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Llangwm Village Voices was established to provide opportunities to minimise social isolation in rural Pembrokeshire and to bring together people and give them a sense of belonging, identity and purpose. This manifested itself in an incredible village opera based on the true stories of those who fought in WW1 and those left behind. It was played in venues around Pembrokeshire in 2014-2018 to celebrate the centenary of the conflict.
In 2020, the same team came together and proposed another opera, of an entirely different genre – a rock opera – entitled ‘Little Things’. The concept was to use the story of the friendship of St Aidan & St David but to project it into the dystopian future of 2122, where the planet has undergone an environmental disaster. The key message of the play would be that, like St David’s words “Do the little things”, it is not too late to save the planet if we all pull in the same direction.
The support given by Ancient Connections was for a first phase in this project, to write the words and compose the music, to engage singers, professional and non-professional from each region and to make a series of videos that could be used to leverage more funds in the future.
The team enlisted writer Peter George to write the Libretta and composer Sam Howley to create the musical score. They worked with Fishguard/Wales-based choir Bad Habits and Ferns/Ireland-based choir Chord-On-Blues; as well as several local school groups.
Here are the films they created:
Non, the mother of St David is cast out to sea in a boat without a sail at the mercy of the elements.
The year is 2122 and the Earth has had an environmental disaster. The Celtic saints David and Aidan return to remind mankind that it is only by doing ‘The Little Things’ that balance can be restored to the planet and society.
There are food and water shortages and the people that remain are forced to leave their homes in search of the precious commodity, water. This piece conveys the anger of our future generations.
Young people from Wexford and Pembrokeshire, celebrating the importance of bees to the health and wellbeing of our planet.
Choirs from Ferns in County Wexford and Llangwm in Pembrokeshire sing together to celebrate Saints David and Aidan.
For more information or to get in touch with Llangwm Village Voices please click here to visit their Facebook page.
In ancient times, wells were cherished and honoured, not only as vital sources of water, but throughout the Celtic lands as portals to the Otherworld. It is thought that these watery gateways were guarded and tended by Well Maidens, who were believed to walk in both worlds and maintain the sacred respect between mankind and the Earth.
VOW Voice of the Wells is a cross-border concept album, imagining the story of ancient wells and sacred spaces, with particular focus on the untold feminine, created by artists Jo MacGregor and Dan Messore.
Jo grew up in St Davids, West Wales and has been submersed in music, folk songs and stories her whole life. She is drawn to the many holy wells that spring up in the landscape near her home and this project gave her the opportunity to give voice and song to these special places.
In Jo’s own words, “There is voice in everything, it’s just a case of tuning in long enough to decipher it… I have always sung in sea caves and rocky crevices, chapel ruins and wells. The stony parameters of these spaces give a raw resonance to the human voice….and something more…It feels to me as though the very walls of a cave, or stones of an arched well, are joining in and beginning to sing their story, their sorrow, their joy into the notes…For me, as a singer, this [album] is a small way that I can say ‘our lands are important, they have stories locked inside them. These places have names which are written deep in our bones, which we would do well to remember, and give attention to’.
The full album is available for listening and download on all major streaming platforms.
The Allabair Trio Concerts took place in May 2022 and June 2023 in St. Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns, with music performed and composed by Melanie O’Reilly also featuring David Creevy on guitar and Brewen Favreau on Uillean Pipes/Low Whistle, with guest choir, the Chord On Blues led by Mary Moulds. The concerts premiered new songs inspired by the connection between St. Aidan and St. David.
Free event, everyone welcome
As Ancient Connections draws to a close after four years of events and activity in Pembrokeshire and Wexford, join us to view some of the wonderful films that have emerged from the project on the big screen. These include The Tales Between Us, an animation film created by children from both sides of the Irish Sea; Pererin Wyf, exploring diaspora identity and the songs that call you home and Creative Camino, a documentary that tracks four artists who joined the trailblazing first guided walk on the new pilgrim route, the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way.