EFEx18 International Partnership artists announced

Mar 1st, 2018

To celebrate St David’s Day, we’re really excited to be able to announce the four artists who will be showcasing at English Folk Expo (EFEx) and Manchester Folk Festival from our 2018 international partner, Wales!

Each year at EFEx, we have a special focus on another country or territory. This year, with the support of Arts Council of Wales, we are delighted to present four of the finest Welsh artists alongside around forty English artists showcasing at the event. Wales as our international partner is presented by a partnership between Wales Arts International, trac and Theatr Mwldan under the brand of Cerdd Cymru:Music Wales and funded by Arts Council of Wales.

9Bach formed in 2005 thanks to a chance meeting between Welsh singer-songwriter Lisa Jên (also known for her collaborative work with Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys) and English guitarist Martin Hoyland. With their unmistakable sound of Welsh language vocals shimmering alongside swamp guitar, harp, rhythm section and a subtle use of technology, 9Bach have been widely credited with giving a new voice to Welsh song. Their second album, Tincian, was voted Best Album at the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards by the public.

“9Bach’s music is ripped through with transcendence; a brooding melancholy as much as a gossamer dreaminess.” – Line Of Best Fit

Alaw are three leading musicians who bring a wealth of experience to a shared passion – the traditional music of Wales. Whether unearthing rare gems or reimagining a well-loved melody, they treat their music with a deftness and sensitivity that is thoroughly absorbing. Combined with powerful song writing and original tunes, this makes for a musical experience that will stay with the listener long after the concert has ended. Oli Wilson-Dickson, Jamie Smith and Dylan Fowler have a long history of working together, sharing projects such as The Devil’s Violin, Szapora and The Ian McMillan Orchestra. Oli and Jamie are well known throughout the folk world as the frontline of Jamie Smith’s Mabon. From stirring songs to driving jigs – they communicate their music with relaxed humour and a genuine affection that is truly infectious.

“Truly remarkable! Magical…” “A force to be reckoned with!” – Frank Hennessey, BBC Radio Wales

Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
This sublime, critically acclaimed and multi award-winning collaboration between two adventurous virtuoso musicians – Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita – delivers a stunning exhibition of world-class musicianship. Drawing deep on their own diverse traditions and transforming them with remarkable synergy, Catrin and Seckou have built a formidable reputation for extraordinary performances. Following the huge success of their debut release Clychau Dibon back in 2013, their long-awaited second album ‘SOAR’ launches in April 2018. The album takes flight on the wings of the osprey, the magnificent bird of prey recently returned to Wales after centuries of absence, which makes its annual 3,000-mile migration from the coasts of West Africa to the estuaries of Wales, soaring like music and dreams over man-made borders, on an innate and epic journey of endurance.

“intricate, ethereal and entrancing, an elaborate pas-de-deux… remarkable” – Neil Spencer, UNCUT Magazine ★★★★★

Gwyneth Glyn
Although her feet are rooted deep in the earth of Eifionydd, Gwyneth’s gaze is always drawn to distant horizons. A poet, singer and playwright, she sees herself as an artist-adventurer who thrives on experimenting with different forms. In her latest collection of songs, Tro, Gwyneth encompasses all her recent influences and experiences. It is a collection that traces the journey back to her roots – from Cardiff, where she lived for five years, back to her native environment in Eifionydd, north Wales; the heart’s journey back from darkness to light, and the soul’s journey from a distant, foreign desert to the fruitful greenness of the very place where it belongs.

“Her lyrics have a simplicity of language and imagery: there’s a poet here who is able to leave words and images hanging in the memory…. She has a fine feel for the art of songwriting as well as the wind, trees and landscape of Wales that inform her music and emotions.” – Frazer Cains, LWCLl

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