Last week we shared information about a new project titled Beyond The Marches / Dros y Ffin which kicks off today as six contemporary folk artists from England and Wales head off to Cecil Sharp House to make some music and explore the Vaughan Williams memorial.
Over this week they will be exploring and celebrating in the shared history and culture of two nations, England and Wales. They will be digging into the national archives to unearth traditional songs and tunes that have transcended the border. They will then create new material which will be performed at three high profile concerts at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and Cecil Sharp House, the home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, in London in May 2015 (dates below).
Elan Rhys, the lead vocalist of folk group Plu and David Gibb, an award winning song writer and story teller have offered to provide us with updates on the project. They will be working alongside Lucy Ward, Patrick Rimes, Georgia Ruth and Archie Churchill-Moss.
Below you can read their initial thoughts on the project:
‘Despite what some people may think, being a musician is not the most glamorous of career choices. For every pop diva strutting around in their private trailer, or yelling at the roadie for ordering the wrong kind of flavoured water, there are hundreds of hardworking musicians, scraping a living by driving up and down the M1 week after week, on a diet of service station food and diesel fumes. Unsurprisingly, if you put three musicians in a room together it won’t be long before they all start to have a good moan.
It all sounds a bit bleak, and reading this, I’m sure you might be wondering why on earth we all bother with it in the first place. When I received a phone call asking if I wanted to be involved in the Beyond the Marches Project, I was given a swift reminder of what it’s all really about. The chance to be involved in a project exploring the history, complexities and development of English and Welsh folk music, no less in collaboration with a group of peers who I both respect and admire, makes up for any amount of Ginsters Pasties.
However, whilst I’m thrilled to be involved in the project, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t perhaps a small amount of apprehension. For the last year or so I’ve been working solely on music for children and families, and dipping my toe back in the pool of ‘adult’ music will be an interesting challenge. Equally challenging – and a new experience for me – will be exploring music from a different language, no less a language that to my ears has always had a musical quality to it, but which I don’t speak a word of (aside from ‘araf’ – all that touring in Wales paid off after all!).
I’m really excited to see how the week progresses, and how the music, friendships and performances grow. I really hope that as a group we can produce something that will stand the test of time.’
‘I‘m sure that the six of us had our own personal reasons to say “Yes!!” to the offer of being a part of Dros y Ffin, and I am certainly no exception.
I have never written any kind of music or been in a music-making environment with anyone other than my bandmates and siblings (who are strangely enough, the same people) let alone a bunch of strangers! The thought of disclosing my thoughts and ideas or laying bare my musical ability outside my blood-bound comfort zone absolutely daunts me. But I’m fully aware of the incredible limitless possibilities that can be ignited when music-makers come together. So, my hope is, after diving head first into what I expect to be a creative cauldron of a project, where anything can happen, that I eventually come up for air with a tiny bit more faith in my songwriting and confidence to write and collaborate beyond Plu.
Of course this isn’t the only reason why I wanted to be a part of this exciting scheme. I am not what you would call a ‘folky’, but the tunes of Welsh folk music does have an influence on our sound. So the chance to really broaden my knowledge of English and especially Welsh traditional music is something that I would never decline.
But for me, getting to develop new friendships is as exciting as the musical possibilities. If those two aspects of this project intertwine and grow as the week progresses, then hopefully we can create and perform something that will do justice to this fantastic project and the traditional sounds of our homelands.’
Saturday 2nd May 2015 – Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 8pmhttp://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/music/beyond-marches
Sunday 3rd May 2015 – Cardiff, Wales Millennium Centre, 7.30pmhttp://www.wmc.org.uk/BeyondtheMarches
Monday 4th May 2015 – London, Cecil Sharp House, 7.30pmhttp://www.cecilsharphouse.org/component/content/article/21-shared/shared-events/2282-
The project is a joint commission by trac Cymru and the English Folk Dance and Song Society. It is supported by the PRS for Music Foundation Beyond Borders programme, a co-commissioning and touring programme run in partnership with Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.