Gwenan Gibbard - Sidan Glas
The harpist-singer-composer’s second album, presenting a tapestry of songs and dance tunes from the Welsh folk tradition.
Her debut album, ‘Y Gwenith Gwynnaf’, released in 2006 (SAIN SCD 2504), heralded a significant new talent in the world of Welsh Folk music, and this second album will certainly consolidate her reputation. ‘Sidan Glas’ (blue silk) displays the whole range of her talents, as harpist and singer, as composer and arranger. It is an exciting collection of new, contemporary arrangements of Welsh traditional music and songs, the playing firmly rooted in the heart of the tradition, yet showing a fresh and innovative approach. Rhythmic and vibrant dance tunes and both lively and hauntingly beautiful folk songs combine to create a perfect showcase of Welsh traditional music at its best. Joining Gwenan are several renowned instrumentalists – the guitarist Maartin Allcock (Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention, Bad Sheperds), fiddlers Stephen Rees (Crasdant) and Angharad Jenkins (Calan), flautist Dafydd Roberts (Ar Log) and percussionists Dewi Ellis Jones and Asian music scene phenomenon Kuljit Bhamra (Bend it like Beckham, Bombay Dreams), together creating a colourful tapestry of diverse musical influences whilst yet remaining true to the Welsh folk music tradition, giving prominence to the harp and voice. Gwenan’s strength as an artist lies in the fact that she comes from the heart of the Welsh tradition and is well versed in all its aspects, both as a musician and as a musicologist in her own right, familiar with the history and background of the songs and tunes. She sings and plays therefore in complete sympathy with the tradition, but is always looking for new ways to develop and interpret it, as this album shows, with great style. She has immersed herself in the thriving folk music scene of contemporary Wales, performing extensively in Wales and beyond, at festivals such as The Edinburgh Harp Festival, The Caernarfon International Harp Festival, Celtic Colours (Nova Scotia, Canada), North American Festival of Wales, Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival (Brittany), World Harp Congress (Dublin) and Celtic Connections (Glasgow). She is a regular accompanist at various Eisteddfodau, a member of Y Glerorfa (the new Welsh folk orchestra) and is an exponent of the uniquely Welsh art of Cerdd Dant (singing poetry to harp accompaniment). She brings all this experience, and all these musical influences to bear on this album, as genuine and as enjoyable a piece of Welsh folk culture as you will ever hear.