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Berkeley Ensemble perform
Mark Bowden's inspirational work: 
The Mare's Tale

Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Thursday 28 February 2019

Performed by the Berkeley Ensemble

The Mare's Tale is a spoken narrative set to music. The text is a specially commissioned lyrical drama from Damian Walford Davies inspired by the series of drawings of the same title by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.


The drama centres around an ancient Welsh midwinter wassailing tradition, the Mari Lwyd, or Grey Mare. Essentially a puppet figure composed of a horse’s skull with ribbons and bells and draped in a sheet, the Mari turned out with groups of night-time mummers at the turn of the year requesting entrance to homes through the medium of song.


I was commissioned to write the music in response to the new text and existing artwork. Damian’s tale explores the psychological haunting of the central character, Morgan Seyes, following the return to his childhood village in later life. My score, inspired by the original drawings, explores Morgan’s tortured inner world. The music frequently acts as a counterpoint to the text and is essentially a set of variations on a Mari Lwyd folk song, traditionally sung by revellers as they demanded entrance to homes along their route.


Since developing the work with the original creative team, I am thrilled to be working with the Berkeley Ensemble to bring this work to public performance for the first time. I hope audiences enjoy exploring, alongside my music, the dark beauty of the original drawings and the beautiful text created in response to them.

Mark Bowden

More information on the performance can be found HERE.

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Artwork by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Both Fall from the Mari Lwyd series, The Mare's Tale. 

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Composer Mark Bowden.

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