Music to Have Revelations To

Small Fools on the band’s brand of “cosmic bardcore”

Detail from a processional used by the Dominican Nuns of Poissy, c. 1505-1515 (Les Enluminures)
Detail from a processional used by the Dominican Nuns of Poissy, c. 1505-1515 (Les Enluminures)

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.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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