“If Welsh music is perennially considered the poor relation in the Celtic tradition, Allan Yn Y Fan are moving mountains to change all that.”

“...So look out Scotland and Ireland, a new Celtic Tiger is prowling...”

Deio I Dywyn & Scot Erin Reel

Video filmed and produced by "on-Par Productions" on location at Barry Island.

More Videos

NextPrev

News Archive 2003 - 2009

Select a year.

2009

AUTUMN NEWSLETTER (11.11.2009)

Suddenly we are in the dark days of November when it doesn’t seem five minutes since we were playing outdoor festival dates - mainly in hot sunshine!

Since we last wrote AYYF has performed for a number of special days for happy couples mainly in Powys but also on Gower and near Raglan. A real surprise bonus was that in playing for Darren & Ruth’s wedding at the end of August we happened on not just two lovely people - but superb musicians too! It was a slightly surreal but wonderful moment to have the bride in the full regalia playing some great sax over some of our favourite tunes - it certainly was a first for AYYF after dozens of weddings over many years! So good was this experience that we asked Ruth and Darren to join us again (he plays trumpet) at the Wateraid Ceilidh at Llanhilleth back in October. We think the band sounds fantastic with this brass section - so we will do it again when we play the Heath Ceilidh at the end of February which is open to all - check out our 2010 dates here! Move over Bellowhead!!

In September we managed to make our first TV broadcast thanks to the good people of Wedi 3 in Llanelli - and before long you can catch our live version of “Deio I Dywyn/Scot Erin Reel” here. We enjoyed the experience and hope for more in the not too distant future. Following that we also went on our first trip to Ireland for some six years. It was a short tour but we enjoyed the craic in Baltimore (and we heartily recommend Caseys to any of you striking out to West Cork) Ennis (even if it was different to our expectations) and especially in Knockcroghery. The Cullen Hall there was a fabulous venue and it was terrific to show off the new look band to many of our friends from County Roscommon. The reception we had was just fantastic. Our heartfelt thanks to Declan Coyne who is our hero and living legend from Dysart!

Trosnant came out officially at the end of July and as you can see from the reviews section elsewhere we have been gathering some great comments. A track from Trosnant made it onto the Unherd covermount CD for their September/October issue - the third time that we have made it onto the covermount CD of this great magazine. The band are also thrilled that for the third year in a row we have made it onto the Welsh Music Foundation “Music From Wales” CD which is distributed at the major music events such as WOMEX in Copenhagen, the AFO conference in England and Showcase Scotland at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections. We hope that it will have a great impact on our festival bookings for 2010.

Because that time of year (40 days at time of writing) is now very close AYYF have decided that for just one month there will be a special sale from this website - our first two albums will be available for just £7.50 each + P&P whilst Trosnant can be bought for just £10 + P&P. This offer will end on Friday 18th December - so buy your AYYF CDS for the ones you love NOW!!

We will look forward to seeing as many of you as can make it to our last appearance of 2009 in the Glanfa of the Wales Millennium Centre on Monday 28th December at 6.00 p.m. - as usual it is a FREE concert so no excuses!!

In the meantime - please check out these pages for a very special news posting early in January.

THE PURE DROP - DANCE FOR LIFE! (07.10.2009)

Allan Yn Y Fan is delighted to be participating for the second year in the Big National Ceilidh and is looking forward to a great night in Llanhilleth Institute on Saturday 17th October(commencing at 7.30 p.m).

With the nation once again gripped by the Strictly Come Dancing series, here is the perfect excuse to vacate the sofa and experience the benefits and delights of dancing, whilst simultaneously providing life’s essential ingredient to those for whom clean drinking water is simply not a given.

For this very special event Allan Yn Y Fan will be performing in a slightly bigger than normal line-up with Ruth Appleby (saxes) and Darren Fellows (trumpet), joining Geoff Cripps (guitar/keyboards/bass/bouzouki) Meriel Field (fiddle) Chris Jones (accordion/flute) Linda Simmonds (mandolin, mandola, bodhran) and Kate Strudwick (flute/recorders). Chris Jones will be guiding everyone through all the dances in his own inimitable style!

The Big National Ceilidh is a nationwide event to raise money for WaterAid, a charity that helps some of the world’s poorest people gain access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene education. At 10pm, all the ceilidhs up and down the country will be united by dancing the Circassian Circle, to the tune of Jamie Allen.

Geoff Cripps of Allan Yn Y Fan said :- “ We know from gigging all around the UK what tremendous fun can be had at a Twmpath Dawns (Ceilidh). Now we can, in our own area, provide our friends and neighbours with a great Saturday night shindig - and raise money for life’s essential ingredient - water - at the same time! We do hope that Llanhilleth Institute will be bursting at the seams - book your tickets now!”

Allan Yn Y Fan, their guest musicians and their caller, are all donating their services in order to maximise the proceeds to WaterAid.

Tickets are just £5, and they can be booked by calling 01495 357815/217912.

BigNational Ceilidh Website WaterAid Llanhilleth Institute Website

AIRPLAY CAMPAIGN (22.08.2009)

As all of you visiting this website are probably aware we released our new album “Trosnant” on Steam Pie Records at the end of July. It is distributed throughout the UK by Proper Music Distribution. One of the really hard things for the makers of independent music to achieve is coverage and reviews in the general press and airplay on national and regional radio stations.

This is where you can help us! We would be delighted if you could take a few moments of your time to send an email to any or all of the four programmes listed below asking for “Ar Hyd Y Nos” to be played. Ask your friends to do it too! We’ll keep you posted via both of our sites of any successes. Thanks for your help!!

BBC Radio Wales
Roy Noble - roy.noble@bbc.co.uk
Aled Jones - aled.jones@bbc.co.uk
BBC Radio 2
Bob Harris - bob.harris@bbc.co.uk
Mike Harding - mike.harding@bbc.co.uk

SUMMER NEWSLETTER (21.08.2009)

Just time now to pause for breath and recount our adventures over the past couple of months. Firstly, a huge thank you to all of you who came in such great number to support the launch of “Trosnant” at Blackwood Miner’s Institute on the 22nd May. Special thanks to Sharon, Robin and James of BMI who really pulled all the stops out to ensure we (and you) had a fantastic evening. It was great to welcome old and new friends of the band and especially good to welcome Mr. & Mrs. Davies, the owners of “Trosnant”, whose splendid cottage graces the cover of the album.

Since then we took to the road and had a great time in Germany - renewing friendships in Backnang and Ludwigsburg and making some great new friends in Munich. We were honoured to be part of Ludwigsburg’s twinning celebrations and to fly the flag for Caerffili. We gained pleasure from seeing ourselves on Caerffili’s new Tourism pop-ups and other literature - let’s hope others viewing them have felt similar pleasure! The teams in Ludwigsburg and from Caerffili were really supportive and we look forward very much to returning the hospitality and more when Caerffili hosts its’ 50th anniversary celebrations of this twinning agreement next year.

We travelled south from Ludwigsburg to Munich and very much enjoyed our very first visit to this wonderful city and to our venue Ars Musica and its’ wonderful team. One of the great pleasures of life on the road is not only the great reception we had from all who attended the concert - but the special hospitality shown us by those brave enough to open their homes, hearts, larders and cellars to us! Take a special bow Frank & Alison - doyens of the Irish Music Club in Munich, skilled raconteurs, musicians, cooks, librarians and hosts to just about anyone who is anyone in the Irish music world - and now AYYF!

Returning from Germany (840 miles in one day!) - we then embarked on performances at British festivals. We had the honour of opening the Two Rivers Festival in Chepstow (lovely people organising and running it - and really well organised deserving of even greater public support) and then the next day travelling to Hitchin for the Rhythms of the World Festival. On a scorching Saturday afternoon we were delighted to be playing on their main stage and getting a really great reaction. This is a superbly organised volunteer run event - we loved it and want to go back!

The next port of call was Llangollen’s International Music Eisteddfod and chance for Meriel’s parents to check out the strange valleys people Meriel has entangled herself with. I think we passed muster. We played the S4C stage and it was great to be there in the company of 9Bach and Amy Wadge - and the sun shone!

The following weekend was the second time we have booked ourselves into the lovely Borough Theatre in Abergavenny. This time round we were delighted to have label mate Delyth Jenkins as our special guest. Such a fine harpist and composer and thoroughly lovely human being too! The audience reaction to Delyth and our new material was superb, and we loved having Delyth play Kate’s tune “Trosnant” with us - hopefully we’ll get to repeat that at some other gig or two in the future.

The next week we set off on the Wednesday at an ungodly hour to get to the Royal Welsh Showground and to hit the Bandstand. We were blessed with another choice day from this wonderful British summer!! It was hard work and probably didn’t achieve all or our aims - but we did enjoy looking at livestock, Welsh cake ice cream( no - its really good honest!) and the free lunch!.

We are back now for a short while playing Twmpathau Dawns for people’s special days – which is always a treat and take us to lots of lovely venues. We hope that lots of you can make it to the Wales Millennium Centre on Sunday 6th September at 3.00 p.m. for our free concert on the Capita Symonds Stage - chance for you all to enjoy our new material and pick up your copy of “Trosnant”. We’ll write again after our Irish trip. In the meantime see the info about the AYYF Airplay Campaign - and start sending out those emails!! PS - Please also look out for us on the CD Covermount of R2 (Rock ‘n’ Reel) issue 17 in September.

New Album - TROSNANT (29.05.2009)

Steam Pie Records are delighted to announce the release on 27th July of “Trosnant”, the third album by Gwent based band Allan Yn Y Fan, distributed by Proper Music Distribution.

Like their previous highly acclaimed albums, the band checked in to Dylan Fowler’s Abergavenny studio, working right through the winter of 2008/9. And, as with the previous albums, Dylan also shares the production credit with the band.

There the similarities stop as “Trosnant” is the band’s first album with their new singer/fiddle player Meriel Field and, for the first time, there are songs on an Allan Yn Y Fan release! Meriel Field, originally from North Wales, has also persuaded the rest of the band to sing and there are some notable harmony vocals from Linda Simmonds and Kate Strudwick on songs such as “Si Hei Lwli Mabi”, “Moliannwn” and an especially tender version of a traditional Welsh song known far beyond our borders :- “Ar Hyd Y Nos”, which breaks new ground for Allan Yn Y Fan by featuring an exquisite arrangement for string quartet.

Allan Yn Y Fan has not deserted the instrumental tradition with this album though — the band are heard at full throttle on “Tressle Bridge/Tenpenny Bit/Thunderhead” and a quirky version of two English tunes :- “Abbot’s Bromley Horn Dance Tune/Jump at the Sun.” Critical acclaim for the band’s earlier releases was forthcoming for the quality of the band’s own compositions and “Trosnant” features some great originals by accordionist Chris Jones (Castell Thomas + Madam Mayor + Ms. Gina Morgan), whilst flautist Kate Strudwick, inspired by our rehearsal location for the album, has composed the title track :- “Trosnant” - the awesome beauty of the Brecon Beacons encapsulated in a four minute soundscape! Gems from the Welsh traditional canon are not overlooked :- “Abergenni” is from the unusual Welsh stately/courtly realm whilst the album opens with “Pibddawns Gwyr / Y Gelynnen.”

“Trosnant” features twelve tracks and marks the further development of a band maturing into one of Wales’ finest musical exports and consolidating its reputation as Wales’ best Celtic band of the 21st century.

Click here for track listing. Click here to buy the album.

Who Knows Where The Time Goes...? (25.04.2009)

As Sandy Denny sang so memorably what seems just a short while ago...! Suddenly the end of April is looming and looking at our website you might be forgiven for thinking that nothing is happening in the world of Allan Yn Y Fan...You’d be wrong, of course!

Looking back to the start of the year we finally got to play at the estimable Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. It was well worth the drive through snowy England and Scotland to the former “second city of Empire” for the world’s best midwinter festival. We had the delight of appearing in the Strathclyde Suite supporting our dear friend Brian McNeill and his host of friends and alumni, before moving on to our second slot in the Festival Club. Well, our support acts there (!) included the aforementioned Brian McNeill, Show of Hands and, just before us, Radio 2 Folk Award winning best live act - Lau!! You can’t bottle out in this festival! It might have been 3.30 a.m. in the morning but we needed to shine then and we did! All in all it was a great experience and one we hope to repeat soon!

Other gigs in the harsh February included :- playing for teachers from Zambia and Nigeria, as well as a few from closer to home that were hosting this “connecting classrooms” visit; a Menter Iaith gig for St. David, our return to Blackwood Miner’s Institute and a return to the Cwlwm Celtaidd Festival in Porthcawl.

The real reason that our postings on this website have been conspicuous by their absence is that every other band waking moment has been spent on preparing our new album for your delight and delectation. The album is to be called Trosnant - named after the Brecon Beacons cottage where much of the material was prepared (and inspired by the fabulous location). The twelve tracks include our versions of some terrific Welsh traditional songs including Deio I Dywyn and Ar Hyd Y Nos; some traditional tune sets and, as is now usual, some great home grown compositions from our very own Chris and Kate. The official release date isn’t yet fixed - but we will be able to update you all on this very soon. Come back to the site soon to see a great offer to our fans for the official launch concert for this album.

Despite the credit crunch we continue to be busy and are really looking forward to our summer appearances at some festivals. We are particularly pleased to be performing at the Two Rivers Festival in Chepstow on Friday 3rd July and the following day to be travelling to Hitchin in Hertfordshire for their Rhythms of the World Festival. If you can get to either of these events please do come and say hello to us (and buy a copy of the new album!)

Also this summer AYYF are delighted to be returning to Germany and playing at Ludwigsburg’s major summer festival. Whilst in Germany we have managed to also be added to the bill of the World Music Festival in Munich! Looking forward to seeing some of our German fans and friends in June!

We’ll be back with more news very soon!

2008

A Right Old Song & Dance! (24.11.2008)

Allan Yn Y Fan will take time out from their recording schedule in order to make three important live appearances in December and January - two concerts and one twmpath dawns.

Firstly, after a break of several years, the band plus caller Gina Morgan will perform a Twmpath Dawns (ceilidh) at Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon on Friday 19th December. Tickets are already selling well and the band is hopeful that they will achieve another sold out event at Brecon’s canal-side venue. The evening will provide the perfect excuse to dance yourselves silly prior to the festive gorging!

Secondly, pausing only to deck the halls and remix some tracks, Allan Yn Y Fan return to the Wales Millennium Centre for a Christmas Holiday concert on Sunday 28th December commencing at 1.00 p.m. The last time Allan Yn Y Fan played there on August Bank Holiday Monday they achieved record crowds for the Glanfa Tesco Stage slot - something they are hopeful of beating this time around. The review in the Western Mail said :- “These talented multi-instrumentalists are so passionate about their musical heritage that they have the ability to melt even the hearts of folk-haters. Quite simply they seem to be having a ball on stage and it’s almost impossible not to share their enthusiasm, as the audience at the WMC discovered”.

The band will be performing some new selections from their forthcoming album “Trosnant” alongside some of their perennial crowd-pleasing favourites.

These two gigs on home ground prepare the band for their first appearance at Glasgow’s famed Celtic Connections Festival on 21st January 2009. Allan Yn Y Fan is delighted to be supporting their dear friend and polymath Brian McNeill for this Strathclyde Suite gig at the city’s Royal Concert Hall. This appearance plus one later that evening at the Festival Club will provide a fantastic start to what promises to be a memorable year for the band - with the new album out in April, a return to Cwlwm Celtaidd Festival in Porthcawl and tours in Germany and Ireland.

Spring Newsletter - Getting the Music Out There! (31.05.2008)

Thought we ought to try and get you all up to date as to what’s been happening in the crazy world of AYYF.

Firstly, the band were delighted when the Welsh Music Foundation selected “Morgan Rhatlar/Lacken House” from our “Belonging” album for their sampler CD of the best Welsh Music for the huge industry showcase that is WOMEX in Seville. This meant that without, sadly, having to spend several days in Spain last October – our music was put in front of festival and event organisers, radio producers, agents and managers from all over Europe and beyond. Maybe we’ll get along to play at the next one!

Secondly, it was great to be asked by Ty Cerdd to be involved in a music project seeking to inspire today’s budding musicians in schools across Wales. It has created packs containing audio examples of work from a huge range of renowned Welsh composers/musicians – people like Karl Jenkins, William Mathias, Mervyn Burtch and John Hardy – and AYYF! TY Cerdd, based in the Wales Millennium Centre, has developed its’ Young Composers programme to inspire educate and enthuse young people – and we’re really happy that “Mon/Penguin Shuffle” + “Allan Yn Y Fan/Gorymdaith Y Geyers/You Don’t Need To Know will” do the job for traditional music.

Thirdly, its not every day that we get to be on a cover-mount CD for a magazine that has Paul McCartney on the cover! But, thanks to Derek Smith & team at Cwlwm Celtaidd, that’s exactly what happened for the March/April edition of “Rock’N’Reel”. This time the selection was “Gyrru’r Byd Ymlaen/Rural Assets” from “Belonging” and it sounds really good along with selections from other great Welsh artists and friends like Mabon and Bethan Nia. If you missed it we’re sure copies are still available from the magazines’ website – or if you’re at one of our gigs ask us!

Since Meriel joined us at the start of the year we have been busy rehearsing loads of new material – including a number of songs! We also managed to get up to Dylan Fowler’s studio in February and have a new Demo available to showcase the new line-up. We hope to return to the studio later this year to get started on album No. 3

In the meantime – make sure you come and see us on the public events this summer and if you’re keen to book us – email us now!

Allan Yn Y Fan “Alumni” (01.03.2008)

Over the life of any band there come occasions when, for all the best reasons, one of you cannot make the gig or tour. Now we have been plying our trade for more than a decade and over the years some notable musical friends have stepped into the breach. It is time we name checked them and let you know where and with whom you might expect to see them now ....

GUTO DAFIS :- Melodeon - depped on a couple of occasions - our memory is hazy but we think one was in the Kenfig Hill area. Guto is one half of TORETH whose album for Fflach is recommended

OLI WILSON-DICKSON :- One of the very first times a fiddle was heard in our ranks - and good to start with one of the best. This was a wedding twmpath in Llangattock. Oli gets about quite a bit these days performing with Mabon, the Devil’s Violin and as part of the Ian McMillan Orchestra - to name just a few of his musical accomplices

LUKE CARVER GOSS :- Accordion / guitar Luke was bold enough to go the Czech Republic with us in 1999.. He’s never looked back! Now to be seen with Szapora and leads the Ian McMillan Orchestra. Ask him about the tour highlights sometime!

JOHN MILLS :- Melodeon / caller It was an age ago but the leader of Fast Parts graced the stage with us on a couple occasions for Cardiff gigs.

HENRY SEARS :- Fiddle / whistles Henry has depped for us on a couple of memorable occasions - a Newport wedding and a fab twmpath in Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush. Henry is famous for his music making with After Hours (of fond memory) and the duo with Jenny Crook.

TONY (GERAINT) WILLIAMS :- Bass , guitar. What twmpath band in South Wales has not had the pleasure of Brynmawr’s finest gracing their number at some stage or other. We all remember with great pleasure the musical adventures he shared with Huw Williams just the day before yesterday.

And the callers :-

NED CLAMP :- Ned was our original caller of choice and he undertook the majority of twmpaths in our earlier days. He also accompanied us on our early forays into Ireland and was always willing to add a harmonica or extra guitar to the sound. You can now see Ned working Pat Smith as a duo and with the Calennig Big Band.

CHRIS OATES :- If Ned wasn’t available in the early days Chris (of Gwerinwyr Gwent) usually took the mic and got people onto the floor.

FRANCESCA KAY :- It is not usual for creative writing experts to make good dance callers - but we decided that we needed a caller who suited our style of playing and - to be honest - would not also be working with most of the other bands in South Wales. A flamboyant figure who could encourage even the most convinced couch potato to take a step or two on the dance floor, Francesca left in 2005.

New Year, New Line-up! (01.01.2008)

Allan Yn Y Fan is delighted to announce that MERIEL FIELD has joined "Wales’ top twmpath band" adding her fiery fiddle playing and beautiful singing to the band. For the first time, Allan Yn Y Fan now feature songs alongside their proven mix of their own compositions, traditional Welsh music and choice selections from the Celtic nations.

Meriel Field, based in Abertridwr, was born in Mold, North Wales, studied music at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and teaches singing in a variety of settings.

Together with Meriel, Allan Yn Y Fan are looking forward to a year packed with great gigs and festival appearances. The first chance to see the new band in action will be on St. David’s Day at the Pontardawe Arts Centre. Allan Yn Y Fan’s first festival appearance of 2008 is at Porthcawl’s CWLWM CELTAIDD (7th March). Allan Yn Y Fan returns to the Assembly Rooms Ludlow on Monday 17th March, celebrating that other famous Welshman, St. Patrick!

Future festival appearances will include Priddy in Somerset, a special "Home Nations" concert with Battlefield Band, Cara Dillon and Oysterband at the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival (24th July) and headlining the acoustic stage for their home ground event, the Caerffili Big Cheese Festival on 27th July. In August Allan Yn Y Fan will be pleased to return to the fabulous Festival Interceltique at Lorient – in the year of Wales.

The band hope to find time in their busy schedule this year to commence work on their third album for Steam Pie to follow-up the success of the 2006 release "Belonging".

2007

Farewell to Emma Trend (28.10.2007)

After a band career spanning 5 years Emma Trend has left taking her fiddle, clarinet whistle and banjo (shame we never had the time to get that one in!) on to new pastures in Devon. Whilst with us Emma made her fiery fiddle playing a strong feature of the overall sound of AYYF. We enjoyed some great gigs, twmpathau dawns and international tours over this period. All of the band and our callers Gina and Carys wish Emma the very best for her future.

German Tour 2007

Allan Yn Y Fan - "Blackwood's best local band" (The Independent) "Wales top Twmpath Band " (BBC Radio 2) - has just returned from a highly successful four date tour of Germany. Highlights included a return to the beautiful Traumzeit Theatre in Backnang (where the accompanying tour pic was taken); a triumphant first gig at the new Towers Irish Pub in Ludwigsburg (Caerphilly's twin town); a sell-out concert at Kulturespeigel Möglingen plus a return gig at Café Radlos, Nördlingen as part of the amazing Mediaeval Festival that envelops the whole town once every three years. It was really special to return to this last event.

Traumzeit TheatrePlaying their unique mix of Welsh, self-composed and other Celtic tunes, Allan Yn Y Fan on this their third visit to Germany have struck a deep reponse with the people of Baden Würtemburg and Bavaria. Press interest in the tour was very high with preview articles, interviews and exceptional reviews.

During the tour, arranged by band friend Thomas Roth of the Geyers, the concerts were recorded with the view of a possible live album for release in 2008.

The German Tour completes a highly successful summer in 2007 when, despite the weather, Allan Yn Y Fan enjoyed playing at some of Britain's best festivals including Priddy in Somerset, Llangollen International Eisteddfod; Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau and Brampton Live Cumbria.

Back on home ground the band continue to play for people's special events in the run-up to Christmas whilst looking forward to their fourth German tour in 2008.Photograph: EDGAR LAYHER

Ten Years of “T” Shirts (14.07.2007)

A Celebration of a Decade of Touring
("Been there ... done that ... sold the T-shirts!")

1996 - A to B Tour (White)

An understated little number featuring the first appearance of the van logo (designed by our own Linda).. Well, it went a bit like this...Kate got a call from Declan, the organiser of a Celtic Festival in County Roscommon, asking if she knew of any bands from Wales who might be “up for it”. Swiftly volunteering to go there herself with a bunch of friends, she then had to come up with a name for inclusion in the festival programme. “Allan yn y Fan” (“going out in a van” in Welsh) was the uninspired (and unconsulted) response...thinking that it could always change to a better name later. The rest is history! And the A to B bit? Aberbeeg to Brideswell, of course (this being one of the few occasions that Aberbeeg gets a mention in print outside reports from the law courts).This first tour is also commemorated in a couple of tunes: “Piper’s Procrastination” and “A Small Hospital” for which we are indebted to Ciaran O’Driscoll for providing the inspiration.

Neeps & Haggis (White)

Picture the scene – Burns Night in deepest Ayrshire - and a Welsh band. Another offer that most of us found too good to refuse, despite the long journey, thick fog and the Dumfries Double Breakdown (a great title for tune still to be written). This T shirt is a collector’s item with only 4 in existence - one of which went to our brilliant hostess, Catriona.

Brideswell Revisted (Black)

Another rare item - particularly if the stick-on picture of a van hasn’t fallen off.

This was our first (and last) experiment with iron-on patches...but and least it was black rather than white and the tour was great fun. Sad individuals who are genuinely interested in T shirt memorabilia will have noted the first appearance of polo shirts for the guys. This tour also provided the inspiration for more tunes, notably “Air Miles on the Irish Ferry” commemorating the unexpected discounts available on this form of transport.

1998 - Oh No...Not Them Again! (Black)

Introducing the first T-shirt that we dared to put on sale. This tasteful creation in black with ochre lettering is STILL a band favourite, demonstrating excellent value for money as they are still wearable. We were over the moon to be invited back to Brideswell - and, of course, our annual pilgrimage to Minnie Sullivan’s Bar in Ballinasloe.

1999 - Czech it Out (Navy)

This was a most unusual tour. Firstly, it was our first forray eastwards and secondly, because as none of us fancied the long drive there, we bizarrely decided to organise our own coach tour that just happened to have an itinerary that exactly matched our tour dates! We didn’t really intend the coach trip to make a profit, so we had to keep offering our fellow travellers perks such as free hot drinks and, you’ve guessed it...complimentary T Shirts. Kate and Linda certainly enjoyed acting as “trolley dollies” on the bus. Highlights of this tour must include the surreal outdoor gig one evening when we were visited by a group of young people dressed in native American Indian costume who executed perfect ballroom dancing routines to our tunes. We have the videos to prove that it really happened! Members of the Platan Band from Pisek proved to be fantastic hosts - even getting up at 4am in the morning to catch and smoke carp for us to eat later in the evening. We also thoroughly enjoyed the company of two guest performers - Scottish singer Catriona Haston and accordionist Luke Goss who stood in for Chris and amused us all with his “unique” style of disco dance. This is where we discovered that Becorovka really is “the Devil’s drink” and were seriously grateful for the help and (literal) support from Michelle (“Mummy to the Stars”).

2000 - The Next Minnellium (Black)

This is the year when we were presented with a certificate authenticating our position as official performers at the Millennium Dome, hence the extra dome feature in our T-Shirt logo. Nuff said - we had a brilliant time there feeling well at home (Geoff said it was “just like Garden Festival Wales with a roof”). And we made it back to Ireland to see Declan and the gang, with Kate delivering a tune to Minnie in Ballinasloe en route (Hoffed Minnie Sullivan). Chris demonstrated a composing frenzy, coming up with some terrific tunes such as “O’Connell’s Extension”, “The Roscrea Triangle” and, one of our favourites, “Declan’s Dilemma”.

2001 - Wotno Festival (Bottle Green)

Remember this year? This was when most festivals were cancelled because of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease and when Linda seemed to be constantly on call as Press Officer for the Welsh Assembly’s Minister for Agriculture. There was a steady request for our T shirt from disgruntled festival organisers across the country and we still made it to Ireland. This time we got to play in a fine assortment of Declan‘s favourite bars.

2002 - Annusaurus Rex (Maroon)

The slogan on this T shirt was a tribute to our beloved Leader who celebrated a rather big birthday. The spoof Latin is supposed to reflect our King’s golden year, rather than that other gold jubilee coinciding with our festivities. That’s why we opted for the closest colour to royal purple. This was also the year when Declan reinvented the Dysart Harvest Festival as the excuse for our visit. This momentous event included an all-Ireland drystone wall building championship, an agricultural fair featuring vintage farm machinery and guest rats in the hay baler, a celebrity concert (headed by accordionist Joe Burke) and our personal favourite - the “Novelty Hunt”. We were intrigued as to what this was going to be - but it turned out to be a misprint and should have read “Novice Hunt”. Still, those handsome farmers on horseback inspired Kate’s tune “Rural Assets” and Dysart village was delighted to experience its first traffic jam. This was also Emma’s first visit to Ireland with the band and there was a memorable night getting lost in the mists of Rahara (cue: a song from Kate).

2003 - Off The Map (Black)

It was entirely fitting that this year’s T shirt should commemorate Allan yn y Fan’s first CD, so dozens were distributed. Cunningly, the T shirt also advertised the zippy website designed for us by Chris. To top it all, we got to be the Resident Band at Jimmy Murray’s bar for the Knockcroughery Fair. We got to hear him sing “The West’s Awake” and in return we gave him his own tune(“Famous Jimmy Murray”). Happy days...even the accommodation was so good it was immortalised by Chris (“Lacken House”).

2004 - Eine Kleine Celtmusik (Black)

Our good friend Thomas Roth from the Geyers helped to organise this first trip to Germany, and Caerphilly’s twin town of Ludwigsburg. No doubt the highlight of this tour was the unforgettable Mediaeval Fair in Nordlingen. It was slightly disconcerting performing next to the axe throwing sideshow but at least we didn’t set fire to our stage. Our host’s hospitality was the inspiration for Chris’ tune “Castell Thomas” and lunch at a local inn resulted in Kate’s composition “Amazing Grapes” for Ria and Bernt. The T shirts looked great, but owing to a production defect went scabby after the first wash...sorry!

2005 - Gland Slam (French Navy)

Well, who could resist this opportunity to flaunt our Welsh rugby victory to the defeated French supporters? This year’s tour was to the spectacular Interceltique Festival in Lorient in Brittany. Thanks to David Peterson, we had a brilliant time performing on a stage next to the harbour. Not to mention the excellent gig in the best old people’s home in the world (we’ve already put our names on the waiting list). We even got to play on an old fashioned fishing boat (it was worth the sunburn in return for the ambience, wine and prawns). This was also had an extraordinarily productive time musically, with Kate’s al fresco breakfasts providing the inspiration for two tunes from Chris, plus some lovely pieces co-written with Geoff. C’est la vie.

2006 - Taith Ewrop / Belonging (Sky Blue)

Allan yn y Fan celebrated the launch of the second CD with a trip to Germany and Luxembourg one week, followed by a weekend in France a fortnight later. This in itself deserved a T shirt. Once again, Thomas organised a fantastic tour for us and this time we got to share a stage with the Geyers in Moglingen performing their tune entitled “Allan yn y Fan” (which we also recorded on the “Belonging” CD). How we actually ended up representing Devon at the Fete de l’Europe in Benouville is a bit of a long story but that weekend was an unexpected bonus enjoyed by all. Don’t worry if you weren’t able to support us on this tour – we still have some of the T shirts available!

St. David’s Day, Website Developments and Festival Frolics (01.03.2007)

Welcome to 2007 – and another busy one for Allan Yn Y Fan it would appear from the amount of enquiries we have already fielded. An important year too for significant birthdays in the band – it’s the 3/4/5/ year. You need to add a nought in each case and guessing the celebrant for each is not going to be a competition on this site! Suffice it to say there will be glasses raised in May (twice) and October.

As usual March is always a busy time for the band thanks to St. David and St. Patrick – two great Welshmen!! We are looking forward to our annual twmpath in Blackwood Miner’s Institute on the 16th of March (book your tickets now on 01495 227206). Plus we return to Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Saturday 17th March – when we hope to be celebrating not just St. Patrick but a significant victory on the rugby field of dreams – we are hopeless romantics! Follow the links on the site in the Gigs list for information on how to book your tickets at Ludlow – don’t leave it too late as when we last played there in 2005 it was sold out.

This summer you can see Allan Yn Y Fan at a number of great festivals – playing in concert format and also providing Twmpathau Dawns. First appearances for us at Priddy Folk Festival in Somerset and Brampton Live in Cumbria – we have heard great things about both events. We are pleased to be returning to Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau and also to be playing for Celtic Day at the superb Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Hope to catch up with old friends and make new ones at these events.

Since we last updated this website our webmaster Chris has put the band on the site where you have to be – MySpace – please follow the link from here to there – and be our friend! (www.myspace.com/allanynyfan)

As always we love to get your comments on our performances so do use the guest book.

Don’t forget – if you want to book AYYF for your event – get in touch as soon as you can as dates for this year are fast disappearing and we are already getting a number of enquiries for 2008!

2006

Album Launch, Festivals & Foreign Jaunts! (Summer & Autumn 2006)

What a busy summer Allan Yn Y Fan has had in 2006! In many ways it seems that we have had hardly time to draw our collective breath since the wonderful night we had in Blackwood Miner’s Institute on 14th July, when we launched “Belonging”. It was great to see so many family members, friends of the band and especially fellow musicians. Delyth Jenkins (whose album Aros is highly recommended) did us the honour of playing an exquisite opening set before we took to the stage. There are photos of the occasion elsewhere on this site – suffice it to say that we all had a real ball that night and that Robin & Mat of the Blackwood Miner’s Institute made us sound and look great!

Just a week after that we were delighted to return to the marvellous event that is the Trowbridge Village Pump Festival. It was one of the hottest nights of the year – a free sauna with every dance – but my, how you all danced. Gina Morgan was on great form that night, and despite the strong rival attractions in the concert marquee, we kept our tent full all night. When we played Pontardawe Festival on 20th August the temperature was more comfortable for dancing and, on this occasion, Carys Wynne ensured that the floor was full for every dance.

Apart from our great delight at playing for weddings, birthdays and festivals for people to dance to our music, we just love playing concerts. This summer we returned to the Wales Millennium Centre on the August Bank Holiday and played to our biggest ever crowd there – their sound man (he’s there for every gig) thought the crowd was in excess of 500!! The atmosphere was great – and thanks to all of you who bought the CDs and those of you who took the time to send us messages of how much you enjoyed that gig.

In September we embarked on the “Belonging – Taith Ewrop” – a two part adventure with Germany & Luxembourg happening in the middle of the month, with just a small breather for the day jobs!, before playing France just last weekend. It might have been hot in a tent Trowbridge in July – it seemed/was even hotter in Backnang, Germany in mid-September. Our first gig was in the most beautiful small theatre – the Traumzeit run by Michael (a fine cook and wonderful host) and his superb team. The audience took us to their hearts and although Chris & Geoff were slightly stressed by sitting in a car for two hours going only 2 kilometres earlier that day – we soon settled in to enjoying ourselves. This first night set the tone for the next couple of days. The following night we played at the Bierkellar in Steinheim (home of our host Thomas Roth) and had the great pleasure of being joined on stage by the super percussionist Jorst of The Geyers. Indeed – he did us the honour the following night in Möglingen, where we shared the bill with the Geyers and the Anne Wylie Band. A gig never to be forgotten for the quality of the rider!! Heike and her team were also fabulous hosts. It was brilliant to take the stage there and be welcomed with a banner in Welsh! The author, now a teacher of English there, had completed his teaching practice in Caerphilly some 25 years ago and had visited Islwyn Folk Club! It really is a small world.

The next day we bid a fond farewell to Thomas & Irene, who had looked after us supremely in Castell Thomas, and drove on to Luxembourg. What a city! What a state! What a welcome! It didn’t take long to realise why Luxembourg Folk Club has been going strong for in excess of 25 years. Suffice it to say that we were once again looked after – Jurgen & Thomas were the suppliers of brilliant sound and the audience – they were with us from the first set. They even laughed at Geoff’s jokes!! And the bouquets at the end of the evening to the girls...another lovely touch. Don’t ask what the boys got...

So, to last weekend and “le Calvados Fête L'Europe” :- it’s not every weekend we get invited to play at a French Château! This event celebrated twinning anniversaries between the Calvados region and Wurtzburg in Germany and Devon plus making friends with countries from the recent European enlargement such as Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania. We played three times on both the Saturday and Sunday and Katharina and all her team looked after us. As to how we got there – just ask Kate! It’s good to have dual Welsh and Devonian citizenship!

Well, now we are back home and looking forward to seeing reviews of “Belonging” which should happen soon. Please do order your copy from this site. Later in November we are looking forward to a very special concert when we share the stage of the Newbridge Memo with the Emily Smith Band – and a few tunes together too! Tickets for this very special night on Friday 24th November are just £7/£5 concessions. The evening is promoted by Islwyn Acoustic with support of the Arts Council Wales “Night Out” scheme and Caerphilly County Borough Council. We don’t often get a chance to play in our home area so we hope as many of you as possible will call 01495 270078 to book your tickets. Check out Emily Smith by visiting www.emilysmith.org We hope to see you there!

Band Update (Spring 2006)

The band thought it was time to give you all a quick update on our activities over the first quarter of the year. Principally we have been concentrating on getting all the necessary work done on our second album. As with “Off The Map” we have been pleased to be working again at Stiwdio’r Felin in Abergavenny, with the esteemed guitarist Mr. Dylan Fowler at the controls. Recording sessions commenced last November and we made some six full day sessions in total. Those sessions produced 17 tracks to work with and, we’re pleased to report, there are 10 that have been written by Chris, Kate and Geoff plus the first tune written for the band by Emma. We are currently deciding on the mixes and tracks that will make it to the final cut.

The title of the next album is “Belonging” and, like our first, it will be released on the Steam Pie label. Once again we are delighted that Paul Cabuts will be bringing his talents to the project and working on the sleeve design and images for the CD booklet. We’re not sure of the release date just yet – but you will read about it here first and be able to purchase it from this very site.

Our live work around St. David’s Day this year was particularly hectic and mostly enjoyable – the only bit that wasn’t so much fun was playing in a blizzard at Rhug near Corwen. The stall- holders there with their fab produce as well as the farm shop always make the trip worthwhile though. Allan Yn Y Fan is grateful for the all lovely comments posted after our visit that weekend to the winter wonderland that was Parc Bryn Bach Tredegar.

More recently we greatly enjoyed performing again in the Glanfa at the wonderful Wales Millennium Centre. We think it was probably the biggest crowd we have ever played to there, and thanks to all those who purchased albums. Be sure to check our gig list to see when we next appear there. Our next public appearance will be on Sunday 14th May when we are happy to be supporting again this year the “In The Pink Breast Cancer Charity Walk” when they end the walk at Llangynidr Village Hall. Later this summer we are thrilled to be playing the Friday Night Ceilidh at the wonderful Trowbridge Village Pump Festival. Come and dance yourselves silly to us, and then stay on to check out the rest of their fantastic line-up this year – follow the link from our gig list to get the full low down.

Don’t forget! – Please contact us early to ensure your date, and, let us know what you think about the new material we are playing this year. We are always pleased to get your feedback!!

Band Update (21 Jan 2006)

Before we look ahead to this year all the band and our callers Carys and Gina would like to thank all of you who booked us last year – we played for some great people and had a lot of fun all over the country!

At the end of 2005 we managed to get some time for rehearsals and were able to work more intently on some of the material we aired for the first time at the wonderful Lorient Festival. In fact we even made it to Dylan Fowler’s super Abergavenny Studio and commenced work on our second album!! Yes, it is true, there will be a follow up to – Off The Map – released later this year. We are not sure of a release date yet – as we have some more sessions ahead of us in February at Stiwdio’r Felin. Be sure to check back here and we’ll keep you posted on it’s progress.

We already have a number of gigs in the diary for this year but we still have plenty of availability. Please don’t leave it too late as we hate to disappoint potential bookers.

It is always good to be playing on home ground and we hope that a great number of you in South-east Wales can make it to Blackwood Miner’s Institute on Friday 24th February. It isn’t too often that we get to play for a public twmpath – so bring your gang and have a great time! (Box Office is 01495 227206).

Later in the year we are thrilled to have been invited back to what surely is one of Britain’s best festivals. We will play the Friday night Twmpath at Trowbridge Village Pump Festival on Friday 21st July. Follow the link to the festival website from our gig list and you’ll see that the line-up for the whole event is magnificent. Blessed with a wonderful site in the Wiltshire countryside, if you have never been before try and get there this year – you won’t regret it.

Lastly – if you have any comments about Allan Yn Y Fan – please don’t be shy – leave us a message.

2005

Band Update (30 Aug 2005)

Doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourselves! Here we are at the end of August – two thirds of the year gone and only now are we getting around to updating you all!!

This year has been a really busy one for the band so we would like to thank all of those that have booked us for the wide variety of events that we have performed at :- weddings at Castell Craig-y-nos, Castell Caerffili and Castell Carreg Cennen plus further afield at Styal Mill Stockport. Allan Yn Y Fan had a great time – and so did the audience – at Blackwood Miner’s Institute and Ludlow Assembly Rooms earlier this year – it is great to have the chance to play for a public Twmpath Dawns. More recently we were delighted to play for Lisa & Ieuan for their wedding in the breathtaking surroundings of Glanusk Park, Crickhowell – and what fireworks!

The highlight of the year though has to be our recent visit to the Interceltic Festival of Lorient, Brittany. This was the 35th Festival that totally envelops this town for ten days attracting three quarters of a million visitors!! It’s BIG!! We played predominantly on a new free stage – Espace Bretagne on the quayside. Please take a look at the photos elsewhere on this site. The organisation is magnificent (driven to each gig!), the technical crews were wonderful and the weather was magnificent throughout!

Many thanks to David Petersen and all of the Welsh delegation for looking after us and supporting us so well. We want to go back!

The time before Lorient was spent on developing new material. We have a bunch of great tunes composed by Chris and Kate, some excellent traditional Welsh tunes, and a first composition from Emma. This new material will form the core of what we will start recording this autumn for our long-awaited (we hope) second album. We’ll give you more information soon.

In the meantime we are looking forward to performing for a number of private celebrations this autumn and we already have a number of dates in the diary for 2006. Please do contact us as soon as you’re sure of your date – as the diary does fill up quickly!

Band Update (18 Jun 2005)

After six years of calling for us Francesca Kay has decided, regrettably, that as her life gets ever more busy with her writing, gardening, and other work, to hang up her calling cards. We thank her for all the memorable gigs we, and you, have had in her company. To keep up to date with her activities do follow the link to her web-site.

To replace Francesca we are delighted to announce that the band will be joined for twmpathau dawns by either Carys Wynne or Gina Morgan. The great news is that with Carys Wynne we are now able to offer a twmpath called in Welsh – please let us know if you require this service. Carys Wynne works as Arts Development officer for Caerphilly CBC. Gina Morgan, from Beaufort, Ebbw Vale, has a history with the band – in our earlier days she sometimes played flute with us. Gina is building a career as a well-respected teacher of contemporary dance throughout the South Wales Valleys. Both these callers will carry forward the great tradition we have of getting all types of crowds onto the dance floor and having a brilliant time!

Band Update (07 Feb 2005)

Life has definitely changed for us as a band ever since we launched this web-site and last year offered further testimony to that. Allan Yn Y Fan gets invitations to play all over the UK – and part of the fun for us is trying to fit everyone in. Looking back at 2004 we were delighted to play for weddings in the delightful Newburgh Priory in North Yorkshire, Caersws in north Powys and Exmouth in beautiful south Devon. Closer to home we had (and so did the guests) an absolute ball closer to home at the Clarence Hall, Crickhowell; Llansantffraid Court near Raglan; Caerffili and Cardiff Castles. Last year we’ll also remember as a special one for the celebration of 50th, 80th and 90th birthday parties!

We are always delighted when we get such positive feedback from the newly-weds such as Harriet & Chris :- “Our wedding was absolutely brilliant and you were the highlight. We could not have asked for more – surpassing our wildest hopes. Super-fantastic – the best!” With our wonderful caller Francesca Kay we know that we have fulfilled our promise when we get feedback of this nature.

When Allan Yn Y Fan are not playing for private functions we do love to get out there and fly the flag for our mixture of self-penned and traditional material at a huge range of events. Last year we had a ball providing the Friday night ceilidh at the wonderful Village Pump Festival, Trowbridge : 300+ people filled the dance marquee and it was a gas! We also loved playing at the Cardiff Bay Harbour Festival over the August Bank Holiday weekend with our musical friends in Mabon, Juice and Celtish.

Possibly the highlight of last year was our brief tour in Germany courtesy of our great friends the Geyers – we’ll never forget our joint gig in Belinda’s and the real-life film set that was the Nordlingen medieval festival. We’re hoping to return in September. Closer to home Allan Yn Y Fan played our last gig of 04 in the foyer of the superb Wales Millennium Centre – and the audience gave us a super belated Christmas present by buying so many albums – we’ve never run out of stock at a gig before!

Looking ahead to 2005 we already have a number of weddings/birthday parties booked – please contact us as soon as possible to confirm your date. In the early part of the year Allan Yn Y Fan are delighted to be playing the pre-St. David’s day Twmpath at Blackwood Miner’s Institute on Friday 25th February – please book your tickets early as this event sells-out! In March we are all looking forward to playing our first twmpath/ceilidh for St. Patrick at the lovely Ludlow Assembly Rooms. Later this year we aim to knuckle down to the “difficult” second album. Keep visiting this site on a regular basis for updates.

2004

Band Update (14 Apr 2004)

If 2002 was a year of development for the band then 2003 was an even more successful year. In the early part of the year Allan Yn Y Fan were busy rehearsing the material that became their first album “Off the Map” and recording that with leading Welsh guitar hero Dylan Fowler at his amazing Stiwdio’r Felin in Abergavenny.

The band weren’t just busy with recording in the first quarter of the year — three gigs on St. David’s day in three different locations must go down as some kind of record! Allan Yn Y Fan not only played a great deal to celebrate Wales & The Welsh but also were invited to play at one of Wales’ best festivals — Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau and for more private events during the year than ever.

The band played for weddings in London, Weston Super Mare and Druidstone (to name but three memorable locations) as well as their customary annual pilgrimage to Counties Roscommon and Galway and a family fortieth birthday celebration in Scotland (checked out by the local constabulary, no less!!).

Allan Yn Y Fan also found their way onto BBC Radio 4 — as three of their members’ reminiscences of Garden Festival Wales were used on the “You & Yours” programmes to commemorate the Garden Festival experiments in the U.K. With the release of the album in June (check-out the excellent reviews!), the band’s music was being heard well-beyond their gigs, as tracks were played throughout the UK on folk programmes as well as in Europe and New Mexico!

The year ended with memorable gigs and sessions with our German friends the excellent Geyers during October, a penultimate gig in David Morgan’s department store; a sold-out twmpath at St. Donat’s Arts Centre for Christmas and a brilliant New Year’s Eve twmpath organised by our great friends and supporters in Abertridwr.

In 2004 we have already played for some memorable weddings in Caerffili Castle and Crickhowell; a storming Twmpath for St. David in Blackwood Miner’s Institute and are looking forward to the Friday night Ceildih at the amazing Trowbridge Village Pump Festival (see www.villagepumpfestival.com) ; weddings in Mid-wales and North Yorkshire and a tour of Germany. Anything else is up to you : contact us soon to be certain of your date!

2003

The Album Launch (05 Jun 2003)

There was a special air of anticipation on the evening of Thursday 5th June as the house lights dimmed and Allan Yn Y Fan took the stage to play live some of the thirteen tracks that make up their first album “Off The Map”.

Anticipation in the audience was probably equalled by nervousness amongst Geoff, Chris, Emma, Kate & Linda wondered quite why, amongst all the friends and relatives they had invited some of Wales’ finest musicians to audition Allan Yn Y Fan! However, warming to their task the band played some tunes that have been staples of the live set for years (BdeB/Bear Dance; Nyth Y Gog, Nyth Y Gwcw), whilst other tunes (Typsy Butterfly, Hoffed Minnie Sullivan) really came together during the spring at the sessions for the recording.

Allan Yn Y Fan were particularly pleased that evening to pay tribute to the contributions made to “Off The Map” by Dylan Fowler, at whose Abergavenny recording studio the album was produced; and to Paul Cabuts whose excellent sleeve design makes “Off The Map” such an attractive visual package.

Following an excellent buffet supper – take a bow Pauline Faraday – much talking, some drinking and some heavy merchandising (you too can wear an “Off The Map” tee shirt as well as buy a CD!), it was time for the surprise musical element of the evening. The famous and decisive Declan Coyne from the fabled County Roscommon had brought with him two extremely talented young musicians – Serena and Hazel. Their accordion and flute duets brought down the house and the excitement was further raised as Allan Yn Y Fan joined them on stage for some final furious unrehearsed sets.

To sum up “Off The Map” was well and truly launched that night, and the band are currently basking in the warm glow of the fantastic atmosphere created in Blackwood by our specially invited audience.

If you weren’t there you can still get “the glow” by purchasing your copy of “Off The Map” – see the relevant page of our web-site.