“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

Album Reviews

NEWiD (SPCD1018S, 2016)

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

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

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

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

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

Allan Yn Y Fan is well known to those of us living in and around the counties and borders, hills, valleys and dance-floors of Wales. It’s with good reason hands clap and feet tap for them, and if you could bottle it, this vintage would be labelled NEWiD. ....”
The Living Tradition, Issue 117, Andy Piper

“...This sixth album from the traditional Welsh outfit also sees the unveiling of a six-piece line-up and a new singer. In the world of Celtic music, Wales is often overshadowed by its cousins Scotland and Ireland, despite the fact that the Welsh language is the best preserved of all the Celtic tongues in the UK. This is reflected in this set of traditional songs and new compositions.

The album title means 'Change' in Welsh and can also be interpreted as 'new identity' in English, reflecting Allan yn y Fan's changes as the band marks its 20th anniversary. But the foundations of this leading twmpath (the Welsh form of ceilidh) band are still intact. Founder members Geoff Cripps (guitar, bass and bouzouki), Chris Jones (accordion, flute and whistle), Linda Simmonds (mandolin, mandola and bodhran) and Kate Strudwick (flute, recorder and whistle) are joined by fiddler Alan Cooper and singer Catrin O'Neill. These significant additions add another dimension to the distinctive flute and whistle sound on both tune sets and ballads....”
Songlines, Issue 122, November 2016, Nathanel Handy

“...Allan yn y Fan ('out in a bit!') are a six-piece Twmpath (a sort of ceilidh) band with their roots firmly planted in a strong Welsh tradition. Their sixth album, NEWiD (a neat play on newid, the Welsh word for change) is both a cementing and a celebration of the band's new six-piece line-up, or new identity.

Comprising a balance of songs and instrumentals, both traditional and original, this is unmistakably Welsh. As an ex-pat, born and bred in Pembrokeshire, NEWiD invokes a strong sense of nostalgia, taking me back to the Eisteddfods of my youth. And in a good way.

Instrumental tunes and sets are the mainstay of the album, with the band making good use of their comprehensive array of instruments - with all six members bringing multiple instruments to the line-up. There is plenty to get your toes tapping ('Sbaen Wenddydd','Bishop of Llandaff's & Frank Hennessey's Kairdiff Quickstep'), and a good dose of gentle beauty ('Tune for Lillian','Dafydd y Garreg Wen').

Whilst I personally don't find NEWiD as exciting as some of the more contemporary offerings from the current Welsh folk scene, Allan yn y Fan competently demonstrate that the Celtic tradition is alive and well in Wales - reminding us that it's not all about Scotland and Ireland!

The band is touring in support of NEWiD with dates across Wales during the autumn....”
Shire Folk, October 2016, Lisa Avenell

“...Traditional Celtic music is one of the greatest joys of the British Isles and I for one cannot get enough of the great diversity in Celtic music that we see in the current market. Traditions from England, Ireland, Scotland and even the Isle of Man all have their unique features and elements that make them what they are.

When thinking about the Welsh traditional, Allan Yn Y Fan are likely to be one of the first names that people will put forward. The band has been operating since 1996 and has nicely slotted itself as the cornerstone of traditional Welsh Music.

Their latest album, NEWiD, has been long wanted and certainly does not disappoint. The album just shows us that Allan Yn Y Fan will never disappoint and will give hungry Celtic fans a full banquet to enjoy.

What I have always enjoyed about Allan Yn Y Fan is that they have never tried to create their own 'Unique' sound and base every track around that sound. Allan Yn Y Fan treats every single piece of music they create as an entirely separate entity. The use of instruments and vocals throughout the entirely album are different for every single piece of music. This also shows us that as a group they are the definition of working together. We clearly feel a group of people have come together to create beautiful music.

We are introduced to the album with 'Marwnad yr Ehedydd'. This track opens up with a slow and soothing guitar to ease you up before powerful and magical vocals pull through to give you goose bumps and really starts the album on a complete high. Celtic songs are notoriously difficult but sound like something from another world when done with the kind of talent and work that we have in this track. Shivers.

Allan Yn Y Fan are not a one trick pony. Celtic songs are a challenge in their own right but are just one branch on the tree of Celtic variety. 'Sbaen Wenddydd' gives us a great instrumental piece that is everything you want from Celtic music. The music is fast paced and with a great variety in instruments that really gets your foot tapping.

One thing in particular that stuck out about this album is the variety in instruments throughout the entire album. It helps to keep the music as fresh for listeners. Allan Yn Y Fan are on their sixth album now all thanks to the way they can give every piece of music its own spark of life.

'Gorthrwm y Gweithiwr' is a particular track that stuck out for me. I don't speak any traditional Celtic languages but this song is one that was sung with such rhythm and passion that you can feel that there is a story being told. I have always regarded the best singers in any tradition to be those who are story tellers. Similarly the band's lead singer Catrin gives this same feeling on the a capella track 'Dafydd y Garreg Wen'. A story is being told and you don't even need to understand the words to feel that.

Allan Yn Y Fan are a true roots band, they keep the beauty of Celtic music alive and relevant in a world with such musical diversity. I for one hope that I get to hear at least another six albums.....”
FATEA Magazine, September 2016, Paul Rawcliffe

“...‘NEWiD’ from Allan Yn Y Fan - strikingly beautiful music played by accomplished musicians. There’s a new album from Welsh band Allan Yn Y Fan, called ‘NEWiD’, which serves its purpose in both Welsh and English (Newid is a Welsh word for ‘change’, and although it stretches the point somewhat, it could in English NEWiD album coverstand for ‘New ID’ because there’s new musicians in the Allan Yn Y Fan line-up - told you it was stretching the point.) Semantics aside, ‘NEWiD’is a fine example of folk music from the land of the red dragon with a combination of tradition and original tunes and songs, delivered in both Welsh and English - and worry not if you don’t have the Welsh language, the beauty of its sung word demands nothing more than to listen to its poetry.

So what do you get on ‘NewiD’? There’s traditional Welsh songs like ‘Marwnad yr Ehedydd’, ‘Can Merthyr’ and ‘Dafyyd Y Garreg Wen’, folk dance and ‘tune tradition’ represented by ‘Sbaen Wenddydd’, ‘Dwr Glan’ and ‘Pibddawns Y Mwnci’, with originals including Kate Strudwick’s delightful ‘Tune for Lillian’ and ‘Bishop of Llandaff’s and Frank Hennessey’s Kairdiff Quicksteps’ from Chris Jones. All in all, an album of strikingly beautiful music played by accomplished musicians and capable of touching your soul, making you dance with joy - or both.

Allan Yn Y Fan are Catrin O’Neill (lead vocals, bodhran) Chris Jones (accordion, flute, low whistle, vocals) Alan Cooper (fiddle) Linda Simmons (mandolin, mandola, bodhran, vocals) Kate Strudwick (flute, alto flute, recorders, whistle, vocals) and Geoff Cripps (guitar, bass, bouzouki, vocals) with on selected tracks Diane Esplin (cello) and Robert Idwal Jones (drums)....”
folkwords.com, September 07, 2016, Charlie Elland

“... ALLAN YN Y FAN: NEWID – FEATURED REVIEW - Allan Yn Y Fan mark their twentieth anniversary year as one of Wales’ top purveyors of what the band succinctly describe as “Celtic music for the 21st century” with their sixth album, NEWiD (‘Change’, yn Saesneg), a collection of twelve (mostly) traditional tunes arranged by the sextet and reflecting their strengths as a live act.

‘Marwnad Yr Ehedydd/Tune for a New Bought Accordion’ combines the traditional (‘Marwnad Yr Ehedydd’) with the new (Kate Strudwick’s ‘Tune for a New Bought Accordion’) with a quiet confidence that underlines the band’s deep love of their cultural heritage as well as their skill as musicians. Alternating between a sparse melancholy (well-suited to Catrin O’Neill’s crystal voice) and a more uptempo passion, the set makes a fine opener which paves the way nicely for the instrumental ‘Sbaen Wenddydd,’ a celebration of Spanish connections to Wales, with Alan Cooper’s nimble fiddle-playing to the fore.

Sung unaccompanied and alternating between the Welsh and English languages, ‘Cân Merthyr’ displays not only a keen sense of dry wit but also showcases how well the ensemble’s disparate vocals mesh together. A shortish piece, it makes a well-placed bridge between the previous track and the album’s fourth tune – or, more accurately, set of two tunes, both instrumentals – ‘O’Connell’s Extension/Cooper’s Bow,’ written by Chris Jones and Alan Cooper respectively. ‘O’Connell’s Extension’ celebrates what the CD’s liner notes refer to as the “hypermarket wars” between two shops in the small village of Brideswell, County Roscommon, in the Republic of Ireland. Chris’ accordion captures the mood of the moment perfectly before stepping back for the fiddle showcase that is ‘Cooper’s Bow,’ a tune which “came out of Alan’s spontaneous delight at the purchase of a new ‘implement.'”

Tradition has it that ‘Dafydd y Garreg Wen’ (‘David of the White Rock’) was composed by the 18th-century harpist David Owen on his deathbed. With lyrics added nearly a century later by the poet John Ceiriog Hughes, it’s since become one of Wales’ most famous airs and Catrin’s a capella rendition is, I think, one of the most haunting versions of the composition that I’ve ever heard.

‘Slip Jigs’ tips its hat to the Irish step dancing tradition with a set of three tunes – ‘Jig Pultague/Taflwn yr Hosan/Diferion Arian’ – which serve as a reminder of the long-standing historic links between two of the most ancient nations of the Celtic diaspora. In the first tune, ‘Jig Pultague,’ Geoff Cripps’ intricate fingerstyle guitar provides the springboard for some gorgeous, airy multi-layered flutes before a deceptively simple chord progression modulates into the fiddle-powered ‘Taflwn yr Hosan.’ The sequence is completed by the graceful ‘Diferion Arian,’ where the interplay between Geoff’s guitar and Linda Simmonds’ mandolin, as delicate as faded lace, ties the ensemble together as the flowing accordion of Chris Jones intertwines with Kate’s flute. The set is one of the finest of its kind that I’ve heard and is a definite highlight of the album.

Described as “a song of longing to be free from work”, the CD sleeve notes add that it’s unclear if ‘Y Gaseg Felen’ (‘The Chestnut Mare’) is a traditional tune or whether it was composed by the historian and activist Meredydd Evans, from whom it was collected in the 1960s. This ambiguity is reflected in the band’s skilful arrangement which sets the melody to a very contemporary folk backing. Underpinned by a circular chord progression, Catrin’s vocals soar above gently undulating flute and string lines to create a dreamy and imaginative soundscape. The reflective mood continues in the instrumental ‘Tune for Lilian’, which was composed by Kate to commemorate an unexpected legacy from her former landlady from 35 years ago. The sense of empathy which pervades the arrangement is truly touching and the piece is one of my favourite tracks.

The set ‘Dŵr Glan/Russian Reel/Pibddawns Y Mwnci’ sandwiches two traditional tunes between a new composition by Kate and the mix works very well indeed. ‘Dŵr Glan’ (‘Fresh Water’) refers to the New Year’s custom in which Calennig singers would sprinkle water on the doors of houses for good luck in the coming year and powerfully portrays the sense of being outdoors beneath cold, whirling snow flurries. Kate’s ‘Russian Reel’ offers a more uptempo take on the wintry theme, setting the scene for the celebratory ‘Pibddawns Y Mwnci’ (‘The Monkey’s Hornpipe’), which provides a fittingly raucous conclusion.

An abrupt change of mood is heralded in the a capella opening to ‘Gorthrwm Y Gweithiwr’ (‘Oppression of the Workers’), a mid-19th century protest ballad collected in Ebbw Vale at a time when it was becoming abundantly clear that the financial and material rewards of the Industrial Revolution were not finding their way to the workers in the mines and ironworks. My Welsh is a little too rusty to follow the lyrics exactly, but the sense of injustice transcends language in this slow-burning arrangement.

The penultimate ‘Bishop of Llandaff’s and Frank Hennessy’s Kairdiff Quick Steps’ is a product of a 2014 commission to write music inspired by the people and places of the city of Cardiff. The idea of a dancing clergyman is mind-boggling enough on its own, but accompanied by a nod of appreciation to the near-legendary folk singer and radio presenter Frank Hennessy – “the professor of real Kardiff speak” – takes the tune into the realms of the positively surreal. Nevertheless, there’s a sense of fun at play here which is a pleasure to hear expressed so clearly in this gloriously unhinged arrangement. The album closes with ‘Ym Mhontypridd Mae’n Nghariad,’ a traditional Welsh love song about a young farmer hoping to impress his beloved with his prized speckled cows. It’s a slow and stately performance and, combined with the nuances of the story, brings the record to an emphatic and emotional conclusion. Watch the video premiere for Ym Mhontypridd Mae’n Nghariad below:



NEWiD captures Allan Yn Y Fan at a specific moment in time and finds this long-established and well-regarded band still at the top of their game and clearly enjoying the music they make. Combining a mix of original compositions and their arrangements of traditional music and song, NEWiD is as fine a showcase as you’ll find of their unique vision of “Celtic music for the 21st century” and is sure to become a firm favourite of long-term fans and newcomers alike....”
fruk folk & roots music webzine, 20 September, 2016, Helen Gregory

“...‘Newid’ being the Welsh for ‘change’ – signifying maybe a change in direction for Welsh music as it make inroads into the mainstream, particularly in the folk area. Sera Owen and 9bach have been on the radar recently, while Alln Yn Y Fan’s sixth album continues to promote a strong identity with the Welsh language, culture and history playing a formidable part of the record.

It’s a rustic folk sound if there ever were one, with the blend of the Welsh language giving the songs an ethereal feel. Rustic too as in providing a soundtrack straight from the greenwood – the ‘coeds’ – where you can picture lively frolics and romps, particularly early doors with ‘Sbaen Wenddydd’.

Merges into a medieval feel and combined with the acapella harmony work they combine interpretations of traditional tunes as well as the first recording of a mid 19th century protest ballad – beware 19th century iron masters! The use of the Welsh language might alienate some listeners in terms of accessibility but kudos to anyone who remains true to their own culture and especially to a band who remain dedicated to sticking a Welsh flag firmly on the folk map....”
Sonic Bandwagon, September 2016, Mike Ainscoe

“...Having suffered the enforced retirement of Meriel Field, Allan Yn Y Fan have taken time to regroup, recruiting vocalist Catrin O'Neill and fiddler Alan Cooper, who just happens to own a studio. NEWiD is their sixth album and the title means 'change': most appropriate. The blend of instruments remains as before with Chris Jones's accordion, flute and low whistle and Kate Strudwick's array of aerophones over the strings of Linda Simmonds and Geoff Cripps, now joined by Cooper's fiddle. Although Robert ldwal Jones plays drums on two tracks, the main percussion is still bodhran — played by both Linda and Catrin. The majority of the material is traditional although Chris, Kate and Alan contribute tunes. The band's music has mellowed and matured over the last couple of years although they still find room for a jokey piece like 'Can Merthyr'. The opening track, 'Marwnad Yr Ehedydd', a song attributed to the death of Owain Glyndwr is paired with a new tune by Kate and sets the mood for the album. 'Y Gaseg Felen' is a particularly lovely song, graced with Diana Esplin's cello, and Catrin's short a cappella solo 'Dafydd Y Garreg Wen' is delightful. The playing is as excellent as ever but Allan Yn Y Fan don't kick the cachu quite so much these days....”
R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine, 4* Review, September 2016, Dai Jeffries

“...Scrubbed down, suited, booted, extra personnel, more democracy, wider repertoire, Allan Yn Y Fan you might think are different people these days. There is an air of confidence which, while not missing from previous albums, was never so obvious as on NEWiD. In fact as they point out, split the title and despite the Welsh meaning of change, then the band have a newID. Recorded in fiddler Alan Cooper's home studio, there was clearly a more relaxed way of working about these sessions and a confidence which means they've taken chances which have paid off handsomely.

One is to leave things out as much as put them in, so there's a spinetingling Dafydd Y Garreg Wen from new singer Catrin O'Neill, leaving just box and fiddle to play a selection of the tunes. In fact while they've always been strong on melodies NEWiD has a much broader, potent collection of jigs and reels which vary in pace and setting from Kate Strudwick's majestic Tune For Lillian to a commission the band received to write about the places and people of Cardiff, thus Bishop Of Landaff's & Frank Hennessy's Kairdiff Quickstep. Blimey, those titles are complex enough! Nice touch too that the album is a tip of the hat to the late Dr Meredydd Evans, who passed on songs to Catrin. Nor are they above doing some digging of their own, Gothrwm Y Gweithiwr is a workers' rights ballad that's over 150 years old, threatening all kinds of hellfire and damnation if the iron masters didn't treat their workers fairly.

With everything kept as in-house as possible not only have they progressed on most fronts but they've created a modus operandi which'll stand them in good stead. What next? Well they're touring and festivals are missing a trick if they haven't the open ears to book them sharpish. Known to be believers in Welsh trad, it'd be great to see if they could write more songs in the idiom.

Album six, Allan Yn Y Fan wear their hearts on their sleeve, an undeniable force in Welsh music, NEWid their compelling calling card and convincing new face. Bright, brave and dazzling stuff....”
fRoots Magazine, September 2016, Simon Jones

“...The album’s Welsh title translates as Change; two years have gone since the departure of the lovely Meryl, and Allan Yn Y Fan have recruited in her considerable gap the sparkling silver voice of Catrin O’Neill and veteran fiddler Alan Cooper, an inspiring musician who has gathered many admiring compliments under his belt. This album, enclosed in the wonderful artist Chris Neale’s painting of the spectacular Brecon Beacons, is a total joy; both Catrin and Alan have contributed new ideas, new songs and new tunes, and the band are ready and willing to show their exciting revitalised mettle.

Newid comes after the band’s 20-year musical odyssey, with four albums, one EP and Cool, Calm And Collected, a 2014 compilation; Allan Yn Y Fan’s portfolio is a heady mixture of well-known songs, dressed up with strong and proud arrangements, and traditional and written tunes from the rich, overflowing welsh folk scene. Catrin takes the lead on ‘Marwnad Yr Ehedydd’ (Elegy for the Lark), her beautiful voice just brimful with emotion, female harmonies and the instruments just taking off; the song is generally attributed to Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince Of Wales. The track segues into Kate Strudwick’s ‘Tune For A New Bought Accordion’, her writing blossoming and maturing on a wondrous, dancing jig. ‘Sbaen Wendydd’ offers two gems from the Welsh Folk Dance Society collection Blodau’r Grug marking Welsh and Spanish tune connections, and a macaronic ‘Can Merthyr’ bemoans a demanding wife from hell. Chis Jones’ ‘O’Connell’s Extension’ celebrates supermarket wars in Brideswell, County Roscommon; between them, they offer anything from bars to burials in this tiny hamlet. ‘Cooper’s Bow’, by the aforesaid Alan, is brilliant fiddle mastery and a workshop for fiddle scholars everywhere.

‘Dafydd Y Garreg Wen’ is one of Wales’ most famous airs, composed by the 18th-century harper David Owen with lyrics added nearly 100 years later by John Ceiriog Hughes; Catrin copes admirably with a whole regiment of classical divas, who had claimed this song as their own. The band thank the amazing Robin Huw Bowen for pointing out the slip-jigs ‘Jig Pultague’ and ‘Taflwn Yr Hosan’ to them; and Catrin interprets the unusual and utterly lovely ‘Y Gaseg Felen’, collected by Merêd Evans, as the high point in Allan Yn Y Fan’s repertoire on this album.

The songs and the enticing tunes keep flowing until the end of the album; Kate composed the serene ‘Tune For Lillian’, as the result of a very unexpected legacy from her landlady who she hadn’t seen for 35 years, and the haunting ‘Dwr Glan’ – a custom of the New Year’s Water, which Calennig singers would sprinkle on the doors of the houses for good luck in the coming year. ‘Gorthrwm Y Gweithiwr’, a song of Beaufort in the Gwent Valleys, tells about the oppression of workers and warnings what will happen to the masters come Judgment Day. Chris composes ‘Bishop Of Llandaff’s’ and the band pays respect to ‘Frank Hennessy’s Kairdiff Quicksteps’. The whole album goes out on a high in ‘Ym Mhontypridd Mae’n Nghariad’; Linda Simmonds keeps the energy flowing, and Geoff Cripps solidly anchors the whole shebang with his guitar and bass. All in all, it’s a very positive album, overflowing with confidence and sheer vitality – for God’s sake, buy it!...”
folk.wales/magazine, 4* Review, September 2016, Mick Tems

“...this, the sixth album by Allan Yn Y Fan, marks their 20th year active as a band. While not an extraordinarily log time to be playing this style of deep-rooted folk music, the sextet's experience is reflected in their expertise - I doubt there's an ensemble in Wales who could beat AYYF at their own game. That being Welsh-language tunes, variously rollicking and tender, with richly Celtic instrumentation and subjecvt matter including oppressed workers, former landladies and professional Cadiffian Frank Hennessey....”
Buzz Magazine, 4* Review, 31 August 2016, NG

“...While Scottish folk music may be as healthy as it's ever been, very little from Wales seems to make it east of Offa's Dyke.

So it was refreshing to lay hands on NEWiD (Steam Pie Records) by Allan Yn Y Fan, 20-year veterans of Welsh folk who are doing their best to put that to rights.

This ranges from a traditional lament for Owain Glyndwr through harp airs and slip jigs to a 19th-century protest song sending a dire warning to the ironworks bosses of Ebbw Vale.

It's an intriguing glimpse of the riches of Welsh folk and its place in the Celtic tradition, which both whets the appetite for much more and makes me painfully aware of what an English-language monoglot loses through ignorance of the other languages of Britain....”
Morning Star, 31 August 2016, James Miller

“...Change is in the air, it is how we deal with it that separates us from the rest of humanity. Not always a good thing, change happens regardless, it is the slow tune played out by time to keep us on our toes, it is the steady march which beats out against the rust and decay and whilst it might not be considered a good thing, it is inevitable.

Change though for Welsh Celtic band Allan Yn Y Fan obviously works and in their latest album NEWiD, the sound of the fiddle is refined and the experience of the production a joy to behold; change may be a word that put fear into the hearts of some but for this Welsh six-piece, change is the next stage of evolution and the sound is harmonious bliss.

NEWiD spells out a dynamic shift that previously had been under closely guarded Irish and Scottish hands. When people think of Welsh music in the 21st Century, unless they have the wherewithal to go searching in the most hidden tunnels for a new sound, they perhaps quite rightly think back to the bands that closed the old century, the likes of The Alarm, Stereophonics and The Manic Street Preachers; the aggression, the extreme bounty that comes with such bands always pushing the heart along in the right direction.

Allan Yn Y Fan though add a certain discretion to the popular culture, once the preserve of the other Celtic voices, and whilst some may say it plays into the hands of national ideals, rather it should be seen as just conformation that to be immersed in your roots is to understand where you came from.

In tracks such Sbaen Wenddydd, O’ Connell’s Extension/Cooper’s Bow, Tune For Lillian and Bishop of Llandaff’s and Frank Hennessy’s Kairdiff Quickstep, Allan Yn Y Fan showcase the very best of Welsh/Celtic traditional music and the art of the brand new song over 12 exhilarating pulses of the fiddles bow coupled with the theatrics and exuberance of the other instruments on show.

Played with dexterous agility and sublime mastery of their instrument’s subtle voice, Allan Yn Y Fan roar in a new regime and it is one that embraces change....”
Liverpool Sound and Vision, 4* Review, 24th August 2016, Ian D. Hall

“...Music has a rare ability to stir deep emotions in us. One of the best is happiness and that is exactly what NEWiD, the latest album from Allan Yn Y Fan, does. It’s a glorious celebration of music performed with a buoyancy and lightness of touch that only good musicians who are having a good time can produce.

Newid is the Welsh word for change, but it also works in English as new id and both of those apply to this band. The addition of Alan Cooper and Catrin O’Neill to the existing quartet of Geoff Cripps, Chris Jones, Linda Simmonds and Kate Strudwick give them an enormous range. Between them they can summon five vocalists and more than a dozen different instruments.

The majority of the twelve tracks on the album are traditional Welsh tunes, sung in both Welsh and English, opening with the traditional song ‘Marwnad yr Ehedydd’ or ‘Skylark Elegy’. Catrin O’Neill’s wonderfully clear voice certainly soars in response.

In an album full of absolute gems it can be difficult to pick out just a few tracks to give the flavour of the whole but Chris Jones’ ‘Bishop of Llandaff’s and Frank Hennessey’s Kairdiff Quickstep’ deserves mention not just for the title length but for showcasing the range of instruments the band can play at such a high level.

‘Can Merthyr’, sung a capela, show another facet. This story, as old as time, of a man thinking he can get the better of his better half is a salutatory warning to husbands everywhere but also an example of the vocal abilities of the band, which they use to such good effect here.

The final stand-out track to mention is Kate Strudwick’s beautiful and moving ‘Tune for Lilian’ which has a back story involving her University landlady, a legacy and possibly a dead cat. She tells the story far better than I could so it’s the final inducement you need to see the band live at the first opportunity.

The album is released on the 16th September and is available to pre-order now on Propermusic....”
folking.com, Tony Birch 24th August 2016

Cool,Calm & Collected (SPCD1017S, 2014)

“...Some of the best Celtic folk of the 21st Century...A compilation of some memorable tracks issued to mark the tenth anniversary of a five-piece now recognised as probably the best Celtic folk band to come out of Wales in the 21st Century. Very well put together with a deliberate mixture of traditional and original songs and a good smattering of meaty instrumentals. Also they have been careful to limit the selection here to three from each of their earlier albums which gives a good introduction to fans new to them. The highlights are the haunting traditional song Lisa Lan, quite beautifully sung by Meriel Field, Meriel’s composed Tra Bo Dau , which is from the band’s most recent album as is the self explanatory instrumental Albanian Quickstep. From the first album Off The Map in 2003 comes another instrumental which grabs your attention, Tipsy Butterfly, together with the profound Roscrea Triangle...”
Maverick Country,October 2014, Paul Collins

“...With their acclaimed debut Off the Map now a decade old, Allan Yn Y Fan have delivered a career summary in the form of a Steam Pie Record that pulls together three remastered tracks from each of their four albums and one from their sole EP. The original multi-instrumentalist quartet, Kate Strudwick, Chris Jones, Linda Simmonds and Geoff Cripps, has been joined more recently by vocalist and fiddler Meriel Field (Emma Trend plays fiddle on tracks from the first two albums). This mainly instrumental collection ranges from twmpath (ceilidh) tunes to ballads. Close to half is written, individually, by Chris Jones and Kate Strudwick, with Meriel Field contributing the beautiful album closer Tra Bo Dau. The remainder is traditional (the exception being Jizaique by Breton guitarist Gilles Le Bigot), including classics Calon Lân and Mil Harddach Wyt (from the EP with harpist Delyth Jenkins) along with less familiar tunes; though, so steeped are they in traditional music, the join between past and present is indiscernible.

Flute, fiddle, accordion and mandolin to the fore, this non-chronological collection takes in Tipsy Gypsy and jigs from their 2003 debut, the band finding their writing feet with Girl on a Rock from Belonging (2006), and expanding their range through Trosnant (2009) and Pwnco (2012). The music is varied, buoyant, uncluttered and clear-sighted – this band aims to raise Welsh traditional music’s profile within the wider Celtic cannon. Cool, Calm & Collected is therefore the perfect introduction to the music of one of Wales’ most exciting and experienced folk bands...”
New Sound Wales,June 2014, Stephen Nottingham

“...With so many new folk bands appearing it is very exciting to see new work coming from long standing bands too. Allan Yn Y Fan are nearing a decade of hard work and musical exploration since their first album.

The Celtic music tradition has such a foundation all over Britain and it is great to see the varieties, no matter how subtle, from each country. Cool, Calm and Collected does a great job of being a blast of pure Celtic awesomeness as well as capturing that essential Welsh spirit separate from Irish or Scottish styles.

Most of the tracks project fond images of typical pub sessions such as Morgan Rhatlar/Lacken House or Tipsy Butterfly (which is a fantastic name), filling you full of vibrant energy and making you want to grab an ale and start dancing.

This album is a collection, so it revisits the songs and tunes that the band have loved and played over the years and clearly a lot of thought have been put into which songs get included.

As well as the great dance tunes we also get beautiful songs that remind us that the Welsh language has great exquisiteness, especially when sung with such grace as in Lisa Lân and Mil Harddach Wyt, then the pure passion and joy = in parts of Canu Cwnsela/Pwnco. This latter tune also gives us a good mix of great male and female vocals.

As well as fast paced dance tunes, there are slower, more gentle tunes such as Trosnant and Roscrea Triangle/Air Miles On The Irish Ferry that settle down and calm you whilst painting soothing images in your mind with the recorder and gentle string plucking.

It’s great to see Allan Yn Y Fan still going strong, and let’s hope for more soon!...”
Bright Young Folk,June 2014, Paul Rawcliffe

“...These days there is a strong vein in music that seems to celebrate anniversaries and unlike weddings there doesn't appear to be a list of what to expect when a band or album reaches a milestone, particularly one with a naught or a five at the end. Though I'm sure having read this, there are marketing people scuttling away to create one, 5 years 180gm Virgin vinyl with free mp3 download, ten years, a remastered box set plus original mixes, I digress.

Allan Yn Y Fan(AYYF) have remarkably already got ten years under their belt and a comparatively fecund ten years it's been too with four albums and an EP to their credit, not counting the new album, "Cool, Calm & Collected", which has been subtitled, "Cerddoriaeth Geltaidd o Gymru". The new album being a ride through those previous releases, three from each plus one from the EP.

Rather than introduce you to the songs and tunes chronologically, AYYF have spread the tracks across the album and having done the geeky thing and reordered the tracks, I think it was the right decision as it gives the album more facets and you get a better reflection of what the band have achieved as a whole rather than at collected moments of time.

Similarly there have been changes to the line up over the years that have brought a different dynamic around the core and that again brings more variety into the album. Creating this sort of album can be more difficult than you think, the best of each album doesn't necessarily make the best compilation, it's also a fact, that compared to its Scots and Irish neighbours, Welsh music has less of a reach, so the album has, to an extent, got to create the knowledge of what Welsh music is about, as well as how the band handle it.

Both "Cool, Calm & Collected" and Allan Yn Y Fan are up to that job. I was pleasantly surprised at how quick the fifty minutes the album takes seems to pass. I reached for my coffee only to find it colder than expected as I hadn't realised where the time went and I guess the same true of AYYF, somehow it doesn't seem like ten years. It can't be, can it?...”
Fatea Magazine,June 2014, Neil King

“...Allan yn Y Fan celebrate their tenth anniversary with a collection of tracks from their four albums and an EP featuring harpist Delyth Jenkins. They began life as a twmpath band and still play for dances, weddings and fundraisers, never losing touch with their roots. Although distinctively Welsh they nick a good tune from anywhere if it will get a hall on its feet, just like any dance band.

In this set there is only one tune that doesn’t come from the tradition or within the band itself, and whether that’s deliberate or just the way it turned out I wouldn’t like to say but it displays the band’s complete range, from delicate flute and whistles to the solid beat dancers need. There are songs too, led by Meriel Field : the well-known “Lisa Lân”, “Canu Cwnsela” and the bilingual “Tra Bo Dau” but they are the icing on the musical cake.

It is the tune sets that are at the heart of the band and the blend of flute, whistles and recorders over bodhran makes Allan Yn Y Fan distinctive. When the accordion and fiddle come in you still know exactly where you are : Croeso I Gymru...”
R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine, 4* Review, May/June 2014, Dai Jeffries

“...After four albums, an EP and ten years as a band, Allan Yn Y Fan release a compilation of career highlights on ‘Cool, Calm & Collected’. If you haven’t come across this inventive Welsh band this is a great summation of their career to date. Comprising both trad and original tunes and songs

All the tracks have been remastered and sound impressive. We said this about their recent album ‘Pwnco’ - This is one of those albums that refreshes your faith in 'traditional' music, whether that be old or new songs, Allan Yn Y Fan constantly challenge and surprise expectations. From the cut glass perfection of the vocals to the ballsy changes of tempo and theme within the songs it is a fun ride from beginning to end.

This compilation is a great testament to the sheer quality of music they have produces in their first decade........”
Spiral Earth, 11 April 2014

“...The last word in the disc’s title provides the biggest clue to this new release from premier Welsh band Allan Yn Y Fan; it’s a compilation that aims to capture the band’s development through the first decade of its existence, over which they’ve produced four albums (and an EP in collaboration with harpist Delyth Jenkins).

On the strength of this collection alone, it has been a significantly stimulating and consistently enjoyable ride and its freshly re-mastered 13 tracks afford ample opportunity to revisit and re-evaluate the band’s achievements. The even-handed nature of the compilation (three tracks from each of the four albums, with one from the EP) is further accentuated by the credible sequence of the disc, which intersperses tracks from each album more or less in turn; this process also emphasises the enviable consistency of the band’s output in terms of both quality and vision. This can only partly be attributable to the fact that over the decade the outfit has seen just one line-up change (following album number two, Belonging, when initial fiddle player Emma Trend left and was replaced by Meriel Field, who also took on the crucial lead vocal role). The core trio of founders Geoff Cripps (guitar, bass, keyboard), Linda Simmons (mandolin, mandola, bodhrán), Kate Strudwick (flute, recorders, whistles) and Chris Jones (accordion, piano, whistles, flute) has remained in situ, with all the concomitant benefits of a growing and onwardly developing ensemble dynamic.

Right from Allan Yn Y Fan’s debut offering, the landmark set Off The Map, these elements can be traced as a continuous, linking thread and providing ample evidence of the foursome’s exhilarating take on the previously unjustly neglected traditional music of Wales (which is, of course, distinctively different from its Irish and Scottish companions); this take has also readily embraced the writing of fresh material in that idiom alongside it. The marked feeling of exhilaration might seem to belie the “cool, calm” epithet – but only in the sense that the band members take their music-making very much in their stride, appearing cool and calm perhaps rather than white-heat, while equally clearly they’re also having tremendous fun. The only criticism I’d make of this well-rounded collection is its lack of notes (or at very least basic translations of the song titles etc. for non-Welsh speakers).

By the way, the name of the band, Allan Yn Y Fan, conveys the essence of being Out In The Van – this most likely being a direct reference to their exhaustive long-term ambassadorship, establishing the rightful importance and place of Wales within Celtic music and helping to put it well and truly on the musical map.....”
Living Tradition, 08 April 2014, David Kidman

“...This compilation brings together the highlights of ten years from these champions of Welsh traditional music. Allan yn y Fan – which is Welsh for “Out in a van” – have spent the last decade at the forefront of a revival in Welsh cultural activity beyond the traditional Eisteddfod. Their music is a mixture of traditional pieces and self-penned work, interspersing sets of jigs and dance tunes with languid melodies and ballads. Driven by Chris Jones’ accordion and Geoff Cripps@ guitar, the layers of fiddle, whistles and flute from Meriel Field and Kate Strudwick are offset by a melancholic drone or the distant rumble of Linda Simmonds’ bodhran. Largely instrumental, when the singing enters, it is delicate, elegant and refined, perhaps too refined. For many ears Allan Yn Y Fan will sound just a little too sanitised and ethereal. The playing here is measured, assured and often beautiful, but it can also sound a little too close to the dreamy Celtic mists of the imagination and a little too removed from the spirit and sawdust of the twmpath(barn dance). Cool, calm and collected it most certainly is. As long as you like your folk music that way, you will be fine...”
Songlines Magazine, 3* Review, 2014, Nathaniel Handy

“...This lovely introduction to the courtly elegance of traditional Welsh music is a digital re-mastering of favourites from AYYF’s five previous releases. The instrumental dances have a graceful French quality, and Lisa Lan is a traditional song of beauty...”
fRoots, 2014

Pwnco (SPCD1016S, 2012)

“..."Oh go on, give us something different, you know you want to."
I can just hear the voices, urging on Allan Yn Y Fan: "Go the whole hog, push the envelope even more." And it's true their last album, the beguiling Trosnant was a career high. This time however they've had space to do a bit of considered crusading, think about crossing traditions and undertaking eyebrow-raising alliances. It all began with a chummy, amiable EP they recorded with Delyth Jenkins, but here the boat's definitely been pushed - no - launched out and they're questing. As a result, they're wearing black and shades, the image is sharp to start with hang on, there's a huge injection of brass and a nyckelharpa, anthems to blue collar heroes, moments of madness which divert to Albania, tunes for bad travellers and even Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Yes, it's a right old kettle of a different fish. But lest you think they've somehow forgotten they're Welsh; let me relate that the title Pwnco is a melodic component of the Gwent Mari Lwyd tradition, horse's skull, singing, music, drinking - all the regulation elements - and they cut a splendid jib with a new arrangement of the old vocal used in the custom allied to a tune from accordionist Chris Jones. Up goes the tempo significantly with a set of jigs rattled off on the back of saxophone, trumpet and trombone, honking out melodies and filling the gaps around. Dic Penderyn is an old Chartists item that's suddenly relevant again given the straitened time we live in. Wisely Allan leave the tale of wrongful hanging as an acoustic ballad whose closing is tracked by mournful fiddle, haunting flute and picked guitar. Likewise Tra Bo Dau the sort of Welsh longing love item that Sian James usually makes her own but here Meriel Field matches that sainted voice with a rare grace.
Elsewhere just to add to the variety they come on as merry minstrels from the middle ages. Death In Ennis is nothing to do with terrorism, more audience absence which led to an almighty session, and I swear Neidod Twm Bach is Lillibullero in disguise, Dammit they even celebrate growing grey in stately, appealing manner on Arafu. Not that they'd ever want to! Grow old whilst remaining young at heart and above all always throw in a curve ball like Lle Arall with the aforementioned nyckelharpa and its owner Thomas Roth, a beguiling slow air, as well as - ahem - Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star which closes an item of bold experimentation with a fairytale innocence. As somebody I know only too well says, it's a case of something familiar and everything different. Now isn't that attractive?...”
fRoots, 2012, Simon Jones

“...Traditional Welsh music has a style that sets it apart from that of other Celtic nations. You could never mistake it for Scots, Irish or Breton. Allan Yn Y Fan’s fourth album celebrates that distinction while trying to persuade us Saeson to take notice of them.
The first step is singing some songs in English. The best known is ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’, the familiar nursery rhyme with all its versesand a new setting by G C Westcott. There’s also ‘Dic Penderyn’, not Martyn Joseph’s song but a poem by John Stuart Williams with music originally written by Geoff Cripps for The Chartists. The best-known tune is probably ‘Canu Cwnsela’, the song of the Mari Lwyd, coupled with the title track written by multi-instrumentalist,Chris Jones. ‘Tra Bo Dau’ is blessed with a new setting by fiddler/vocalist Meriel Field and in the mix are more traditional songs and tunes and a number of original pieces.
The result is a splendid set that has immediate impact and repays repeated playing. Allan Yn Y Fan never forget their heritage as a twmpath band and there is some foot-stomping stuff here as well as the more-restrained pieces. I’ll always think of the title as "Punk-O", though.....”
R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine, 4* Review, 2012, Dai Jeffries

“...A bright, diverse mix of traditional folk here from Allan Yn Y Fan’s newest album Pwnco. With a beautiful blend of Welsh language lyrics and a darkly compelling and danceable musical accompaniment, this album has a genuine authentic ye-olde-tavern feel. Delightfully bright vocals retell traditional Welsh tales over the backdrop of a complex configuration of folk instruments; whistles, violins, flutes and an eclectic mix of drums. Definitely an album to take you back to summer days of yore, with pretty, simple melodies and genuinely distinctive and lovely singing from Meriel Field. Perhaps not new or innovative in its field, yet Pwnco is an excellent example of traditional folk music beautifully demonstrated...”
The MMP, 2012, JA

“...Allan Yn Y Fan hail from Wales, and Pwnco (their 5th studio album) is a varied collection of traditional Welsh tunes and songs with some self-penned tunes, all with a less than subtle hint of Celtic thrown in.
Pwnco is predominately made of tune sets, and the album opens with a happy and bouncy set of polkas. It’s evident that the band are all enjoying themselves immensely while playing and it gives each of the tune sets a massive uplift and as such a lot of them are great fun to listen to. That’s certainly evident in the Albanian Quickstep set, where the band end up singing the tune to finish it off instead of doing the logical thing and using their instruments.
But although they show how much pleasure they get from happy and bouncy pieces, there’s also a slow air played on whistle with a piano/guitar accompaniment which stands out amongst the rest because of how simple it is. It’s even better because the tracks around it are quite upbeat and the sudden shift in style just feels nice.
The Welsh singing feels conflicted in places. The second track (Canu Cwnsela) has a traditional song which has a really fun tune to listen to, but the unfamiliarity of the language detracts from the enjoyment.
There are some nice settings of Welsh Ballads, which have an operatic feel to them. The only issue is that although there’s all this musical space for Meriel to make a lot of the simple tune and story, nothing seems to happen so the telling just ends up being slightly flat because of it.
The ballad Tra Bo Dau highlights the niggling annoyance of wanting to understand what is being sung - although there are full lyrics and liner notes given, the language barrier prevents you feeling everything the song has to bring to you, though the melody gives a sense of something heart-wrenching.
The final track, Twinkle Twinkle, is fascinating. We’re all familiar with the first verse, but there’s a whole song which I certainly didn’t know existed, which was based on a poem published in 1806. The singing is fantastic in so many ways, and ending the album on an a cappella finish with crunchy harmony is perfect.
Unless you know AYYF’s style and like what they do, Pwnco is tricky to recommend. Although there are some brilliant and fun tune sets, the album struggles to bring a lot to the table that is enjoyable for all. It’s a real shame, because Meriel’s voice especially is quite astonishing to listen to but doesn’t seem to be given the right sort of songs to show her voice off to the full....”
Bright Young Folk, 2012, Patrick Rose

“...It’s remarkable how, in just the last few years, Allan Yn Y Fan has graduated from perhaps "another dance band" into one of Wales’ foremost concert groups. Right now there’s a dearth of champions of Welsh music and song and AYYF have stepped right up to the mark. Their latest recording "Pwnco" is set to cement their place in that top division.
Okay their material isn’t all native to Wales but the inclusion of the odd Irish jig such as The Leitrim Fancy is perfectly representative of what might be heard at a dance or session in the Gwent valleys, and it all gels nicely. Instrumental sets are subtly arranged, with occasional punches of added brass, whilst the imaginative reconstruction of well-known songs such as Dacw ‘Nghariad and Tra Bo Dau, and Can Y Fari (whence comes the pwnco of the title) is adventurous and rewarding, with fiddler Meriel Field adding a strong lead vocal.......”
Taplas Magazine, May 2012, Mike Greenwood

“...Allan Yn Y Fan are doing much to redefine the place of Wales within Celtic music and Pwnco just makes it much bigger. in fact, the album is more like a journey around the British Isles, a whistle stop tour taking in the whole swathe of indigenous styles without being tied to any dated sense of place. As such it is a very modern album that reflects Wales in the twenty first century.
This is one of those albums that refreshes your faith in 'traditional' music, whether that be old or new songs, Allan Yn Y Fan constantly challenge and surprise expectations. From the cut glass perfection of the vocals to the ballsy changes of tempo and theme within the songs it is a fun ride from beginning to end.

So look out Scotland and Ireland, a new Celtic Tiger is prowling.......”
Spiral Earth, May 2012

“...Easily the best purveyors of Welsh Celtic music on the planet, AYYF return with Pwnco, a collection of songs which highlights new and original music can still sound excellent while explorting traditional themes. From their jigs to beautiful voice led songs that evoke a sense of place, these tunes are perfection. From the homgage to local folk hero Dic penderyn to the wonderful melody of Sea Sick Sailors / The Rough Crossing, Allan Yn Y Fan never disappoint........”
Plugged In Magazine, April 2012

“...If Welsh music is perennially considered the poor relation in the Celtic tradition, Allan Yn Y Fan are moving mountains to change all that. Since their first album in 2003, the industrious and innovative Gwent five piece have never been content merely to present their Welshness as badge of honour in the hope that the penny will finally drop that Celtic doesn’t just mean Irish, Scottish or Breton - here’s band constantly intent on displaying the music in all its diverse glory, challenging perceptions and driving it into new areas...There’s no peace for the inventive and the current Allan Yn Y Fan line-up...has wasted no time in forging on with perhaps their most compelling album to date, Pwnco.......”
Properganda Magazine, April 2012, Colin Irwin

“...‘Pwnco’ is translated as the Welsh-language question-and-answer ritual which makes the Mari Lwyd horse’s skull tradition so unique to Gwent and Glamorgan. Allan Yn Y Fan are based in Gwent, and they have brilliantly interposed this here-and-now musicians’ technology to an age-old celtic ‘dark side’ of vertiginous proportions... I truly love this CD, the band’s fifth with Steam Pie: It’s inspiring, intelligent and beautifully arranged, and those exciting tunes and pristine, sparkling songs really snuggle up on the listener.
The first CD to be recorded at guitarist Dylan Fowler’s lovely wooden studio deep in the wilds of Monmouthshire, the band offer for starters two delightful tunes from Kate, Death In Ennis and The Audient - the story goes that Allan Yn Y Fan started off as a twmpath band, and various Chinese whispers had them advertised as an Oompah band; and the Irish crowd voted with their feet! There are a couple of uncomfortable joins in the first track, but the band don’t make the same mistake twice; the rest of the CD just flows and flows.
Fiddle player and delightful singer Meriel Field swoops and soars absolutely magnificently on the Mari Lwyd song Canu Cwnsela, and guitarist Geoff Cripps, accordionist Chris Jones, mandolinist and bodran player Linda Simmonds and flautist/recorder player Kate Strudwick urge the local mid-winter ritual on with fire and flair. The band power into the traditional Welsh music with joyous abandon, and they create some new exciting music too. That sums this up perfectly - it’s full of power and passion, with that old Celtic magic permeating the pores of tradition, a sense of belonging, a strong loving togetherness that shaped the very mountains and steep valleys of Wales. And the band keep the listener guessing in any of the CD’s 12 tracks - none of it is predictable.
Meriel’s voice is a suberb asset and bonus to Allan Yn Y Fan; hers is one of great flexibility that fits in perfectly with a band equally adept at getting a twmpath on its feet as well as soothing the crowd with beautiful and startling original renditions of Tra Bo Dau, Dacw Nghariad or, surprisingly, a delightful Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Notably, Geoff Cripps contributes a stirring, moving poem by the late John Stuart Williams, written for his band, The Chartists, called Dic Penderyn; Richard Lewis, also known as Dic, was the first Welsh working-class martyr, and Geoff composed the melody. This is a little gem of a CD, and I’m proud to own a copy......”
Folk Wales Online Magazine, April 2012, Mick Tems

“...With their 4th album "PWNCO" Allan Yn Y Fan is continuing with their musical journey and refreshing the Welsh tradition. There is a capella music and the full band playing lively dance music, oscillating between joy and grace. Allan Yn Y Fan is: guitarist Geoff Cripps, singer/fiddler Meriel Field, accordionist Chris Jones, mandolinist Linda Simmonds and flutist Kate Strudwick. The album kicks off with two polkas written by Kate, and in the course of the album there is more original music by her, Chris and Meriel. Kate's majestic "Lle Arall" also features the group's friend and German nyckelharpa player Thomas Roth of the Geyers band,[26][30] another two tracks feature brass (trombone, saxophone, trumpet) making for an ambient sound and opening up new horizons maybe. There is lively music with the Celtic sandwich: the Welsh "Miniwet Dinbych" followed by the Irish "Leitrim Fancy" jig and the French Canadian reel "Growling Old Man And Grumbling Old Woman". On the other side there is a sad love song, the popular "Dacw Nghariad," or Meriel's slow and moody piece "Arafu" (i.e. slowing down). Allan Yn Y Fan is finishing off with a nice version of the classic children's song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," which might put a smile on your face. But, after all, the whole album does.
By the way, the album title refers to the Mari Lwyd tradition of Glamorgan and Gwent marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring, where a party parades a horse skull from house to house. Revellers and householders are exchanging improvised verses challenging and insulting each other, but usually everything is ending up well with plenty of food and strong liquor. Of course, the Mari Lwyd song is featured here......”
Folk World, February 2012, Tom Keller

“...Medieval...that’s how I’d describe the music of the Welsh band Allan Yn Y Fan on hearing the first track "Death In Ennis/The Audient" of their latest CD. Not in an arcane way but, if you get my drift, it’s the kind of music that you’d expect at a banquet with serving wenches and portly bearded gentry stuffing their faces with chicken drum sticks and the like...not unlike an evening at Fyfe Mansions then? It’s perhaps not the kind of music I’d generally listen to even with the Bellowhead-ish (with additional brass) "Miniwet Dinbych" but the musicians do make a good fist of it. A brief resume of the utilised instrumentation including guitar, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, flute and recorder offers a guide to what to expect performed in a laid-back, ‘session’ kind of way. With the addition of everyone’s vocals (Geoff Cripps, Meriel Field, Chris Jones, Linda Simmonds and Kate Strudwick) this is the kind of recording that throws up occasional gems and one of these is "Twinkle Twinkle (Little Star)" with its unusual setting to a melody by G C Westcott.This is a nicely judged and delivered lullaby that I can imagine would not only go down well with under five’s but also a lot of ‘folk’ audiences. Perhaps "Pwnco" won’t move mountains but it is none the less a nice recording......”
UK Folk Music, February 2012, Pete Fyfe

Lle Arall/Another Place (SPCD1014S, 2010)

“...Hey, how could this not work? The most sensitive and experienced of Welsh bands hold hands — metaphorically speaking — with Delyth Jenkins, finest of harpers, on a clutch of tracks which tell you all you need to understand about either act. The selections are divvied up pretty much equally with spotlights shone where it’s sensible.
The rate at which Allan Yn Y Fan have gone from being just another instrumental Celtic outfit to front-runners is nothing short of astonishing. It was as though membership changes relit their fuse, note please the charge goes on here. The delivery of Kate Strudwick’s tunes is first classwhile Mil Harddach Wyt matches Meriel Field and Jenkins in a harp-voice duel which is intoxicating.
There’s a rousing set of dance melodies as you might expect that threaten my floor boards with wear each time they’re played and of course Miss J’s picking on her solo piece is sublime.
So, then, a mere five tracks, is it enough? For now. Do we want more? You shouldn’t need to ask......”
fRoots Magazine, June 2011, Simon Jones

“...Renowned Welsh folk band Allan Yn Y Fan and leading Welsh Celtic harpist Delyth Jenkins have co-produced a five track EP with traditional songs and tunes as well as the hauntingly beautiful title track, a wonderful air composed by Kate Strudwick (vocals, flute, recorders) that literally transports you to another place. Allan Yn Y Fan also include lead singer and fiddler Meriel Field, Linda Simmonds (vocals, mandolin, bodhràn), Chris Jones (accordion, flute, whistles) and Geoff Cripps (guitar, bass).
Field sings the mesmerizing traditional ballad "Mil Harddach Wyt" to the sensitive harp playing of Jenkins before the others join in. Following up a set of rhythmic choir singing (Hen Ferchetan) and an intoxicating tune (Coleg Y Brifysgol Abertawe), brought forward with passion and virtuosity. Jenkins' solo performance on the amazing instrumental track "Llwytgoed/Owen's Jig/Bedd Y Morwr" is awesome. Last but not least Jenkins adds her superb harp playing to another for me unpronounceable dance set "Mwmpwy Portheinon/Breuddwyd y Wrach/Pibddawns Owen Huw".
An unfortunately short but striking sample of Welsh folk music. Brilliant musicians and fine singers found together to offer a taste of their outstanding music.....”
Folk World, July 2010, Adolf 'gorand' Goriup

“...One of Wales’s top traditional bands, any Allan Yn Y Fan release is always eagerly awaited and five track disc Lle Arall delivers on all fronts. An exuberant new recording of live favourite "Hen Ferchetan/Coleg Y Brifysgol Abertawe" could soundtrack Bruegel, while the closing set of dance tunes will test anyone’s footwork. At the other end of the spectrum are the more reflective tracks, which employ the harp of label mate Delyth Jenkins to exquisite effect. Nowhere is the collaboration more effective than on flautists Kate Strudwick’s shimmering title track.......”
R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine, May/June 2010, Oz Hardwick

“...Even nowadays, it’s a sad fact that Welsh folk music tends to get overlooked with the deluge of more heavily-profiled Irish and Scottish releases under the "Celtic" tag. But Welsh band Allan Yn Y Fan have over the past few years been constant in blazing a trail for their nation, releasing a series of increasingly persuasive discs that started out with the all-instrumental Belonging and then took a giant step forward with their latest full-length CD Trosnant, a significantly assured record on which, with the addition to the ranks of vocalist Meriel Field, they expanded their already impressive musical armoury to include songs too. Now on this new five-track EP, a collaboration with harpist Delyth Jenkins, they’ve come up with a very strong and appealing sonic identity while proving beyond any doubt that the musicians are well able to cope with a goodly range of moods and emotions, from the tenderly evocative title track (a really lovely composition by the band’s flautist Kate Strudwick) to the peerless solo harp set that forms the disc’s centrepiece, all capped off by the invigorating nonsense song Hen Ferchetan and the inventive, foot-tappingly upbeat closing dance-tune medley.
There’s a lot going on instrumentally here, with fiddle, mandolin and guitar and plenty of flute and whistle in the texture underpinned by skilful bass work, and the band’s music-making is characterised by an attractively nimble gait throughout. This EP’s such an attractive proposition that you wonder why it couldn’t have been made to last three times as long.......”
Folk and Roots, April 2010, David Kidman

“...This is a new, 5 track CD, that showcases a wonderful musical partnership between Allan Yn Y Fan and the leading Welsh Celtic harpist Delyth Jenkins. It was recorded in the Abergavenny studio of leading Welsh guitarist and producer - Dylan Fowler. If you feel in need of being transported to ‘another place,’ then this is one you should listen too.......”
Cambria Magazine, May/June 2010

“...Welsh music had a raw deal in the Celtic boom years as Irish, Scots and even Breton and Galician musicians blazed a trail. Allan Yn Y Fan redresses that balance and their significant progress in recent years is particularly encouraging. Now, having already acquired an excellent regular singer in Meriel Field, they team up with harpist Delyth Jenkins to introduce another intriguing new element. Their roots may be in dance but on this gorgeous five track CD they consummately demonstrate the full range of their artistry, from flute player Kate Strudwick’s tender, otherworldly title tune to a bouncy new version of their stage favourite Hen Ferchetan/Coleg Y Brifysgol Abertawe which steadily builds into an irresistible romp. The collaborations with the enchanting Delyth Jenkins work especially well and this CD - which also has an unusually strong sonic quality - will appeal far beyond the Welsh border and indeed the confines of Celtic music lovers......”
Properganda Magazine, April/May 2010, Colin Irwin

Trosnant (SPCD1013S, 2009)

“...This mostly acoustic Welsh band reminds me both of Silly Wizard and early Capercaillie. Like those famed Scottish bands, Allan Yn Y Fan features an instrumental front line based around accordion, fiddle and woodwinds, with bouzouki, guitar, mandolin and bodhrán (with electric bass) making up their rhythm section. This Welsch outfit also features a female lead vocalist – another similarity with Capercaillie.
Trosnant includes plenty of danceable instrumentals, all well played and arranged. Overall, Allan Yn Y Fan favors a smooth ensemble sound, with no one instrumentalist ever hogging too much space. The melody lines generally feature accordion and woodwinds, accordion and fiddle, or all three playing in unison.
Lead vocalist Meriel Field favors a theatrical, almost trained style, which is different from most female “folk” singers. Although that may seem out of place in a folk band, it fits just fine here. For example, Field’s theatrical style is perfect for the exuberant “Moliannwn,” which, believe it or not, sounds like a bluegrass tune gone cabaret with a Welsh accent. The other band members join Field with fine harmonies on choruses.
Over the past year, I’ve listened to much more Welsh music and have tried to place it within the overall “Anglo-Celtic” spectrum. From what I’ve heard, Welsh music has the stateliness and grace of English roots combined with a lightness that reminds me of Irish music....”
SingOut! Magazine, Vol.53 No.4, Summer 2010, Ken Roseman

“...You can probably guess by the title of the album and the name of the band, Allan Yn Y Fan are from the principality of Wales, and quite rightly too, proud of it! I suspect they are based in mid or South Wales, judging by the photography on the cover and inset notes. To me it looks like the Brecon Beacons. Also, the title track for the album, Trosnant ('Across the Stream') is a tune penned by Kate Strudwick when the band was staying in a cottage there rehearsing for the album.
The band is Geoff Cripps (guitar, bass guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, keyboards, djembe and backing vocals); Meriel Field (lead vocals and fiddle); Chris Jones (accordion, flute, low whistle, penny whistle, piano and backing vocals); Linda Simmonds (mandolin, octave mandola, bodhran and harmony vocals); and Kate Strudwick (flute, recorders, penny whistle and harmony vocals).
You will have to be fluent in Welsh to fully appreciate the songs, as all the vocals are sung in Welsh, but Allan Yn Y Fan is a Welsh band, so it does what it says on the tin! The only song I instantly recognised was 'Ar Hyd Y Nos' ('All through the night'). This always makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, especially when I hear it sung by a Welsh male voice choir, but nevertheless the band do a fine job on it as it is softly sung by Meriel.
Overall, the material on the album is well balanced and from a musician's point of view, very well played, plus the chosen material does make the album very entertaining. I particularly like the variation of tunes from soft ballads, a Welsh lullaby, Playford tunes, and a reel. All are played well and quite danceable at tempos that will have you skipping around the kitchen! The band put me in mind of The Time Bandits from Chester.
So if you are up for some 'Cerddoriaeth Geltaidd o Cymru' ('Celtic Music from Wales') then this is an album for you......”
Green Mman Review, Peter Massey

“...Given that leader Geoff Cripps has always had a thing about making Welsh music as well loved as that of other Celtic cousins, the third tip of the hat from his band is a huge step in the right direction. By concentrating on core Welsh material, as well as the addition of new fiddler Meriel Field, they’ve added a briskness and crispness that’s often sorely lacking in many of the journeymen releases their country men churn out. Thumbs up says I!.....”
fRoots Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010

“...Allan Yn Y Fan have a new vocalist, Meriel Field, and for the first time the band has songs on an album. The first we hear of her is on ‘Deio I Dywyn’ where she belts out the song as though it had done her a personal affront. Next is the aforementioned ‘Lisa Lân’ which she sings as sweetly as you could wish, as she does ‘Ar Hyd Y Nos’. Hers is a voice of great flexibility that fits in perfectly with a band equally adept at getting a ceilidh on its feet as caressing an audience with gentle Welsh lullaby. With accordion, fiddle, flute, bouzouki, mandolin, whistles, guitar and keyboards at their disposal the band can turn their hand to virtually any style. They even bring a string quartet for ‘Ar Hyd Y Nos’. Playing mostly Welsh tunes, they do nick a couple of tunes for ‘Abbots Bromley Horn Dance Tune/Jump At The Sun’. If you’re looking for something different in your traditional music I heartily recommend Trosnant.....”
R2 Rock'n'Reel Magazine, 4* Review, Nov/Dec 2009, Dai Jeffries

“...Celtic music from Wales sums this up perfectly, full of power, love and fun with a solid backbone of that old Celtic magic running through the hills and streams of Wales. A near perfect mix of tunes and songs performed with real drive by the five piece. It never gets predictable in any of it's twelve tracks...”
Spiral Earth website, 4* Review, September 2009

“...Already acclaimed for their joyous interpretations of some of Wales’ best traditional tunes and the fine compositions of its band members, now Allan Yn Y Fan turn their attention to some of the Welsh tradition’s finest songs. With new singer/fiddle player Meriel Field, Allan Yn Y Fan now add their vocal harmonies to her exquisite lead voice. From the delicate sound of a Welsh lullaby “Si Hei Lwli Mabi” to AYYF’s distinctive interpretation of one of Wales best-loved melodies “Ar Hyd Y Nos”, each of the twelve tracks on “Trosnant” makes a profound impression. As on previous albums, the band members showcase their multi-instrumental skills throughout, and on the title track (composed by Kate Strudwick) stretch out to include a string quartet! Chris Jones (accordionist) has composed three tunes for this release including a spirited melody for the band’s caller - Ms. Gina Morgan. In summation this is the richest, most wide-ranging and complete album from this highly talented quintet....”
System Records website, August 2009

“...EXPANSIVE CELTICSMS A five-piece Gwent-based act, Allan Yn Y Fan are known for keenly maintaining the fine Welsh instrumental tradition, but with the addition of singer/fiddle player Meriel Field they branch out into songs on this, their excellent latest album release. Lisa Lan is a thing of beauty, a sad tale of lost love that highlights the group's mastery with a lament in a wistful mood. The Tressle Bridge/Tenpenny Bit/Thunderhead set, on the other hand, blends Welsh and Irish flavours to considerable effect and adds an invigorating upward swing once it hits the latter section. True carriers of a mature and expanding Celtic style, the group are well worth checking out live or via recordings whenever possible. ....”
Musician Magazine (For Members of Musician Union), Autumn 2009

“...SOUTH Wales' Allan yn y Fan have always had a duel identity as both a dance and a concert band. Trosnant shifts the balance. When they recruited fiddler Meriel Field, they got a bonus. She's not only an able instrumentalist: her crystal-clear voice adds songs to the AYYF repertoire for the first time. Apart from the haunting lullaby Si Hei Lwli Mabi, the songs are all old chestnuts; among them are the tragic Lisa Lan, the raucous Moliannwn and even Ar Hyd y Nos gets pulled off the shelf. On the instrumental front, John Kirkpatrick's quirky Jump at the Sun gets an airing, but generally the focus is on pan-Celtic. Rachel Dafydd Ifan is one of the Livelier dances from the Welsh repertoire, contrasting with the more stately Abergenni. A Brian McNeill reel is no bad thing and Grey Larsen's Thunderbird - once a staple for Scottish bands - gets a welcome revival. Add an Irish tune, a composition from Breton guitarist Gilles le Bigot, as well as original pieces from the bands accordionist Chris Jones and the title track, by their flautist Kate Strudwick. All in all a satisfying album that will do AYYF no harm at all....”
TAPLAS MAGAZINE, August 2009, Keith Hudson

“...Another solid offering from this much loved, home grown quintet hailed as the best Celtic band of the 21st century. This third album is a raw hybrid of Irish and Welsh folk that utilises a smattering of outside influences to provide an edge. Worth a mention is the quirly "Jump at the sun": this English tune is amusingly tricky to pigeonhole. From sprightly innocent jigs through introspective laments to medieval style ditties, Trosnant (so named after the recording location) provides a rich musical journey....”
Buzz Magazine, 4* Review, August 2009, LG

“...Is that a voice I hear? Surely this can't be Welsh twmpath (Ceilidh - Ed.) band Allan Yn Y Fan. Since their last album Belonging, the foursome - guitarist Geoff Cripps, accordion player Chris Jones, flautist Kate Strudwick and mandolin player Linda Simmonds - have recruited singer and fiddle player Meriel Field. It's her vocal influence that's added a new variety to this album, clear and delicate on the traditional Welsh ballads Lisa Lan and Ar Hyd Y Nos, where the band is joined by a string section. To anyone who has seen the band live in the last year many of the 12 tracks here will be familiar. It's a mix of traditional Welsh jigs like the Captain Pugwash-style opener Pibdawns Gwyr / Y Gelynnen; rare Celtic gems such as the foot-tapping spring song Moliannwn; original tunes like Chris Jones' lively Castell Thomas and Kate Strudwick's haunting Trosnant. There are even a few English tunes thrown in too, namely Abbots Bromley Horn Dance Tune / Jump at thhe Sun, which is described in the sleeve notes as "Addams Family meets the Gremlins"....”
Properganda Magazine, August 2009, Alison Stokes

“...The Welsh version of traditional music, or at least Allan Yn Y Fan's (FW#33) version of Welsh music, is the sun permeating through the bleak British weather, even on a sad subject such as "Lisa Lan", and if it's for the comment no hope of a second chance with this Lisa, she dies even before the song starts. The spring song "Moliannwn" has musical loans of "All Around My Hat". "Ar Hyd Y Nos" (All Through the Night) is one of the first songs from the British Isles I ever encountered, I first saw it decades ago in one of my parents' school books. Newbridge's Allan Yn Y Fan features Chris Jones (accordion, flute), Linda Simmonds (mandolin), Geoff Cripps (guitar), Kate Strudwick (flute), and - for the very first time in the band's history - a singer, Meriel Field, who also plays the fiddle. So Allan Yn Y Fan manages to add another dimension to their already splendid work....”
Folk World, July 2009, Tom Keller

Belonging (SPCD1112S, 2006)

“...Specialists in (but in no way limited by) traditional Welsh dance music; the latest release from Gwent based quintet Allan Yn Y Fan (Out In The Van) sees them stamping their own identity on a collection of tunes from Wales and beyond. Widely travelled, they constantly reference and add elements of the music they encounter to create a varied and enjoyable mix of traditional tunes and band compositions that, although it remains firmly rooted in the Welsh tradition, is also healthily outward looking. The band displays a healthy disregard for the vagaries of fashion - they admit that their ‘Celtic Moods’ version of the jig ‘The Road To Lisdoonvarna’ is as cheesy as it gets - and of their critics; their previous album drew accusations of 'creeping Hibernianism' and they’ve responded (to their immense credit) with a set of three Irish polkas that they’ve titled ‘Galloping Hibernianism’. It’s this open mindedness, together with a genuine sense that they are really having a ball, which makes this such an enjoyable listen and whether they’re pulling out all the stops as on the ‘Morgan Rhatlar/Lacken House’ set or coming over all introspective with Kate Strudwick’s haunting ‘Girl On A Rock’, they display a refreshing honesty and a real passion for their music....”
Rock 'n Reel, June 2007, Dave Haslam

“...We paid our first visit to Ireland in 1996, remembers Welsh band Allan Yn Y Fan, which resulted in us believing that our Welsh music could stand up and be counted alongside the better known Irish tradition. Accordingly, five-piece band Allan Yn Y Fan formed in the Gwent town of Newbridge with the intention of bringing traditional and folk music to modern audiences. Their second album "Belonging" features traditional Welsh tunes, their own, some Shetland tunes, and an Irish polka set called "Galloping Hibernianism". Indeed, Allan Yn Y Fan might easily be accused of the creeping hibernianism prevalent in Gwent. The sound reminds me a lot of Irish bands. But who cares when the music is brilliant. One of the original tunes is a klezmerized waltz written for a German hostelry when Allan Yn Y Fan was touring the country. The Welsh town of Caerphilly is twinned with Ludwigsburg, and they met German folk band Die Geyers who wrote the tune "Allan Yn Y Fan" for them. Geoff returned the compliment with the tune "Gorymdaith y Geyers". It might turn out that Allan Yn Y Fan soon also may be accused of creeping teutonism. However, I said it before, if it's brilliant....”
Folk World, May 2007, Tom Keller

“...This likeable cosmopolitan album contains instrumental folk dance music of a Welsh internationalist flavour. Aptly named Allan Yn Y Fan (Out in the Van), they’ve toured all over Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Germany, and absorbed the music of these places into their own distinctive style and repertoire. The band don’t like being told what they can or can’t play. After their local South Wales media accused them of "creeping Hibernianism", the band promptly created the most Irish set they could, and called it Galloping Hibernianism! The band plays Shetland tunes Spootoskerry/Willafjord with wit and a sense of fun. They attack the well-known Welsh tune Hen Ferchetan with restless gusto, and they give a wild Russian makeover to what was previously an innocuous Welsh dance tune, Coleg Brifysgol Abertawe. I especially recommend the rollicking dance set Morgan Rhatlar/Lacken House: the first tune is Welsh, the second an Irish-sounding composition by Chris. This red bull of a dance set deserves to be adopted by folk dance bands everywhere. The band’s own compositions are a major feature of the album. Kate’s Girl On A Rock is an elegant, plaintive, stately tune for fiddle and recorder, while the use of clarinet and mandolin in her composition Amazing Grapes gives this waltz an attractive Kletzmer texture. Gorymdaith Y Geyers was composed by Geoff for the German medieval-rock band The Geyers and the electric keyboards give the tune a Mike Oldfield quality that is no doubt still popular in Germany. Not every single track is to my taste, however, the electric keyboard comes over all 1980s New Romantic on Road To Lisdoonvarna. But if you want a great wedding band, book these guys. They do fun, they do frenetic, they do slow romantic. They probably do Bar Mitzvahs too...”
FROOTS MAGAZINE, November 2006, Paul Matheson

“...Another of Steam Pie Records' releases is the latest album by Caerffili based folk group Allan Yn Y Fan. Entitled Belonging it's a collection of lively folk tunes from Wales and beyond, as well as original compositions by various band members. I especially liked the collaboration with the Geyers of Ludwigsburg, a town twinned with Caerffili, and the band's tribute to the most important meal of the day on "Brenhines Y Brecwast/Tywysog y Brecwast" (Queen and Prince of the Breakfast!)...”
PLANET MAGAZINE, October 2006, Iwan Llwyd

“...Episode 2 in the history of one of Wales' foremost twmpath bands, Belonging consolidates Allan Yn Y Fan's rhythmic, no-nonsense approach to Welsh dance music, from the jollyjig/hornpipe/polka set Trip I'r Gogledd that opens, through to the catchy reworking of the old song Hen Ferchetan. Much of the material is drawn from Robin Huw Bowen's pocket-book collections and Cadw Twmpath, but there is new, maturely-composed home-spun material here too. Particularly impressive are three waltz interludes written by various band members, notably Geoff Cripps' haunting, keyboard-led Mlle. Eliane Price. Whilst fiddle and piano accordion regularly fill gaps in the shedfuls of driving mandolin/mandola backing, it's often whistle and flute that come out atop the mix. There are also electrical strands woven through this tapestry and the fine blend of acoustic woodwind with keyboard electronics on Emma Trend's Postman is particularly effective. Credit is due throughout to Dylan Fowler for skilful engineering and co-production. I'm honoured that the term "creeping hibernianism", I jokingly applied to the band's debut CD has fostered the title Galloping Hibernianism for a trilogy of Kerry polkas that fairly rattles along, led by unison whistles and flute. And Chris Jones has spent long enough over the water to be able to compose Lacken House, a cracking slide. The last trick in AYYF's Hibernian canon is the regulation of the reel Road to Lisdoonvarna to the pace of a slow air - a tasteful closer...”
TAPLAS MAGAZINE, October 2006, Mike Greenwood

“...Having recently received the promo of Belonging for 100.7 Highlands FM, I can say it is great to have a “Celtic” band of Welsh origin. The album, Belonging, can stand alongside many of its peers’ releases and has elements of World music infused into it too.The band plays tightly and the use of traditional instruments adds to the overall sound.An album to be heard!...”
Tony Bates, 100.7 Highland FM (Maldon, Victoria, Australia), July 2006

“...Spirited, cheery and creative Celtic trad, with a couple of romantic interludes, on the second album from the top Welsh twmpath band....”
Radio 2, Folk and Acoustic, July 2006

“...Hearty congratulations too on the CD, with such nice variety, wonderful arrangements, and good 'bounce'! I was very impressed (being the old trad. fogey that I am!) with the very subtle, suitable, and sensitive use of the synth. Well done! (Really nice design too.)....”
Robin Huw Bowen, July 2006

Off the Map (SPCD1010S, 2003)

“...This first recording by Allan Yn Y Fan is a varied selection of mostly Welsh traditional instrumental music with some Irish and original tunes mixed in, as well. The arrangements and pace are nicely varied, with a mix of accordion, flutes, mandolin, fiddle, whistle and keyboards. Standout sets include "B De B/Bear Dance", on which the use of recorder gives the piece a medieval feel, and the closing tunes learned from the Battlefield Band that brings things to a rousing close. Welsh traditional music has a sound all its own, and this is as good an introduction to the music as I've heard. Recommended...”
DIRTY LINEN MAGAZINE, February 2005, Jim Lee

“...Off The Map is an instrumental set, based around the basic tenets of Celtic trad songwriting, but which swings pleasingly from slow-moving to fast-paced, danceable tunes....A range of instruments is employed which create an array of moving songs which continually surprise with new sounds and moods...”
SOUND NATION REVIEW, February 2004

“...Since the pioneering spirit shown by Welsh band Ar Log back in the 70s there has been a gradual rise in the interest in Welsh music with several fine bands emerging over the years. However, it has been more of a trickle than the deluge provided by their Celtic counterparts Ireland and Scotland. Here to restore the balance a little are Allan Yn Y Fan, a cracking young Welsh band whose wholly instrumental album provides a solid base from which to advance their ambitions in the future. They are a five-piece, two lads and three lasses, who play an abundance of acoustic instruments, whose strength lies both in their instrumental ability and in their arrangements of the tunes which are first class....”
FOLK ON TAP, January 2004

“...Jolly offering from dedicated southern Welsh instrumental crew under the guidance of Geoff Cripps, whose tumbling, sensitive keyboards set the tone with Pibddawns Na Nog. Sensitive production from Dylan Fowler and skilful playing, especially Emma Trend on fiddle, adds to the appeal...”
FROOTS MAGAZINE, October 2003

“...This mix of high-energy reels with slow airs and waltzes from Gwent’s twmpath favourites makes for a satisfying debut. With an orchestral battery of flutes, whistles, strings, accordion and keyboards to hand, they largely avoid the temptation to throw everything into the mix. Allan Yn Y Fan are openly honest about any Irish leanings and their bold experiment of playing Humours of Whiskey and The Butterfly simultaneously is a delightful success...”
TAPLAS MAGAZINE, September 2003, Mike Greenwood

Catch a Celtic Gem
“...One of the best Celtic bands in Wales. The rich sound is created by the band of five all of whom are multi-instrumentalists. They are clearly comfortable in each other’s musical company as the tracks of Off The Map sing with an appreciation of the ages. It’s stirring stuff and anyone who has five minutes for folk music and South Wales should order a copy now. The sense of place is overwhelming and it feels like even the dead of the towns should come out and see Allan Yn Y Fan when they pass by...”
SOUTH WALES ARGUS NEWSPAPER, September 2003, Matthew Blythe

“...The Welsh have been the poor relations of the Celtic scene, but this debut album goes beyond novelty. With a mix of flute, accordion, mandolin, fiddle and guitar they play plenty of their own tunes, with a full sound and an unhurried approach. Theirs is a traditional style that’s reassuringly rooted in a lost age...”
MOJO MAGAZINE, 3* Review, August 2003, Colin Irwin