During the summer of 1998 audiences in the open-air Museum of Welsh Life at St. Ffagans, Cardiff (a branch of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales) were very privileged to listen to Beth reciting a selection of her wide-ranging repertoire of Welsh folk tales. As someone who himself has had the immsense pleasure of recording Welsh tradition-bearers for over 30 years, I was enchanted by Beth's presentation, and it is obvious that she has worked very hard to achieve this success. She has learnt to speak the Welsh language fluently and has studied Welsh history and culture, by interviewing people in Wales and researching at the National Library of Wales and the Tape and Film Archives of the Museum of Welsh Life where over 10,000 tapes are stored. She herself, too, has a great gift for storytelling: she has mastered the art of characterization, dialogue, intonation, emphasis, colour, timing, rhythm and, most important of all, she presents the stories with sincerity and empathy: an understanding and rapport with the audience.
Her sense of deep identity with and knowledge of the traditions and culture of Wales and her obvious talents as a storyteller, are well reflected in this new recording: FoulkeTales. On one side some of the most well-known Welsh legends are presented: the story of the wicked Prince Tegid Foel who caused the drowning of the town of Bala in North Wales (Llyn Tegid); the moving story of the young virgin Saint Melangell, patron saint of hares; and the legend of Taliesin, poet and prophet, and the source of bardic inspiration. On side two, we are introduced to the fascinating story of Elinor and Edward Foulke and their family. They emigrated from Wales to America 300 years ago and their great adventure is linked with the lives of the descendants right down to the present day, ensuring that their story is even more interesting. Indeed, the descendents were in the audience on the very occasion the recording was made.
This cassette deserves the widest audience possible and we look forward to another recording soon. We also wish Beth Phillips Brown every success. Pob dymuniad da. We hope that she will long continue to give joy to numerous audiences, adults and children alike, in America, Wales and many other countries.
Mr. Gwyndaf's review appeared in the Welsh-American newspapers, Ninnau and Y Drych.
For more information on the Foulke Family, see: www.Foulke.org or contact Larry Foulke at 246 Picture Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15236.
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