Minnesota Renaissance Festival Blog

Cast Bio – Four Pints Shy

Four Pints Shy was formed in 2009, when some former members of “Drunk & Disorderly” joined with a couple of new musicians. Although there are no distinct “characters” in this band, the members choose to let the music speak for itself. Here’s a sample:

As you can see, their big, bold style features a lot of sound and voices. Four Pints Shy enjoys making a splash right away so their presence is felt! Audiences can expect a multitude of songs and jigs with upbeat harmonies and fast paced rhythms.

Everyone sings vocals, but there are also a lot of interesting instruments involved! Here’s a quick overview of their instruments:

Bass Guitar: Stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb, by plucking, slapping, popping, strumming, tapping, thumping, or picking with a plectrum, often known as a pick. Anchors harmonic framework and establishes the beat.

Banjo: Four-, five- or six-stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity as a resonator, called the head. Frequently associated with country, folk, Irish traditional and bluegrass music.

Bouzouki: Greek instrument that is played with a plectrum and has a sharp metallic sound, reminiscent of a mandolin but pitched lower.

Mandolin: Instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum or “pick”. Mandolin notes decay faster than larger stringed instruments like the guitar. This encourages the use of tremolo (rapid picking of one or more pairs of strings) to create sustained notes or chords.

Strumstick:  Portable instrument, has a banjo/dulcimer-like sound. Handmade of padauk, spruce, and maple with a plain sound hole. Like the dulcimer, it combines diatonic fretting with strings tuned to a drone, but is held like a guitar for ease of playing.

Violin: Wooden string instrument, typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers.

Accordion: Box-shaped instrument of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type. The instrument is played by compressing or expanding the bellows while pressing buttons or keys, causing pallets to open, which allow air to flow across strips of brass or steel, called reeds. These vibrate to produce sound inside the body.

Bodhrán: Irish Frame Drum with a goatskin head is tacked to one side (synthetic heads or other animal skins are sometimes used). The other side is open-ended for one hand to be placed against the inside of the drum head to control the pitch and timbre.

Whistles: Type of fipple flute, putting it in the same class as the recorder, Native American flute, and other woodwind instruments that meet such criteria. Closely associated with Celtic music.

Four Pints Shy features up to 7 members playing at any point in time, depending on band members’ schedules. They enjoy exploring new instruments and writing their own music. The band draws inspiration from day to day life and from listening to a lot of music.

Four Pints Shy loves performing at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival because it allows for more intimate settings. They appreciate their engaged audiences and the great people that make up the crowds.

If you enjoy Irish or British music, make sure to find Four Pints Shy during your Festival visit for a romping good time!

Until then, you can check out more of their music at the link listed below: