Dating back to the 13th century in Wales, the Telyn Rawn is a nearly forgotten horsehair harp; UK improvising harpist Rhodri Davies researched the instrument and its unique sound, commissioning the construction of a harp on which he performs 18 improvisations of impressive technique and sonority, launching his new Amgen Records label with this album named for the instrument.
Harp design by Rhodri Davies, body of harp by Alun Thomas, leather work by Gaynor Davies-Howell, pegs turned by Alan and Milissa Dewey, horse hide supplied by Barrhead Leather, plaited and wound horse hair strings supplied by Simon Chadwick. The building of the harp was made possible through a Creative Wales Award.
Recorded, edited and mastered by Sam Grant.
Recorded 22nd and 23rd of January 2020 at Blank Studios, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Drawing by Jean-Luc Guionnet.
Design by Anna Peaker.
Diolch i / Thank you to: John Butcher, Richard Dawson, Audrey Evans, Delyth Evans, Robert Evans, Ann Griffiths, O’r Pedwar Gwynt, Robert Hadaway, Huw Ceiriog Jones, Michał Poręba, Llio Rhydderch, Gorwel Roberts, Sioned Puw Rowlands, Elan Closs Stephens, David Sylvian, Sesiwn Werin Tŷ Tawe, Bill Taylor.
"This album's 18 short improvisations on the instrument are brilliant. There is play and twang, a sense in which the instrument is being tested and sounded. Sometimes it sounds wobbly like a fawn on new legs, in other moments it has grit and shuffle. To make an instrument that hasn't been heard for 200 years, and then play brand new improvisations on it is bold and refreshing – a forward movement that brings the past along." - Jen Allan, The Quietus
Rhodri Davies plays harp, electric harp, live-electronics and builds wind, water and fire harp installations. His regular groups include: a duo with John Butcher, The Sealed Knot, a trio with David Toop and Lee Patterson, Common Objects, Cranc, a trio with John Tilbury and Michael Duch, SLW and Apartment House. In 2008 he collaborated with the visual artist Gustav Metzger on ‘Self-cancellation’, a large- scale audio-visual collaboration in London and Glasgow. He also performs and researches contemporary music. New pieces for harp have been composed for him by: Eliane Radigue, Christian Wolff, Ben Patterson, Alison Knowles, Michael Pisaro, Carole Finer, Mieko Shiomi, Radu Malfatti and Yasunao Tone.