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Reminder Friday 9th January: The Storytellers Eirwen Malin and Phil Thomas from Wales

January 8, 2009

Eirwen Malin & Phil Thomas



Eirwan and Phil will be at these libraries on Friday 9th January:

Eketahuna: 10.30 AM

Pahiatua:     1.00 PM

Woodville:   3.00 PM

Eirwen Malin and Phil Thomas are Storytellers and Singer/Songwriters based in Penarth, near Cardiff in South Wales, UK. They first worked together in the spring of 2001 when Eirwen joined Phil to perform his Musical Storytelling show ‘One Last Dance’ (The story of the sinking of the TITANIC like you never heard it before!) and a new partnership was born.


Though a singer and songwriter since the seventies, Eirwen Malin began telling Stories in 1992 when she heard Hugh Lupton (the ‘Godfather’ of British Storytelling) say that the old stories would die out unless a new generation of storytellers continued to tell them. She took his plea to heart and began to seek out opportunities to tell stories in English and Welsh (which she has spoken since a child). She made her first performance to a wider storytelling audience at the inaugural ‘Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival’ at St. Donats in the Vale of Glamorgan in 1993. She went on to win the Storytelling Competition at the world renowned ‘Sidmouth International Folk Festival’ in 1996. In the late nineties she toured with the famous Welsh Folk Artists ‘Calennig’ as the storyteller in a production of ‘A Tale of Two Rivers’ (inspired by the Welsh Coal Miners who went to try their luck in Pennsylvania, USA in the late Eighteen hundreds). This was her first exposure to storytelling in a more theatrical setting and set her on a path leading, eventually to her collaboration with Phil on ‘One Last Dance’.


Phil Thomas has been a working Musician, Singer and Writer for over twenty five years and he reckons he is a bit like the family pet dog….he’ll play with anyone who will feed him! Throughout the Seventies and eighties he played in a variety of Folk and Country Music outfits (even a Skiffle Band!) and built a reputation on the UK Folk circuit as a journeyman musician. He did a stint as a ‘Pit’ musician for musical theatre productions and also worked as Musical Director for student productions while working as a college lecturer in Performing Arts. Working in the theatre was bound to have an effect. One day he heard the story of a young local lad who, in 1912, picked up the distress messages from the Titanic on his homemade radio set…and nobody believed him! The show ‘One Last Dance’ was born and fate eventually brought Eirwen and Phil together to perform the show in Spring 2001 at Miskin Folk Festival in Wales.


They worked together again on a visit to the Pan Celtic Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland by a troupe of Welsh dancers and then again in summer 2002 when the late withdrawal of a cast member from the ‘Tale of Two Rivers’ show which was about to leave for the USA led to a call for Phil to be a Stand-in. A sell-out Performance at the Welsh ‘Cymanfa Ganu’ (A Welsh singing festival) in Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania and an appearance at the ‘Kipona’ Festival (which includes the annual ‘Pow-Wow’ of the Native American Nations) convinced Phil and Eirwen that they should work together on a regular basis. A commission to write a new work for the ‘Cross Currents 2003’ National storytelling festival in Brisbane, Qld provided the opportunity for a first tour of Australia, which was a rousing success! In August 2004 they were guests at the Three Rivers Storytelling Festival in Pittsburgh USA, where they premiered their new telling of the Tale of Branwen from the Mabinogion, which features incidental music specially composed by Phil. This was reprised at the Toronto International Festival of Storytelling in 2006 to an enthusiastic reception.


Eirwen Malin and Phil Thomas perform Stories, Music and songs, in English and Welsh, for children and adults, dealing with everything from the Ghosts and Fairy-folk of ancient Wales to their own powerful original compositions reflecting contemporary Welsh life and issues…..don’t miss your opportunity to see and hear them.           


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