Sianed Jones on creating Shimmering Through the Sky

International artist, Sianed Jones, writes about the early stages of creating her unique Festival of Voice performance, Shimmering Through the Sky, – an evening of virtuosic vocals and violin playing that’s sure to dazzle audiences.


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When David Jones, Head of Serious Entertainment, told me about Festival of Voice, I was really excited that it was going to happen in Cardiff, and even happier that he wanted me to play in it!  After thinking about all the different projects that I was involved in at the time, David settled on a solo show with me, myself and I, and the various instruments around me.

It then dawned on me that the last time David had seen me perform was 15 or more years ago. WHAT ON EARTH HAD I BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME? After the initial panic had subsided a little,  I thought ‘Oh, that’s ok, I can re-work a piece I’ve recently written for a big band, strip it down and do a solo version of it.’ Then I started to remember all the different music that I’d created over a period of 15 years or more.

Gradually, over a period of months, the set has gradually revealed itself to me. Like the greatest hits (even though they are totally obscure!) or ‘the best bits’ or a mini retrospective. I’ve chosen pieces that stretch as far back as 2001. Its been quite a journey of discovery. I wanted there to be a mix of Welsh and English. Some music’s really surprised me, some baffled me, some I had totally forgotten I’d written.

I’m rehearsing in my basement surrounded by boxes and bits of equipment and ancient technology. 15 years has made a huge difference to technology.  I’m using some ancient looping pedals, one for my violin – which compresses the sound a bit but you can record and keep the loops for later ‘as it were’ – and another looping pedal for my voice. The sound quality on the vocal pedal is much better and there are a million vocal effects on it, BUT  it doesn’t retain anything! Once you hit stop, the loops have gone for ever! It’s been a challenging process working with these restraints and making the music flow. Finding a backing track for one song has been a mission…on my hands and knees in the attic looking for that elusive external hard drive, only to discover it won’t communicate with my new laptop!

All in all though – I’m having a great time putting this show together!

Sianed Jones -Shimmering Through the Sky at Festival of Voice on Saturday 3 June 2016.

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