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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK
Welsh Revival hymns jazzed up
Lleuwen Steffan (Picture from S4C)
Lleuwen Steffan's interest in hymns started after she found an old hymn book
A new CD featuring Welsh hymns from the 1904-05 religious revival is becoming a surprise success.

Singer Lleuwen Steffan thought her jazz versions might have appealed to just a few people, but she has been surprised by the CD's success.

She said: "I had thought it might have been too experimental for chapel-goers, and too strange for the rock scene.

"But people have understood what I'm trying to do."

The hymns were released on the CD, Duw a Wyr, (God Knows) at the beginning of October.

You can't fail to be touched by the strength of feeling in the words
Lleuwen Steffan, singer

The songs include works by well-know hymn writers Ann Griffiths, Gwilym Hiraethog and William Williams, Pantycelyn.

Ms Steffan, from Sling, near Tregarth, Bangor, first became interested in hymns after finding a hymn book in her grandmother's attic.

"I knew the words off by heart because I used to sing them like a Polly parrot, but I had never thought what they actually meant," she said.

"There was a feeling that something big was happening, there was a revolution behind these hymns.

"The message is ageless, no matter if you believe in a religion or not.

"You can't fail to be touched by the strength of feeling in the words, and understand that the people who wrote them experienced something real," she added.

Ms Steffan co-worked with pianist Huw Warren, who lives in Porthmadog, but is originally from Swansea, and saxophonist Mark Lockheart, on the CD released by Babel Label in London, and distributed in Wales by Sain records.




SEE ALSO:
Artist draws on valley changes
08 Oct 05 |  South West Wales
Money cuts threaten jazz festival
02 Oct 05 |  Guernsey
Katie Melua makes mellow comeback
26 Sep 05 |  Entertainment


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