Fiddlebox Launch New CD
Welsh duo Fiddlebox (Helen Adam and George Whitfield) will première their new album titled Eastern Honeymoon at the Great Glasshouse in the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Saturday 18th April 2015 at 14:30
For the first time ever Welsh dancing tunes are merged with Klezmer harmonies, the traditional music of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. Both musical traditions are based on powerfully emotional and evocative music, which invites the listener to dance one minute and weep the next.
Eastern Honeymoon is a love story, themes of love and marriage being intrinsic to both traditions. “Many Klezmer tunes are specifically written for stages of a wedding ceremony and the subsequent party, and we wanted our album to have some of this feeling” – said Helen Adam. George Whitfield commented – “The love story is also an imaginary one between Welsh and Klezmer music, which feels daring and dangerous – like Romeo and Juliet”
Dance of the spirits from Eastern Honeymoon by Fiddlebox
Dance of the Spirits – Dafydd y Garreg Wen (David of the White Rock), Sirba (Dance)
The first tune is from a Welsh song written by harpist David Owen in the early 18th century. The words describe a musician who is about to die and is repining the beauty of the world and especially of Wales that he will leave behind. It leads into a lively Sirba, in which we can imagine the spirit of the harpist kicking up his heels and making merry.
The album also includes solemn moments like ‘Tears of the Bride’ who weeps for the loss of her family as she joins another, and melodies recalling the elderly and deceased of a family, as well as tunes devoted to celebratory and energetic dance.
The title track contains an exotic sounding Terkisher, a Klezmer tune from Turkey, which evokes travel, romance and the lure of the unknown.
Fiddlebox – Helen Adam and George Whitfield
Fiddle-player Helen Adam, has always been drawn to and found inspiration in the music of her Lithuanian Jewish grandmother. On arriving in Wales, 20 years ago, she also became absorbed in playing and studying Welsh traditional music, as well as learning the language. These two musical strands became increasingly intertwined, so Helen began to play Welsh music with Klezmer infections and Klezmer music with a slight Welsh accent.
Helen Adam said – “Part of the appeal of playing Klezmer music is to connect with my cultural heritage, and part of the appeal of playing Welsh music is to connect with my adopted country, to bridge the two cultures. When I play traditional tunes that have been used and loved by generations I feel part of an unbroken stream of melody that carries with it the hopes, dreams and passions of people who have now passed away and reaches out to those yet to come.” –
The bluesy sensibilities of accordion maestro George Whitfield bring the needed rhythmic drive and rocking bass to the mix to make this music full bodied and gutsy.
Musically traditional Welsh and Klezmer styles sit well together, using compatible musical modes, and instrumentation. Often whole tunes seemed to want to be played together, and sometimes mixed themselves up to form a new genre, for which Fiddlebox coined the term ‘Klezreig’.
Following the official release of Eastern Honeymoon in Wales, Fiddlebox will start a tour of the UK performing at various venues. They are also planning an international tour later in the year at such far away locations as Iceland and The Seychelles. More details of the tour will be announced shortly.