Cass Meurig

Recordings Crwth

Photo of Cass Meurig

Cass Meurig is one of Wales's foremost solo crwth and fiddle players and a member of Welsh bands Fernhill and Pigyn Clust. She appears on Fernhill's third and fourth albums 'whilia' and 'hynt' and on Pigyn Clust's second album 'Perllan' and has toured extensively with both bands. Together with storyteller Esyllt Harker she has created 'Ganthrig Bwt', a show featuring stories, songs and crwth music from Wales and beyond. Her main interest is in Welsh traditional music but she also works as a session musician and plays with Gorwel and Fiona Owen's band Pondman. In January 2004 Cass releases her first solo album, entitled crwth on the acclaimed Welsh traditional music label Fflach: tradd (2004).

Photo of a Crwth

Cass holds a PhD from the University of Wales, Bangor on the music of the fiddler in eighteenth century Wales. She is an experienced speaker on the subject and gave papers at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Aberdeen (July 2001) and the Centre for Advanced Welsh Music Studies conference in Bangor in 1999 and 2001.

'Alawon John Thomas', Cass's edition of the John Thomas manuscript of fiddle tunes, is due to be published by the National Library of Wales around Christmas 2003. It includes around 450 tunes collected in North-East Wales around the year 1752 and a substantial text taken from Cass's PhD which gives information on the historical and musical context of the manuscript and the history of the tunes.


The Crwth

(courtesy of

The crwth is a medieval bowed lyre and ranks as one of wales's most exotic traditional instruments. It has six strings tuned g g' c' c d' d'' and a flat bridge and fingerboard. The gut strings produce a soft purring sound, earthy but tender. The melody is played on four of the six strings, with the other two acting as plucked or bowed drones and the octave doublings producing a constant chordal accompaniment.

The crwth has been played in Wales in one form or another since Roman times. It was an instrument of the highest status during the middle ages whose best players could earn a stable income in the courts of the Welsh aristocracy. Crwth players had to undergo years of apprenticeship and memorise twenty-four complex pieces of music.

During the seventeenth century new instruments such as the fiddle came to Wales with their modern repertoire of country dance tunes. The crwth with its range of about an octave was unable to compete, and ceased to be played around the beginning of the nineteenth century. However the last ten years have seen a remarkable revival of the ancient instrument and there are now a number of both professional and amateur players and several crwth makers.

There are three surviving eighteenth-century crwths which are kept in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans, Cardiff, and Warrington Museum. There are also some nineteenth century reproduction crwths in other european museums.

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Cass Meurig

Booking for further information please vist Cass's web site (see below)

Recordings Crwth

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This page was last updated on 12 October, 2004