In autumn last year Wenvoe residents Eirwen Malin and Phil Thomas held the first of a planned series of house concerts featuring some of Wales’ finest storytellers. The next concert will take place at their home in Old Port Road on 17th May 2018 at 7.00pm and will feature a unique telling of the Arthurian legend ‘The tale of Jaufre’ by Storyteller and singer Anne Lister. This project forms part of a PhD thesis she is working on at the University of South Wales.

She first came across Jaufre while studying medieval French and Occitan at Warwick University, and was immediately struck by the way it has lost nothing of its liveliness and humour over the centuries. Jaufre is a rather serious young man, frequently caught off guard by events, but determined to succeed, and do the Right Thing.

Jaufre arrives at King Arthur’s court in time to witness an insult to the king, and promises to bring the villain, the very unpleasant Taulat de Rogimon, to justice. Along the way he meets the exceedingly beautiful Brunissen and falls in love—but there are giants to deal with, and demons, and dwarves, and a mysterious damsel with an underwater kingdom.

Although written at the court of Aragon, the romance was written in the Occitan language, which was usually reserved for troubadour poetry, and there has been much critical discussion as to whether it was always the only Arthurian romance in this language or whether we have, in fact, lost others. Some of the elements of this story will be familiar, if you know the tales of King Arthur, but—and this is where it becomes intriguing—not all of them. Some are unique to Jaufre. The tale survived in two complete manuscripts and some fragments, and went on to be re-told in chapbooks in both French and Spanish, and then later in a 19th century English translation. The Spanish chapbook was, apparently, one of the books to be found in the library of Don Quixote. The tale has also turned up in the Philippines, in oral tradition.

The entire tale would take far more than one evening to tell, and so it is fortunate that the romance is divided into episodes which can be related separately. If you think that all this sounds rather dry and academic then you could not be further from the truth! Anne says that the story is “..More Monty Python than Mists of Avalon … this is a richly comic tale and was probably always intended to be so”.

Anne Lister has many years’ experience as a folk singer and storyteller ( you can find out more at ) and the house concert will be a rare opportunity to hear an experienced performer in an intimate setting. There is no ticket price as such. We would ask for a donation to cover costs and the storyteller’s fee. Any surplus will be donated to The Beyond The Border International Storytelling Festival.Places will be limited to 25 so please email or call 07870 212437 by 10th May to reserve a place and receive address details – last time we sold out! Please note – this is storytelling for adults. It is not intended for under 14s, but accompanied older children will be welcome. We hope to see you.