An Interview With Welsh Singer Songwriter Lleuwen Steffan
Lleuwen Steffan (photo by Steph Carioù)
AmeriCymru: Hi Lleuwen...please tell us about your upcoming visit to the States. How long will you be in the US?
Lleuwen: Pnawn da Americymru, great to be in touch again. It’s been so long since I last crossed that pond ! The first trip will be short – I will perform with brilliant double-bassist Vincent Guerin as a part of Folk Alliance International in Kansas City. The gig will be at 7.45pm on Saturday 20 February and the exact location will be posted on the festival website shortly. (www.folk.org). We will return to the States in the summer to play at Rochester Jazz Festival, NY. This time with the full band. What a treat ! We will play two concerts at the festival between June 24 and July 2. We will have a working VISA for this occasion and are searching for other concerts in the States either the month prior to or the month following Rochester Jazz Festival.
AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about the musicians who will be accompanying you?
Lleuwen: I consider myself a very, very lucky lady to have a dream band accompanying me this summer : Vincent Guerin from Brittany with his double bass : http://www.vincecow.com/wordpress/ Jochen Eisentraut from the Ogwen Valley on piano and sax. My sister Manon Steffan Ros providing vocal harmonies. It’s going to be fun and we are all extremely excited for the American Adventure !
AmeriCymru: Are you looking for other gigs/engagements while you are here?
Lleuwen: Yes indeed! As I mentioned, our visas will allow us to work in the US and Canada for a month and I am on the look-out for concerts either the month prior or following the Rochester Jazz Festival. There are many ways in which my music can be performed . . . with the band, as a trio, duo, or even solo with just my voice and guitar. Chapels, house gigs, village halls, festivals, music halls. . .the variety is what keeps the music moving and inspiration flowing. Perhaps Americymru members would also be interested in my sister’s work. Manon (Steffan Ros) will sing back-up vocals on the American Adventure. She is also a professional writer. Her most critically acclaimed novel Blasu has recently been translated into English - The Seasoning. Manon often gives talks and workshops about her writing and would be very happy to do so in America .You can read an interview with Manon here :
We are open to all kinds of music making. I have recently had the pleasure of leading singing workshops specializing in folk songs and hymns. If you would like more info about any of this, please feel free to contact me directly through my website or through my management. (Details at the bottom of the page.)
AmeriCymru: How would you describe your repertoire? Will it include material from your three studio albums?
Lleuwen: I have been working on a set of original material combined with some Welsh hymns and a sprinkle of rather unlikely and unusual folk tunes. I can’t wait to share this music with American audiences ! It has been called jazzy folk, it has been called folky jazz. But to me they’re just songs. The band is a « lobscows » (welsh stew) of various tastes and textures. I’m having great fun making songs and sharing musical memories with friends. The enjoyment of the band is surely heard in the music. I have been working with two wonderful singer / songwriters this year – John Spillane form Ireland and Frank Yamma from the Australian desert. Both totally inspiring in very different ways. I will be performing songs from my past albums of course but will mostly focus on the new stuff. And you know, the new old stuff . . .revamps of Welsh hymns and some folk songs.
AmeriCymru: What's next for Lleuwen Steffan. Any new recordings in the pipeline?
Lleuwen: There have been very many new songs in the past four months. Mostly about mountains vs cities - Eryri, Cardiff, Llanrug, motorways, seasickness. I am always hunting for songs, alway writing and recording songs. The new stuff is acoustically wild and less electric than the previous record, Tan. Not at all polished. I have been travelling back and forth to Brittany so much during the past years and songs do tend to come out on the ferry. Some I love and some I don’t. It’s wonderful. To find a song I am proud of gives me joy. And I enjoy writing the crap ones too . . . to have a good old laugh at myself ! It’s soul food. I consider myself very fortunate to be doing this. I am very happy with this direction. There might be a release date on the horizon . . . but I’m just going to keep quiet and surprise you with that one!
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?
Lleuwen: Do keep an eye on my website for the latest info about our American Adventure ! All will be revealed. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us for more info. And last but not least, I wish you all a NADOLIG LLAWEN and a BLWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA ! Make it a good one, folks ! Cariad mawr x
Lleuwen’s website : http://www.lleuwen.com
Management & Bookings : Peter@peterconwaymanagement.com