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The Big Experiment : yr Arbrawf Mawr

(June 01, 2014)

The Big Experiment : yr Arbrawf Mawr – BEAM
an annual exploration of Welsh musical traditions, from trac*

Music, song and dance weekend on beautiful Anglesey
19 to 21 September 2014

BEAM - SingerThe song workshops cater for singers of all abilities

This September a hundred musicians, singers and dancers will gather for trac's seventh weekend residential all-age folk school and knees-up: the Big Experiment (yr Arbrawf Mawr in Welsh) - BEAM. Classes and workshops, performances and sessions, singing and instrumental playing, clog-dance and social dance are all included. Though the emphasis is on the tunes, songs, and dances of Wales, everyone is welcome and there is something new every year. Folk greats Alistair Anderson, Karen Tweed, Brian MacNeill and Brian Finnegan have all been ‘guest tutors’ on past Big Experiments.

BEAM - Aneirin

This year, the home-grown team of top tutors includes: multi-instrumentalist Patric Rimes of Calan; violin ace Oli Wilson-Dickson (Jamie Smith's Mabon, Alaw); harpists and singers Gwenan Gibbard and Bethan Nia; Stacey Blythe (Ffynnon); Pat ‘Spoons’ Smith; and dance tutors Huw Williams and Rhodri & Chris Jones.

BEAM - Spoons WorkshopA radiant Pat Smith teaches the gentle art of the spoons
You haven't lived until you've heard the William Tell Overture played by a spoons orchestra

Mornings begin with mixed instrument groups, split by ability level from Foundation to Advanced, with separate strands for folk song and Cerdd Dant (improvised counter-melodies to a harp tune), for Welsh clogging at beginner and intermediate level and for folk dance. Then in the afternoons, there are taster workshops for harp, pipe, clogs and more, masterclasses and lots of time for informal singing, playing, dancing and socialising. Evenings are packed with music and dance too – with concerts, dances and sessions. Every year it seems to get bigger and better.

BEAM - ClogsWelsh clogging in Trefor Owen's beautiful hand-made clogs

BEAM - InstrumentsAll kinds of instruments are welcome

BEAM - Fiddler BEAM - Dad & boy
All ages can take part ... and there are family discounts

The event has a special appeal for people learning Welsh, as there are always seems to be equal numbers of first-language Welsh-speakers, learners, and non-Welsh-speakers. If you want to practise, it is an easy way to have access to the language, in a very natural setting. The Big Experiment is run bilingually with simultaneous translation wherever possible, so you will have an equally warm welcome whichever language you speak.

BEAM - Workshop GroupFernhill's Christine Cooper with her workshop group at last year's Big Experiment

The venue this year is the Conway Centre, in the grounds of the National Trust's beautiful Plas Newydd mansion on Anglesey, overlooking the Menai Strait. It is a great way to be creative, learn something new, get fit, meet new people and have a lot of fun.

BEAM - Brothers

This is what some of those on BEAM last year said about it:

"Superb weekend, full on. Wonderful tutors, great planning, friendliness, welcome to non-Welsh-speakers."

"The evening sessions were fantastic. I learnt so much in classes but the big highlight was the lovely friendly atmosphere and the helpfulness of everyone."

"The sheer quality of the music and the chance to meet so many wonderful fellow musicians."

19-21 September 2014
Conway Centre
Plas Newydd
LL61 6DQ



More details, prices and booking information are at trac's website:

* trac is a registered charity, supported by the Arts Council of Wales, established to promote and develop the music and dance traditions of Wales.

All images - © trac, photographer: Al Reffell

© 2014 Caregos Cyf. | Hawlfraint - All rights reserved

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