Traditional Welsh music group Carreg Lafar (which means speaking stones) has been formed in Cardiff way back in 1993. For more than two decades then, they have dealt with the distinct cultural identity of Wales while perking up their ears to the sounds of their Celtic neighbours. This added up to a critically acclaimed ensemble sound. Lead vocalist is Linda Owen Jones with her captivating perfect alto. She is supported by high-octane fiddler Rhian Evan-Jones, fire-breathing flutist James Rourke and piercing piper/pibgorn player Antwn Owen Hicks, the latter being one of the pioneers resurrecting the piping tradition of Wales. The four are made complete by the subtle backing of Danny Kilbride on guitar. Their latest offering is another selection of ten sumptous tracks. The “Aur” (gold) album kicks off with a well-known Welsh folk song about the carefree life of a bird, “Aderyn Bach” (Little Bird), and so is the music followed by two lively slip jigs: lilting and warbling. “Y Cadno” (The Fox) is a nonsense song about a cunning beast. Furthermore, there is a couple of love songs, a lullaby and a Cerdd Dant song, “Titrwm Tatrwm” (pitter-patter), the latter being the Welsh variant of Scottish puirt à beul and Irish lilting. At the instrumental side, Carreg Lafar is full of ideas too. I recommend listening to the “Tom, Dic a Chwrw” set, a prancing jig and slipjig followed by a sprinting polka. Last but not least, “Naid Tros Lannerch” (A leap over a glade) originally is a fast reel in a major key, here arranged as a spellbinding slow reel in a minor setting.
© Walkin’ T:-)M