Llangollen 2011

Last week we had the awesomely fun privilege of attending the International Eistedfodd in Llangollen, where Malc was singing with the Cantorion Ostinato Singers. There was a tonne of practising in the run up to their time on stage. The choir have only been together for about 6 months, though previously they have all been - or still are - members of the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers (of Aberystwyth University, of course).

Everyone made a very early start on Friday for the choir's performance in the Chamber Choirs competition. We were all pretty nervous as it was to be their very first public performance. They were up against six other groups from England, Lithuania, the Philippines, Canda, and the USA.

There was a huge level of excitement and fantastic performances. The standard in the Chamber Choirs class is reportedly higher than most and, although Ostinato scored a handsome 82, The Adventist University of the Philippines Ambassador Chior won. These guys went on to win the overall Choir of the World Competition. 

Billed as "the unique international festival" the Llangollen Eistedfodd started shortly after the end of the second world war in an attempt to bring countries together in peace. Its pretty good fun, though mysteriously ignored by nearly everyone outside Wales. The main tent houses formal choral performances of an impressive standards with competitors from all over the world competing in their own language and traditions. Other stages have a different vibe: the S4C stage included smaller bands from a variety of backgrounds, including folk and a local school brass band. There are stalls and shops selling crafts, clothing and food from across the world and everywhere groups of people (usually in matching clothing) rehearsing or singing just for fun. 


After all the hard work the choir relaxed with some drinks to plan out their programme for next years concert, plotting how many competitions they could fit into and testing their tuning against a guitar tuning app. And watched their performance on telly (with full subtitles in English). 

We stayed at a beautiful site next to an Abbey with cottages for rent, a home-grown butchers, coffee shop, and camping facilities (including tent pods). 

Joe and I were the unofficial Official Ostinato WAGs

Every year for a week in July the festival totally takes over this village and from what we saw the locals made all the festival goers very welcome. Its a stunningly beautiful place though, so I reckon its worth a visit when the crowds aren't there. There's beautiful scenery, historic sites, a steam railway, a canal with famous aqueduct and a good chip shop (we recommend the kebab shop at the top end of the high street).