Blue Riband couple release a new CD of inspirational duets
Now Aled Edwards and Eleri Owen Edwards are launching a new CD of uplifting and inspirational duets.
“It’s a first for us as we as we have been handling all aspects of the CD production,” said Eleri.
“But the finished result makes us both feel very proud and we hope our fans – old and new – will enjoy it.”
Home for Aled and Eleri is in Cilycwm, Llandovery, on a farm well-known for its pedigree herd of Limousin cattle.
Balancing a busy farming life in the picturesque Tywi Valley and their musical careers is now second nature to the couple.
“We love singing – and we love entertaining. We both have long-established solo careers and we hope this CD will also highlight our work as a duo,” said Eleri.
The mezzo-soprano and baritone have combined to produce what they describe as “a CD of uplifting and inspirational duets”.
They are both Blue Riband (David Ellis Memorial Prize) National Eisteddfod winners.
Aled triumphed at the National Eistedddfod held at Bala in 1997 and Eleri in 2013 at the National Eisteddfod at Denbigh.
They are the only married couple to have both gained the coveted Blue Riband.
Eleri is originally from the renowned cultural village of Llangernyw in the Conwy Valley.
A former bank manager in Conwy and a keen supporter of the local and national Eisteddfod throughout Wales, she now shares responsibility for the running of the family farm, while she also teaching children and youngsters to sing.
Aled’s development of the family’s prized herd of Limousin cattle is recognised internationally. In August of this year, Aled finished his eight-year term as President of the International Limousin Congress.
Singing has always had a special place in Aled and Eleri’s hearts and following their success as soloists, they felt that the time was now right time to record and release a CD of duets.
The CD was recorded at the famous Acapela studio in South Wales, a venue made famous by harpist Catrin Finch and her husband.
“It’s been hard work, but very rewarding,” said Eleri.
“The team at Acapela have been great and it’s been an eye-opener for us to be involved at every stage of the CD production, from deciding the song list to helping prepare and design the CD cover!
“It’s been great fun as well and we have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Hopefully, that joy and fun will shine through in the CD.”
Both Aled and Eleri had praise for their vocal coaches.
Aled has studied singing with Ken and Christine Reynolds, of Aberystwyth, and Eleri’s voice coach is the well-known composer and musician Brian Hughes, of Gresford. Brian has also composed two songs for the CD “Cariad Cyntaf” and “Mae’n Wir”.
The couple both started singing individually as children in chapels and village halls.
They have since travelled extensively as guest soloists to countries all over the world, particularly Europe and North America.
Further afield, Eleri was invited to Melbourne, Australia as guest soloist at the St David’s Day celebrations in 2014
The CD will be something of a landmark in uniting the singing careers of Aled and Eleri.
Aled said: “Since we married, we have seen our musical paths joining more and more, with concert organisers finding two soloists for the price of one phone call!
“These concerts inevitably end with one or two duets, and gradually the repertoire of duets began to grow. The obvious popularity of our duets with audiences acted as the spark to the idea of recording a CD!
“It has been a huge challenge, but it has been great working together on a project.
“We have both concentrated on our individual musical careers for many years, but this year we have combined our efforts on the same project. We’ve enjoyed the process of selecting the repertoire and working with some great musicians during the recording process.”
The 15 songs on the CD include “Dau fel ni”, the song that has given its title to the CD, and translates as “Two like us”.
The song was composed specifically for Aled and Eleri by their sister-in-law, Ruth Lloyd Owen.
“It’s a jazzy/blues song that has been written especially for us, and the words describe the difference in the Welsh dialect between different areas in Wales. Similar to the fact that I come from the Dyffryn Conwy area and Aled from Dyffryn Tywi. Some words caused us some confusion when we first met,” Eleri said with a smile.
The tracks on the CD are varied in style and will appeal to all listeners. They span most musical eras and many genres, from classical to contemporary, encompassing five languages, but mostly in Welsh and English.
A special treat is a track featuring one of Wales’ most popular sopranos, the media personality Shân Cothi, who performs with Aled and Eleri in a Trio by Mozart.
The new CD “Dau fel ni” is available now. Price, £12.95 incl. p&p.
There is also a website for Dau Fel Ni (Two Like Us) and you can order online.
See - www.aledaceleri.co.uk
The CD will be available soon at Welsh shops throughout Wales.
In West Wales, you will be able to buy it at Cegin y Porthmyn, Craft Centre, Llandovery, and IgamOgam, Llandeilo.
About Aled and Eleri –
Eleri Owen Edwards – mezzo soprano
Eleri comes from the Welsh cultural village of Llangernyw, in the Conwy Valley, but now lives in Cilycwm, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, with her husband Aled Edwards - baritone.
She has supported Eisteddfodau throughout Wales since the age of four and is a National winner. She has won the Mezzo Soprano/Contralto competition several times, and won the Welsh Solo Competition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and in August 2013 won the “Blue Riband” at the National Eisteddfod of Wales at Denbigh. She also won the “Blue Riband” competition twice at the Gwyl Fawr Aberteifi/Cardigan Festival.
Eleri has travelled as a guest soloist to Ontario, Canada, Chicago, USA, Brussel, Belgium, Jersey Island and in 2010 she sang on the new cruise ship ‘Azura’ to the Canary Islands. She was invited to sing at the Melbourne Gymanfa Ganu, Australia, to celebrate St David’s Day in 2014 .
She concentrates on her Concert and Oratorio work, including performances of Christmas Oratorio, Bach, Messiah, Handel, Judas Maccabaeus, Handel. Also in her repertoire are – Gloria, Vivaldi, Nelson Mass, St Nicholas Mass, Time of War Mas, Haydn, Requiem and Coronation Masses, Mozart, Stabat Mater, Karl Jenkins, Serenade to Music, Ralph Vaughan Williams. She took part in the stage performance of the Welsh Opera Blodwen by Dr Joseph Parry. She has appeared on numerous occasions on S4C television and has released her CD “Dilyn yr Heulwen” with the Sain recording company.
Previously, Eleri was a bank manager, but now spends much of her time teaching children and youngsters privately, and helps her husband on the family farm.
Her voice coach is the well known composer and musician Brian Hughes, Gresford.
Aled Edwards – baritone
Aled lives with his wife, Eleri, in Cilycwm, Llandovery, and is a member of a well-known farming family, one of Britain’s leading breeders of Pedigree Limousin Cattle. He has studied singing with Ken and Christine Reynolds, Aberystwyth, for most of his singing career.
Early in his career he was selected by Sir Geraint Evans for a televised Masterclass. This was to have a great influence on his career, and brought him to the notice of a much wider audience.
Aled now enjoys a considerable reputation in Wales having obtained successes at both the National Eisteddfod and the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
From 1992 to 1997 he dominated the Baritone Solo competition at the National Eisteddfod, winning it on five occasions, and at the 1997 National Eisteddfod held at Bala he won the coveted “Blue Riband” – The David Ellis Memorial Prize.
He has travelled extensively as guest soloist with various choirs over the years. These have included many tours of France and Germany, and four visits to Canada and the USA. His most recent tours found him returning to Barbados for a second time and visiting Los Angeles.
He is in great demand for concert work, where his repertoire is noted for its appeal and variety. He is in particular demand as a soloist in oratorios where his extensive repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, and most notably Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Track notes from the CD –
O Dduw Ein Tad (Plaisir d’Amour) - JPA Martini, RJ Davies. (Trefn. Meirion Wynn Jones)
Eleri’s late father’s favourite hymn.
My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose - Jeff Howard, Robert Burns.
A lovely, original setting of Burns’ famous poem.
Rhamant Dau - Michael J Lewis, Eluned Phillips. (Trefn. Jeff Howard)
A love song to the words of the first female winner of the National Eisteddfodic Crown, Eluned Phillips.
Panis Angelicus - Cezar Frank.
The famous sacred song.
Mae’n Wir - Brian Hughes, W Rhys Nicholas.
“Tis True” - A Christmas Carol composed by Eleri’s vocal coach, J Brian Hughes.
Ar Lan y Môr -Tradd. (Trefn. Meirion Wynn Jones)
“Beside the Sea”
A haunting new arrangement of this popular folk song.
The Spider and the Fly - Seymour Smith, G Hubi Newcombe.
This Victorian humorous duet is a big concert favourite.
Soave sia il vento - Cosi Fan Tutte - WA Mozart, La Ponte.
The sublime operatic Trio which gave us the perfect opportunity to invite along Shân Cothi, our good friend.
O Llefara Addfwyn Iesu - Robat Arwyn, William Williams.
A contemporary arrangement of the hymn, written by William Williams, the most famous Welsh hymnist.
True Love - Michael J Lewis, Eluned Phillips. (Trefn. Jeff Howard)
The same composer and poet as Rhamant Dau but this time in English.
Dim Ond Ti (Only You - Yazoo) - Vince Clark, Cyf. Tudur Dylan Jones. (Trefn. Jeff Howard)
A sound track of our youth, originally made famous by Yazoo and the Flying Pickets.
Barcarolle -“Les Contes d’Hoffmann” – Jacques Offenbach, Jules Barbier.
“Beautiful night, oh night of love” – the opera’s most famous melody.
I’ll Walk Beside You - Allan Murray, Edward Lockton (Arr. David Jenkins)
A sentimental love song, popular during World War Two.
Cariad Cyntaf - Tradd. (Trefn. Brian Hughes) “First Love”
A powerful arrangement of this folk song.
Dau Fel Ni (“Two Like Us”) - Ruth Lloyd Owen. (Trefn. Jeff Howard)
Our sister in law, Ruth, wrote us a humorous duet on the different dialects of North and South Wales.