Aberjaber specialised in Welsh and other Celtic melodies as well as original compositions of their own, and they were pioneers in Welsh folk music in the way they introduced a wide variety of instruments into their work. Over the years they have played in various venues in Wales (a notable highlight was Swansea’s Celtic Festival) and North America,(the Oatlands Celtic Festival being the highlight), as well as tours of Italy and Ireland.
The group has now disbanded, and the members have moved on to other musical adventures, but the influence of Aberjaber on Welsh folk music is still palpable. The members of this folk ensemble were Peter Stacey (flute, whistles, Welsh pipes and bodhran – amongst many others) and Ben Asare (a wide variety of percussion and other instruments) – Ben replaced Stevie Wishart who was a member of the original Aberjaber, playing the fiddle and other strings; and Delyth Evans, who plays Celtic harp and cello.
‘This is a splendidly assured album from a trio of Welsh or honorary Welsh musicians. Aberjaber are Peter Stacey (Welsh pipes, flute, gaito galega, soprano sax), Delyth Evans (Celtic harp) and Ben Asare (cello and percussion), and their lyrical playing of traditional and original Celtic tunes compels attention. Few comparisons come to mind – Pykewackett, perhaps, but leaner and more carnivorous.With eleven instrumental tracks and no songs, the imagination is free to saunter for fifty-three minutes. For me, the gentle percussion, harp cadences and simple cello told of rain in the mountains, and rushing streams swelling a winding river. And the verve of the wind instruments brought me to a sunlit Welsh estuary with ships sailing on bold voyages to other Celtic lands. Well, buy it yourself and conjure your own images! There are tunes here from Ireland, Scotland, Britanny and Galicia as well as Wales. Sometimes three nations are represented in one set. North America is more or less claimed as a Celtdom too: the opening tune celebrates Madoc, a Welsh voyager who is said to have settled there three centuries before Columbus. That tune, like the superb “The Bread Man” and several others, is written by Peter Stacey. Perhaps he is too dominant in the arrangements, but his clean, sharp piping, the jazz-tinged freedom of his sax playing and his pan-Celtic musical curiosity provide surprises throughout. What’s a gaito galega? The liner notes don’t say, but it makes a grand skirling sound. Galician bagpipes? Aberjaber are coming to my local folk club soon, and I’ll be there to find out.’
Tony Hendry; http://www.folkmusic.net/
- THE WINDS OF CHANGE/MRS MACLEOD/HELA'R WIWER/FFIDL-FFADL
- Y CREFFTWR/KOST AR CHOAT/WHELAN'S JIG
- FFERM CADWGAN/THE BREAD MAN
- MACHYNLLETH/PWT AR Y BYS/LLANOFER REEL
- TAITH MADOG
- DARREN UCHAF/MAISIE SMITH
- THE SINGING LINE/CAN Y GARREG/THE HUMOURS OF BALLYLOUGHLIN
- TAITH MADOG
- THE RAMBLING PITCHFORK