Five years on from their first gig Pedair and Sain are proud to be able to share their first album, Mae ’na Olau – an album inspired by the current state of the world, the resilience of nature, the folk traditions of Wales and the simple virtues of friendship and hope.
Their first recordings, having emerged during lockdown, in 2020, gained instant popularity, with their sweeping harmonies, fresh interpretations of the Welsh folk tradition, and intimacy of songwriting unexpectedly becoming a source of comfort and hope to many (including Pedair themselves!) The five songs recorded at home during lockdown are included on the album and the eight remaining new songs have developed and formed more recently, all combining as an unified collection of folk and original songs in the Welsh language, displaying Pedair’s unique gifts as song-tellers and their deftness as songwriters. With new arrangements on harps, guitar, piano, accordion and percussion, they bring to life traditional material whilst at the same time form their own, new songs of experience. With musical contributions by Aled Wyn Hughes (bass) and Dafydd Hughes (drums and percussion) old and new come together to forge the unique voice of the female in the Wales of our time.
A strong feeling of belonging and of Welsh identity flows through the album, with the title track, ‘Mae ’na Olau’, exploring the idea of a female hero saving our nation with her songs leading the way. In the same way the strong beats of ‘Iaith’ celebrates the fact that the Welsh language will continue to thrive and keep the heart of our nation beating for centuries to come, while ‘Dawns y Delyn’ is a mystical musical appreciation of the harp, its music, and a nation’s spiritual connection to the landscape. ‘Philomela’ is an ancient and very unusual Welsh folk song, full of references to the Greek Gods while describing the beauty of birdsong and also included on the album is a new arrangement of the sea shanty ‘Teg oedd yr Awel’, one of the many songs from the J Glyn Davies collection, and a song glorifying the most famous ship in the Welsh folk tradition, Fflat Huw Puw. ‘Siwgwr Gwyn’ is almost a contemporary lullaby while humour and the strong will of the Welsh woman are represented in ‘Cân y Sbif’ and ‘Marged Fwyn’ – the ‘sbif’ vows to never work again and Marged can break human bones, scare holiday makers, sort out the troubles of any parliament and light the way to freedom!
The album was co-produced by Pedair and Aled Wyn Hughes. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Pedair from the beginning”, says Aled, “…their inventiveness and ability to bring together many different aspects and fragments of folk and traditional music into an accomplished unified whole is remarkable and rare.” In the same way Pedair have appreciated his subtlety, his attention to detail and all his musical advice whilst at the studio.
By bringing together these new songs, recorded at Stiwdio Sain between September 2021 and April 2022, and the first songs recorded at home during lockdown (Cân Crwtyn y Gwartheg, Cân y Clo, Llon yr Wyf, Cân i Rhodri Dafydd and Saith Rhyfeddod), this album is a record of Pedair’s journey so far – a journey which thrives on collaboration and the thrill of live performance.
Artists’ website: www.pedair.cymruwww.pedair.cymru
‘Cân y Clo’ – live:
UK tour dates
10.04 – Wales International Harp Festival, Galeri, Caernarfon
29.04 – Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli
01.05 – Llanfihangel ar Arth
09.06 – Neuadd Ogwen, Bethesda
16.06 – Theatr Fach, Llangefni
23.06 – Theatr Felinfach
29.07 – Cambridge Folk Festival
05.08 – Curating and performing in the National Eisteddfod’s opening concert in Pwllheli.
25.08 – St Hywyn Church, Aberdaron
02.09 – Fishguard and West Wales International Music Festival
22.09 – North Wales International Music Festival
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