Stacey Blythe & Rajesh David – The Music of Gitan (December)

Our second Ysbrydoli/ Inspire blog for December is from storytellers Stacey Blythe and Rajesh David who have working together to weave together poetic threads of Hindi, Welsh, Urdu and Sanskrit through stories, songs and instruments such as the Indian harmonium and Celtic lever harp. A fascinating insight into weaving blog about weaving cultures and languages separated by 4596 miles.

What is the project?

Our project is called The Music of Gitân. It is a walk with two friends between two worlds holding each the musical threads of their native or adopted homelands and bringing them together to create a beautiful sonic story tapestry.

The two friends are Singers, Musicians and Composers Rajesh David and Stacey Blythe.
Rajesh was born in Mumbai and came to Wales, leaned the language and has made his home in Lampeter, West Wales. Stacey was born in Birmingham and came to study music in Cardiff. She learned Welsh and raised her family speaking Welsh. She has made Cardiff her home.
We are weaving very deeply,cultures and languages separated by 4,596 miles. Our work makes new material with poetic threads of Hindi, Welsh, Urdu and Sanskrit…with sung threads of classical Indian vocal styles and folksongs from Wales… and with instruments that do not normally dance together – Indian harmonium and Celtic lever harp. This tapestry is a beautiful surprise to us. It has unrolled itself before us and we are amazed and delighted to look at it – with all its surprising and bewitching landscape. Epic Classical poetry in Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit sits next to, and folds into personal, tender, domestic folksongs from Wales. The lines blur, the differences melt away, and we begin to sing and share the songs and music from these diverse traditions with one sonic voice. The language of a deep cultural duet has opened up to us, and we both know this collaboration is going to last.

Who is it for and how can people get involved/engage?

This work is for anyone who enjoys a fresh telling of beautiful folksong and poetry with delicious sung harmonies and rich music danced by harp and harmonium. It is for anyone who is excited to hear old songs in new mouths, and ancient poetry from fresh, unexpected voices. The heritage we embrace is Urdu, Welsh, Hindi and Sanskrit. Our work is like a music diary of contemporary British society – diverse, surprising, strong and alive.
Our audience is anyone who would like to listen to something they may never have heard.

Tell us more about yourself in a short biog. How did you start storytelling? How long have you been doing this? Where are you based etc? How do you work with story?

Rajesh David
Voice, Harmonium
Rajesh is an accomplished and versatile singer and composer, trained in Indian classical music. Born in India into a family of singers, he was an A-grade artist for the All India Radio and Television. His compositions, influenced by Indian classical and folk traditions as well as contemporary music are inspiring, energetic and heart opening. He is a Welsh language learner, as well as the musical language of sargams, taranas and bols. He enjoys working with musicians of different genres, bringing music and cultures together. Rajesh plays with Dylan Fowler and Peter Stacey in their trio Tŷhai. His passion for music and his study of Yoga has inspired him to develop seminars on Nada Yoga and Bhakti Yoga which he gives in UK and abroad. He has produced several CD albums of his compositions as well a yoga practice CDs. His latest CD album is inspired by the poems of the Sufi poet Amir Khusro.

Stacey Blythe I play by ear as well as being a classically trained composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist.

I write and tour with Adverse Camber ( )
“Hunting the Giant’s Daughter” was my first piece of touring work with them and is an award-winning piece of Storytelling-Theatre. We have done many UK and European tours in Welsh and English – 38 shows to date.
We’ve just toured Australia for a month with “Dreaming the Night Field” multiple performances including a residency at the Wiradjuri Aboriginal Cultural Centre. We performed with and got to know the amazing young performers who are holding their Traditions safe for the future. Working in the Welsh Language is also a huge part of who I am creatively. I’ve been lucky to perform in the Welsh Language in the U.S, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Holland, and all over the UK. Sharing the treasure of this rich culture and language really inspires me.
I have recently completed a training course in storytelling, I am about to start another in storytelling in Welsh. After working so closely with storytelling for over 20 years as a musician and composer, I am very excited to be at the start of telling my own story – with Rajesh. I work with story as a beginner. This is where I see our work growing towards – after being so lucky as a performer to be right in the heart of storytelling for so long I know I can trust what I see ahead for Rajesh and I. Our meeting and our lives really inspire me to craft and share our narrative. Our backgrounds, and our choosing of the Welsh language as an adopted mother tongue feels so unique I know it will stand as a powerful landscape to unfold whilst sharing our beautiful new music with audiences. I am excited to do this bilingually in English and Welsh as well as sing with Rajesh in Urdu, Hundi and Sanskrit.

Lockdown Watch – something you have seen online that you want to share e.g.a video/podcast/online event that has inspired you at this time?

I am really addicted to TED talks! I saw a wonderful one given by Jan Blake called the fisherman..there are lots on storytelling and they are very addictive as well as being profoundly uplifting!

Jan Blake - TEDxWarsaw
Jan Blake - TEDxManchester

Supported by

English (UK)