CALAN ARE BACK WITH A NEW CD - and announce a festival filled Summer!
Members of Calan are launching their second album Jonah on the Sain label after huge critical acclaim for their first CD and an international touring schedule.
It is their avowed intent to give traditional music in Wales a huge kick up the backside, but in a St David’s Day message they say they cannot do it alone.
Fiddle player Angharad Sian says: “The only way tradition can develop is if there’s a lot of people competing together to be the better band.
“There isn’t really another young band working in this way in Wales. Even though it’s good because we get all the gigs, I don’t think it’s a healthy way to be. I’d love it if there were loads of bands – you’re also creating a scene then.”
And harpist Alaw Jones, who shares harping duties with her sister Llinos Jones, believes Calan’s success should be encouraging other young musicians. “When the younger people are listening to us I want them to think ‘We should try a band’,” she said.
Calan have been building up a big following since 2010’s release of Bling which has already introduced a new generation of music fans to Welsh traditional music – in Wales and well beyond. Audiences in Belgium, Russia, Italy and Austria as well as all over the UK have given them a terrific reception.
Main-stage appearances at festivals have seen audiences voting them to the top of many exit polls. After their triumphant return from the Womex festival in Denmark they have had many offers from top agents in Europe who want to include them on their roster.
This year (2012) they have more European dates, will star at Fairport Convention’s Cropredy festival in front of 25,000 and already have television and radio gigs lined up.
Much of the band’s success began after the success of Bling which attracted great reviews from the music press and from an unlikely source. The Daily Mirror summed it up by saying that the music on Bling was “played with the grace, daring and sheer joy”. The Belfast Telegraph got the idea, too, saying “folk just got a kick up of the Noughties”.
For Jonah, Calan have again sought the production of Martin Allcock, the multi-instrumental wizzard now living near Harlech in Gwynedd.
And he has given the album a more contemporary edge, building on a couple of tracks on Bling by using bass and drums, and even a vocoder.
“Controversial?” says vocalist and accordion player Bethan Rhiannon. “Some may say so, I suppose. But Welsh music has always been inclusive and ready to develop. We’re just taking it into the second decade of the 21st century with a mixture of traditional tunes and a set of originals. There is a huge canon of traditional Welsh music but there’s no reason not to add to it, to develop it, to refresh it. “
“That’s what we do,” says Patrick Rimes in between remembering whether to play his fiddle, bagpipes, pibgorn, whistle or trombone. “We’re not missionaries; we’re musicians and entertainers and if we can be musical and entertain ourselves, then we can take audiences with us. It’s worked so far.”
Audiences will see Calan on the road with two new members – Sam Humphries is joining on guitar to replace founding member Chris ab Alun and Alex Moller adds percussion to the line up.
Calan’s festival filled summer!
Calan will be appearing at the following festivals this Summer:
· The Gate to Southwell Folk Festival, Nottinghamshire : 1 & 2 June
(with Jools Holland and his rhythm and blues orchestra)
· 13th Fishguard Folk Festival, Sir Benfro : 4 June
· Llangollen International Eisteddfod : 6 July
· Wickham Festival 2012 : 3 August
(with The Proclaimers)
· Festival Interceltique Lorient, Brittany : 7-9 August
· Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, nr Banbury, Oxfordshire : 10 August
· Tegeingl – the festival of hidden folk, near Mold, North East Wales : 17 August