Fine music in a fine venue. This was soul food

21 Jan 2013 @ 9.41 pm
| Entertainment
Mark Clifton-Gaultier, one half of Dynion Glas, at the Pig and Pastry. Photographs: David Markham
Review: Dynion Glas
Venue: Pig & Pastry, Bishopthorpe Road, York, January 19

It is a cold winter’s night on Bishopthorpe Road. It’s 7.30pm on a Saturday evening and the snow is gently falling on a York pavement that is wet but starting to freeze over – for another long, cold, wintery Yorkshire night. The lights of the shop parade twinkle but only one appears to be letting people in at this time of night – the Pig & Pastry. Let the show begin.

Tonight the Pig & Pastry are staging a Celt-inspired evening of song – served on a platter for a huddle of people (maybe 40 or so) by Dynion Glas (Welsh for Green Men).

Paul Davies and Mark Clifton-Gaultier have been playing at selected venues around York for a number of years. Their music is haunting. It is the music that has sustained the Welsh, the Irish, the Scottish and the French for generation upon generation. It is played with consumate skill and genuine passion for the art form.

The role of each musician has clear lines of demarkation. Davies plays the whistle and bodhran and delivers a “trailer” for each song – explaining the narrative and the emotions of each player within the song. This is helpful as some of the songs are in their native tongue.


Clifton-Gaultier is a fine guitarist and the tone of his English made Spanish guitar provides a sensitive bedrock for Davies to weave his haunting whistle blown melodies around. The two players worked in unison as their eyes flicked between their own instruments, each other’s instruments and each other’s eyes – to check and keep checking that they were as one. They had no need to worry. The balance and level were perfect and their remarkable skills warmed an audience who sat silently in their own worlds as the music enveloped them.

These are the songs that are played on sea-lashed harbours in Dingle and Brittany at St Davids and Elgin. On farmland and pubs where people meet – to talk and be together. They are the songs of the Celtic nations and they tell of love lost and adventures on the land. Davies was charming and raised many a smile during two sets that spanned some 16 songs in total.

Paul Davies on the whistle
Paul Davies on the whistle

The Pig & Pastry provided a wonderful venue for this feast of Celtic music. It’s rustic, it’s homely, it’s bookish and I believe their organic porridge is to die for. The combination of fine music and a fine venue was delicious. It was soul food.

As we wrapped up to face the freezing air that cut like a knife, the mood was one of cheer. A different feeling really. It may not be the massivley amplified sound of a globe striding rock band that would shake your ears to the core – thinking you’ve just been through an earthquake.

It was tender – beautifully-played music that would fill any soul with peace and reflection. May Dynion Glas continue their own adventure through the highways and byways of Yorkshire. They’re good for the soul…