15 Mar 2019

Live: Jamie Smith's Mabon at WOMAD 2019

From the collecton Womad
Jamie Smith's Mabon

Jamie Smith's Mabon Photo: supplied

Celtic music has always been a crowd pleaser in New Zealand and with his band Mabon, Jamie Smith once more confirmed the popularity of the genre. As they claim, it's a modern face to an ancient culture, with plenty of jigs and reels. It's perhaps best described as lively, danceable and uplifting music.

Titles: 'The Whisky Burp Reels', 'Joig Trouble in Little Blaina', 'The Lowender Peran Polkas', 'Drum 'n' Breizh',  'Kingfisher and Magnet', 'The Small Bear March', 'The Accordionist's Despair', 'Frank's Reels', 'Caru Peum Merch', 'Aftershock'

Jamie Smith was brought up playing Welsh folk tunes, but quickly turned to playing songs drawing from a wider catalogue of original and traditional material influenced by the musical heritage of all the Celtic nations including Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Brittany and Cornwall.

Established now as a five-piece group, main-man Jamie Smith (accordion and vocals) and Iolo Whelan (percussion) have been on-board since the start of  their musical  journey. They are capably assisted by Oliver Wilson-Dickson (fiddle), Matthew Downer (bass guitar) and together with newest recruit Paul Rogers (acoustic guitar) they have a broad repertoire that draws from their previous six albums.

The band celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018 by playing more than 1000 gigs in four continents, including being the first ever Welsh band to perform at the Rain Forest World Music Festival in beautiful Kuching, Borneo.  

Jamie Smith's Mabon also released their live album TWENTY - a glorious, celebratory résumé of two decades of inspiring, original, ‘Interceltic’ world music.

Mabon Live

Mabon Live Photo: Suppplied

The Guardian wrote, "Jamie Smith’s Mabon became famous across Wales, and then the folk festival circuit, thanks to the power and versatility of Smith's remarkable accordion work".

Jamie Smiths Mabon put on an entertaining show at WOMAD Taranaki. They are easily one of the best UK folk bands, making full use of great melodies, driving rhythms and an irrepressible stage presence. The audience who caught Jamie Smith's Mabon playing the Dell Stage on the opening night of WOMAD 2019 certainly thought so!

Jamie Smith's Mabon from Wales performing on the Dell Stage, New Plymouth, was recorded live and produced by Darryl Stack for RNZ Music.

Jamie Smith on the Dell Stage

Jamie Smith on the Dell Stage Photo: Supplied

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