the band records “Prologue” in 1972, “Ashes Are Burning” in 1973, “Turn Of The Cards” in 1974 and “Scheherazade And Other Stories” in 1975, all with the same lineup. Thus ends the first era of the group, characterized by a truly original sound, which mixed Folk and Progressive Rock with Classical Music, giving to the quintet a truly unique and characteristic style. In the following years, despite the 1978 album “A Song For All Season” being considered their greatest success, the change of genre and an increasingly intrusive use of the Synth, cause a disinterest by the fans. In the 1980s, only two minor albums were released, bringing the band to a break-up in 1983. In the 1990s, with the boom in reprints on CD, which involved many Prog artists, Renessaince also took place in the end of the decade, but only in 2000 there was a reunion. The album “Tuscany” was recorded the same year and a series of concerts is performed which also takes them to Japan, at the end of which however it is announced that the reunion would not have had a sequel. After a few years, the news of the death of Dunford appears on the official website of the band, he will be replaced by Ryche Chlada and in 2013 they release the 13th studio album called “Grandine Il Vento“, followed by a tour. In 2015 John Tout also died of an illness, but the band continued to play live and they are still on tour with dates until the end of 2019. The Sound of Renessaince is a mix of Folk, Prog Rock and Classical Music, excellent demonstration it’s the 24-minute suite “Scheherazade” by Rimskij-Korsakov, a modern re-adaptation of the classical piece. The female voice is in great evidence, thanks also to the talents of Annie Haslam, as well as the poetic texts by Thatcher. In the final period of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s the compositional level is less original, it was happened to many groups of the time. However, the first records remain musts for Prog music lovers, but thanks to their Folk influences they can be appreciated by a much wider audience. Annie Haslam has also produced solo works of excellent quality, and the first one is also a rarity to be found on vinyl, while in the 1990s some of the band’s works were released under the name Michael Dunford’s Renaissance and one in 2005 with the name Renaissant, all of minor relevance.


(1969) Renaissance [Island Records]
(1971) Illusion [Island Records]
(1972) Prologue [Sovereign/EMI (UK); Sovereign/Capitol (USA)]
(1973) Ashes Are Burning [Sovereign/EMI (UK); Sovereign/Capitol (USA)]
(1974) Turn Of The Cards [BTM (UK); Sire (USA)]
(1975) Scheherazade And Other Stories [BTM (UK); Sire (USA)]
(1977) Novella [Warner Bros. (UK); Sire (USA)]
(1978) A Song For All SeasonsWarner [Bros. (UK); Sire (USA)]
(1979) Azure D’Or [Warner Bros. (UK); Sire (USA)]
(1981) Camera Camera [Illegal (UK); IRS (USA)]
(1983) Time-Line [IRS (UK); IRS (USA)]
(1995) The other woman [HDT Records]
(1997) Ocean Gypsy [HDT Records]
(2000) Tuscany [Giant Electric Pea]
(2013) Grandine il Vento [Recordings]


Current members
Annie Haslam – Vocals, Percussion (1971–1987, 1998–2002, 2009–present)
Mark Lambert – Guitar, Backing vocals (2015–present); Bass (1985–1987)
Rave Tesar – Keyboards, Piano (2001–2002, 2009–present)
Geoffrey Langley – Keyboards, Backing Vocals (2016–present)
John Arbo – Bass, Backing Vocals (2018–present)
Frank Pagano – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals (2009–2017, 2018–present)

Classic Lineup
John Tout – Keyboards, Vocals
Annie Haslam – Solo Vocals
John Camp – Bass, Guitar, Voice
Terence Sullivan – Drum, Percussions, Voice
Michael Dunford – Guitar

Renaissance |Official Website|Facebook|Twitter|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

8 thoughts on “[Around Prog #3] Renaissance

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