From the land of song, the Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics and Catatonia come the latest musical combo-Calan. Except this time they come with accordion, harp, fiddles and they clog dance.
Calan bring together the remarkable talents of 5 young musicians giving a fresh and vibrant sound to traditional Welsh music. With their contemporary and lively approach they breathe new life into the old traditions. Sparkling melodies, foot tapping tunes and a spirited and energetic performance of Welsh step dancing. They blast their way through some of the old favourite reels, jigs and hornpipes before melting into some of the most beautiful and haunting songs.
Calan have been building up a big following since 2010’s release of Bling which has already introduced a new generation of music fans to Welsh traditional music – in Wales and well beyond. Audiences in Belgium, Russia, Italy and Austria as well as all over the UK have given them a terrific reception.
Main-stage appearances at festivals have seen audiences voting them to the top of many exit polls. After their triumphant return from the Womex festival in Denmark they have had many offers from top agents in Europe who want to include them on their roster.
Much of the band’s success began after the success of Bling which attracted great reviews from the music press and from an unlikely source. The Daily Mirror summed it up by saying that the music on Bling was “played with the grace, daring and sheer joy”. The Belfast Telegraph got the idea, too, saying "folk just got a kick up of the Noughties”.
For their latest CD, Jonah, Calan have again sought the production of Martin Allcock, the multi-instrumental wizzard now living near Harlech in Gwynedd.
And he has given the album a more contemporary edge, building on a couple of tracks on Bling by using bass and drums, and even a vocoder.
“Controversial?” says vocalist and accordion player Bethan Rhiannon. “Some may say so, I suppose. But Welsh music has always been inclusive and ready to develop. We’re just taking it into the second decade of the 21st century with a mixture of traditional tunes and a set of originals. There is a huge canon of traditional Welsh music but there’s no reason not to add to it, to develop it, to refresh it. “
“That’s what we do,” says Patrick Rimes in between remembering whether to play his fiddle, bagpipes, pibgorn, whistle or trombone. “We’re not missionaries; we’re musicians and entertainers and if we can be musical and entertain ourselves, then we can take audiences with us. It’s worked so far.”
Audiences will see Calan on the road with a new member – Sam Humphries is joining on guitar.