Siân James

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A talented Welsh folk singer, both fronting Bwchadanas and as a solo artist.
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Artist Biography by

b. 24 December 1961, Llanerfyl, Powys, Wales. James singing career began when she was put on the stage of a local musical competition at the age of four. She learned to play piano at six years old and, by 11, the harp. By the age of 16, James was touring with a harp trio, playing for music and Welsh societies in England and Wales. James then studied for a music degree at Bangor University, North Wales, and began to travel extensively, singing and playing harp. On 14 March 1981, Bwchadanas was formed, at Bangor University. The acoustic line-up featured, in addition to James, Geraint Cynan (b. 20 June 1961, Treorci, Rhondda, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales; piano), Rhys Harries (b. 6 January 1962, Newbridge, Gwent, Wales; guitar), Gareth Ioan, who left in 1986, (b. 19 September 1961, Aberynolwyn, Gwynedd, Wales; pipes), Lilio Rolant, who also left in 1986, (b. 3 May 1962, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales; harp) and Rhodri Tomas (b. 15 April 1962, Llanelli, Dyfed, Wales; guitar).

Bwchadanas gigged constantly and was voted the Best Welsh Folk Band for 1983, 1984 and 1985. Cariad Cywir, released on Sain Records, gained the band a wider audience, but with the making of the album, a new electric line-up was formed. This included Marc Jones (bass), who was later replaced by Ray Jones (b. 11 October 1951, London, England; bass), Meredydd Morris (guitar), and Owen Huws (drums). Other musicians who have contributed to the band have included drummers Gwyn Jones, Graham Land, and Charlie Britten, as well as Dafydd Dafis (soprano and alto saxophone). The band represented Wales in the Pan-Celtic Festival in Killarney, Eire, in 1985, winning the folk song competition. Bwchadanas also supported Moving Hearts in 1985, and played one date with Runrig, in 1987. Owing to individual members’ commitments, Bwchadanas only play a handful of dates every year. Much television coverage has, however, enabled them to become one of the most successful folk rock bands in Wales. Meanwhile, Siân James has continued to tour in her own right throughout Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and America, and 1990’s Cysgodion Karma, released on Sain, attracted a good deal of interest in the artist. James later performed with Tich Gwilym (b. 10 September 1950, Pen y graig, Rhondda, South Wales; guitar/charango), and Geraint Cynan (keyboards), with herself on harp and vocals. She continues to sing traditional and contemporary Welsh folk songs, as well as fronting Bwchadanas as vocalist.