You'd be surprised how often we're asked this question! It's one of the most popular questions we get, second only to: "Where do all those ideas for songs come from?" or " What made you think African drums should accompany Celtic music?"
There are many reasons we're called Elvendrums and most of them have to do with the folklore and beliefs people share about elves. Think back to the elves and fairies from your childhood: Santa and his helpers, the ones that make cookies in the hollow tree, Tinkerbelle, the Blue Fairy, the Seven Dwarves, the Elves that made shoes for the old couple in Elves and the Shoemaker, Peter Pan, Cinderella, the Tooth Fairy, and Herbie, who wanted to be a dentist when he grew up. Throughout the folklore of nearly every culture, elves and their close kin bring joy and happiness to life.
They remind each of us of childhood - a time when we believed in magic and expected the best from the world. As elves, we identify with the elves of lore and share those beliefs. All that it is to be an elf - the whistling, flying, chore-sharing, giving, teasing, fun-loving and childlike behavior - can be described as an archetype: a word meaning the essence of a thing. In stories elves are connected to the earth, helping flowers grow and making rainbows. As Leprechauns, they remind people of how destructive and dangerous greed can be if they spend their lives searching only for pots of gold. As Trolls, elves celebrate messiness and grouchiness; as fairies they represent the wonderful lightness of flight and a world aglow in pixie dust and friendship. In pixies we see the ultimate expression of femininity and in gnomes the simple pleasures of the earth and all its creatures.
Of course, we all think about the bad elves - the naughty tricksters who steal your car keys, make you lose your way in the woods and play tricks and pranks on humans. We celebrate this side of faerie in our song, Shadows, due to be on our third CD. "Not all sweetness not all light/some that bark will also bite!" In folklore there are many stories of the nasty faeries living at the bottom of the lake and the darker side of nature expressing itself in tiny human-like form. And who can forget the leannna sidhe whose beauty lures men to their doom? We sing about her in our song, The Dragon with the words "be careful what you want/it might want You."
Naturally, we love performing and we tend to the lighter side of faerie, but we honor the need for balance and perspective. It's an equal exchange of energy that works best, or as we say in Shadows: "Magic that's taken/has quite a price/if not given freely/you'll meet some fae that aren't too nice!"
To learn more about the dark and light side of elves and their kindred, we can wholeheartedly recommend some really great books: Good Faeries, Bad Faeries by Brian Froud; Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns & Goblins: An Encyclopedia, by Carol Rose; Scary Fairies (great fairy holograms for kids) by Dugald Steer and A Field Guide to Irish Fairies by Bob Curran. To learn more about faerie beliefs, check out Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y Evans-Wentz (our favorite book) or anything written by Katherine Briggs.
So what do we mean when we say we're elves? It means that like Peter Pan in JM Barrie's stories - we don't ever plan to grow up. We believe in magic - believe that magical things happen every day, but they are often missed because we forget to look for them. People live their lives with tiny little dreams, and as elves, we encourage them to dream bigger and reach farther. Believing in a dream is the first step to having it come true.
Have you ever heard someone described as an angel? Did you know what they meant by that? We'd say that a person described as an angel was kind and giving, warm and caring about others. Angels are compassionate and forgiving, helpful and special. We've each had angels in our lives who were there for us when we needed them.
In many ways, we believe elves are angels of the earth. As elves, we believe we can make a difference in the world. Connected to childhood and connected to the spirit of this place, elves try to make a difference.
Why elves? Well, we believe everyone can make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. We all need a bit of playful magic in life. So we're elven.