A tale set in medieval Wales, taught to successive generations and still smouldering at the Celtic heart of the nation’s culture, Dreaming The Night Field brings the legends of the literary treasure, The Mabinogion rushing to life in original songs and music, specially-written ahead of a 14-date UK tour this autumn. Renowned multi-instrumentalist composer, performer and touring folk musician, Stacey Blythe, has composed and adapted songs to provide a distinct and dynamic aural landscape on which the traditional story of betrayal, revenge, love and honour are played out.
Taking in many unique settings for the experience of hearing live, new and traditional music and storytelling, the tour’s first major date arrives at mac birmingham on Wed 27 Sep 2017 and concludes during the rurally-focused, Shindig Worcestershire programme at the Piesse of Piddle Hotel on Sun 26 Nov 2017.
Leading with the human voice, renowned folk singer, Lynne Denman (Ffynnon) is joined by Stacey Blythe (Ffynnon, Elfen) and, singing on stage for the first time, world-leading storyteller, Michael Harvey (‘mesmerising’ The Sunday Times).
Musically, the show pulls no punches, audaciously pairing ancient Welsh poetry forms (englyn) with the blues harmonica and jazz vocal scatting – mirroring the unexpected twists and turns of the story itself.
Working together for over two decades in touring Welsh folk band, Ffynnon (reviewed here on Folk Radio UK – “unique enough to single-handedly and significantly raise the profile of Welsh folk music”), Blythe and Denman sustain a driving passion for sounds deeply rooted in the traditions of the British Isles. In Dreaming the Night Field, the music is partnered with lyrics purposely laid out in both English and Welsh by the three performers, who are all non-native, fluent Welsh-speakers, on a journey through time and, quite deliberately, between cultures.
On composing and performing in Welsh, Birmingham-raised Stacey says: “If you had told me twenty years ago on moving to Cardiff that I’d one day be speaking Welsh, composing and playing new and traditional Welsh music, and performing in the language too, I could never have imagined that life being mine..but the Welsh language and music traditions feel very much part of who I am now as a musician and composer. It’s really magical to learn a second language and then use it so powerfully and creatively in performance.”
The Mabinogion is the collective name given to 11 medieval Welsh tales found in manuscripts dated between 1382 and approximately 1410; it is Internationally recognized as the world’s finest arc of Celtic mythology. The tales in the four ‘Branches’ (Dreaming The Night Field being based on the fourth) which make up the Mabinogion reveal an ancient world of gods and monsters, powerful women, heroes, kings and quests. The Fourth Branch / Dreaming the Night Field story was the inspiration behind Alan Garner’s well-loved classic novel, The Owl Service, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Naomi Wilds, Producer and Founder of Adverse Camber, says: “The importance of music in contemporary storytelling, and certainly in the production of ‘Dreaming The Night Field’, can’t be understated. The familiarity, professional respect and deep expertise of and between the three performers, spending great lengths of time with each other in the rural Welsh landscape, can be heard as well as seen in every performance. Music written and performed with such passion and sensitivity, bolsters the energy Michael Harvey channels in his spoken word performance as well as anchoring the show through the stability of Stacey and Lynne’s twenty-year musical partnership.”
Adverse Camber is one of the UK’s most celebrated storytelling companies, creating electric performance encounters that bring significant works of oral literature and new music based on folk traditions to wider audiences across the UK and beyond.
Dreaming the Night Field was commissioned by Adverse Camber, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Felin Uchaf and Cardiff University School of Welsh, with support from Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival and Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival. The production has received funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council Wales, the Welsh Government, Cardiff University School of Welsh and Arts Council England.
Dreaming the Night Field is told in English and the performance is delicately interwoven with the Welsh language.
Dreaming the Night Field Dates
- Thu 14th Sep 2017, 7pm – Wirksworth Festival, Town Hall, Wirksworth, DE4 4EU
- Sat 23rd Sep 2017, 7.30pm – Litfest, The Storey, Meeting House Ln, Lancaster, LA1 1TH
- Sun 24th Sep 2017, 3pm – Settle Stories, The Joinery, Dawsons Court, Settle North Yorkshire, BD24 9ED
- Wed 27th Sep 2017, 7.30pm – mac Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B12 9QH
- Fri 6th Oct 2017, 7.30pm – Derby LIVE Guildhall Theatre, Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AE
- Thu 12th Oct 2017, 7.30pm – The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Hope University Creative Campus, 17 Shaw Street, Liverpool, L6 1HP
- Fri 13th Oct 2017, 7.30pm – Carriageworks Theatre, Electric Press, Millennium Square & Great George St, Leeds, LS2 3AD
- Tue 14th Nov 2017, 7.30pm – Chester Literature Festival, Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester
- CH1 2AR
- Wed 15th Nov 2017, 1.30-3.30pm – Story Walk, Meet at Bishop Lloyd’s Palace, Watergate Row, Chester, CH1 2LE
- Thu 16th Nov 2017, 7.30pm – Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Castle Grounds, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3ER
- Wed 22nd Nov 2017, 8pm – Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre For The Arts, 21 Kingland Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1UG
- Fri 24th Nov 2017, 7.30pm – Live & Local, Village Ventures Nottinghamshire, Colston Bassett Village Hall, NG12 3FD
- Sat 25th Nov 2017, 7.30pm – Live & Local Warwickshire, Whatcote Community Centre, CV36 5EE
- Sun 26th Nov 2017, 7.30pm – Live & Local, Shindig Worcestershire, Piesse of Piddle Hotel, Wyre Piddle, WR10 2JB
For full performance and booking information, visit http://www.adversecamber.org/