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10 in a Bus, Trac, Sain - img Stephen Rees

 

For a project that sent ten very different musicians around Wales in a bus, to explore music archives, Trac, the folk development organisation for Wales, aimed to demystify and reinterpret traditional Welsh traditional music for new audiences.The result is a tour and an album launch that will coincide with Swn Festival in Cardiff.

Chosen from an open application process, the ten musicians have backgrounds ranging from rock, pop and indie to classical, folk and electronica, and play a wide variety of instruments between them, including violin, trumpet, harp, cello, flute, bodhran, horn, ukulele, guitar and even Javanese gamelan instruments and the musical saw. Aged between 20 and 37,The 10 include Gwilym Bowen Rhys from rock/pop band Y Bandana, one half ofWelsh Beck outfit John Mouse, Craig Chapman and professional harpist Gwen Mairi Yorke.

Trac s Project Officer Angharad Jenkins, explained: Each of the musicians has led on at least one piece of music, so the personality of each musician comes through. It sounds like a compilation album as there is so much variety on it. Some tracks sound traditional, others pop influenced folk, and other tracks are totally free and experimental. There's a mixture of traditional and new music, but each piece is a direct outcome of that original research phase travelling around Wales in a bus, visiting archives, collections and meeting the tradition bearers, as well as the in-jokes between the participants.It's a real mixed bag, and I think everyone will find something to fall in love with! The album sounds better than I could possibly have imagined at the beginning of the year.

The ten musicians have travelled around Wales, visiting the sound archives in St Fagan s, the National Library s music collections, as well as meeting some of Wales stradition bearers and ethnomusicologists. Then, in a week-long writing retreat at T Newydd, Llanystumdwy, they were encouraged to work together to re-interpret the traditional material, as well as composing new work based on their experiences during the research phase. The end product is a complete album, to be released by Trac and Sain Records in October.

Musician and one of the 10, Craig Chapman, enthused: The whole experience has been like trying on a big cuddly musical coat for the first time, and finding that the fit is perfect. I've fallen in love with our musical heritage and now finding new ways of using all these musical roots. 10 in a Bus feels right, I think we can all tell that our music has the right chemistry and feel.

www.trac-cymru.org

 

10 Mewn Bws on Tour: 17 - 20 October 2013

17 October Galeri, Caernarfon - www.galericaernarfon.com -01286 685 250

18 October Y Drwm, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth - www.llgc.org.uk -01970 632800

19 October Llangammarch -07805 219028 (matin e performance)

20 October Gwyl Swn Festival, Chapter Arts Centre - www.swnfest.com -029 2030 4400

 

Image credit: Stephen Rees