Llio Rhydderch,
(Fflach, 2002)

Ynys Enlli, or Bardsea Island, is located at the tip of one of the most remote and beautiful peninsulas in Wales, the Lleyn, heartland of the Welsh language and culture. Beautiful Enlli, the traditional home of 10,000 saints, shimmers off in the distance from the Welsh outpost village of Aberdaron.

Ynys Enlli is also the subject of this wonderful journey on the Welsh triple harp by one of that instrument's finest contemporary players, Llio Rhydderch. This beautifully recorded work brings together experimental and traditional Welsh music for the harp, which -- along with the voice -- is most emblematic of that country's sound.

Rhyddrech is the inheritor of an unbroken tradition of Welsh harpers and a master of the instrument. This mostly solo, entirely instrumental album is a gem. From the first notes of "Enaid Enlli," the listener is in the hands of a genuine artist. She effortlessly moves through this experimental piece that has the dazzling effect of a waterfall in sunlight.

The experimental is offset by her settings of traditional tunes such as "Llwyn On" and "Nos Galan," or such pieces as "Conset Harry Pryderch" or "Ffynnon Melangell," which blend tradition with novelty. These are equally showpieces for her virtuosity and her artistry.

Rhydderch showcases an instrument that refuses, in her hands, to be relegated to past glories. On this, her third solo recording, Rhydderch and her instrument look ahead and take musical risks with an instrument often mistaken by observers as a relic of a kind of Welshness that time has passed by. On the contrary!

Included in the package is a bonus DVD featuring the isle of Enlli, including short films by Meic Shoring. Her label, Fflach, has put tremendous effort into promoting this beautiful work, and to their credit. This CD is truly to be enjoyed.

- Rambles
written by David Cox
published 24 July 2004