March of Cambreadth

March of Cambreadth is the award-winning signature song of Alexander James Adams, previously known as Heather Alexander.[1][2] The song is well-known in filk, Renaissance Fair and Society for Creative Anachronism circles. It has been featured in novels by Mike Shepherd, John Ringo and S.M. Stirling. It has also been parodied extensively.

March of Cambreadth received a Pegasus Award in 2006, in the category "Best Battle Song".


Recording History

Back cover of Keepers of the Flame.

Heather Alexander wrote the song in the late 1980s and sang lead vocals on the following recordings:

  • The 1990 Phoenyx album Keepers of the Flame. The band disbanded in 1991; the album is currently out of print.
  • The 1997 Heather Alexander solo album Midsummer, where it is framed as the center of the "War Trilogy". The Midsummer recording is at a faster tempo than on Keepers of the Flame and the Wicked Tinkers add their bagpipe-and-drums sound to the song.
  • Uffington Horse's Enchantment includes a live recording of March of Cambreadth with Andrew Hare playing banjo, Dan Ochipinti playing drums, and Heather Alexander switching between guitar and fiddle. (This recording is included in a computer-readable data track on the Mixed Mode CD.)

Alexander James Adams has sung lead vocals on the following recordings:

  • Alexander James Adams and Tricky Pixie included the song on their 2007 album Live!. Live! is currently out of print.

The song also appears on albums by other artists.

War Trilogy

The "War Trilogy" on Midsummer consists of three songs. The first, a love ballad, anticipates the battle; the second portrays the battle; the third looks back on the battle and its results.

  • Tomorrow I Leave For Battle, lyrics: Philip R. Obermarck, music: Heather Alexander
  • March of Cambreadth, lyrics & music: Heather Alexander
  • Courage Knows No Bounds, lyrics: Philip R. Obermarck, music: Heather Alexander

Frog of Cambreadth & other parodies

As described on the live album Festival Wind, Alexander was reading an Internet filk mailing list when his fans observed that they could sing March of Cambreadth to the tune of his children's song Hap'n'Frog and vice versa. Determined to embarrass himself before anyone else did it for him, he took the two songs "and let them have an afternoon together and breed." The result is Hap'n'Frog of Cambreadth, recorded on Festival Wind.

Alexander did a second self-parody March of Con Death specifically for the RainFurrest 2009 Fur Suit Parade. As the theme for that year was "Zombie Attack" the lyrics included humorous puns relating to unlife and of course keeping the signature chorus line of "How many of them can we make die!"[3]

Two other filk songs based on March have been written, both dealing with the aftermath of battle with the refrain "How many of them can we make live?". One, written by Lady Mondegreen, is titled "Healer's Cry"[4], and the other, by John C. Bunnell, is titled "After Cabreadth".[5]

Cultural references

John Ringo has (mis)quoted March of Cambreadth in his novels Hell's Faire, Ghost and There Will Be Dragons as well as in the second Looking-Glass book, Vorpal Blade. A copy of the Midsummer recording was included on CD-ROM in There Will Be Dragons, Hell's Faire and in the Baen Free Library.

S.M. Stirling quoted or referenced March of Cambreadth in The Protector's War, A Meeting In Corvallis, The Sunrise Lands and On The Oceans of Eternity, in all of which he insists the song is Traditional.

Mike Shepherd used the song in his book Kris Longknife: Defiant.

Bob Kanefsky has parodied March of Cambreadth twice:

  • Weight Loss Centers from Hell lyrics
  • December of Cambreadth lyrics

Heather Alexander recorded December of Cambreadth for the compilation album Roundworm.

P. R. Frost quoted March of Cambreadth in the book Moon In The Mirror : A Tess Noncoiré Adventure.


  1. ^ Radcon 5 draws sci-fi, fantasy fans to Pasco, Tri-City Herald, Feb 17, 2008. The article refers to "[t]ransgender Celtic performer Alexander James Adams", adding that "[t]he singer-songwriter toured across the U.S. and in England and Germany as Heather Alexander for 25 years before beginning to tour as Alexander, said Kore Adams, his partner.
  2. ^ Q & A with AJ Adams, Pacific Fen Spotlight, September 27, 2008. Alec discusses the fact that Heather Alexander was transgender.
  3. ^ Special Exclusive! March of Con Death, Pacific Fen Spotlight, Sep 21, 2009. The video starts with an introduction by the show's host and then moves on to Alexander giving a brief introduction of how the parody came about, crediting Theo Winters for the inspiration. Once the song is finished, an audience member identified by Alexander as Gene Armstrong asks if Alexander is going to record the song for posterity, to wit the performer points his bow at the camera saying "We just did."
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links


As the lyrics and music were originally copyrighted by Heather Alexander, they remain copyright Heather Alexander, not copyright Alexander James Adams.


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