Sian James

Foreword by Sian James

Music has always been an inextricable part of my life. I was born in a small Welsh speaking village in mid-Wales surrounded by music and poetry and a deep awareness of all things cultural! My father sang, my uncles, my aunts and friends sang; most had instrumental lessons of some kind – usually piano, violin or harp. Writing poetry by local rhymesters and more established masters of cynghanedd was the norm as was amateur dramatics in most of the surrounding villages.

I began learning the piano at the age of six, the violin at eight and the harp at eleven. My harp teacher was Ffranses Môn Jones who passed on to me the craft of singing folk songs to my own harp accompaniment. By fourteen, composing songs and arrangements opened up a whole new world for me and my obsession with folk music grew and grew! For me, these songs appealed to my burgeoning womanhood – they were emotional, sexy, raunchy, quirky, humorous, perplexing, dealing with the whole gamut of the human condition: love, hate, joy birth, death, the afterlife, all intertwined with melodies which left me gasping for breath from their sheer beauty.

I remain as passionate about the music of my country today as I was in the heady days of my youth. Over the years I have experimented with their wonder fusing other styles such as jazz and blues and programmed rhythms, with various instruments, whilst hopefully never losing respect for their innate beauty.

I am filled with hope and joy for the future of Welsh Folk music as I witness a whole new generation of musicians performing, experimenting and opening their minds to the endless possibilities this genre offers them. These songs are theirs to embrace and of course to share!

By Sian James
Singer and member of Wales Arts International Selection Panel

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