An Intercaltique Celebration for May the 1st 2010
Wales Millennium Centre joined forces with the internationally renowned Festival Interceltique de Lorient for the first time this spring to present a whole day of live Celtic festivities. Established in 1969, the Festival is the world’s largest gathering of Celtic cultures and is the first time that it will be involved in an event outside of France.
Dathlu Calan Mai: An Interceltic Celebration offerd a wealth of Celtic music, featuring the very best of traditional folk music from Wales and beyond. The day-long event marked Calan Mai - the traditional Welsh celebration of the first day of summer in the Celtic calendar on the 1st of May 2010.
The day began with free performances on the Centre’s Glanfa Stage. Among those taking part was the Welsh folk legend, Heather Jones. Welsh-language group Brigyn also performed some of their best-known songs. Harpist Bethan Nia played some of her contemporary arrangements of traditional Welsh songs. Contemporary Welsh bands Sibrydion and 9Bach complete the line-up.
The celebrations culminated in an evening performance at the Donald Gordon theatre featuring the best of Celtic artists from Wales and Brittany. The concert was supported by Wales Arts International and staged in collaboration with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
Among those taking part were:
• Singer and composer Siân James, one of the most well-known singers of Celtic music in Wales.
• Originally from Wales but now living in Brittany, singer-songwriter Lleuwen Steffan performed a mix of Welsh and Breton folk and jazz music
• Y Glerorfa is a traditional folk music orchestra, formed in 2006. The orchestra now has over 50 musicians from all parts of Wales, performing with harps, fiddles, flutes, pipes and hornpipes. Y Glerorfa performed a range of Welsh folk music from the very traditional to the more contemporary.
• Calan are a group of young people who perform energetic and exciting traditional Welsh folk music and songs. The group play many instruments including a mix of fiddle, harp, accordion, pibgorn, or pipehorn, and guitar, combined with singing and clog dancing
• Nolwenn Korbell is a singer from Brittany and has recorded songs in her native Breton and also in French, English and Welsh. She spent most of the 1990s in Wales where she was a member of folk-rock group Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion.
• Kevrenn Alré are an award winning group of musicians and dancers who perform traditional Breton dance and pipe and drum.
Wales Millennium Centre, Artistic Director Fiona Allan, said:
"The Centre is enormously proud of Wales’ folk music tradition and so it was important to us to celebrate Calan Mai with other artists who share our strong Celtic heritage.
"That’s why we’ve joined forces with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient and also invited the very best of Breton and Welsh musicians to the Centre for a whole day of live Celtic music and celebration.’"
Lisardo Lombardia, Director Festival Interceltique de Lorient, said:
"Wales was the first guest country to be showcased at our Festival 40 years ago. We’re very happy that our first collaboration outside of France is with Wales Millennium Centre and in a country famous for its Celtic heritage and music.’"
Eluned Hâf, Director, Wales Arts International, said:
"It’s wonderful that Wales Millennium Centre is providing audiences in Wales and beyond with such a wide range of activities to celebrate Calan Mai. Wales is a country steeped in tradition, and the Welsh have made an historical contribution to the world in varying ways.
"It’s important that as a nation we continue to celebrate such traditions so that we can preserve our own distinctive culture including our language, our national festivals and our indigenous music."