Reviews of Telyn
For British traditional music this is a crucial album, from a musician whose wider public recognition is a big event for real, not dressed up, Welsh tradition. This is brilliantly played album of Welsh tunes learnt partly from oral tradition and partly found in manuscripts, all developed with sparkling variations using the capabilities of the Welsh triple harp for fast reiteration and chromaticism. Llio is certainly a new wave . In her resides the living tradition of the old Welsh harpers in all its glory.
Sounding Strings No.14 Spring 1998
We are grateful to the inspired, far-sighted and determined individuals who persuaded Llio Rhydderch to make this superb album which is a significant milestone for Welsh music. It not only preserves some priceless treasures from our past, but because it presents music that is deeply moving both emotionally and intellectually.
Llio Rhydderch illuminates the Welsh tradition with the consumate skill, artistry and passion of her playing. This is living, breathing music that cannot and should not be ignored.
Living Tradition Septemberg 1998
Many would buy his CD merely because it is Welsh music - I'd buy it just for the pleasure of knowing it has been created by a virtuoso and authority in this field and it will not just sit in my collection for posterity.
You will hear the 'tinc', like pearls falling onto stone from a broken necklace. Llio Rhydderch majestically portrays a particular emotion and intellectuality which is unique to Welsh harp music. To watch her live is a treasure and she is regarded with great respect by fellow musicians.
I'm totally biased and proud of it: you see. I managed to catch the session in the Cobblestone in Dublin when Llio and her group swapped tunes with Neili Mulligan and the regulars in a wonderful evening. This CD captures the warmth of personality and the excellent intelligent musicianship which I experienced first-hand. Llio lives on the island of Anglesea, Ynys Môn, in Welsh, and traces an impressive lineage of masters and ancestors which was threatened by apathy until a recent surge of interest, probably fuelled by our own musical revival.
The music would be on ear-opener to anyone, and consider that it is all passed on by ear without being written down. There are five harp pupils of Llio also featured, plus fiddle, whistle and fife. None of the tunes is as fast and driving as a reel, but when Llio gets going in the variations, it sure sparkles, and gives a great insight into what Irish harping music must have been like in its heyday 300 years ago.
Most of the notes, excellently produced with many antique photos, are written in Welsh, including the genealogy tracing the tradition right back to 1352.
Actually the Welsh word, Telyn, means a Buzzer, wasp-sound; apparently it was a insult given by Irish harpers to their Welsh counterparts, since the Irish preferred the big reverb of metal strings to the gut strings of the Welsh. Like the word jazz, also an insult at the start, it became, in time, a badge of honour - and great honour as this CD shows.
Given that the instrument and tradition were near extinction, it's frightening to think of what could have been lost, and heart-warming to think of what is being saved.
This is easily my best unexpected find of the lost year. Words can't convey the enthusiasm and love of music in these tracks. It's a total must-buy and never lend.
AR Men Magazine October 1999
Cet enregistrement de Llio Rhydderch, qu'accompagnent certaines de ses propres élèves, se distingue assez nettrement de tout ce qui nous est parvenu du pays de Galles dans ce domaine: son art y est revivifié malgé un certain classicisme. Serair-ce exagéré d'écrire que ce disque donne Ie sentiment d'en-tendre pour la première fois dec la grande harpe galloise ?