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Tafod Arian

Tafod Arian (Silver Tongue) –  rediscovering the lost traditional hymns of Wales.

Lost traditional hymns of Wales are being taken back to where they were born through a tour of 50 chapels. 
Musician Lleuwen Steffan first came across these hymns in the sound archive of St Fagan’s Museum. Knowing that they were not in the official hymn books, she deep-dived into further research and found that many were not in the older editions either. 
These sacred songs were excluded by the all-male hymn book committees of their time. They were passed on orally, and became lost with time and secularization. 
They have been dormant for decades. Until now.
The voices in the recordings are no longer with us in human form but Lleuwen has worked alongside their descendants to create Tafod Arian (Silver Tongue).  
Since beginning her solo chapel tour earlier this year, Lleuwen Steffan has received numerous messages from audience members wanting to share archive material from their family collections including more unpublished Welsh hymns; recordings of the half-singing, half chanted hwyl sermons and a reel to reel recording of plygain carols. These archive materials are developed into music that is firmly in the present. Lleuwen Steffan uses electronica and a variety of acoustic instruments to provide accompaniment and backing vocals to voices of Welsh past. With translations and explanations, Tafod Arian proudly puts the archive recordings of the lost Welsh hymns on centre stage.
In partenership with Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, this work is supported by by British Council Wales.

Lleuwen stay focus
Tafod Arian Lleuwen 2
"A voice of archetypal Welsh beauty—simultaneously heavenly and earthy - a true soul whammy.”

Chris May, All About Jazz

"Archeolegydd cerddorol!"

Rhys Mwyn BBC Radio Cymru

"I expected her to sing a series of lost hymns, or takes on them, with guitar or other instrument and to get on my way before too late for an early night. I knew we’d all be presented with archival music, but its presentation was my first shock, for want of a better word. We were in an old chapel - pulpit, pews, a time capsule of scent stirring familiarity, but her ‘kit’, particularly her samplers and musical methodology were more reminiscent of the likes of Moby and PJ Harvey. What she did with this kit, I have never seen or heard before."

Stephen Price, Nation Cymru