After a fine evening playing, and then watching some great bands at the Hanner Cant festival in Pontrhydfendigaid, Lisa & Martin finally made it back to North Wales on the back of a tow truck, just in time to welcome the Black Arm Band to Caernarfon.
It was great to see them settling in to the historic town- and we were glad to find them at the iconic Black Boy Pub getting a nice warm welcome and some good tucker and fine ales to help ease the jet lag. We then whisked them off to another famous landmark The Greek Taverna in Bangor for some more grub and wine.
A day off before rehearsals for all on Sunday – but we couldn’t resist taking them for a little drive around Eryri- Snowdonia, and thanks to Welsh Arts International for the funding to hire the amazing Derfel of DP Bysus Gwyrdd Rhiwlas who took us around Llanberis. Everyone was blown away at the sacred ground of Castell Dolbadarn, and as well as absorbing the history of the Welsh Castle and the stunning views we also found a spot to have a yarn and play ball.
We just had to finish the day in Bethesda! We had to bring everyone home. It was just amazing to get cozy in the family home and eat some more food and have a laugh.
First day of rehearsals – exciting, scary, loads of fun, emotional- Brilliant
Rehearsals done at Galeri- but we just couldn’t keep from singing! For the next few days the routine became singing by day at Galeri and singing by night at The Black Boy Pub but seeing the show take form, and songs developing was truly beautiful.
Gig on Thursday was just breathtaking and dream like at Galeri- and what a joy to play for a wonderful warm and encouraging audience at Galeri.
We partied till the wee hours to celebrate then got on a bus to London on Friday. Ready to perform at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad
The show in London was at The Old Navel College in Greenwich- it was a beautiful summers day and it felt good to be singing these Welsh and Aboriginal Languages (like Luritja, Yanyuwa and Yorta Yorta to name a few) with the Thames behind us.
Black Arm Band coming to North Wales in July.
We’ve just played our 1st show of the year as a full band at the Music Wales:Cerdd Cymru, Womex special at the Hay Festival, and it was great playing together again, and also giving the new songs their first airing with the full band.
we’re looking forward to doing it again at the Hanner Cant festival on July 13th at the Pafiliwn Pontrydfendigaid, and seeing another 49 acts!
Straight after that show Lisa, Esyllt, Martin, and Mirain are looking forward to welcoming the Black Arm Band ( all 19 of them!) to our heartland in Caernarfon North Wales, as firstly we get to meet the rest of the band, and then spend four days to finish off the songs and rehearsing them, before we perform Mamiaith – Mother Tongue at Galeri Caernarfon on July 19th. We’ll then be heading off to London to perform the show again as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, at the Oceania Stage in Greenwich on July 21st
Black Arm Band visit – the songs take shape
Lisa & Martin have just spent a week with Lou and Shellie of the Black Arm Band in North Wales, and as well as showing them the mountains of Snowdonia, feeding them fine Welsh dishes, and finishing off the homemade stocks of Sloe Gin, some time was spent in a rehearsal studio in Galeri Caernarfon, working on songs for Mamiaith – Mother Tongue , the project that the two bands have been commissioned by the British Council to play at the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad in July.
The songs are really starting to take shape, and the two different sounds and styles of both bands are coming together well, to create something different and special. The week was finished off with a special work in progress show of the songs in stiwdio 2 of Galeri Caernarfon.
Apart from more sending recording back and forth to each other via email, the 2 bands wont see each other again until July, when they have 5 days to rehearse before performing a special warm up show in Galeri on July 19th, before heading down to London to play the Cultural Olympiad on July 21st
Black Arm Band coming to North Wales
News has just come through that Lou Bennet, and Shellie Morris of the Black Arm Band will be coming to North Wales in March. After months of sending songs back and forth to each other via email, it will be great to actually get in a rehearsal room in the Galeri Caernarfon, and work on the songs in more detail. We’re also relly looking forward to showing them around the beautiful scenery of North Wales, and having them hear the Welsh language in daily life.
Mamiath – Mother Tongue, an idea starts to form
After a couple of months of song’s being emailed back and forth from 9Bach’s heartland in North wales, to the many different parts of Black Arm Band’s Australia, the song’s being worked on together start to build a theme for a show, and a working title of Mamiaith – Mother Tongue is decided upon. This reflects the theme’s of language in the songs, and also the shared experiences of the Welsh and Aboriginal people, in fistly our respective struggle’s to keep our languages alive, and then the celebration of the preservation of our languages.
Writting songs via email, 10,000 miles apart!
After returning home from Australia, and taking time to take in their trip, Lisa and Martin have been working on songs for the 9Bach – Black Arm Band collaboration. Once the main idea starts to take shape, a home recording is made, which is then sent as an mp3 via email, for Lou Bennett to add ideas to. Lou then spends a few days working on the songs, records her ideas onto the song, and sends them back, and on the process goes, back and forth!
A very strange experience, which does add a bit of excitement to opening emails, to see what Lou has added to the songs!
9Bach – 3 weeks with the Black Arm Band
Lisa and Martin have just returned from Australia, after an amazing time spent with the Black Arm Band. After spending a short while getting to know Lou Bennet, and Steven Richardson, and hearing the story of the Black Arm Band, time was spent with Lou, and Shellie Morris, working on some ideas for songs in an old convent in Melbourne. After a few days together, the fisrt song Cariad Mam was written, and then after a short rehearsal with Black Arm Bands full band ( all 16 of them!) Cariad Mam was performed in Castlemaine as part of the show Dirt Song, and featured Lou, Shellie, Emma Donavan, and Deline Briscoe all singing in Welsh.
As well as working on music with Black Arm Band, Lisa and martin also spent time with them in Papunya a remote Aboriginal community in the red sanded dessert, and got a chance to see them perform Murundak, their show of freedom songs. It was also a pleasure to meet Sammy Butcher,
a legendary musician from Papunya. As well as being famous for the musicians that come from there, Papunya is also famous for it’s artists, and has a fantastic gallery.
In addition to Cariad Mam, Lisa and Martin have come back to North Wales with a few more song ideas to work on for the collaboration
Black Arm Band and 9Bach Collaboration
After a fantastic summer of festival shows, Lisa and Martin are now in Australia working with Indigenous Australian performance group The Black Arm Band Company, coming together for a unique project that will explore place, identity, culture and the preservation of language.
The two musical ensembles, from opposite sides of the world, have a similar approach – both perform and record in their respective country’s historical languages. For 9Bach, it is the Welsh Language; and for The Black Arm Band Company, it is the many tongues of the Australian Aboriginal people.
9Bach’s Lisa Jện , and Martin Hoyland have travelled to Australia to spend a month with members of The Black Arm Band Company, first in Melbourne, then in the Northern Territory region of Papunya, and then finishing off with a public performance at The Theatre Royal in Castlemain.
It is hoped that this experience will lead to a collaborative project which will be staged as part of the River of Music event at the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the UK.
The global decline of world languages is endemic and rapid. According to UNESCO, languages disappear at a rate of one every two weeks, so it is significant that 9Bach will be joining the Black Arm Band on this project, as melding traditional language with contemporary music injects new life and purpose into endangered tongues, bringing them to new audiences, and raising awareness of their existence.
Lou Bennett of The Black Arm Band says the collaboration marks an important move forward in the post-Colonial process. She says, “As an Indigenous person of Australia, I see language retrieval as a basic human right. It is a way that we can look at the past, at the global effects of Colonialism on us as human beings, and I see it as a healing process. [Through this collaboration between The Black Arm Band and 9Bach] we can make a really important connection between human beings from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres
Just before leaving Wales, Lisa Jen said “We’ll be leaving Wales soon to meet The Black Arm Band, and we can’t begin to describe how this almost feels unreal. We can’t wait to do all the things we love in life – all at once, with people we respect,…sing, make music, learn and share cultures, language, and travel to different parts of Australia, see what they represent, an how special it is.”
More about the Black Arm Band
Formed in 2005 The Black Arm Band Company is an award-winning group comprised of Indigenous Australian singers, musicians and songwriters.
To date, the group have toured regionally, performed at major cultural events, such as the Sydney Festival, and have staged three major productions: murundak (2006), Hidden Republic (2008) and dirtsong (2009).
The Black Arm Band has comprised a who’s who of Austrlain Indigenous music including Jimmy Little and Archie Roach, Lou Bennett, Shellie Morris, Bart Willoughby, Dan Sultan, Dewayne Everittsmith, Emma Donovan, Mark Atkins, Shane Howard and Ursula Yovich. http://www.blackarmband.com.au/
New songs have been worked on since the start of the year, and although between us we live in Bethesda (North Wales) Cardiff, and London, (we call it the bemusing triangle) somehow with the help of technology, and the odd quick rehearsal in a festival dressing room, we have been working on some ideas.
Melodies have been sung, harmonies added, grooves and riffs tried out, added, taken away, streched, made heavier, and returned distorted and twisted, and we’ve been experimenting with some new ideas to progress our sound from our debut album.
The time did come, in mid August for all 5 of us (and Mirain the secret 6th member) to be present in a rehearsal room at the same time, with the aim of coming out with at least 1 song. We managed it, and we debuted “ Pa Le Mae Nghariad i” at Green Man Festival, and then played it again at the Noordezon Festival, in Groningen, Holland, a few days later. We also managed to work on 2 other songs, which are works in progress, and will be finished soon. There are even rumours of us getting together again more often, and coming up with another 7 songs, which might just be enough to record our 2nd album.