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Stunning laser and sound show featuring Gruff Rhys set to light up Caernarfon Castle

23 Oct 2023 4 minute read
Gruff Rhys at Caernarfon Castle

The creators of a laser and sound show involving Welsh artist Gruff Rhys at Caernarfon Castle later this week say that it will be even more spectacular if it rains.

“Annwn” is described as an ‘out of this world laser and sound show’ and will be performed for three nights (October 27-29) within the grounds of the historic Caernarfon Castle.

Sonic contributions have been specially created for Annwn by Welsh artist Gruff Rhys, drawn from his back catalogue, archive, and latest experiments.

The sound will be accompanied by a fully immersive, programmed performance of laser projection created by Chris Levine. The music and light show have been inspired by the Annwn vision – the Otherworld within the Welsh mythology of the Mabinogi.

Ancient and futuristic

The performances are being hosted by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, and they don’t think Edward the 1st who built Caernarfon Castle would approve.

Dr Ffion Reynolds, Cadw’s Heritage and Arts Manager said: “We are really excited to bring Annwn to audiences at Castell Caernarfon this week. The juxtaposition of ancient and futuristic does something really special to heritage sites.

“It poses the question: whose history is it anyway? Creating a Welsh underworld inside an Edward 1st castle is a way for us to change the stories related to these contested spaces. Would Edward the 1st approve? We hope not!”

The audience’s experience each night will last for around four hours. They will be able to move around the castle during the show.  There will be no stage and seating arrangements – you can bring your own chair.

Remixes of Gruff Rhys’ music by sound designer Marco Perry will be playing continuously throughout the evening. Gruff Rhys will also perform an electronic set with live elements, featuring a new track and music from his back catalogue. The audience can come and go as they wish during the evening.

The organiser believe the experience will be enhanced if the typical Welsh rain makes an appearance.

Chris Levine, the light artist behind the show, said: “Annwn is all about the mix of 3d sound with lasers, projected onto the historic walls of Caernarfon Castle. In the night sky, the lasers will be spellbinding and if it will be misty, cloudy, or raining it will be even more spectacular.

“We hope to see the full spectrum of weather conditions through the last weekend of October in north Wales as it will be very different each night. All you need to do is wear the correct clothes and enjoy.”

Creators Gruff Rhys and Chris Levine

Mind-blowing experience

Welsh legend and Super Furry Animal singer Gruff Rhys said: “If we’re lucky it will rain! I think it will be an impressive show, but also experimental. I think it will be a mind-blowing experience.

“The name ‘Annwn’ conveys the idea in a way… entering a completely different underworld, a different reality. It will create an experience, rather than being a concert where you watch someone sing. It’s not like a formal gig – I won’t be making a huge appearance. I’ll be in the background with synths and singing.”

The event is being staged in support of Samaritans Cymru. On 2 November , days after the Annwn weekend, the Samaritans will celebrate 70 years of listening.

Neil Ingham, Executive Director for Samaritans in Wales said:“We’re really excited and grateful to the team at Annwn for choosing Samaritans Cymru as their charity. This innovative event seeks to bring people together to share a unique experience and has a strong focus on human connection.

“This is a core value of Samaritans – we believe connection is a strong protective factor for suicide risk and we believe human compassion can change and save lives.

He added: “Our incredible volunteers in Wales are there for anyone who is struggling to cope, even in those darkest hours. This amazing event coincides with 70 years of Samaritans, and we want to use this opportunity to recognise the huge ambition and passion of all our volunteers.

“We will continue to be that shining light for those in distress and we want everyone in Wales to know that making this connection, and reaching out to us, is a huge strength, not a weakness.”

Annwn is all about human connection – a core value of the Samaritans. Peter Hempel, Annwn’s Creative Director/Producer said: “The idea of creating powerful experiential work which promotes wellbeing by connecting people to each other and to the natural world is central to the Annwn vision and to our partnership with the Samaritans for whom connection is all important.”

For further information and tickets visit:.



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