9Bach are: Lisa Jen (vocals), Martin Hoyland (guitars and percussion), Ali Byworth (drums and percussion), Dan Swain (bass guitar), Esyllt Glyn Jones (harp, vocals), and Mirain Roberts (vocals).
Formed in 2005 thanks to a chance meeting between Lisa (also known for her work with Gruff Rhys) and Martin, the name is a play on numbers and words. Lisa: “9 is as in Nain, (pronounced nine), which means grandmother in the North of Wales, Bach means little and is also a term of endearment in Welsh. In one language 9 is something so mundane as a number, but in Welsh Nain is a cozy, family orientated lovely thing: your grandmother is a person we can relate to and visualise.”
9Bach made their name by taking traditional Welsh Folk songs and recasting them onto a spectral and haunting sound canvas. Their first album 9Bach, released in 2009, was a dark and twisted journey, which created a new stark sound.
Jump forward to May 2014 and Tincian, the band’s second album, is released on Real World Records. An atmospheric, emotional record that reflects their home environment of Gerlan, North Wales. Tincian is the perfect description: an allusive, mercurial Welsh word with several meanings that travels through time and space. The album goes on to win Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in April 2015.
After a brief hiatus 9Bach returned in April 2016 with their third album Anian. Anian is a Welsh word meaning nature, the natural order, natural morality, the natural world, creation. What you are made of, your soul and bones, and how you connect with other people.
While Tincian was very much rooted in hiraeth, the scarred past of the mountainous mining landscape of the Ogwen Valley, North Wales, Anian looks outwards into the present. As singer, composer and pianist Lisa Jen explains, it comes from a desperate, anarchic place. “It marks where I’m at, whether it’s my age, being a mother, or simply being much more exposed to social media where I’m faced with pictures and videos, images and words which I find difficult to cope with right now.“
Listen to tracks featuring 9Bach