Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Steam Pie Records SPCD10185

There’s a small (and some might say perfectly formed) portion of Britain called Wales, that once seemed to want to keep its own traditional music to itself; once upon a time, little was heard in these isles beyond the border. Allan Yn Y Fan, a multi-instrumental and vocal sextet, has been in the forefront of the local folk scene for decades, doing its part in bringing Welsh music to the world’s attention.

The band’s most recent album, their sixth to date, is entitled NEWiD, which is a Welsh word for change, and also strangely appropriate in English considering the new-ID/line-up, as the band is sporting two new members; joining Geoff Cripps et al are Alan Cooper on violin and Catrin O’Neill on lead vocals.

Being home-recorded, NEWiD has a gentler feel than some productions, just as crafted but less pressured as might come from a professional studio recording. This album comprises 12 traditional and new song and dance tracks, ranging from lively to sublime, and almost all are derived from Wales.

Most of the instrumentals are arrangements of traditional tunes, including Dwr Glan, Sbaen Wendydd, and a smattering of slip jigs, whereas original pieces include lively musical tips of the hat to folk ‘celebrity’ Kairdiff’s Frank Hennessey and the quickstepping Bishop of Llandaff. Tune For Lillian is also original, a haunting tribute to a former landlady, and there are even two inevitable pieces dedicated to new musical implements!

Songs on the album are mostly traditional, including the almost magical Dafydd Y Garreg Wen, performed a cappella by Catrin alone, and jointly on Cân Merthyr, a bilingual warning about the fierce wives of Merthyr.

Allan Yn Y Fan is well known to those of us living in and around the counties and borders, hills, valleys and dance-floors of Wales. It’s with good reason hands clap and feet tap for them, and if you could bottle it, this vintage would be labelled NEWiD.

Andy Piper

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.