HISTORICAL ENTERTAINMENTS
The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that is played by means of turning a crank to operate a wheel. The strings are 'bowed' by the wheel and keys in a box shorten the strings like your fingers on the neck of a fiddle (the French term for this instrument is vielle a' roue , or wheel fiddle). The origins of the hurdy-gurdy trace back to c. 11th century and was first used for religious music. But over the centuries the function evolved and it became a popular instrument for both the wealthy and poor. Many people have heard the term hurdy-gurdy, but few have seen or heard the actual instrument! Robert Mouland has brought to life two of the entertainments shown in William Hogarth's 1733 engraving "The Southwark Fair", seen here. In the lower right area is a man with a peep show and a hurdy-gurdy on his back; in the lower left corner a boy plays a bagpipe while two small marionettes a' la planchette dance in front of him. These small "jig puppets", as they are called in English, have a string running through them that is attached to the performers leg and when he plays they dance on a wooden board. Their history go back to at least the 17th century and like the hurdy-gurdy were (and still are) popular all over Europe. Both entertainments made it to the shores of the American colonies. Robert's presentation has delighted audiences of all ages, in a variety of settings such as Mount Vernon (the home of George Washington) and Pennsylvania’s Landis Valley Museum. But he would be delighted to bring his small wagon to any type of venue that is seeking a seasoned performer whose presentation is truly unique. Street fairs and festivals, craft shows or any venue that needs family friendly entertainment of the highest order.