SiÃ¢n occupies a unique place in Welsh traditional singing. She comes from a line of singers who accompany themselves on harp. This method of performing is championed by SiÃ¢n, whose renditions of ancient soulful tunes are no less than sublime. No one else does it like this. Her teacher before her, Mrs Franses MÃ´n Jones also toured widely in the States in her time. SiÃ¢n is the flag bearer of her teacher's tradition.
Sian James is the Welsh melodic psyche, and once you understand that her potential becomes awesome. A Welsh Enya? - do me a favour! We're talking automatic empathy here, not any reinforced Celtic stereotypes. James, for my money, will one day sweep all before her.
Cloth-eared English will consign this to some ethnic rack, but the sheer power and beauty of her voice unadorned is stunning.
Her music grows in depth the more you listen, and if you're not in Snowdonia, then sweeping along the Llyn coastline, at least in spirit if not reality with this, then mate you don't know Wales, no matter how many times you've visited. But know Sian James and you're getting there. Dwin' decall Cymraeg... tipyn bach.
Simon Jones, Folk Roots.
...suitably rhapsodic music by SiÃ¢n James, owner of the type of voice that critics describe as "achingly pure".
John Peel, Top Radio one DJ in UK
Well, if it did for Enya, then it'll certainly do for Sian James.....
And that voice makes strong men crumble....
Continuing her evolution from her last album "Distaw" this collection of traditional material finds Sian James among the leading lights of her own generation. A work of extreme heart and a work of art.
John O'Regan - Broadcaster & Freelance journalist Limerick, Ireland
I first heard Sian's recordings when I was staying high in the mountains of North Wales near the picturesque village of Croesor.
It is a completely different thing to hear and see Sian perform live. She is an angel. We Celts are noted for our range of songs and tunes which can take you from joy to melancholy in a painfully short time. The Welsh are no exception to this rule and Sian's Wonderful voice and expressive face help to make each song a treasure to hear. Her playing is brilliant yet effortless and her singing is pure even with the songs of love and betrayal. She happily explains the songs too before singing them. This is so those of us with only about 2 words of Welsh, both involving ordering alcohol, can understand them. The songs and stories run like an amazing folk soap opera. There are men sending Blackbirds to their uninterested girlfriends and brothers secretly marrying the other brother's fiance. Confused? You won't be if you buy Sian's new album Pur which features many of the songs and tunes she sang today. If you get the chance to see Sian live though, take it. She took us all through a beautiful set in the relative hush of the small Theater and I was genuinely moved, a small tear showing the big softie in me yearning for a night in Mam's kitchen back in the hills.
John Cutliffe Reviewing Sian's performance Atlanta Celtic Festival.
New Mexico Welsh thrilled by Welsh singer SiÃ¢n James.
New Mexicans were fortunate to enjoy thrills, weeping and laughing at a recent perfor-mance in Albuquerque by SiÃ¢n James, singer and harpist. Not well known in this country, SiÃ¢n is an icon in her native Wales. She was in Albuquerque under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities to make recordings. Singing publicly at the age of three, the artist's background includes a degree in voice and broad experience. For example, hers is the voice you hear in the film, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. She has also composed a soundtrack for a six part BBC series on birds. SiÃ¢n's voice is singularly sweet, well-suited to her specialty of acnient and modern Welsh folk love songs and Celtic laments. To highlight her versatility, however, she treated her audience to her own composition for voice and harp of a blues number, which brought down the house. Singing almost exclusively in Welsh, she was delightful in the tsanslations and story telling she offered before each number. A rousing arrangement of "Counting the Goats" closed memorable concert. Watch for her CDs and TV and film credits In the future
Ruth Lewis Y Drych - American Welsh newspaper January 2000
SiÃ¢n is the most celebrated and modern of traditional singers in Wales. Four Albums on Sain Records , Caernarfon, one on BBC Worldwide, her first on her own label Bos Records, and a five part T.V. series by S4C (channel 4 in Wales) have been produced dedicated to her music.
"Music has always been an inextricable part of my life. I was surrounded by music from a very early age and was put on the stage by my mother at the age of three to compete in our local Eisteddfodau.
"I began learning the piano at the age of six, the violin at eight and the harp at eleven. At fourteen I began my concert career singing traditional songs as part of a harp trio, along with solo performances to my own harp accompaniment.
"Soon I began composing songs and creating my own arrangements of traditional songs, and discovered that improvising and creating at the piano and harp brought me enormous enjoyment. This continued through my school years and at college where I read music. My composition tutor was Prof. William Mathias who gave me a huge amount of encouragement and guided me with wisdom and spirit.
"During these college years I also began singing in a folk rock band called Bwchadanas which further bolstered my interest in experimenting with musical styles.
"Following these formative years my professional life has been divided between an acting career and music."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Y Deryn Pur
2. Ei Di'r Deryn Du
3. Ar Fore Dydd Nadolig
4. Mordaith I America
5. Dacw 'Nghariad
6. My Donald
7. Ym Mhontypridd
8. Yr Eneth Glaf
9. Cariad Cyntaf
10. Evening Prayer
11. Y Glomen
12. Hiraeth Am Feirion
13. Yr Eneth Gadd Ei Gwrthod
14. Llangollen Market
15. Cyfri'r Geifr