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FolkWales Online Magazine September 2013

Gwerincymru — o Gymru o’r byd



Welsh tutors, learners head for The Big Experiment


Trac's The Big Experiment / Arbrawf Mawr runs from October 31 to November 3 in the Stackpole Centre in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. BEAM 2013 - Wales’ all-age ‘folk school’ - is a wonderful way to spend a long autumn weekend in a beautiful location, cram-packed with music and dance. there will be 31 hours of tuition and activities, including mixed-instrument groups, singing, dancing and clogging, taster workshops, masterclasses, concerts, performances and sessions.


BEAM participants can learn a wealth of new repertoire, improve their technique, experiment with unfamiliar and unusual instruments, songs and dance styles, and make new friends at the same time. There’s a tutors’ concert, a twmpath, a Big Welsh Sing, sessions (with tunes and songs too) and a chance to perform in the Noson Lawen. The evenings are open to the public.


The tutors are triple-harper Robin Huw Bowen; fiddler, banjo player and storyteller Christine Cooper, fiddler Mike Lease; cerdd dant specialists Arfon Gwilym and Sioned Webb; harper and singer-songwriter Bethan Nia; and clog-dancer Huw Williams.


BEAM 2013 features a folk song strand which will particularly interest singers with little or no Welsh, or who are learning, and who would like to learn some Welsh repertoire. There’ll also be a strand concentrating on the unique song form of Cerdd Dant, which will be taught in Welsh with simultaneous translation available. Welsh-speaking or not, participants are equally welcome. Trac’s resident simultaneous translator helps learners and non-Welsh-speakers access all areas.


Also new for this year are the ‘Pwt Ar Y Bys’ sessions - tunes at a steady pace based on the Clera tune book of the same name and led by an experienced pair of hands. There’s a discount for families and supervised activities for younger participants throughout the event. The Big Experiment begins on Thursday night as participants register, settle in, meet the tutors and make some informal music. The event finishes at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.


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Delyth, Angharad for Loughor Gwylmabsant


DnA, Delyth and Angharad Jenkins, bring their wonderful celtic harp and fiddle music to St Michael’s Church as part of the Loughor Mabsant Festival on the last weekend of September. The Loughor Gwylmabsant, at which the villagers celebrate the patron saint’s day, kicks off in Loughor Boating Club on Friday, September 27 (8pm) when Y Plebs and Rocky Road play on a free night. On Saturday evening, September 28, DnA perform at the church, in Castle Street; admission is £5 and the concert starts at 7pm – tickets are limited to 120. On Sunday afternoon (5pm), the Loughor Inshore Lifeboat is being blessed; the villagers will accompany the lifeboat from the lifeboat station to St Michael’s Church, where the blessing will be taking place. Visit the Loughor Mabsant Website and the Facebook page.


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Gigspanner play Llantrisant Folk Club


Fiddle master Peter Knight is pretty used to playing large concert halls with Steeleye Span – but Llantrisant Folk Club really scooped it when he agreed to perform with his trio, the amazing Gigspanner, on Wednesday, November 6 (8.30pm). Peter, whom author Terry Pratchett wrote: “can spin the world on his bow”, is playing with Roger Flack (guitar) and Vincent Salzfaas (congas and djembe) have been described as "powerful and intelligent musicians in their own right" (Geoff Boudreau, Rye Arts Festival). As a founding member of Celtic-rock band The Tabs, Roger is primarily a rock musician who shares Peters’ affinity with traditional material, while Vincent, who has studied his craft in Senegal and Cuba, adds a distinctly multi-cultural dimension. The Gigspanner event is supported by an Arts Council Of Wales Night Out grant.


Fothcoming dates at the Club, who are based at The Windsor Hotel, just a few yards from Pontyclun Station bridge, Yorkshire melodeon player and jack-of-all-trades Pete Coe (September 18), Roy Harris’s postponed eightieth birthday party (September 25), Eddie Walker (October 2), Gren Bartley (October 16) a showcase with Fiddlebox (George Whitfield and Helen Adam, October 30), BarlowCree (November 13), Jez Lowe (November 20), and Christmas Party Number One with Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner (December 11).


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Faustus come to Theatr Mwldan


Stellar musicians Faustus - Benji Kirpatrick, Paul Sartin and Saul Rose - play a concert at Theatr Mwldan in Bath House Road, Cardigan on Friday, October 4, 2013 (7.30pm, £13/£12).  Nominated in the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the Faustus triumvirate are the leading lights of their generation: Saul plays with Waterson:Carthy and Whapweazel, Benji Kirkpatrick is a member of the Seth Lakeman Band and Bellowhead and Paul plays plays oboe and fiddle with Bellowhead and Belshazzar’s Feast. They have a plethora of experiences between them, brought together in a virtuosic display of musicianship and testosterone.  Rooted deeply in the English tradition, in 2007 they received a 75th Anniversary Award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society.


They made an eponymous debut album, produced by Stu Hanna and released by Navigator Records, which saw them nominated as the Best Group in the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  Subsequent touring saw them headlining at festivals, as well as playing sell-out concerts at arts centres and clubs. The Daily Telegraph labeled them as “exceptional class”, while fRoots said: “Dynamically fascinating to watch, entertaining and intriguing.  Their ability to switch from song to tune, from instrument to voice, from traditional tune to modern arrangements made seeing them again a necessity”. Living Tradition commented: “Superb playing, lovely arrangements, great material”.

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Jamie’s Mabon on a November 10-dater


Jamie Smith’s Mabon blast off around Wales with their 10-date Taith Adre tour, playing at the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen on November 21, Y Galeri in Caernarfon (November 22); Theatr Harlech (23); Victoria Hall, Llanwrtyd Wells (24); Roots Unearthed on Level Three at St David’s Hall, Cardiff (26); Theatr Felinfach (27); Theatr Hafren, Newtown (28), the Cartrin Finch Centre, Glyndŵr University, Wrexham (29); and Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan (30).


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Songwriter Boo comes to Conwy


The amazing singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine will be performing at the Conwy Civic Hall on Sunday, October 20, for the very first time - thanks to a local fan who sent him a message on the social media site Twitter.


Boo is widely regarded as a songwriting legend. After fronting cult band The Bible until the mid-nineties, he went on to make numerous solo albums - most recently God Bless The Pretty Things for Navigator Records. He performed songs from this on The Andrew Marr Show and Songwriter’s Circle on BBC4.


For the last 18 years he has played with, written for and produced Eddi Reader, including her seminal Robert Burns album. Other artists who have performed his songs include

Kris Drever, Heidi Talbot, kd Lang, Chris Difford, Jerry Douglas, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, and Duke Special. Last year he released the CD State Of The Union with American guitar genius Brooks Williams. He has written seven songs for Radio 2’s Ballads Of The Games along with Jez Lowe, Chris While and Julie Matthews. Tickets are £10 from www.conwymusic.talktalk.net or the Albion Ale House, Conwy.


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It’s the Rhyl thing! Club reaches 50 years


Rhyl Folk Club has now entered its fiftieth year, and secretary Brian Bull says that members are planning a major celebration for Easter 2014. The club is enjoying strong support on the regular Friday get-togethers at the Tynewydd Community Centre, Coast Road LL18 3RD, averaging between 30 and 60 members, and the programme features Young Folk Award winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar on September 6, followed by Young Folk Awards finalist Luke Jackson on October 11. www.rhylfolkclub.com


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Club on the move

Pontypridd Folk Club has renamed itself Pontypridd Acoustic Club and had moved up Taff Street to Clwb Y Bont, where it meets on the second Wednesday at 8pm. The email address of organiser Richard Reast is: richardreast@yahoo.co.uk


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Joseph, Aeroplanes tour Welsh arts centres, theatres


Acclaimed singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph. from Penarth, joins forces with Pembrokeshire high-fliers Paper Aeroplanes for a tour which will take in Welsh arts centres and entertainment centres in October.

Martyn is renowned across the world for the craft of his song-writing, the power of his performances and the emotional response to the humanitarian vision his songs provoke. He connects with audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, as his frequent touring to North America underlines. His albums attract critical acclaim and his ever-expanding fan-base recognise and celebrate a truly individual and complete talent and a mesmerising performer combined. Paper Aeroplanes, Richard Llewellyn and Sarah Howells, have been building enthusiastic audiences and making serious waves for their own music since they came together in 2009. They have been strongly backed by BBC Radio Wales and are the leading lights of a new generation of acoustic performers. They released Little Letters, album number three for the Navigator label, which garnered four stars in the FolkWales CD reviews page.


The tour kicks off on October 1 at the Borough Theatre, Cross Street, Abergavenny, and calls in at Aberystwyth Arts Centre (October 2). The venues are The Grand Pavilion on The Esplanade, Porthcawl, (October 4), Theatr Hafren in Newtown (5), a quick foray to England to play at Telford’s Warehouse, Tower Wharf, Raymond Street, Chester (8), the Lyric Theatre, in King Street, Carmarthen (10), Theatr Mwldan, Bath House Road, Cardigan (11) and finishes at the Muni Arts Centre in Gelliwastad Road, Pontypridd.

www.martynjoseph.net   www.paperaeroplanesmusic.com


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Names lined up for Roots Unearthed


The fantastic Roots Unearthed series kicks off for the Autumn/Winter season, with master guitarist and brilliant singer Martin Simpson playing on September 10 at the Level Three Lounge, St David’s Hall in the centre of Cardiff (8pm). The usual Tuesday night session skip to a Wednesday for Eliza Carthy and Tim Eriksen, two of the most respected voices and a powerhouse duo (October 30, an unfortunate clash with the WOMEX opening night, Land Of Song, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.)


Roots Unearthed clicks back on a Tuesday and welcomes the marvellous Jamie Smith’s Mabon (November 28). A Christmas furlough follows, but there’s an exciting prospect on January 28, 2014, when the Steve Tilston Trio play the Lounge. The other highlights are Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick (February 11), Martin Joseph (February 25), and the exquisite Cara Dillon (March 4).


Not strictly a Roots Unearthed date, but Barb Jungr takes the Level Three stage for a evening of Bob Dylan songs on Thursday, September 26 at 8pm. Barb was one of the respected and innovative Jungr and Parker duo, who gigged around the folk scene a few years back.


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Shackle’s new CD out, and Riyadh calls


Newport stormers Rusty Shackle, fresh back from Cambridge Folk Festival, have released their second CD, The Bones on Get Folked! Records. All ten songs are written by Liam Collins, apart from ‘Glorious May’ and ‘All At Sea’, which are co-written with guitarist James McKeon. All tracks were recorded live together and to tape at Monnow Valley Studios in Monmouth.


The ‘alternative folk’ band formed in early 2010 and bring together guitars, fiddle, banjo, mandola, bass, drums and percussion to give their unique take on contemporary folk music. The Bones is a reference to them stripping back their sound to the bare bones, both in the production of the album and in the arrangements within the song themselves.


Rusty Shackle's previous performances include O2 Arena Islington, London Olympics closing ceremony, Cardiff Olympic Torch celebrations main stage slot, Great British Folk Festival, Folk By the Oak, Green Man Festival, Etihad Stadium and the Wychwood Festival. They played Cambridge Folk Festival this year, and to top off a busy 2013, the band will also be flying out to Saudi Arabia to play at the British Embassy in Riyadh.


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Bright Phoebus showcases Liverpool, Bristol


Lal and Mike Waterson's magnificent, if long out-of-print, masterpiece Bright Phoebus will be celebrated in a series of special concerts, which comes to the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool and the Colston Hall, Bristol next month - both a 30-minute drive for Welsh audiences. Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley, Oliver Knight, John Smith, Kami Thompson, Marry Waterson and Norma Waterson will revisit songs from Bright Phoebus and others on tour in England, which includes Monday, October 14 (Liverpool) and Tuesday, October 15 (Bristol.)


Fledg'ling Books, in association with Topic Records, will be publishing a 72-page hardback book Teach Me To Be A Summer’s Morning - an intimate portrait of the late Lal Waterson through a collection of her writings, drawings, paintings, stained glass and a 15-track CD of very rare home demos. The book has been curated and designed by Lal’s daughter Marry Waterson and offers a unique, intimate portrait of Lal, through a wonderful selection of her work from a life lived making sense of the world through music, words, and pictures.

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McTell on tour to Mwldan, Pontardawe


Ralph McTell has enjoyed a 48-year career of songwriting, and this Autumn sees him on the One More For The Road tour, which calls in at Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan on October 25 and Pontardawe Arts Centre on October 26. This quintessential singer-guitarist’s shows feature beautifully-crafted narrative songs, combined with dextrous fingerstyle guitar playing and evocative storytelling, and will include the Ivor Novello award-winning 'Streets of London'.


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Becka’s the new Beyond The Border manager


Beyond The Border, the Vale Of Glamorgan storytelling festival who stage storytelling events in the Wales Millennium Centre, Chapter Arts Centre and several South Wales venues, has a new company manager, Becka Rickard. The new post follows the departure of Kat Quatermass, who guided BTB through last year’s highly successful Festival at St Donats Castle.


Becka comes to BTB from Dartington International Summer School, where she worked as Festival Producer. She said: “I was involved at every level, from negotiating contracts with world-renowned musicians to emptying the bins. Having recently become a mum, I see the immense power of stories on a daily basis, and I can’t wait to dedicate myself to Beyond the Border.”


David Ambrose, the BTB director, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Becka on next year’s BTB Festival – and beyond.”


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Harpsongs closes


The final Saturday Harpsongs was held this year at The Harp, Glasbury on Wye, and the club is now closed. Organiser Phil Tipton writes: “I’ve met some lovely people through these sessions and many have become good friends, so I’ll look back on Harpsongs with many happy memories.”


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Quire showcases Mary’s Precious Bane


The Village Quire cross the border on September 21 to premier their new show, Precious Bane, at St Margarets Church in Newton St Margarets, Herefordshire. Precious Bane is based on Mary Webb's wonderful book, and the new songs – some traditional - are written and arranged by Quire leader Dave Newell. Tickets cost £8.50 and are available from 01981 510388 / 510629 or nsm@villagequire.org.uk.  There’s an interview with Dave on Precious Bane – coming soon!


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Metheglin for Meeting Ground


Acoustic Meeting Ground kicks off the Autumn season with a visit from progressive medieval-dance quartet Metheglin – trac administrator Blanche Rowen (darabuka and bowed psaltery), Mike Gulston (mandola and guitar), Pete “Peewee” Coleman (English border pipes) and Clare Hines (hurdy-gurdy). The evening, at Pontardawe Arts Centre in Herbert Street, starts at 8pm on September 27, is being run by Bear Bones (John Howes and Huw Jones), who introduce Julie Gordon and Stainless Steve Garrett. 


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Contact: Mick Tems, Editor - Folkwales Magazine, 88 Manor Chase, Y Beddau, Pontypridd, CYMRU / WALES CF38 2JE Phone: 01443 206689

E-mail: micktems@folkwales.org.uk Website: www.folkwales.org.uk