CLERA – the Society formed to encourage the playing of traditional Welsh instruments – celebrated it’s 10th anniversary in November 2006 with a concert in Caernarfon’s Galeri by 40 instrumentalists who were the product of CLERA’s workshops. The word “clera” refers to the tradition of the travelling poet minstrels (“Y gler”), and somebody suggested “Y Glerorfa” as a possible name for the ad hoc ensemble of musicians who played at Caernarfon – a play on the Welsh word for orchestra (“cerddorfa”). And the name has stuck!
The success of that first concert led to further performances, reaching a highlight at the Interceltique Festival at Lorient in Brittany in the summer of 2008, where the response of both audiences and Press was very warm indeed. In April 2009, when they returned to Galeri, Sain recorded the concert live, and from it emerged the first successful CD.
Clerorfa’s aims are to breathe new life into the traditional folk melodies of Wales, and to present them in a simple and no-nonsense way, but with the advantage of an ensemble of instruments and voices. For Clerorfa encompasses all aspects of the Welsh folk music tradition, including folk singing, Cerdd Dant (the singing of poetry to harp accompaniment) and clog dancing. And the orchestra itself contains an array of harps, flutes, fiddles, pipes, hornpipes, and the occasional use of bass guitar and percussion.
There is no doubt that Clerorfa has succeeded to bring the Welsh folk tradition to life, and not least as there are bands like Calan who have emerged in its wake as trailblazers of the contemporary Welsh folk scene.
- ALY BRECHDAN (CAN CRWTYN Y GWARTHEG/ALY GROGAN/Y GWNINGEN GYMREIG/RACHEL TY CAM/DIFYRRWCH GWYR DYFI)
- YMADAWIAD Y BRENIN
- SET JEFF (Y PIBYDD DU/Y LILI)
- HEN FFEFRYNNAU (TON GAROL/CADER IDRIS/Y FERCH O BLWY PENDERYN/YN IACH ITI GYMRU)
- ENCORE: Y DERWYDD
- SET JEFF 2 (BREUDDWYD DAFYDD RHYS/MELIN LLYNNON/JIG MABSANT/JIGOLO)
- GWREIDDIAU (GLAN CAMLAD/LLWYN ONN/RHIF WYTH)
- Y GEINACH LAS (HOBED O HILION/HELA'R GEINACH/Y GOFID GLAS)
- CARDIS (2 GARDI 3/2 GARDI 2)
- MORGAWR (MORGAWR/SWING SLING/NOS SADWRN BACH)