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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.

Stacey Blythe
Where the Veil is Thin

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Composer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist, Stacey Blythe has performed all over the UK and in America. She writes regularly for Welsh National Opera's engagement department, and has been nominated for a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Composer Award. She performs with the Welsh bands Ffynnon and Elfen and has toured and recorded extensively as a composer and performer with artists including Maria Hayes, Dylan Fowler, Julie Murphy and Meredith Monk. Originally from Birmingham, she lives in Cardiff and is a fluent Welsh speaker.

https://www.staceyblythe.com

Listen to 'Where the Veil is Thin'... 

Where the Veil is Thin – composer's note

When I started working on this piece, I threw my net very wide, and contacted many local environment and wildlife organisations. I went on solo walks in the area to get a feel for the place and then began trying to connect with people there. It was during the initial lockdown, so difficult to meet with people to record them, but I did receive invaluable feedback and personal responses to the question “what does water mean to you as you walk outside for rest and relaxation?” (many referring to the waterways around Cwmbran, including to Afon Lwyd, Sor Brook, Candwr Brook, and others).

Carole Jacob, the organiser for Friends of the Earth in Cwmbran, was immediately very enthusiastic, and we met many times for long walks and long conversations about the beautiful countryside and wildlife of Cwmbran which she loves and campaigns for. She introduced me to cyclists, canal enthusiasts, walkers, canoeists and other local people on our walks together.

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Cwmbran Boating Lake

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Stacey Blythe

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Afon Lwyd River

Out of this rich material came my final composition. The jewel at the centre is a poem by Carole describing the treasure and power of her local countryside in Cwmbran. I finish her lyric with a final stanza of my own reflecting all the wonderful experiences I have had creating a 20-minute through-composed original sound journey for this fantastic project.

 

This work has changed how I work as a composer… I now have skills I did not possess before and I am truly grateful for this magical opportunity.

Stacey talked to us about the original impetus for her piece and how it led her to explore new creative avenues...

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