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Part of the Mittelalter scene in German rock, Schandmaul formed in 1998 and included an arsenal of medieval instrumentation to augment their electric rock sound. The Munich-based group first came together when a handful of musicians from different groups got the idea of putting together a show of folk covers; the band ended up writing some of their own material, and decided to keep on with the project. The six-piece group performed well at their first outing, and released a CD entitled Wahre Helden (True Heroes) in 1999. After 2000's Von Spitzbuben und Anderen Halunken (Of Rogues and Other Scoundrels), Schandmaul -- and the buzz they were creating -- were ready to take the next step, and the group signed a record deal. Festival appearances and touring soon followed, and in October of 2002 Schandmaul released album number three, Narrenkönig (Jester's King), but lost bassist Hubsi Widman. Finding a replacement in Matthias Richter, Schandmaul (vocalist, guitarist, and accordionist), Thomas Lindner (piper), Birgit Muggenthaler (flautist), Anna Kränzlein (violinist, vocalist, and hurdy gurdy-ist), Martin Duckstein (guitarist of all shapes and sizes), Stefan Brunner (percussionist), and the aforementioned Richter released their first live CD and DVD, Hexenkessel (Witch's Cauldron). By the time of album number four (Wie Pech und Schwefel -- Like Pitch and Sulfur), Schandmaul had begun to crack the charts, and in 2006, the group scored a Top Ten with their offering, Mit Leib und Seele (With Body and Soul). They released their sixth album, Anderswelt (Other World), in 2008 and saw it reach the Top Ten in the German charts. In 2011, the band released their most successful album, Traumtanzer (Dream Dancer), and embarked on a short spring tour as well as a special anniversary concert in Munich, which was subsequently released under the title Sinnfonie on CD/DVD. In 2013, Schandmaul celebrated their first fifteen years together by releasing So Weit, So Gut 1998 -- 2013 (So Far, So Good), a collection of highlights from their career thus far; the retrospective rose to number seven on the German album charts. ~ Chris True