Delyth Jenkins,
(Steam Pie, 2006)

With Aros, Delyth Jenkins has created a work of resplendent beauty -- a collection that finds Jenkins' own compositions alongside some fine interpretations of traditional Welsh tunes. Jenkins' harp is joined by the fiddle of her daughter, Angharad, on about half of the tracks, whilst her other daughter, Branwen, contributes flute to one track.

It is of course Jenkins' own harp that beguiles throughout Aros, whether it be with a hypnotic serenity and tenderness, or bursting with flirtatious charisma. The opening tunes, "Hir Pob Aros/O'r Diwedd (Every Waiting is Long/At Last)," were written by Jenkins herself after a significant break from music where she neither learnt new tunes nor wrote anything -- there is a palpable sense of relief in the exquisite melodies here, and you would do well to find a more enchanting and beautiful piece of music.

There is both a sparkling enthusiasm and intense mournfulness that permeates the tunes "A Veritable Feast/Digestif," with Peter Stacey's tenor saxophone providing added passion and resonance, whilst the eclectic rhythms of Dylan Fowler's darabuka delightfully punctuate the livelier moments.

A number of traditional tunes are particularly enjoyable; the rhythmic, fiddle-driven "Rachel Dafydd Ifan" gathers a particularly pleasing momentum, with the sombre fiddle played over a delightfully undulating harp melody, whilst the harp, flute and fiddle combine in effortless splendour on the languid "Mil Harddach Wyt."

Four tracks included on Aros are from music played by Jenkins in an adaptation of George Borrow's Wild Wales by the Swansea-based Fluellen Theatre Company, including a spellbinding rendition of the traditional Welsh air "Ar Hyd Y Nos (All Through The Night)."

From start to finish, this is a beautiful album, brimming with poise and emotion and providing the most pleasurable of listening experiences, time after time.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Mike Wilson

17 May 2008

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