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DELYTH JENKINS - Llais (Voice)

DELYTH JENKINS - Llais (Voice)
Steam Pie Productions  SPCD10155

“In Welsh you do not ‘play’ the harp. You ‘sing’ the harp. The harp is my voice”. Such is the premise of Delyth Jenkins’s fourth solo CD with its several variations on a hypnotic and haunting Llais melody that serves as a leitmotif.

The three short variations in the first half of the album are interludes and effectively precursive to the rather mesmeric use of the melody as a repeated pattern across eight pieces of original music written to accompany a production of Under Milk Wood. Peter Richards from the Fluellen Theatre Company narrates extracts from Dylan Thomas’ musical language and is the other key ‘voice’. The music also includes Polly Garter’s Son, appropriately dreamily sung and hummed by the distinctive voice of Julie Murphy, and schoolchildren rather charmingly presenting Johnnie Crack and Flossie Snail.

Two pieces in the first half were written as incidental music for Fluellen’s dramatisations of The Doctor And The Devils, one of Dylan Thomas’s film scripts (about the body snatchers Burke and Hare), and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. The first of these, with Delyth’s daughter Angaharad’s fiddle, is quite beautiful with an aching mournfulness. By contrast, the joyful jig Bryniau ‘Werddon has a very Celtic catchiness.

Delyth’s Aziliz (Camac) harp is clear, ringing and bright in its treble and middle rich sounds. The combination of her exquisitely precise playing with the wondrously musical poetry of the words is very alluring and ought to appeal to many more than harp aficionados. Some might tire of the recurrent variations on the melody but such reiterative development can be spellbinding, even on repeated listening.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.