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Acclaimed Welsh folk artist BETHAN NIA records debut album with REM studio whizz in Pontypridd cafe – ‘FFINIAU’ is out today


There is something of Kate Bush’s ‘Aerial’ in this… The beauty of Bethan Nia’s writing and performances on this varied album is undeniable” (Buzz Mag)

“Just listen to those arrangements… Truly magical in its fragile femininity” (Folk Wales)

“A touch of Celtic magic…  Hauntingly beautiful” (The Western Mail)

“Ethereal is the important word here” (Snack Mag)

Imagine it. You’re lying on a summer beach, Covid a vanishing memory, the sea lapping at your feet and the two greatest sounds on earth trickling through your earbuds… The music of an angel and a cafe cooking bacon sandwiches.

This perfect duet between beauty and butty is captured on Welsh harpist Bethan Nia’s stunning debut album ‘Ffiniau’, an end-to-end bilingual masterpiece produced by REM’s studio whizz Charlie Francis.

“I used to busk in Pontypridd then sit in The Prince’s cafe writing songs,” says Bethan. 

“The place is an institution, all Art Deco and a wonderful old copper boiler. I’d listen to the sounds around me: the chat, the laughter, the sound of a kitchen making bacon sandwiches, the hiss of frothy coffee…and I knew I wanted that on my album. It’s every sound we’ve missed in lockdown”.

“So I took in my harp, we set up some recording equipment, I played some Welsh tunes and we hoped for the best. What we got was perfect. The cafe sounds are a soft murmur behind the harp…the rhythm of a life we long to return to”.

The debut LP ‘Ffiniau’ (it’s Welsh for Borders) is finally released today (21st June 2021) and is a bilingual tour-de-force exploring the boundaries that exist between people, languages and worlds. The songs are deeply rooted in the Welsh tradition, but with subtle beats and atmospheric strings underpinning Bethan’s sparkly harp and vocals.

Buy/listen to ‘Ffiniau’ now via Bethan’s Bandcamp or Official Website

The 13 tracks on the album represent almost ten years of Bethan’s writing and are already attracting rave reviews.

“She delivers a superb mixture of the traditional and contemporary,” says BBC Radio’s Frank Hennessy, the undisputed godfather of Welsh folk music. “Her harp playing perfectly matching a gorgeous voice.”

Bethan, who has also captivated thousands via two shows (one with The Levellers) at Glastonbury Festival, is a little more modest;

“This album has been a labour of love for several years and I’m just pleased it’s finally come to fruition,” she says. “The musicians who I have supporting me are the cream of Welsh folk musicians, and I’m so happy to have them play on the album.

“The world needs music right now. I hope that ‘Ffiniau’ will relax, soothe and enchant listeners and be the perfect accompaniment to that day on a summer beach that we all hope and pray is coming.”

Along, of course, with HP Sauce, it should be the perfect accompaniment to a bacon sarnie.

“I want to go back to The Prince’s cafe and play a free gig just to say thank you,” smiles Bethan. “And they do a lovely pot of tea!”

Bethan Nia’s debut album ‘Ffiniau’ is out today (21st June 2021) on her own Pili-Pala record label

Buy/listen to ‘Ffiniau’ now via Bethan’s Bandcamp or Official Website

Sign-up to Bethan’s mailing list to get latest news, hear new songs first etc HE

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Martin Bone - Editor-in-Chief

Martin is a founding member of Patchchord News and is Director & Editor-in-Chief for PCN Magazine / Patchchord News Martin also is a Freelance Photographer and lives in the Scottish Borders Scotland. Martin also specialises in Commercial Photography in Music & Events, Sports and Portrait Photography and Video. Also the Official Photographer for Football Club Maybole Juniors.
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