is the only musical ensemble dedicated to exploring the performance
of medieval and renaissance Welsh music and poetry in an
historically-informed way. They sing Welsh poetry ranging
from stanzas of the Gododdin (6th century) to ritual and
popular songs of the 18th and 19th century. They play the
six-stringed lyre of 6th century Northern Europe and the
crwth. They play and sing in Pythagorean tuning.
crwth is the ancient lyre of Northern Europe modified by
the addition of a fingerboard and the application of the
bow. It was played in France, England, Ireland, Scotland,
and Wales, where it survived longest, and where it was used
from the 10th century to the end of the 16th century to accompany
classical or bardic poetry (cerdd dafod) with unique Welsh
string music (cerdd dant). The music, like the poetry, was
composed upon rigorous and conservative principles. The poets,
instrumentalists and singers were part of an all-embracing
the early-17th century the crwth lost its prestige as the
bardic system was abandoned and players provided new, European-style,
music until the crwth fell out of use in the late-18th century.
Bragod contrasts examples of this new music with the old.
duo's key to Welsh medieval music is the Robert ap Huw Manuscript,
(The British Library, Robert ap Huw, MUSICA, Additional 14905).
Robert Evans' research into this manuscript is of pivotal
importance and is the basis of Bragod's work. He is responsible
for the revival of the crwth as a viable historical instrument,
drawing on Welsh theoretical treatises and years of experiment
on the setting up of the instrument and its playing technique.
the Summer of 2002 Bragod gave the first modern performance
of Ystorya Trystan,The Welsh Tristan Story, part of the Arthurian
epic. Since no music survives for this largely 12th century
text, they have composed new music, drawing on medieval Welsh
and European musical treatises. In 2003 they set stanzas
from The Book of Aneirin (6th century) to new music, composed
using a reconstructed 6th century lyre, drawing on the musical
ideas of classical and later periods.
draws freely on the sound world revealed by their medieval
experiments in their performance of later popular and ritual
Roberts has evolved a striking voice production which combines
with the close harmonies and the buzzing tone of the crwth.
This combination intensifies strong overtones and difference
tones which are further augmented by Bragod's commitment
to Pythagorean tuning.
have given recitals and lecture/recitals at concert venues
and academic conferences in Wales, England, Rajasthan and
Sardinia and are often called upon to provide ritual music
by their local community. Bragod have presented their material
to infants, school children, and formally, to university
have been featured on Welsh television and radio stations
and the BBC World Service. Their first CD - 'Bragod', and
their new CD - 'Kaingk', are played regularly on Late Junction,
BBC Radio 3 and Radio Tre Italia. They have made live broadcasts
on BBC Radio 3.