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Arts & Health initiative commissioning a cohort of artists to make bespoke music and sound installations for the multi-faith chapel at the Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa. Funded by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, in collaboration with Studio Response.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins

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Swansea-based mother and daughter duo Delyth (harp) and Angharad (fiddle) started performing together in 2007. They are mostly known for playing and composing music in the traditional idiom, and have separately been at the forefront of folk music in Wales through bands such as Calan and Aberjaber, as well as performing internationally as soloists. They have recorded studio albums, have made extensive live performances and had numerous radio broadcasts (including BBC Radio 2, 3 and 6 Music).

Listen to 'Cynefin'... 

Cynefin composer's note

Cynefin, a Welsh word that is difficult to translate, conveys the idea of usual abode or habitat, a place where everything around you feels right and welcoming. This piece of music is rooted in the area around this hospital, the area that is in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board. We were delighted to enlist the help of local choir Côr Aduniad, who happily rose to the challenge of recording at home (necessary because of the Coronavirus restrictions in place at the time) and provided vocal lines for our piece.

The sounds of nature, recorded in the Llandogo area and at Cleddon Shoots, can be heard as a backdrop to the piece. You can hear the sounds of birds and running water which we recorded at Cleddon Shoots near Llandogo, and the sound of trains and platform announcements all help to root us in our Cynefin. We included a recording from the NHS at 70 archive: Ruth Edwards, who was working in a public health laboratory in 1948, remembers meeting Aneurin Bevan and asking for his autograph when he visited Llanfrechfa Grange Hospital in the early days of the NHS.

The music is flowing, with rich harmonic structures played on the harp. As practitioners of yoga, the pair are very aware of the calming and healing effects of humming; Côr Aduniad recorded the sounds of humming based on the blocks of harmonic structure composed by Delyth, and this forms the basis of the piece. Interwoven into this harmonic fabric the choir sing a motif from the well-known traditional song ‘Ar Hyd y Nos’. This is pulled and stretched electronically in such a way that it is transformed into an ocean of ethereal waves and echoes, transporting the listener into a liberating and peaceful haven.

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Delyth & Angharad walking across Llandogo

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Transport for Wales network map

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Angharad recording in the woods

You will also hear Angharad playing her own Jig Llanfrechfa Grange on the fiddle, giving a feeling of lightness and joy. The jig could be played on any instrument, and be used to accompany dancing – Angharad has notated it, and it is available for others to use and play as a legacy of the project.

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Delyth and Angharad joined us in the studio for a chat about their approach to the project and how the barriers of Covid presented challenges when creating the work.

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