|Folkwales Online Magazine March 2013||Gwerincymru — o Gymru o’r byd|
March 1 was the national saint’s day, Dydd Dewi Sant, St David’s Day – and following hot on its heels, a wealth of Welsh music and traditional folk arts is about to cast a Celtic spell over London in a celebratory day-long event, staged at EFDSS headquarters, Cecil Sharp House in Camden Town, on Sunday March 10.
Top bands Jamie Smith’s Mabon and Calan headline the list, while the House will be filled with exciting and innovatory sounds provided by Alaw, Bragod, Jack Harris, Rag Foundation, Huw Williams, honorary Welshman Les Barker and Blanche Rowen and Mike Gulston.
Run by folk development organisation trac in partnership with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, the bumper showcase promises vibrant performances by some of our signature roots bands plus poetry, workshops, talks, family activities, an afternoon twmpath, Welsh clogging and much more.
A day that aims to capture the essence of Welsh folk culture, it will be played out across three stages at Camden’s Cecil Sharp House. The family-friendly event will hardly pause for breath with non-stop entertainment from lunchtime to late, kicking off at 1pm.
Trac director Danny KilBride said: “It will be a rare chance to immerse yourself totally in the very best of Welsh culture. The exciting project came to us from EFDSS, who are keen to reinvigorate their relationship with the traditional arts of the rest of the British Isles. They wanted to know why Welsh acts were not accessing the English markets, how they could find musicians who were doing interesting things with our traditions and how they could help bring a showcase to London. They suggested that we curate a day there and we were delighted to rise to the challenge.”
But it is Jamie’s inspired, eclectic tunes that continue to dominate the material that delves into every Celtic corner – from their native Wales to Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Galicia and beyond.
That genius of comic rhyme, Les Barker, will be holding court in the library as he presents Poems, Chairs and Cynghanedd. The “alternative Poet Laureate” is Mancunian- born but now resident in Bwlchgwyn, near Wrexham, and a self-declared born-again Welshman. Festival favourite Les, who has learnt Welsh, will deliver his punchy and pithy poems and show how he has mastered the intricacies of writing poetry in cynghanedd – an ancient form of poetic rhyme.
Bragod will bring their magical medieval Welsh music to the party. Instrumentalist Robert Evans and vocalist-performer Mary-Anne Robertson form the only musical ensemble dedicated to exploring the performance of medieval and renaissance Welsh music and poetry in an historically-informed way. They sing Welsh poetry, ranging from stanzas of the Gododdin to ritual and popular songs of the 18th and 19th Century. Robert, who will also deliver a talk-demonstration on the origins of string music, plays the crwth.
Other music acts appearing include:
If all the music has got your feet itching to dance, Eisteddfod champion Huw Williams will demonstrate the art of Welsh clogging, and dancers of all abilities are welcome while the Grassie Busville Band will provide the music for what promises to be a high energy afternoon family twmpath/ceilidh.
There will also be a chance to learn about the Welsh midwinter tradition of the Mari Lwyd, - a wassail-like, luck-bringing ritual in which participants accompany a person disguised as a horse’s skull from house to house , singing in the hope of gaining admittance and being rewarded with food and drink. Children will get the chance to make a mini Mari.
The entertainment will continue in the bar, where there will be performances by Montgomeryshire harmony group Parti Cut Lloi as well as DnA, Cerdd Cegin and Blanche Rowen and Mike Gulston. Bring instruments if you would like to join in – or just your voice!
There’s great value tickets for the day’s entertainment - £12 for adults and £6 for under 12s, with under-twos going free. They are available from www.ticketline.co.uk, 0844 888 991 or www./musicglue.net/cecilsharphouse.
Cecil Sharp House is at 2, Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 7AY and the nearest underground station is Camden Town. Do you want to drive to London, support the musicians and make a perfect day of it? There’s more information on the websites: www.trac-cymru.org and www.efdss.org.
Contact: Mick Tems, Editor - Folkwales Magazine, 88 Manor Chase, Y Beddau, Pontypridd, CYMRU / WALES CF38 2JE Phone: 01443 206689