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“There’s a sense of being taken on a musical ‘World tour’ at every gig” wrote Ian Mann, aka The Jazz Man, of Eira/Snow, a multi-instrumental duo from Monmouth who are touring the Churches on the borders of England and Wales, celebrating the majestic acoustics of these buildings and engaging with the rich spiritual heritage. The music draws on influences from across Europe and into the lands of the Middle East, but includes a fond passion for the Celtic influences of home.
Eira/Snow was born one snowy winter’s evening, hence the name,“eira” being the Welsh word for “snow”. When Lyndon Owen and Caractacus Downes were asked to step in for a band that had to cry off due to weather conditions, they entertained an expectant audience who were not disappointed and ever since audiences have continued to be left rapturous and contemplative.
Lyndon Owen’s skill is evidenced by his performance on a broad variety of wind instruments including saxophone, the Armenian Douduk and the Hungarian Tarogato while Caractacus Downes lays down the groove on double bass.
Improvisation plays a key role in the band’s ethos often producing mesmeric pieces. Initially the duo was inspired by the music of Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, particularly the classic ECM recordings in which Garbarek fused jazz with a variety of folk and world music elements. But the programme is varied with a significant influence found closer to home. No performance is without a Welsh tune or two and arrangements of familiar hymns composed by passionate Welsh hymn writers such as Parry and Ieuan Gwyllt.
It will be an evening of “infectious melodies and strong grooves and an essential simplicity”. (The Jazz Mann)
Tickets £8.50 available from the Town Hall – 01588 630023 or www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/417906