Robin Huw Bowen

Robin Huw Bowen

BandFolkCeltic

Robin Huw Bowen is widely recognized as today’s leading exponent of the Welsh Triple Harp. Drawing on his own long research, and using authentic techniques learned from living sources, he represents the essence of Welsh musical tradition. But although prepared to push beyond recognized limits, Robin never compromises the tradition’s integrity. Far from merely demonstrating dusty museum relics, his inspired playing, enhanced by the depth of his own individuality, ensures that he rekindles the ver

Biography

Robin’s repertoire is a varied patchwork of both the traditional and historical, and of the innovative and original. He plays material collected over the last three centuries, but truly brings it to life (often arranging it himself), having learned authentic technique and interpretation from living exponents of the Welsh Harp. These would include Dafydd and Gwyndaf Roberts of the group Ar Lôg, Edith Evans ‘Telynores Eryri’, and Llio Rhydderch amongst others. Perhaps the most important of these was Eldra Jarman, the last of the Welsh Romany Gypsy harpists, who very generously shared her family tradition with him.

Robin has also always drawn inspiration from non-harpists on the scene he has worked with over the years, such as Siwsann George of Mabsant, Huw Williams, Stephen Rees and Andy McLauchlin of the Welsh ‘Super-group’ Crasdant, and in particular from Anne Morgan-Jones of the innovative acoustic Welsh group Cusan Tân (whose works really made him move beyond the bounds of tradition!).

But whether he plays piercing laments or exuberant Gypsy dances, ethereal airs with glittering variations or the earthy rustic tunes of the ‘Gwerin’ (the ‘People’), whether he plays historic material or new imaginative compositions, Robin makes full use of the otherworldly, shimmering voice of the Triple Harp to rekindle the very soul of Welsh tradition, as only he can.

Discography

Solo recordings

Y Ffordd i Aberystwyth – The Road to Aberystwyth : SAIN – SCD2526 (2007)

Hen Aelwyd – Old Hearth : SAIN – SCD2232 (1999)/Marquis Classics 81247 (CAN 2000)

The Harp Music of Wales – Cerddoriaeth Telyn Cymru : Saydisc – SDL412 (1995)

Hela’r Draenog: Telyn Sipsi Cymru – Hunting the Hedgehog: The Gypsy Harp of Wales : Teires – CDRHB002 (1994) / Firebird – FAM-15003-2 (USA 1994)

Telyn Berseiniol fy Ngwlad – The Sweet Harp of my Land : Teires – CDRHB001 (1992) / Flying Fish – FF70610 (USA 1993)

Cyfarch y Delyn – Honour the Harp : SAIN – LP & cassette (1987)

Group recordings

Crasdant
Dwndwr – The Great Noise : SAIN – SCD2487 (2005)
Nos Sadwrn Bach – Not Yet Saturday : SAIN – SCD2306 (2002)
Crasdant : SAIN – SCD2220 (1999)

Y Glerorfa – Cerddorfa Werin Cymru (The Welsh Folk Orchestra)
Yn Fyw – Live (performing and as MD) : SAIN – SCD2607 (2009)

Rhes Ganol
Yn y Gwaed – In the Blood : Tant – 002 (2006)

Cusan Tân
Esgair – The Ridge : SAIN – SCD2115 (1995)
Cusan Tân – Kiss of Fire : Fflach – CD113H (1992)

Mabsant
Trwy’r Weiar – Through the Wire : SAIN – LP & cassette (1987)

Compilations
Sackpfeifen in Schwaben 2012 [Doch!!!] : Haus der Volkskunst (Balingen – DE 2013)
World Music Instruments – Magic Harp : NoEthno – 1012-14 (2011)
Nuit de la Saint Patrick (Extraits du concert diffusé sur ‹‹Paris Première››): Keltia Musique – KMCD504 (2009)
Traddodiad Canu Gwerin Cymru – The Folk Music of Wales : SAIN – SCD2626 (2009)
Traditions (The Welsh Gold Collection) : SAIN – SCD2559 (2009)
Heartstrings (The Welsh Gold Collection ) : SAIN – SCD2586 (2008)
Telyn y Celt – Trad Harps : SAIN – SCD2397 (2004)
Gwlad y Delyn – Wales, Home of the Harp : SAIN – SCD2396 (2003)
Masters of the Harp : Arc Music – EUCD1764 (2002)
A Celtic Christmas : Saydisc – SDL417 (1996)
Traditional Songs of Wales – Caneuon Traddodiadol Cymru : Saydisc – SDL406 (1994)

TV & Film music
Eldra – The Story of a Welsh Gypsy Girl : S4C television (2001)
BAFTA (Cymru) award-winning score
DVD – Valleystream (2007)

Producer
Ffylantin-tw! : SAIN – CS030 (2012)
(CD of Welsh Folk Songs performed by 13 leading contemporary Welsh folk singers with accompanying book.)

Set List

Programme (example)

Caniad y Clych ym Morgannwg (The Bells of Glamorgan)
An old folk-song noted by Iolo Morganwg, using the unique voice of the Triple Harp to imitate the pealing bells

Merch Megan (Megan’s Daughter)
Well-known harp air with traditional variations, which Robin had from Edith Evans ‘Telynores Eryri’

Y Pural Fesur (The Perfect Measure)
Old Anglesey harp air in traditional style with variations set by Robin

Jig y Doethion (The Magi Jig)
A jig played on the solo harp, but arranged for a whole band ... (?!)

Ymadawiad y Brenin (The Departure of the King)
A majestic air with bardic and mythological connections, with variations

Alabaina Wood
Two polkas arranged in the authentic Welsh Gypsy harp style

Ffos Noddun (Fairy Glen)
Two waltzes which Robin learned directly from Eldra Jarman, the last of the Welsh Gypsy harpists

Rhamant y Roma (Romany Romance)
Modern day film music, from Robin’s BAFTA-Cymru winning score, composed for the S4C film 'El