Internationally known but locally grown. Two very special duos will play and sing music from around the world as part of the Eisteddfod 2016 fundraising for Monmouthsire.
Taith Duo, Gillian Stevens and Dylan Fowler have come from very different musical backgrounds; Dylan as a jazz musician and Gillian as a performer of early music and a composer. They have found common ground in their desire to ignore musical categories and draw on both the traditional music of their home country, Wales, and their own original and creative approach. The inspiration gained from travelling and working with musicians from many other cultures adds a further layer of richness to their performance. Using a range of instruments including guitar, mandocello, drums, clarinet, viola da gamba, treble viol and the ancient Welsh crwth they create a magical and spell-binding atmosphere.
Over the years they have performed as a duo in festivals in Greece, Italy, Belgium and Bulgaria. Together they have taken part in several international collaborations, such as with Norwegian singer, Asne Valland-Nordli, in the Bath Festival and Nicolai Ivanov in the Salon des Arts Festival in Sofia. They have also performed regularly with Finnish kantele player Timo Väänänen, as the Taith Trio.
Olion Byw are Cardiff based duo, Lucy Rivers and Dan Lawrence. They combine fiddle, guitar, mandolin and voice. Their fresh and exciting arrangements of traditional Welsh tunes and songs are interspersed with original compositions, all drawing on their love of roots, folk and world music. They bought out their second album last year Mudo/ Migrating to great critical acclaim and as well as performing around Wales, last year they toured to West Bengal to play in a Fakir Festival. They also had an official showcase in Folk Alliance in Kansas City. Olion Byw means Living Traces – rediscovering, reinventing.
‘The intoxicating vocal and intense fiddle of Lucy Rivers and the hypnotic guitar/ mandolin of Dan Lawrence… With its elegant melodies and its poetic songs of longing and yearning, there’s more than a trace of the courtly troubadour tradition in the heart of this music: It makes for deeply soulful, romantic listening.’ Review of Mudo/ Migrating by Paul Matheson, fRoots May 2014.