Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Estron's first album - `Gwawr'

The week starting April 6th saw Estron gathered in Jez King's Pant y Gafel studio to record our first album. It took us three days to get our entire repertoire `in the can' and a bit longer to do the mixing and mastering and finally upload a selection to Bandcamp. The result is `Gwawr' and I have to say I'm rather pleased with it and it does give a good representation of what we sound like live. Four of us - me, Micky, Danny and Jess - recorded our parts playing live together, while Holly came in later due to work commitments and recorded her bits separately on top.

There was also an opportunity to finally get our act together and have a decent full band photo taken:

So this is it - the finished article:

Click on the image to go to Bandcamp
and give it a listen...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

2015 Gigs

Things were a little quiet last year in terms of gigs (apart from Morris dancing with Heb Enw of course). This year has started off quite well so far. Here's the list so far:

24th January - Burns night supper, Moylegrove, North Pembs. - with Holly Robinson.

1st March - Saint Davids Day parade, Cardiff - with Pibau Planed: Peni Ediker and Stef Balesi.

29th March - Palm Sunday procession, Llanfyrnach. With Micky and Danny Tose, and Phil Higginson.

4th April - Ceilidh for a Meditation Weekend, Stackpole Centre, Sth. Pembs - with Estron.

6th April - Procession to Llanwinio church for the celebration of Saint Gwinio. With Micky, Danny, and Phil again. Also Dave Peterson (drum) and Sue (?) on flute.

6th - 8th April - Recording session with Estron at Pant y Gafel for our first album.

23rd May - Fishguard Folk Festival, 1.30pm in the Ffwrn - with Estron.

30th May - Big band workshop for pipes in G and D, and concert performance, at the Bagpipe Society Blowout, Polesworth, Staffs.

Estron news:

Last year we acquired a new band member which has added a new dimension to our sound. So here's a welcome to our harpist - Jess Ward from Pembroke.

Jess has an album out on Bandcamp if you want to hear what she sounds like:


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Welsh Pipes album `Cerrig Dymuniad'

A couple of weeks ago I finally got round to uploading the album I made in 2007 to Bandcamp. `Cerrig Dymuniad' is basically myself on Welsh bagpipes - Bacbib and Pibau Cyrn - plus a bit of Medieval double chanter bagpipes, pibgorn, bass pibgorn (that's just a really big pibgorn fitted with a clarinet mouthpiece), and recorder; Jez King (of The Mordekkers) on percussion, and who also recorded the album for me in his barn studio in Pembrokeshire; and Stef Balesi (also of The Mordekkers) on crwth on a couple of tracks.

Truth is though, it's only in the last year or so that our internet connection could have coped with the upload - Bandcamp needs you to upload music as wav files, which for `Cerrig Dymuniad' works out at about 450 Mb, and took about 3 hours to upload!

Another thing which I should have done a long time ago and have finally gotten round to is to create a tunebook to go with the album. That is, all the tunes from the album written down exactly as I play them. I've added a pdf of the tunebook to the album download on Bandcamp as a free extra.

Full track listing for `Cerrig Dymuniad' is:

1. Hyd y Frwynen / Bwrlwm
2. Morfa Rhuddlan / Digan y Pibydd Goch
3. Y Crwtyn Llwyd / Philomela / Y Hwch yn y Haidd
4. Jig Arglwydd Caernarfon / Dawns y Tylwyth Teg
5. Lloyd's Whim
6. The tune of Morfydd's Pipes / Mwynen Glan Teifi / Y Twmpathe
7. Gwynt o'r Glan / Spanish Minuet / Jig Heb Enw
8. Meillionen o Feirionnydd
9. Mae'r Flwyddyn yn Marw / Dyma Gariad fel y Moroedd
10. Ffarwel i dre Caernarfon Lon / Harlech / Brig y Brwyn
11. Lloer Dirion, Lliw'r Dydd

Monday, 2 February 2015

Chepstow Wassail and Mari Lwyd 2015

We do this event every year unless the weather prevents us getting there (we were snowed in at home in 2013), but despite being a bit chilly and a bit damp at the start, the weather was quite kind to us this year. It's organised by the Widders Border Morris who do a sterling job of bringing order out of the chaos...

So there we were on the 17th of January. We arrived a bit before the official start so we could get warmed up with a bit of dancing and danced in the light rain for a half hour or so while more sensible folk watched us from behind pub windows.

As the rain fizzled out other teams joined us - Styx from Stroud and Silhill from Birmingham way - and the Mari's began to appear. Then it was the official start and we all trooped off around the corner below the castle to wassail the apple trees, singing songs and hanging bits of toast from the branches of one lucky recipient.

Then it was back to the Three Tuns for some Mari Lwyding, a bit of a pwnco outside the back door before the Mari's were allowed in for a warm, a beer and a bit of a sing-song.

Afterwards there was more dancing outside, though we missed that in favour of a drink and some food and a bit of a warm. But then as it began to grow dark we headed down towards the bridge and did some more dancing, just ourselves (Heb Enw) and the Widders as the rest of the Morris teams had gone over to England for the wassailing over on that side of the river.

And then it was time for the main event - the meeting in the centre of the bridge of the Welsh and English contingents. We finished our final dance as a rocket went up over the river to herald the approach of the English and then we all gathered on our side of the bridge. Me and Dan piped with Holly on whistle and Micky on ukulele, all with drumming accompaniment from Aaron Meli and others, and the Mari's led us all up to the middle of the bridge which marks the English / Welsh border to meet with the English wassailers and Morris teams.

Then we all headed back to the entrance of Chepstow museum for another Mari Lwyd pwnco, more dancing and drumming, before we headed off for the two and a half hour drive home.

Another great event organised by the Widders. You can get the essence of the whole thing from Angie Latham's video of it below: