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Friday, January 31, 2014

Hip hop comes to Llan Eisteddfod

An international festival of music and dance is aiming for a younger audience with a new urban dance competition.
 
The urgent beat of hip hop will be mixing with the more traditional sounds of folk music and choral singing at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in July.
 
The street dancers will join competitors from all over the world to perform on the same stage as artistes as diverse as opera superstar Bryn Terfel and rock legends Status Quo.
 
The closing date for entries from urban dance groups is March 7.
 
Musical director Eilir Owen Griffiths (pictured right) said: "Last year's event was a fantastic success of which I am very proud but the last thing we can afford to do is rest on our laurels.  If we are to maintain and improve our standards we must not be complacent.
 
"It is therefore always a good to look at what we do to see if there are any ways we can do things even better next year.
 
"It is vitally important that we remain true to the core traditions of the Eisteddfod and we will always keep the faith with our cultural heritage, after all that is our raison d'etre.
 
"By the same token we must also be aware that culture is a living, vibrant, evolving phenomenon and we must also attract and remain relevant to new audiences as well as continuing to provide a platform for more traditional music and dance.
 
"In recent years, the choral competitions have been enriched by the inclusion of barbershop and show choirs. It has been an extremely popular development.
 
"We are now introducing a similar experiment in the dance competitions at this year's Eisteddfod.
 
"At the suggestion of our dance judges, we will have a Hip Hop dance competition so that the contemporary urban dance tradition can be represented too.
 
"It is a highly popular and culturally important part of the dance scene so we think it makes sense to introduce a Hip Hop competition to assess how successful it is and whether is should be included in future festivals.
 
"We will of course be rigorous in ensuring that the Eisteddfod's high standards are maintained at all  times so there will be preliminary rounds to decide who is worthy of competing on the main stage.
 
"I think this is a really exciting development in the Eisteddfod's history and will help us reach out to a new audience while at the same time respecting our rich heritage."
 
we have been able to arrange, what will be the opening event of the 2014 festival.”
 
The curtain raiser for this year's Eisteddfod will mark the return of opera superstar Bryn Terfel to Llangollen.
 
The acclaimed bass baritone will be playing the lead in a special English-language production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street featuring an all-Welsh cast.
 
This year's will also feature concerts by Dutch jazz sensation Caro Emerald and veteran British rockers Status Quo as well as a world premiere of a new work, Adiemus Colores, by top composer Karl Jenkins.
 
He will conduct his Latin American themed work with American tenor Noah Stewart, Venezuelan trumpeter Pacho Flores and Latvian accordion player Ksenija Sidorova to the accompaniment of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod Orchestra.
 
The Friday night concert, Spirit of Unity, will feature the Cape Town Opera, Africa’s premiere opera company, famed for their "vibrant vocalism and high-octane stage performances".
 
Appearing with them will be Wales’ representative in Cardiff Singer of the World, Gary Griffiths, the Wales Millennium Centre Only Kidz Aloud Chorus under the baton of celebrity conductor Tim Rhys Evans and British Sinfonietta, one of the UK's leading independent professional orchestras.
 
The Choir of the World competition for the Pavarotti Trophy on the Saturday night is the blue riband event of the week-long festival which will close with a Sunday night concert by Status Quo. To book tickets and for more details about the urban dance competition go to the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk

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