“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.

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News Archive 2010 - 2012

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2012

BAND UPDATE (21 DECEMBER 2012)

It’s nearly the end of another year — how on earth did this happen?

2012 opened with a couple of days in the recording studio finalising “Pwnco” and since then we’ve had three tours (around Wales, to Pisek in the Czech Republic and three dates in north Germany), performed at some fine wedding celebrations (a few lucky ones even escaping this year’s appalling weather) and enjoyed some memorable Festivals.

It’s hard to pick out “highlights” but these must include:

  • the pleasure and pride of welcoming the St David’s Day parade in Cardiff which gets mightier year on year! (Never mind the frozen fingers - we loved it!)
  • fabulous festival audiences at the new Village Pump Westbury and Bromyard
  • the wonderful acoustics and warm welcome at Canolfan Ucheldre, Holyhead
  • the fantastic reception for Welsh music demonstrated by our German audiences
  • playing live on’t radio for Roy Noble OBE and Alan Thompson on BBC Radio Wales and for Genevieve Tudor for BBC Radio Shropshire

All this - plus a new CD have made it an Olympic year for us. We delighted in the raft of fabulous album reviews from the specialist press and one kind fan even wrote a review of his own! Thanks Dafydd Manton of Sheffield (Click here).

As for the band members, Geoff (our recycled teenager) has celebrated a very special birthday, Kate’s sold a motor bike and gained an alto flute, Linda’s swapped her motorised monster for an almost-normal car, Chris has recently risked his life and limb bungy jumping in New Zealand (we say he should have sent the accordion instead) and Meriel is now almost certainly a redhead-.. Plus this year we benefitted at every concert we played from the fine talents of our sound engineers Rob Jones and Ian Bamford - the band are certainly raising a glass to them this Christmas!

Our final gig for 2012 will be at the Wales Millennium Centre on 23rd December where Allan yn y Fan will be performing twice on the Glanfa stage at 1.15 pm and 6.15 pm. Just in time for people to buy some of our CDs as last minute Christmas presents.

We are all looking forward to a busy new year kicking off with a date at Celtic Connections on 30 January, some more Pwnco tour dates and festival appearances in Fishguard and Beverley in the pipeline.

Thanks to all who have supported us in 2012. It’s always heart warming to see familiar faces in the audiences and we appreciate your continued enthusiasm. We look forward to seeing you in the new year..

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda Bawb/Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!!

BAND UPDATE (08 OCTOBER 2012)

Since our last post we have returned to the more usual mix of private twmpaths and functions, interspersed with a few more promotional concerts for Pwnco - both at home and away.

During a summer which has mostly kept us contemplating the webs between our toes, we have somehow managed to enjoy the odd ray of sunshine at our gigs! Congratulations to all those now living in happy wedded bliss – it was a delight to play for you. Particular thanks to Nerys and Sam who invited us to the gorgeous Bryngwyn in north Powys in August. Blessed by possibly the sunniest Saturday in August, we had great fun playing background music outside the marquee in the afternoon, and then for the whole crowd to dance themselves silly in the evening. The owner, Lady Linlithgow was appropriately impressed!

On Saturday 8th September we spent another sunny day at Bromyard Folk Festival, where we caught up with some old friends and had two great concert spots. In the afternoon played in the Arts Centre Marquee, while our second performance was at the evening concert in the Wye Valley Brewery Marquee where we shared the stage with the Lori Watson Rule of 3; Session A9 and the magnificent Mighty Doonans. No two festivals are the same but it was noticeable that Bromyard audiences are such attentive and responsive listeners – the rapt attention our set received was very special for us all! There was a stroll down memory lane for some of us, talking to Mick Doonan and Phil Murray about their former Islwyn Folk Festival and Club appearances. Seeing one of the finest sunsets of the year that evening was the icing on a very substantial cake! Thanks Bromyard!!

The following week we set off on our German adventure. Working with Frank Reglin of ProFolk we played three concerts on three consecutive nights. We started in St. Petri Church in Oyten – a beautiful location and a tremendous response from the large audience! We loved the spontaneous dancing in the aisles and the standing ovation - loads of CDs sold too! After breakfast with the organising team we made the short journey to the long established Folk Initiative Oldenberg, run by Niko Markin. It was an honour to follow in the footsteps of some of the folk scenes longest established names and we had a ball here too! It was especially nice to meet with a local lady whose late husband was from Bridgend and to see her books of Welsh folk songs! We just had to dedicate a number to her. After the concert we enjoyed a very special meal (once we had surrendered to Niko’s particular local tradition – we have the spoons to prove it!). Not only is the club organiser a thoroughly decent man he is also some chef! On Sunday we headed south to our final destination - Bad Honnef – a picturesque town on the Rhine and the site of another very well established folk venue. Jutta Mensing and her team (including Mike and Mary John Kamp) gave us a splendid welcome and the audience ensured our short tour ended on a real high note. As for the hotel – well all we can say is that Team AYYF responds well to a bit of luxury!!

Our thanks for this brilliant experience go out to all the concert organisers and especially to Frank for organising. German audiences definitely make the long drive worthwhile and we are carefully planning the 2013 trips!

We can’t end without also thanking our brilliant sound team of Rob Jones (great to have him at Trowbridge and Bromyard) and Ian Bamford for Germany. It’s great to have them twiddling the knobs for ‘Team Allan!’

With our accordionist bound for a land down under, we only have a couple of gigs this autumn. As is now customary though, we end the year playing the Glanfa stage at the Wales Millennium Centre on Sunday 23rd December to round off a very special year. There will be two chances to see us on the day – look out on our gigs list for the confirmed time soon!! Oh – and get your booking requests in soon for your special event/festival or concert NOW!

BAND UPDATE (14 JULY 2012)

Firstly apologies everyone for the huge gap between updates! I can’t believe that we haven’t posted one since the end of April — but let’s make up for that absence here and now. Huge thanks to everyone that came to see us on the Pwnco Tour and to all the staff teams at all of the venues we visited. The next really big thanks go out to all of you who took the time and trouble (and money) to come and see us perform — we all really appreciate that. A lot of miles were covered between AYYF base in Newbridge and the furthest flung date in the gorgeous Canolfan Ucheldre in Holyhead and all points in between. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the Hwntws we live amongst (and are!) we had such a great welcome and appreciation for the three North Wales gigs! Diolch yn fawr iawn! We would also particularly like to thank those audience members who travelled from Manchester to Theatr Colwyn and from Caernarfon to Holyhead or Pwllheli! The audience comments on the shows were truly heart-warming. Although we hadn’t perhaps realised it when we booked the tour somehow the obvious seaside connections became blindingly obvious (sorry Blackwood, Merthyr, Bath, Dyffryn Aeron) once we were in Swansea, Holyhead, Colwyn Bay, Pwllheli, Aberystwyth with associated band visits to paddle the feet at Abersoch, check out the honey ice creams in Aberaeron and Cadwalader’s HQ in Cricieth! Strangely(!) the post gig evening meals became a competition for the best curry house in North Wales — congratulations Holyhead (runners up Pwllheli and then Colwyn Bay) — well where else is open at 10 or later in the evening! Once again our thanks go to Rob and Ian for great live sound, Angharad for keeping us in the public eye and ACW for the small grant which made it all stack up economically.

Whilst we were out on tour the reviews for Pwnco and associated features (thanks to Taplas and R2) kept on coming. Predominantly they have been extremely positive — see here! One or two reviewers came out with some strange utterances — but, as with the positive reviews — these are only the views of an individual! Radio airplay is proving as challenging to get as ever — so please don’t hold back and badger the producers and presenters of Radio Cymru/Radio Wales and Radio 2 to play tracks from Pwnco. It was great to feature in Dydd Gwener Gwerin on Radio Cymru in April but we can’t help feeling that Wales’ own music shouldn’t require just one day a year in the sun — shouldn’t it be part of an all year round presence? As for the Mike Harding show on Radio 2 — we definitely need your help to break through this barrier.

Once we finished the Pwnco tour at home we began our visit to the wonderful town of Pisek in the Czech Republic to help celebrate their twinning links with Caerphilly. This was our first time back since 1999 — but we were soon made to feel extremely welcome by some of the friends we first encountered back then. Ian was on board to look after our sound — and was made up by the fact that our stage had the full made in Czech republic KV2 system! The local crew were great and the reaction for both our Friday and Saturday performances was excellent! Plus it was the hottest that we have been all year (even if did rain a bit on the Saturday!). Well worth the 1900+ miles round trip by car and juggling of our various work commitments to get us all there at the right time. Thanks to Edita in Pisek and Rosemary in Caerphilly and everyone else who made all this possible.

Right now we are greatly looking forward to our performance at the Village Pump Festival in Westbury Wiltshire — full details here! If there is one festival we would urge you all to attend it’s this one. A great location and a fantastic musical line-up — we will be on the main stage on the Sunday afternoon. Please try and join us — whatever the weather is doing it will be worth the trip!

In the meantime we have just performed for a wonderful post-wedding party near Merthyr Mawr and are looking forward to celebrating other weddings and birthday parties across the next couple of months. AYYF is always happy to provide a celebratory twmpath dawns — so if you’ve got a reason to celebrate why not book us NOW!

We hope you manage to enjoy the Olympian summer and look forward to seeing you somewhere along the road soon!

BAND UPDATE (30 APRIL 2012)

What an incredibly busy few weeks we’ve all had! Since we last posted to you all we have :-

  • Spent a lovely Sunday at the Barn Brynich near Brecon (special thanks to the lovey people who run this fab place) filming two numbers from the new album. So, as you can see from the front page of the website we invited a few close friends of the band, and with the great talented trio of Niki, Tracy and Amy we finally have a film of the band that we can live with! Let us know what you think! BTW - the body doubles were too expensive for a Sunday shoot!
  • Placed loads of adverts for the release of the album in the folk/roots media and general press and papurau bro in Wales. We hope some of you have seen the feature review by Colin Irwin in Properganda magazine. There are features to come in the next edition of R2 magazine in the shops soon and also we’re the cover feature for the next Taplas - which should be out anytime soon!
  • Become rather more practised at the art of playing live on the steam radio thingy! This started on Friday 6th April with a live rendition of Pwnco/Canu Cwnsela for the Roy Noble programme on BBC Radio Wales - and then Roy asked Geoff a question and he talked, and talked, and...Then on Monday 16th April it was back to BH Llandaf for the Evening Show with Alan Thompson. This time Kate got to talk too! And we got to play 4 numbers from the new album - and the crew and Alan were really lovely to work with. Then just last night we made the scary journey to Shrewsbury and appeared for the Genevieve Tudor show. Pretending we were Alison Krauss and Union Station we all clustered around the one amazing mic and were delighted with the mix and feel of the four numbers we did there! Kate and Geoff got to talk a bit too! If anyone else feels like booking us for a live broadcast - give us a call!
  • Seen the first reviews coming in for "Pwnco" - and they are mostly good! Which is a relief to us all as we think it’s our very best to date!
  • Played the first three concerts of the Pwnco tour in Bath, Merthyr and Felinfach. We believe that it is our best live show to date and greatly enhanced by having our own sound crew of Rob and Ian.
  • We also found the time to play for Paul and Catrin’s wedding in Manorbier - smashing couple and lovely guests who said lots of nice things about the music! Makes it all worthwhile - really!
  • Still had to do the day jobs too! Nuff said...

What you all can do for us :-

  • Book your seats in advance for the tour date that you want to attend. In these hard times venues really, really appreciate advance purchases - and we do too!
  • Tell all your friends about the band and these concerts - encourage first time attenders - they can book in confidence of having a great night out!
  • Write/phone/email/tweet about the band to all your networks
  • Buy the new album - obvious we know - but it’s worth every penny!
  • Write in to your favourite music programme on radio and ask for an AYYF Pwnco track. Shows we would particularly like to be heard on > The Mike Harding Show ; The Bob Harris Show; any programme on Radio Cymru; any programme on Radio Wales.

We hope we see you along the road in May.

First Concert Of 2012 To Benefit Tredegar House Folk Festival (21 JANUARY 2012)

Allan Yn Y Fan is delighted to announce that their first concert appearance of 2012 in Wales will be on Saturday 25th February, at the Morgan Rooms of Tredegar House Newport, as a benefit for the Tredegar House Folk Festival.

For this special concert the band’s guest performer is the premiere Celtic harpist in Wales, Delyth Jenkins of Swansea. This marks the first opportunity to see both acts together since their extensive Home Ground tour of Wales and England in the spring of 2010. For that occasion they recorded a special EP together entitled Lle Arall which received critical acclaim from across the globe.

Allan Yn Y Fan spent the last weeks of 2011 touring England and Wales with Welsh entertainment legend Max Boyce, and putting the finishing touches to their latest album, their fourth, entitled “Pwnco” which will be released on Steam Pie Records in early April. “Pwnco” reflects the huge strides the Gwent multi-instrumental quintet has made since the release of their last album “Trosnant” in 2009.

Meanwhile also poised to release a new album on Gwent label Steam Pie is Delyth Jenkins. “Llais” is notable for its inclusion on CD of Delyth’s compositions for the Fluellen Theatre Company’s production of Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood”. The album also features Delyth’s own take on some gems of the Welsh tradition and more of her own work.

Tredegar House Folk Festival Chairperson Sue Oates says :- “This concert offers fans of the real music of Wales an intoxicating mix of exquisite harp playing, beautiful singing and full-on jigs, reels and polkas. Audiences can expect to experience a real uplifting evening and also help us to continue to develop this unique festival in Wales.”

This concert is made possible through the financial support of the Arts Council of Wales “Night Out” Scheme and Newport City Council. Tickets for the concert are priced at £6 and £5 concession and can be booked from The Riverfront Newport and Sue Oates 01633 246241.The concert starts at 8PM on Saturday 25th February.

New Year, New Album, New Tour!! (12 JANUARY 2012)

Allan Yn Y Fan spent the last weeks of 2011 putting the finishing touches to their latest album, their fourth, entitled “Pwnco” which will be released on Steam Pie Records in early April.

Like all of their previous albums this was recorded at the Abergavenny studio of Dylan Fowler - in fact Allan Yn Y Fan was the first band to record in his brand new Stiwdio Felin Fach. “Pwnco” takes its title from battle of wits played out as part of the Mari Lwyd tradition whereby those accompanying the horse eventually secured entry to the chosen house and were afforded food and drink. The band have recorded their version of the song “Canu Cwnsela” which was an integral part of this mid-winter tradition and was noted right across Glamorgan and Gwent through the 19th and well into the 20th centuries. More recently, this tradition has been revived by a number of the Welsh folk dance teams of the region. Chris Jones, the band’s accordionist has taken the opportunity to write a tune he has called “Pwnco” and this is interpolated into this track.

The twelve tracks that make up “Pwnco” include a number of compositions by band members :- Kate Strudwick (flute) has contributed “Death in Ennis & The Audient”, “Sea Sick Sailors” (which is now partnered with a Chris Jones tune “The Rough Crossing”), and the band has taken this opportunity to work with their great friend, German musician Thomas Roth, who joins them for a reworking of Kate’s beautiful tune “Lle Arall”. Making her “Pwnco” debut as a tunesmith, the band’s lead vocalist and fiddle player Meriel Field contributes a new melody for the beautiful Welsh traditional song “Tra Bo Dau” as well as another exquisite composition “Arafu”. For the first time on an Allan Yn Y Fan album there is a brass section which makes a very telling contribution to the band’s arrangement of two sets of traditional tunes.

To accompany the release of “Pwnco”, Allan Yn Y Fan will be undertaking a 12 date tour of England and Wales - thanks to the support of an Arts Council of Wales grant. The tour starts in the Chapel Arts Centre, Bath on Sunday 15th April with other April dates in Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil and Theatr Felinfach, Dyffryn Aeron. The tour continues in May with dates at the brand new Richard Burton Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff; a first visit to three North Wales venues - Theatr Colwyn, Canolfan Ucheldre and Neuadd Dwyfor Pwllheli. The full tour list is to be found below.

Later in 2012 Allan Yn Y Fan is looking forward to short tours to the Czech Republic and Germany, as well as performing at some great English festivals. All things considered 2012 is already looking like a signal year for the band Max Boyce calls “inspirational”.

2011

Christmas Newsletter 2011 (17 DECEMBER 2011)

Perennial scribe here, happily ensconced in the warm indoors while outside the tops of my mountains are white and pausing, briefly, to reflect on what has been an amazing year for Allan Yn Y Fan.

2011 did commence in remarkable style with a fabulous concert as part of Chichester’s Celtic Footprint Festival at the city’s legendary Festival Theatre – the people who designed that place knew how to put the performers in amongst the audience! We sold lots of CDs and made lots of new friends down south! Later on the spring tour the audiences may not have been as numerous but they were as vocal in their support and it was our pleasure to play some venues in Wales (Savoy Theatre Monmouth and Theatr Mwldan Cardigan) new to us.

Already on those spring tour dates we were busily integrating new material into the set with one eye on the recording plans we had and were developing for our fourth album. Work on that project properly started when our great friend Thomas Roth came over from Steinheim am de Murr in May, complete with his Nyckelharpa for us to play some sets with him as part of his new album project. It was great rehearsing and recording the two sets and it was our privilege to be the first band to record in Dylan Fowler’s splendid new Stiwdio Felin Fach – just as we had christened the original studio.

Festival appearances were hard to come by in 2011 – so we were especially grateful to the organisers of the Tredegar House Festival for inviting us to be part of their special Saturday night concert with Messrs. Spiers and Boden. It was a great night!

Through the “summer”, and indeed the rest of this year, we were pleased once again to provide the music and dancing for some lovely peoples’ wedding and birthday celebrations. Whether it was playing in a Castle, or first band in a wonderful new venue right on the South Wales heritage coast, or travelling to Hertfordshire or at our special venue of the Barn at Brynich and, most recently, at Craig-y-nos Castle – they were all splendid occasions and we loved being part of your celebrations! For those of you thinking of asking us to be part of your special do in 2012 – send that email, call that number now!!

We also grabbed some more time during the summer to push forward on the recording of this fourth album – for which we now had a lot of possible tracks but no title! Then, come the end of September, we headed off on the road for 8 sold out dates with the brilliant Max Boyce. The whole experience was terrific and we learned loads!! Max’s crew and band were all great to us as were his effervescent audiences! I don’t know about the rest of the band but I certainly will never forget the pleasure and thrill of finishing our stint playing to a full house at the Swansea Grand Theatre – duw, I was there!!

So, tomorrow Chris and I head back up to Dylan’s to do the final mixes and plan the sequence of the fourth album and then we entrust it to the special mastering skills of Donal Whelan at Hafod Mastering. It, oh, it’s called PWNCO will be officially released in April ahead of the tour of the same name that will be coming to a venue near you in April and May – come back here for all the news in January!

This time of year it is customary to offer thanks for support and friendship and other blessings. As usual the band would join me in thanking our wonderful dance callers Carys and Gina. We would all also like to proffer special thanks to an important new member of our team – Rob Jones – who since the end of the spring tour has been our sound engineer – and what a great addition he is – diolch o galon Rob! Throughout the year we also rely on the accounting services of Garry White in Ebbw Vale and the special talents of our photographer Darren Griffiths-Warner – a metaphorical doffing of our hats to these two!

Lastly – thanks to all of you who are already signed up to our mailing list, who also like us on Facebook (do it now if you haven’t yet!)and all of you are invited to the final gig of 2011 – make your way please with friends, family, people that owe you money (!) to the Glanfa Stage of the Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff on Wednesday 28th December for 1.00 p.m. – bring your party hats and Christmas jumpers!

Nadolig Llawen Iawn a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd!
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

JOINT CONCERT WITH FRIBO THURSDAY 1st DECEMBER (26 NOVEMBER 2011)

Date: 7:30pm, Thursday, 1st December

Venue: Markham Primary School

Box Office: Markham Primary School 01495 224811 or 01495 240371 / geoff@ayyf.co.uk

Ticket prices: £8.50, £5.50 concessions and £3.50 for children.

Fresh from their eight dates supporting Max Boyce Allan Yn Y Fan is delighted to be sharing the concert stage with their musical friends FRIBO — nominated in this year’s Scottish Trad Music Awards for Best Album for “Happ” released in March this year.

Fribo is a quartet comprised of Norwegian singer and musician Anne Sofie Linge Valdal; Liverpool LIPA graduate Ewan MacPherson on guitars and vocals; Scottish fiddler Hannah Read and Swedish percussionist Magnus Lundmark. “The music is largely Scandinavian in origin or influence, beaty but not ponderously so, with Valdal's voice shrilling acrobatically over driving guitar and fiddle when she's not sounding those distinctively wheedling Scandinavian overtone flutes”.The Scotsman Leading accordionist Karen Tweed calls Fribo"...a truly inspirational band".

Meanwhile their hosts Allan Yn Y Fan have been wowing the 3000+ audience members that saw them as part of Max Boyce’s sold out Autumn Tour. The man himself calls them “inspirational” whilst Simon Jones writing in fRoots in June said “The most sensitive and experienced of Welsh bands...the rate at which Allan Yn Y Fan has gone from being just another instrumental Celtic outfit to front runners is astonishing.”

Allan Yn Y Fan members are currently recording their fourth album set for release the Spring of 2012. This concert will be a chance for their growing band of fans to hear a selection of their new material alongside some well established concert favourites.

This is a unique opportunity to catch these bands in concert and it’s all made possible by the Arts Council of Wales “Night Out” scheme supported by Caerphilly CBC. The concert is promoted by Markham Primary School and tickets are priced at £8.50 full price, £5.50 concessions and £3.50 for children. The concert starts at 7.30 p.m. in Markham Primary School Hall.

TALES FROM THE ROAD WITH THE LEGENDARY MAX BOYCE (02 NOVEMBER 2011)

So here we are basking the glow of an hour’s extra daylight in the early morning, the month of October done and dusted and Allan Yn Y Fan has completed its 8 dates supporting Max Boyce. What an experience it was — for us and Max and his crew too!!

We started off in Theatr Hafren with two shows, then down to almost home ground with another two shows at the Congress Theatre in Cwmbran, then missionary work into England with dates at Hereford’s Courtyard Theatre and a lovely return visit to the Huntingdon Hall in Worcester which we last played on our Home Ground Tour with Delyth Jenkins in the spring of 2010. Through all of these dates our own spirits and that of the crowds’ was being boosted by the extraordinary flair being displayed on the field of dreams by fifteen young men on the other side of the world – c’mon Wales!! Well, at Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre on the 21st October we needed to pick ourselves up and start all over again! To be honest it wasn’t too difficult job as Max’s audience were so UP and just wanted to have a great time. And then last Sunday in the splendour of Swansea’s Grand Theatre it was all over before we knew it.

We played to over 3000 people across those dates and introduced ourselves and our music to these AYYF first-timers. We had a terrific reaction on every show and it was great to hear Max say that we had been “inspirational” on the tour.

Our heartfelt thanks go to Dan the tour manager, Andy and Karl the wonderful sound crew, to Rob our FOH sound man making us sound great every time and to Max himself, of course! Honourable mentions to all the boys in the band too, who went out of their way to make us feel particularly welcome. We hope we can do it again some time!

Any other “spare” time we have had has been spent rehearsing or recording material for our fourth album. We have a few more sessions booked in and hope to have completed the bulk of the work before Christmas.

In the meantime we are still taking bookings for 2012 for your special occasion be that a wedding, birthday or just a good excuse for a knees-up! Call or email us now as we are expecting a busy 2012.

Check back here soon for exciting news on some fab end of year appearances!!

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2011 (03 AUGUST 2011)

Well one minute you look at your own website and think that you’re all up-to-date and the next you realise we haven’t posted any news here since the middle of February!

We have done some stuff since then to be sure :- we thoroughly enjoyed our spring tour dates which took us to venues new for AYYF such as Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan; Trowbridge’s legendary Village Pump FC and the gorgeous Savoy Theatre in Monmouth. Plus it was great, as usual to play home ground in the shape of the Borough Theatre Abergavenny and Blackwood Miner’s Institute. It was lovely to meet people coming to hear our music for the first time, and to welcome some good folks who turn out whenever we hit the road — we thank you all for making all the nights really enjoyable. The best surprise on the “curry houses of the west” tour, (it just happened like that — gastronomically it was tie between Cardigan on the boat and the place next door to the Lamb in Trowbridge), was meeting up with a great American supporter of the band who regularly plays our music in Georgia — Jenny Hubbard Young & friend who didn’t let an unfortunate cancellation the previous week (not our doing) put them off travelling over to Trowbridge.

In amongst all these concerts we can’t let St. David’s Day in Cardiff go by without comment. We will never forget the sight of the huge procession winding its way up the Hayes to just in front of our outdoor stage. We needed de-icer to get our fingers off the strings and metal instruments but it was a fantastic experience — and congratulations to all who marched and organised and to our Breton friends who were just fab! Duw we were proud to be very Welsh that day!

We also found the time to get into the “Vault” or the studios of BRFM in Brynmawr and played some numbers live for the cameras and audio equipment that was beamed out live to the listening hordes near and far (well we know Chris’ relations were tuned in down under!). Many thanks for Dan and the team there for organising it all and being great hosts.

In May we were thrilled to welcome our great musician friend Thomas Roth over from Germany for a long weekend and even more thrilled to spend some quality time rehearsing some material for his new album of Nyckelharpa. This meant — and we just love the synchronicity of all of this — that we got to be the first band to record in Dylan Fowler’s new studio just as were first in for the old one. The fruits of our labours will be heard in due course — we’ll keep you posted on that front.

That same weekend we also found the time to play for loads of Welsh learners in Beaufort Ebbw Vale — it was a real mix of concert and twmpath stuff — and everyone, ourselves included had a ball.

In June we were thrilled to share the Saturday night concert platform at Tredegar House Folk Festival with Messers Spiers & Boden. It was terrific to see a packed marquee and we were able to further refine our new concert set. The audience reaction was great and J&J were very splendid too. Our thanks go out to all involved with the Festival for working so tirelessly over many years to keep on bringing terrific dance teams and musicians to a great location — and just down the road!

You may have gathered from some of the foregoing that this is the year when we have been busy researching and writing new material — some of it we had a chance to play out during the Spring Tour and some we have been developing over the past few weeks. This month we are back in the studio over a number of weekends and it is our intention that the difficult fourth album will be released on a stunned world some time fairly early in 2012. Keep visiting the website for updates.

At the end of August we will be sharing some exciting news with you all about some terrific Autumn concert dates — so do come back and, if you’re thinking of booking us for your concert, festival or twmpath — don’t wait to get in touch!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN (19 FEBRUARY 2011)

Greetings from the world of Allan Yn Y Fan where we are still basking in the acclaim of a packed audience in Chichester’s Festival Theatre last Saturday 12th February — two Welsh victories on the same day! This was our first ever concert in West Sussex and we were thrilled to be part of the Celtic Footprint Festival — an event that also featured performances by some of our favourite Celtic bands such as Capercaillie, Lunasa and Cara Dillon. AYYF were the special guests of the Fron Male Voice Choir and it is true to say that the audience really took us to heart — most of them being AYYF first timers!

This has put us in good cheer for the forthcoming dates of our Spring Tour — and we urge you to book your tickets now for whichever date is nearest to you. We are busy working on new material to premiere in these shows and will also be looking at our back catalogue to make some judicious choices of what we might revive.

2011 is also building nicely in terms of the number of twmpathau dawns/ceilidhs we are performing for peoples’ special days — and we couldn’t have had a better start to the year than the wedding we played for in Abergavenny in January. For those of you who relish the opportunity to dance please note that our friends in Menter Iaith Caerffili have booked us for a St. David’s day celebration at the Virginia Park Golf Club on Friday 4th March — there’s more information on that HERE.

We are pleased to be able to tell you that we’re going to be playing live on the Dan James show on BRfm (based in bracing Brynmawr!) on Tuesday 8th March — you can watch and listen wherever you are by logging on from 6.00 p.m. that evening.

In the meantime we look forward to seeing you somewhere on the road ahead and if you’re thinking of booking Allan Yn Y Fan — send us that email now!

2010

CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER 2010 (13 DECEMBER 2010)

Here we are nearly at the year end — and what a year it has been for Allan Yn Y Fan. It started with rehearsals and recording for the Home Ground tour and the Lle Arall EP and has ended with our plans for the Spring Tour 2011 established (see dates below).

Most recently we have enjoyed performing twmpaths for a smashing wedding on Gower and, on a very cold December night, for teachers from across Europe and Penarth (!) at Cardiff Yacht Club. On the 12th November it was our great pleasure to share the concert stage at Libanus School with two extremely talented Scottish musicians Rachel Hair (celtic harp) and Jenn Butterworth (guitar and vocals). The concert was beautifully lit by Simon Carnell who also took some great pics of the event. We thank the ACW “Night Out” scheme for the funding along with support from Caerphilly CBC which made this super evening of Celtic music possible.

Before all this band members Kate and Linda, with support from Wales Arts International and the Welsh Music Foundation, travelled to the huge industry event that is WOMEX in Copenhagen. Working tirelessly day and night they ensured that a much greater number of WOMEX delegates were aware of Allan Yn Y Fan by the end of the event than they were previously. We have a brand new Promo Pack containing a sample of our music on CD and this pack also found its way into Delegate goody bags at the AFO conference in Nottingham at the end of November. We look forward to more European adventure and festival experiences closer to home in the coming months.

As the season of good will approaches we are pleased to offer a special seasonal sale on our recorded work — let Allan Yn Y Fan CDs enhance the Christmas listening experience to those nearest and dearest to you — please click here to visit our shop and take advantage of these time limited offers.

So, we have one more concert to give in 2010 and, as has become traditional, we will be performing at the Glanfa Stage of the Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff on Tuesday 28th December at 6.00 p.m. — please do come along and enjoy the craic.

Allan Yn Y Fan will be hibernating after that concert for a brief while to compose and rehearse new material for our Spring 2011 concert tour — do come and see/hear the fruits of our labours at a venue close to you.

In the meantime on behalf of the band and our callers

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda I chi gyd
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all

TOURS ARE US! (13 AUGUST 2010)

Sorry folks — perennial scribe here trying to resume normal service! I can’t believe that nearly 4 months have flown by since our last posting — anybody would think we didn’t have anything to report!

Firstly — the Home Ground Tour — it was great for us — and, judging by the completed customer questionnaires — pretty good for you too! We really enjoyed all of the concerts on the tour. They were all different in distinctly special ways to each of us in the six member touring party. Like Deio I Dywyn we feasted and drank our way around Wales and made many, many new friends. Some of our new friends came to more than one of the concerts — there’s dedication! All of the venues looked after us really well and the tech teams were all brilliant and made each concert look and sound great. It was really great having Delyth Jenkins as our special guest for nine tenths of the tour and Robin Huw Bowen ensured we had a blast in his (virtual) home gig venue at Aberystwyth. We also really appreciated all the brilliant work done on the tour by our marketing specialist Angharad Wynne. We also reiterate our thanks to ACW for their funding which made the whole thing stack up financially. Reaction to the tour EP “Lle Arall — Another place” has been extremely positive and it does make a lovely souvenir of the musical partnership between us and Delyth — if you haven’t got a copy yet — click here!

My edited highlights would include first night nerves in Newtown (where one customer thought us better than Martin Simpson!); after much nail biting and team effort a lovely welcoming crowd at The Gate (beautifully lit by one of my work techies Simon Karnell); cheesy chips at Harry’s Bar Aberystwyth post gig; a small but wonderfully appreciative crowd and staff at Huntingdon Hall Worcester and family and friends supporting our Taliesin and Beaufort Theatre gigs. Lastly — a glorious couple of sunny days for our final flings in Harlech and Caernarfon (plus special hospitality from Clare & Gwyn at Trawsfynydd) and the beauty of our home country enjoyed on the final drive back from Caernarfon via Swansea home. Just a shame about that speeding ticket in Aberystwyth!!

It was very hard to return to the day jobs subsequently — this musician lark has much to recommend it!

Since the tour ended we have enjoyed playing for some very special people on their special days — and it has been great having Gina return after maternity leave to her superb work as the caller you just cannot ignore!

We have also enjoyed some special concerts this summer. Firstly, it was great to be invited back to the wonderful festival that is Rhythms of the World in Hitchin Priory — it’s a long drive but well worth it for the warmth of audience response. Many thanks to Steve Smither and his entirely voluntary crew — they’re all great! Secondly we couldn’t ignore the fact that the National Eisteddfod was coming as close to our homes as it’s ever likely to! Just a shame that we couldn’t get the Eisteddfod to recognise us! So, taking matters into our own hands and with the support of Carys Wynne and her great Beaufort Theatre team we scheduled a special concert at Beaufort. We were keen to differentiate this concert from the Home Ground date back in April — so we got down to some serious rehearsals with our brilliant music chums Darren Fellows and Ruth Appleby-Fellows. Ruth and Darren bring trumpets, saxes and cello as well as lots of our musicality to the party and we just love the sound we all make together. It was great to dust off some of our older tune sets and give them the AYYF Big Band Treatment. Shame then that it was a small audience at Beaufort — but they made up for it with their response! We hope to do it again sometime in the not too distant future.

The very next day we were performing at the Blackwood Carnival whilst also hosting first time in the UK brilliant Texan Band — The Quebe Sisters. It was a little surreal hearing those Texan accents at the Carnival but the smiles on everyone’s faces demonstrated that the girls and fellas soon won over the crowd with their brilliant take on Western Swing. Later that same day it was a real treat to share the stage with them at Blackwood Police Club- it was a really memorable gig!

Now we have the Newport Big Splash Festival at the Riverfront to look forward to as well as a return or two to the WMC in Cardiff. Do come by and say hello and if you’re thinking how can we get AYYF to perform for us? - Pick up that phone, send that email now!!

READ ALL ABOUT US! (18 APRIL 2010)

Allan Yn Y Fan is currently featured in the UK’s two major Folk/Roots/World music magazines. Dave Haslam writes about us for the March/April edition of R2 (formerly Rock’n’Reel) plus we have a track on their covermount CD. This is our version of “Mil Harddach Wyt” - as featured on our EP recorded with Delyth Jenkins “Lle Arall”.

Meanwhile we are also delighted that fROOTS has a feature on the band written by Simon Jones in it’s May issue - which is available now.

Both these magazines have websites (see :- www.frootsmag.com or www.rock-n-reel.co.uk) and are well worth subscribing to - not just cos we’re in them!

Also in the new edition of Properganda (distributed free through key music stores and music venues or see www.propergandablog.co.uk ) there is a review of our new EP “Lle Arall” by the highly respected Folk/Roots writer Colin Irwin. For those of you who can’t get hold of a copy we reprint his review on our site here.

We have just completed our Home Ground Tour - we’ll write all about that and post some pictures very soon. In the meantime - thanks for all your support!

New Relase LLE ARALL / ANOTHER PLACE from Allan Yn Y Fan & Delyth Jenkins (18 FEBRUARY 2010)

Steam Pie Records is delighted to announce the release on 1st March (St.David’s Day - naturally!) of a new 5 track CD (SPCD 1014S) showcasing the musical partnership between Allan Yn Y Fan and leading Welsh Celtic harpist Delyth Jenkins.

“Lle Arall / Another Place” takes its title from a brand new, especially haunting Kate Strudwick composition - which literally does transport the listener to “another place”. The five track EP also includes two other collaborations with Delyth - the plaintive “Mil Harddach Wyt” - exquisitely sung by Meriel Field; and a rollicking set of traditional Welsh tunes put together to trip up the unassuming step dancer :- “Mwmpwy Portheinon/Breuddwyd Y Wrach/Pibddawns Owen Huw”. The band has also recorded a new version of their regular concert opener “Hen Ferchetan/Coleg y Brifysgol Abertawe” - with added percussion for the new decade! The EP is completed with a solo harp outing on the traditional tunes “Llwytgoed/Owen’s Jig/Bedd Y Morwr” which is taken from Delyth’s most recent Steam Pie album “Aros”.

As is now usual, Allan Yn Y Fan and Delyth Jenkins recorded these tracks at the Abergavenny studio of leading Welsh guitarist and producer - Dylan Fowler. Despite the best attempts by the recent wintery weather to derail the project, everything was completed before the first week of January was over!

“Lle Arall / Another Place” is being issued to tie in with the band’s Arts Council Wales backed premiere tour of Wales and England. Ten dates commencing in Theatr Hafren, Newtown on the 12th March and coming to a close at Galeri Caernarfon on Saturday 17th April. Full tour details can be found here.

“Lle Arall / Another Place” will be distributed to all good music shops and on-line retailers by Proper Distribution and will also be available from the band’s website (Click here).

Allan Yn Y Fan & Harpist Delyth Jenkins Performing and Composing as they
Tour ‘Home Ground’ (16 FEBRUARY 2010)

Allan yn y Fan, one of Wales’ leading Celtic folk groups are getting in their van and on the road, and as they’re inspired en route, they’ll be composing and adding to the traditional music cannon of their ‘home ground’ — Wales. Following the success of their third album ‘Trosnant’ released last year, this spring Allan yn y Fan join forces with leading Welsh folk harpist Delyth Jenkins, for ‘Home Ground’ a journey around Wales and England. They’re heading your way, intent on delighting audiences with their critically acclaimed, exuberant mixture of foot stamping folk favourites and breathtaking Celtic songs and ballads.

Geoff Cripps, one of Allan Yn Y Fan’s founder members describes the group’s passion for engaging audiences with their music :- “ We want the audiences to enjoy this music as much as we do — it is the people’s music — it comes from place and life and it’s designed to delight!”.

Talking about the aspirations for this tour, Geoff added: “The people we meet and the places we have visited on previous tours have always inspired our own compositions: if we have a great time at a venue, we’ll enshrine the experience for posterity in a tune, and so our music grows. It’s music of place — Wales, our ‘home ground’.”

Allan yn y Fan is a quintet of multi-instrumentalists from the South East of Wales who came together serendipitously in 1996. They were drawn together by a mutual passion for playing traditional music and a belief in the quality of the music to move and inspire audiences — to dance, to stamp their feet, to be moved to tears. They continue to split their time between performing in events and festivals across Wales, representing the nation at international festivals and recording their music. Allan yn y Fan have been commended for their concert appearances in Scotland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg and Germany; and their three albums to date have been taken up by radio stations the world over and received significant critical acclaim. This multi-instrumental quintet is now becoming known as much for the quality of their singing as their individual take on the Welsh Tradition.

Meanwhile Delyth Jenkins has been enchanting audiences for many years with her own compositions and her exquisite arrangements of gems from the Welsh Tradition. Delyth commenced her professional career with Cromlech and then formed the internationally acclaimed band Aberjaber.

While Allan Yn Y Fan and Delyth Jenkins have enjoyed worked informally together before, this is the first time that they have joined forces for a tour. “Allan Yn Y Fan have been incredibly supportive over the years, from the days of booking me to play at the Garden Festival Wales, to inviting me to make my most recent album on their Steam Pie label. Following a joint concert in Abergavenny last summer, I was honoured and delighted that Allan yn y Fan asked me to support them on this tour.” The concert will feature both Delyth and Allan Yn Y Fan working together as well as presenting individual performances.

For further press information, images, interviews and competition CDs, please contact:

Angharad Wynne
Angharad Wynne Marketing and Communications
07786256722
angharad@angharadwynne.com

HEATH "RUFF" CEILIDH (07 FEBRUARY 2010)

Allan Yn Y Fan is delighted to be participating in the Heath Public Ceilidh series for 2010, with a performance for South Wales’ longest running public ceilidh at the Recreation Hall of the University Hospital of Wales on Saturday 27th February, commencing at 8.00 p.m.

For those whose New Year resolutions are melting away faster than snow here is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some convivial dancercise :- ten ceilidh dances are better for you than your five a day!

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!

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). We are delighted that Dave and Helen Parsons have offered us the first chance of getting the Heath crowd up on their feet this decade. We promise to reduce everyone to soggy heaps - luckily medical assistance is close at hand!”

Tickets are available on the door from 7.30 p.m. For more information call the organisers Dave & Helen Parsons on 02920 513444 / parsons.dinaspowys@virgin.net