Harpist in Tune with the Times

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 15, 2004 | Go to article overview

Harpist in Tune with the Times


Byline: By Rhodri Clark Western Mail

A welsh harpist who has legions of fans outside Wales but relatively few within her native country is performing in Belgium this weekend.

Llio Rhydderch, from Anglesey, has ensured that the tradition of triple-harp playing in Wales continues unbroken after several centuries.

She was taught by Nansi Richards, the last of the great triple harpists, after a period when the triple harp went out of fashion.

The tradition was sustained by teachers passing on the skills and basic melodies to their pupils, who extemporised on the tunes as they performed.

Nansi Richards was accompanied by Llio Rhydderch on the luxury liner QE2 and on her final tour of the US before her death in 1979.

Today Ms Rhydderch will represent Wales in an international celebration of harps at the Centre Culturel des Riches-Claires, the world-music venue in cosmopolitan Brussels.

Also taking part will be Osama Abdulrasol, an Iraqi who plays a harp-like instrument called the qanum, and Justin Vali, who is from Madagascar and plays the valiha.

Ms Rhydderch has shared platforms with many other players who specialise in the folk traditions of their own countries.

'These experiences I've had in this world-music scene have been wonderful for me,' she said before departing for Belgium.

She is billed for tonight's concert as a very innovative and creative musician who composes music inspired by the Welsh tradition but relevant to the 21st Century.

'She does not hesitate to work with contemporary dancers or African musicians,' adds the Belgian publicity.

Yesterday she was booked for interviews with the Belgian media and to perform at a concert in the town of Leuven.

She will complete her mini tour tomorrow with a concert at Chateau Gronsveld, in the east of Belgium.

In recent years she has performed in numerous countries including Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy and France. …

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