Brythonwen is the Welsh name of the
Welsh-American singer and composer, Bettina Sheppard. The powerful
mood and energy of her new album, Solus, is inspired by her
childhood in Wales and reflects its raw nature of passion and beauty.
Sometimes forceful and driving, sometimes moody and mystical, the
music is often imbued with images of nature. Celtic folklore comes
alive in the vivid and expressive music of her latest original compositions
and arrangements of traditional Welsh songs.
Her childhood playground of Caerphilly
Castle in southern Wales provided a rich heritage in the stories and
music of the druids and fairies. The language of Tylwyth Teg is an
integral part of her music, as is the Welsh language. She says, "I
played in Caerphilly Castle as a child. How could I help but see images
of centuries past."
The dark, mystical quality of her
songs is enhanced by her long-term classical studies in piano and
voice. An award-winning child pianist, Bettina continued her multi-faceted
performing career as a singer/actress in musical theatre, light opera,
jazz, film, and television. Her present works reflecting her Welsh
home and ancestry utilize elements of these styles while staying true
to traditional Celtic textures. The interweaving of other ethnic cultures,
such as African and Middle Eastern percussion and vocal styles, other
musical styles, such as rock, and other time periods all make the
statement that music and language are universal magic.
Brythonwen audiences have likened
her music to Dead Can Dance, Loreena McKennitt, and Enya, but with
a unique strength and edgy quality of its own. Each song tells a powerful
story and could easily accompany film sagas in the vein of Lord
of the Rings or Harry Potter. She and producer, John Gentry
Tennyson, have gathered together some of New York's finest musicians
for this project, incorporating percussion, fiddle, flutes, cello,
uilleann pipes, and an amazing rhythm section of guitar, bass, drums,
and keyboards. The combination is pure magic.