Dating back to the 13th century in Wales, the Telyn Rawn is a nearly forgotten horsehair harp; UK improvising harpist Rhodri Davies researched the instrument and its unique sound, commissioning the construction of a harp on which he performs 18 improvisations of impressive technique and sonority, launching his new Amgen Records label with this album named for the instrument.
"A Telyn Rawn is a harp strung with horse hair and predates the appearance of the triple, lever and pedal harps. The earliest reference to this early Welsh harp can be found in the Laws of Hywel Dda (13th century), the codification of traditional Welsh laws. This harp remains largely unknown to contemporary audiences. One of the last references to a Telyn Rawn made in Wales was around two hundred years ago. In 2016 Davies researched the Telyn Rawn in early Welsh poetry and commissioned the building of a new harp. "All the music on this album is improvised. I designed and built a long forgotten instrument, experimented with wound and pleated horse hair strings, I engaged with historical texts and poetry, learnt the techniques and music from the Robert ap Huw manuscript and researched the importance of the horse and horse cults in Welsh culture. All these interventions were a means to improvise historically informed music and re-evaluate the legacy of the harp in Wales but ultimately served as a jumping off point so as to create new possibilities." - Rhodri Davies