Llangollen Fringe 2019 PreviewLlangollen, 19 - 27 July 2019
For its natural location, warmth and informality, Llangollen is one of the best event settings in Britain. Chasing further superlatives for its home, the town's annual Fringe must rank as Wales' most eclectic arts festival; if it were any more wide-ranging, it would just be random.
On a casual skim the sheer diversity of programming that is the Fringe's trademark could obscure the detailed craft of its curation - look closer and the festival offers nine days of contrasting and compelling cultural experience in an utterly charming town.
2019's edition starts with comedy (with an as-yet-to-be-announced mystery headliner), followed immediately by the Dub Pistols' energised spate of drum & bass, hip-hop, ska, dub and punk. It finishes with the swirling dance beats of Electric Swing Circus; in between, four shows edge ahead of the pack for attention:
Bruce Parry is a documentary filmmaker, acclaimed for his BBC series Tribe - ?which recorded him as he lived with indigenous peoples around the world. His directorial debut, Tawai, A Voice From the Forest, is an attempt to dive deeper into the heart of what he has learned from many years travelling the world. Tawai is thought provoking in its insights and dream-like in its beauty. The full film will be shown, followed by an interview and Q & A with its maker.
Lleuwen & Band
Genre defying Welsh singer-songwriter Lleuwen Steffan's last album Gwn Glân Beibl Budr ('raw, rooted and radiant music') was one of the standout releases from 2018. The chance to see her already dramatic and emotive songs played on stage with a full band should rate as unmissable.
When Tunng reconvened last year after a long hiatus the album they released, Songs You Make at Night, was an exceptional addition to an existing catalogue of enthralling folktronica, showcasing a band that can sketch effortlessly across the border between organic and electronic sound.
Emmanuel Jal & Nyaruach
From his start in life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s,?Emmanuel Jal?has come through huge personal struggles to become a successful and acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador. His sister, Nyaruach, was also born in South Sudan but was separated from the rest of her immediate family, including Jal, aged 4. Brought up in a war zone, with all that entails, it wasn't until 2004 that she was finally reunited with Jal in Nairobi. The music they now make together is life-affirming Afrobeat.