2008 – Capeli Dyffryn Teifi

CDT19On Sunday 15th June 2008, local arts group GWRANDO, launched a new project, Capeli Dyffryn Teifi, at Bethania Chapel, Cardigan. The event included a choral presentation of traditional sacred songs and experimental composition, and new film work from Jacob Whittaker, as well as information about the project, and how to get involved.

23 chapels have participated in the project, which investigates chapel culture through architecture, acoustics and music. Cor Gymuned Llangrannog, and Heartsong choir from Aberystwyth, have worked with Lou Laurens on the development of the composition, which has been inspired by recordings made at participating chapels. The project developed into a concert/exhibition in the Great Hall at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, presented on September 18th 2008.

Ar ddydd Sul 15 Mehefin 2008, lansiodd y grwp celf lleol GWRANDO, prosiect newydd, Capeli Dyffryn Teifi, yng Nghapel Bethania, Aberteifi. Oedd y digwyddiad yn cynnwys cyflwyniad corawl o ganeuon cysegredig traddodiadol a chyfansoddiadau arbrofol yn ogystal â gwaith ffilm newydd gan Jacob Whittaker. Ceir hefyd wybodaeth am y prosiect yn cynnwys gwybodaeth am sut i gymryd rhan. Mae 23 capel wedi cymryd rhan yn y prosiect, sy’n ymchwilio i mewn i ddiwylliant capeli drwy bensaernïaeth, elfennau acwstig a cherddoriaeth. Mae Cor Gymuned Llangrannog a Heartsong wedi gweithio gyda Lou Laurens ar ddatblygu y cyfansoddiad, sydd wedi’i ysbrydoli gan recordiadau a wnaed mewn capeli oedd yn cymryd rhan. Datblygwyd y prosiect i mewn i gyngerdd/arddangosfa yn yr Neuadd Fawr yn Canolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth ar 18fed Medi 2008.

‘…listening to spaces, listening to the interaction of voice and space, of voice and voice, listening as an act of love…’ Lou Laurens.
…gwrando ar y gwacteroedd, gwrando ar ryngweithio llais a gofod, llais a llais, gwrando fel gweithred o gariad…’ Lou Laurens

The acoustic fingerprints project grew out of an idea of buildings retaining, in their silence, a memory of the ebb and flow of people gathering together to sing and give thanks. The work with choirs aims to develop the sounds that this “full” silence might contain. Local voices sing songs based on Welsh texts and hymns, and through simple improvisational processes create floating layers of sounds, echo and canon, shifts in rhythm, and dissonances or tone-clusters, almost as though we can hear the songs being sung through the centuries, distant, blurred, haunting… I have always been fascinated by song, by the resilience and longevity of songs, the layered meaning that accumulates with each singing.

I began to investigate the chapel interiors, making measurements, collecting data, researching the history, and meeting the people who maintain the chapels and traditions. I started to think about how much the landscape/soundscape has changed around these chapels, and realised that the Teifi and its sounds could become a part of the project, an ever-changing constant in the sonic history of the valley. The Teifi valley is the area I think of as my home territory; where I grew up, began to sing; the first place I heard/learned/mapped.

In the choir workshops we continued to work with Welsh texts and to explore processes that deepen our awareness of the relationships between the singer, the song, the time and the space in which one sings. Each member of the choir had the opportunity to influence and shape the final work.’

Tyfodd y prosiect olion bysedd acwstig o’r syniad bod adeiladau’n cynnal, yn eu tawelwch, atgof o bobl yn mynd a dod i ymgynnull i ganu ac i roi diolch. Mae’r gwaith gyda chorau’n anelu at ddatblygu’r seiniau y gallai’r tawelwch ‘llawn’ hwn eu cynnwys. Mae lleisiau lleol yn canu caneuon sy’n seiliedig ar destunau ac emynau Cymraeg, a thrwy brosesau byrfyfyr syml yn creu haenau arnofiol o seiniau, atsain a chanon, newidiadau mewn rhythm, ac anghyseinedd neu glystyrau tôn, bron fel petawn yn gallu clywed y caneuon yn cael eu canu drwy’r canrifoedd, yn y pellter, yn pylu, yn swynol … Mae caneuon wedi fy hudo erioed, gwydnwch a hirhoedledd caneuon, yr haenau ystyr sy’n cronni bob tro maen nhw’n cael eu canu.

Dechreuais ymchwilio i du mewn capeli, gwneud mesuriadau, casglu data, ymchwilio i’r hanes, a chyfarfod â’r bobl sy’n cynnal y capeli a’r traddodiadau. Dechreuais feddwl am gymaint y mae’r dirwedd/seinwedd wedi newid o amgylch y capeli hyn, a sylweddolais y gallai afon Teifi a’i seiniau fod yn rhan o’r prosiect, rhywbeth cyson cyfnewidiol yn hanes sonig y dyffryn. Rwy’n ystyried mai Dyffryn Teifi yw fy mro; lle tyfais i fyny, y lle dechreuais ganu; y man cyntaf y gwnes i glywed/dysgu/mapio.

Yn y gweithdai côr roeddwn yn parhau i weithio gyda thestunau Cymraeg ac yn archwilio prosesau sy’n dyfnhau ein dealltwriaeth o’r berthynas rhwng y canwr, y gân, yr amser a’r gofod y mae rhywun yn canu ynddo. Roedd pob aelod o’r côr yn cael y cyfle i ddylanwadu a ffurfio’r gwaith terfynol.’

Lou Laurens

Photos from the launch event at Bethania
Photos from the concert in Aberystwyth

The Pilgrim’s Process: Following Fingerprints

This new film work follows the ‘Acoustic Fingerprints’ project around chapels in the Teifi valley. The work records the activities undertaken during the visits, as well as the journeys made to the various chapels and takes snapshots of these buildings in their current state. The main camera examines the spaces using formal filming techniques, slow zooms and pans, looking at how light enters, reflects and highlights the details. The sadness associated with the apparent loss of relevance of this tradition to new generations, and the difficulties in maintaining historic buildings faced by dwindling congregations, is countered by the beautiful architecture, craftsmanship and meticulous maintenance evinced therein, making apparent the importance of these buildings within the community past and present.

God is in the detail”
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Mae’r ffilm newydd hon yn dilyn prosiect ‘Olion Bysedd Acwstig’ o amgylch capeli yn nyffryn Teifi. Mae’r gwaith yn cofnodi’r gweithgareddau yn ystod yr ymweliadau, yn ogystal â’r siwrneiau a wnaethpwyd i’r capeli amrywiol, ac mae’n tynnu cipluniau o’r adeiladau hyn yn eu cyflwr cyfredol. Mae’r prif gamera’n archwilio’r lleoedd gan ddefnyddio technegau ffilmio ffurfiol, chwyddo a thremio araf, gan astudio sut mae golau’n dod i mewn, yn adlewyrchu ac yn amlygu’r manylion. Mae’r tristwch sy’n gysylltiedig â cholled ymddangosiadol perthnasedd y traddodiad hwn i genedlaethau newydd, a’r anawsterau sy’n wynebu cynulleidfaoedd prinnach wrth gynnal adeiladau hanesyddol, yn cael ei wrthwynebu gan y bensaernïaeth brydferth, y crefftwaith a’r gwaith cynnal a chadw gofalus iawn a welir yno, sy’n amlygu pwysigrwydd yr adeiladau hyn yn y gymuned, yn y gorffennol a’r presennol.

Jacob Whittaker

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