Tag Archives: Vale of Glamorgan

‘In The Shawowland’ The St Illtud’s Sessions

It gives me great pleasure to share ‘In The ShadowLand’ from The St Illtud’s Sessions, recorded live on location.

I have a growing interest in field recordings, so when the opportunity to record at the remarkable St Illtud’s Church in Llantwit Major came along , I welcomed it with open arms.

The project evolved from visits to St Illtuds, playing at the monthly open mic there and creative conversations with music enthusiast Canon Edwin Counsell and musician-producer Kevs Ford.

Our field recordings from this ancient space will not be perfect but will hopefully capture in someway the essence of this sacred place.

We kept the set up and the tracks simple, using condenser mics and an ambient room mic for live recording, in the extraordinary Galilee Chapel, home to an incredible collection of Celtic Stones.

On ‘In The Shadowland’  Peter Rosser accompanies me beautifully on acoustic guitar. Recording at St Illtuds, has really meant a great deal to me, as I feel a deep sense of connection to Llanilltud Fwar.

I wrote ‘In The Shadowland’ when I came home after an evening at Company of Words a open mic of spoken word and song organised by a friend and a fundraiser for Papyrus, the National charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. The sorrow and the hope shared that evening stayed with me, I was profoundly moved and the song welled up in me. It was late, I picked up my guitar and very quietly wrote ‘In The Shadowland’

I wasn’t aware until I played the song to a friend that it echoed a line from the exquisite “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats, inspired by the song of a nightingale, it was written in 1819, and has it’s centenary in 2019. The poem must have been in my subconscious when I was writing.

“Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known”
An extract from John Keats ‘Ode To A Nightingale’

Kevs and I started our musical journey together a few years ago when we recorded my song ‘Our Places’ live by the River Ely in Cardiff. The St Illtud’s Session have been a great opportunity for us to get back to where we first started and explore ideas and sounds in situ.

After our first day of recording I wrote a short tone poem, a site specific composition called ‘ Living Stones’. To help me gain a better sense of the space, in the summer I spent an afternoon sitting amongst the ancient Celtic stones in The Galilee Chapel, sketching The Houelt cross, listening to the sounds in and around the building.

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The St Illtud’s Sessions are an ongoing project which we hope to keep exploring and developing. We are listening back in the studio our field recordings and hope to have enough material for an EP to be released in the early spring.

My warmest thanks are given to the St Illtud’s community who have encouraged my music and helped make this project possible. There is a great wealth of talent and sharing of creativity at the Open Mic which runs on the first Friday of each month, run by Peter Cronin and friends.

There is much to be discovered at the ancient site of St Illtud’s and the surrounding area of Llantwit Major. I look forward to what will be revealed next on this creative journey and I hope dear reader you will check in along the way.

In The Shadowland’ Live – The St Illtud’s Sessions is available to listen, stream and download from Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

Recorded live on location by Kevs Ford at The Galilee Chapel, St Illtuds, Llantwit Major, Wales

Written by Bel Blue

Bel Blue: vocals, guitar
Peter Rosser: vocals, guitar

Produced by Kevs Ford and Bel Blue

Massive thanks to St Illtud’s Church, Edwin and friends

Photography Jack Constable @jacsimages

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Weaver Fish

Weaver Fish by Bel Blue

Words , Vocals, Guitar, Bel Blue,  Sea Sounds, Ogmore Beach

A little song-poem project ruff, I recorded on an mini ipad in 2015, with mobile video taken this summer at Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. Playing my big old acoustic on this song poem, all recordings and video made on mobile apps. I enjoyed this project and given the opportunity would like to explore more in collaboration and better technology. I collected the wave sounds at Ogmore beach, vale of Glamorgan, and the chimes from a bedroom mobile. Weaver Fish are found much further down the estuary, in the Bristol Channel at very low tide, thankfully as a family, we have only ever had one encounter, in the Gower many years ago.

Weaver Fish

There is a moment

when I’m not pushing

and you’re not pulling

when the ebb and flow has peaked

a moment when high water

sits still before she turns

a pause when she sets low

and the weaver fish returns

returns

and the weaver fish returns

Buried beneath the sands

he lies in wait and my love

we tread slow and my love

we tread low

careful of the spikes

the spikes below

careful of the moment

the moment when

love speaks

when love speaks

In this moment

Is this love

is this love

is this love

In this moment

when we speak

Is this love

Is this love

Is this love (repeat)

When we speak Is this love.

Bel Blue © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Bel Blue, In Its Time Video, Nash Point, Heritage Coast, Wales

“A remarkable work of real beauty” Jeremy Rees

Bel Blue, In Its Time Radio Edit, from the album Our Places  www.belblue.co.uk

Bel Blue: Vocals & guitar, Kevs Ford: Semi Acoustic. Written by Bel Blue,  Recorded and Produced by Kevs Ford, Dog Rose Studios, Wales. © 2016 BelBlueMusic, all rights reserved. Released Aug 2016.

Caerphilly Folk, Recording Dunraven Bay at Shabbey Road Studio’s

After a gentle walk at Southern Down, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, this September, I sat on a hill overlooking the breathtaking Dunraven Bay and the words of Dunraven Bay began to form.

Just a few weeks later, I learn’t to play a basic Travis picking style on my guitar via talented musician and teacher Shemi Jones. It fitted the song so well, the rhythm of the picking rolled like the waves of the sea.

Photo 03-11-2014 20 05 58Happy coincidence and a helping hand from my local poet friend, saw me heading over to Shabbey Road Studios, Caerphilly to put the song down. After a very warm welcome from the Shabbey Road Team, Al Steele and Ceri, a few hours later, I left the recording studio with this beautiful song Dunraven Bay.

Percussionist Andy Constable, added a clay bodied Tabla, that drives the song all the way though, with an undulating beat.

Recording in the Studio with Andy Constable and Al Steele.
In Shabbey Road Studio’s with Andy Constable and Al Steele.

As the track came together, Al Steele, opened it up, by laying down a beautiful piano and bass accompaniment.

Photo 13-11-2014 17 42 00

Since I began writing this blog, Dunraven Bay had its frist radio play on The Acoustic Programme, on Radio Tircoed, thanks Andy Boyt, a fabulous folky show every Friday eve 🙂 It is also listed to play on the wonderful HonkyTonk with Jeremy Rees on his November 20th Show, Galaxy 105FM (Malta) on Thursdays at 21:15. Dunraven Bay is on its journey.

My many thanks to Andy Constable, for his encouragement and percussion, to Al Steele, his lovely partner Ceri, and to everyone who’s been part of this musical journey.