Telynor Cymru 2016 celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Roberts (1816-1894), 'Telynor Cymru', one of the most important figures in our folk tradition.
John was a Welsh Gypsy who was famous in the 19th century for playing the Welsh Triple Harp.
The Welsh Folk Harp
The harp is the only aspect of our continuous instrumental folk tradition, and yet it is the least prominent instrument on the Welsh folk scene today. The Welsh harp world favours the international classical regime instead, and Clera feels strongly that we must correct this.
The Gypsies' treasure
The treasure of the Harp music was passed down through six generations of the Roberts family from John to his great-grand-daughter Eldra Jarman, and through her to Robin Huw Bowen.
Robin Huw Bowen
When he visited Paraguay in 2013 to play in the Festival Mundial del Arpa en el Paraguay, Robin saw a country where the folk tradition of its National Instrument was very lively. In Wales, only the harp can claim to have an unbroken instrumental folk tradition, yet it is the least prominent instrument on the Welsh folk scene today; we aim to rectify this through this project.
The Arts Council of Wales
We were successful in our application for substantial financial support from the Arts Council of Wales and we are now starting on the work.
This funding has enabled us to develop a new folk harp Web site: www.telynor.cymru specifically for the project; news of the development will also be posted on www.clera.org.
The visit of Womex to Cardiff in 2013 brought great benefit in raising the profile of traditional music and changing attitudes towards the sector, recognising the potential that our tradition has to excite people as much as other departments of the arts.
Lack of confidence and ignorance are too often associated with the Welsh scene, and lead too many performers to believe 'that these things are not for them', for whatever reason.
There's a reluctance in the classical world to take the folk style and repertoire seriously, and the folk harpists too often have an amateurish attitude and fear the challenge of playing a more sophisticated repertoire. So this project is an attempt to try to build confidence in the repertoire and the ability to perform, resulting in professionalism in presenting it, just as seen in other traditions do during Womex.
Our plan is to give lessons across Wales during 2015, under Robin's leadership, to play the Gypsy way so as to perform concerts nationally across Wales in 2016 to celebrate the bicentenary of John Roberts.
Harp groups across Wales are learning to learn the craft of playing traditional melodies on the harp by ear, the Gypsy learning method.
Our website, www.telynor.cymru provides the latest information with a section to support and supplement the local lessons reserved for pupils of the project and also notation for tunes and relevant information and advice to pupils. It also includes video tutorials for those who have joined the project which Robin has recorded www.telynor.cymru. We have conducted many workshops across Wales during 2015 and this continues in 2016.
See the latest information about the project on our website www.telynor.cymru.
Be part of it
If you are a harpist and would like to join our classes, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're not a harpist, please pass on the information to any of your friends who are harpists.