Dilwyn, Eirian, Buddug and Elin

The James family are an extraordinarily talented family. Dewi, their father performed 'Under Milk Wood' in Laugharne with the famous actor Huw Gruffydd.

Following in his father's footsteps Dilwyn won numerous prizes for recitation before he took over the family butchery business in Cardigan, West Wales. Eirian was accepted to study with the Welsh National Opera at the young age of 16 and at 18 became a professional opera singer. Elin, the youngest of the family was accepted to study law at the Aberystwyth University, but during a year out after her A levels decided to stay in Cardigan to look after the business with Dilwyn. She has perfomed numerous principal roles with Opera Teifi from Reno in Anything Goes to The Fairy Queen in Iolanthe and in 2005 performed Side by Side by Sondheim with Buddug, Richard Morris and Wyn Davies.

Recent James Family performances - Celtic Sights and Sounds ( a concert to promote awareness of Irish and Welsh Artists) in Fishguard and Dublin, a Millennium Concert at Manorbier Castle, Sisters in Harlem (spirituals, gospel and jazz with quotes from Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou), World Premiere of The Family by Mark Ryan in Cardigan and Dun Laoghaire, and performing at the Millennium Stadium before the Wales/Ireland Match. S4C have commissioned a 60 minute documentary on the James Family to be broadcast in 2002.
In August the sisters will perform at the National Eisteddfod in a tribute concert to/with Meic Stevens.

The James Sisters sing Gospel is now available on the Fflach Label.


Millennium Concert at Manorbier Castle

The Tenby Observer
Manorbier Castle can rarely have witnessed such wonderful and musical entertainment. The James sisters from Cardigan, Eirian, Buddug and Elin, all wonderfully talented singers individually, combined to give a spellbinding performance that would have taken the roof off (had there been one!)
Accompanied by Stephen Pilkington, a programme that ranged from spirituals to Hebrew to country to Welsh hymn, they finished with a breathtaking rendition of Rhythm of Life, which rightly brought a standing ovation. Complemented by brother Dilwyn who delivered Burtonesque readings and recitation, this is a truly extraordinarily talented family. Tessa Hill.

The Family at Theatr Mwldan.

Western Mail.
The versatile and harmonious James family, aided and abetted by Joe Corbett, baritone, from Cork and Musical Director, Andrew Wilson-Dickson of the Welsh College of Music and Drama, cracked a very funny musical joke which was premiered at Cardigan's Theatre Mwldan last Thursday night.

Scripted by Mark Ryan (remember Castradiva?) and called The Family, it is an hilarious adaptation of the Greek legend about a mortal taking on the Muses with disastrous results for the mere mortal. Ever since Offenbach, the classics have been fair game for theatre musical comedy and this production also owes its success to the extraordinary talents of the James sisters: Eirian, Buddug and Elin ( not forgetting brother Dilwyn - powerful and majestic voice-off Apollo).

Joe Corbett played the bewildered and thick headed Thamyris with just that amount of restraint which in a good "straight" man (in the theatrical sense althought the part he played was of the other kind) is invaluable to the comedian. Here he had to play against and sing against the three sisters severally and together. The songs chosen to keep the story cracking along at an exhilarating pace showed the versatility and range of voice of each sister. Composers who were politely ransacked included Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Lehar, Rossini and a final clever curtain number by Johnny Mercer "Accentuate the Positive".

Although the style of singing by each sister is individual, it is astonishing to hear how delightfully they combine when singing together. This was noticeable in the set piece of the competition scena - arranged by Andrew Wilson-Dickson - in which Eirian, who played Clio, not only sang O Don Fatale enchantingly but sent herself up beautifully. Buddug, who played Thalia, muse of comedy, lived up to the part as only Buddug can. and Elin, who played the shy Urania, was dutifully naive as a younger sister should be but was quite able to stand equally with her sisters in the 'Family' number adapted from Rossini's Non Piu Mesta which brought the whole company finally together in this outrageous but skilfully contrived musical romp. Tony O'Brien.

Sisters in Harlem at Rhosygilwen Mansion's Summer Concert.

Western Mail.

Sisters extend their tradition. Four sonorous siblings took the road to Harlem in the footsteps of Paul Robeson for this special event.

Sisters in Harlem, featuring Eirian, Buddug, Elin James with their brother Dilwyn, took a classical approach to the black music of America and the giant American singer, sportsman and cultural ambassador was a huge presence.

Robeson's words, along with those of Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou and other great black Americans, werer woven into the narration by Dilwyn, which punctuated a well-chosen selection.

This began with the well-known This Train is Bound for Glory and proceeded through a sonically and visually exciting Dry Bones to end with the thrilling Rhythm of Life.

The sisters are beginning to make a habit of exploring and extending the classical tradition together.

Their Celtic Sights and Sounds and Millennium Concert at Manorbier is well remembered and last May they premiered The Family, a comic musical romp through ancient Greece, in their home town Cardigan. Steve Dube.

The James Family at the Millennium Stadium before the Wales / Ireland Match.

A tongue-in-cheek review in the Western Mail after Wales lost to Ireland.

Ball retention the big Wales problem on bizarre occasion. At the scrag end of a tournament that started nine months ago this was always going to be a strange one.

The scene was set for a surreal afternoon when those three women in kilts and tartan kinky boots strode onto the pitch. Now I'm always banging on about how pre-match entertainment should extend beyond the male voice choir and Dewi the goat combo, but is the Welsh rugby public ready for The James Sisters?

About 72,000 fans supping from plastic pint glasses and texting their mates in the upper tiers aren't the most receptive audience for a performance that had a touch of the Chapter Arts Centre about it: operatic voices, chanted poetry and some rather suggestive swaying. Their orgiastic version of Sospan Fach sounded like something Caligula would choose as a backing track for one of his livelier house parties.

But, fair play the girls could sing - those top notes could have been heard in Lansdowne Road. ....Reading the match programme while trooping gloomily into Westgate Street, I spotted an intriguing line in the blurb on The James Sisters "Buddug specialises in playing men and is currently touring with her one-woman show about a castrato". Judging by Wales's final Six Nations 2001 performance, she's not the only one with ball retention problems. Carolyn Hitt.
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