Strictly stars add some sparkle to Llangollen international festival

Strictly Come Dancing couple James and Ola Jordan will add glitz and glamour to the star-studded line-up at this year’s Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

The twinkle toed pair from the popular BBC show will share the stage with the veteran musicians of the highly-acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club to bring a Latin and Cuban flavour to Thursday night at Wales’s biggest music and dance festival.

The 67th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod takes place this year from Tuesday, July 9, to Sunday, July 14, at the Royal International Pavilion site.

Husband and wife James and Ola have starred in top-rated Saturday night show since 2004 and both are viewers’ favourites.

James went so close in the festive finale to the recent Strictly season as he and celeb partner Denise Van Outen were pipped for the title by Flavia Cacace and Olympic gymnast Louis Smith.

Ola is a former winner of the sparkly dancefest with BBC sports presenter Chris Hollins and has also partnered local boy Robbie Savage while James previously reached the final with Pamela Stephenson and also danced with One Show star Alex Jones.

The couple are part of a week-long line-up of international stars with Eisteddfod Musical Director Eilir Owen Griffiths scouring the world to put together a global team of talent.

Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra will close the festival on Sunday night ahead of a spectacular fireworks extravaganza while other stars will include Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie, English soprano Claire Rutter, and, from Wales, four top male voice choirs, royal harpist Claire Jones, tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones and choir Only Men Aloud.

International stars include top American tenor Noah Stewart, Kiwi bass Jonathan Lemalu, Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Miroslava Jordanova, a top Trinidadian steel band, the two-time Choir of the World winners from the Philippines, as well as the Buena Vista Social Club, the forgotten pre-Castro Cuban musicians and singers rediscovered by American guitar great Ry Cooder.

In addition there is the VERDI 200 on the Friday night of the Eisteddfod, a 200th anniversary performance of Verdi’s Requiem with Claire Rutter, Mirouslava Yordanova , Gwyn Hughes Jones, Jonathan Lemalu and accompanied by the Eisteddfod Orchestra conducted by Andrew Greenwood.

And the event will open on theTuesday with the colourful procession of the competitors to the Royal International Pavilion, led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite, CBE, the former Archbishop’s Special Envoy and a long-time supporter.

Eilir Owen Griffiths said: “I am delighted to have put together such a strong line-up and one that is truly global in its scope and one that shows that Llangollen still attracts the very best to come and perform here.

“It’s a very exciting programme and is very different and we need to show that we can do that and remain true to the spirit of the International Eisteddfod.

“We have a truly worldwide line-up which is a real mixture but I feel it is a good fit.

“We have international class performers from around the world and that combined with the colour and atmosphere generated by our competitors and the welcome they receive makes this a unique event.”

The evening concerts start with Tuesday night’s Carnival of Nations featuring four of Wales’s finest male voice choirs, the Rhos Orpheus, Cor Godre’r Aran, Cor y Brythoniaid and the chart topping Fron Choir, performing on the 60th anniversary of the historic visit of Germany’s Oberkirchen Choir. They will be joined by the St Melodians Steel Band, from Trinidad and international competitors.

Wednesday night will feature An Evening with Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie who will be joined by the rising American tenor Noah Stewart and harpist Claire Jones, former official harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales, along with the Eisteddfod Orchestra and the Santo Tomas Chioir from the Philippines, twice Choir of the World winners.

Thursday will be Strictly Cuban, a celebration of Latin dance rhythms with James and Ola Jordan and the Buena Vista Social Club while Friday will be VERDI 200.

Saturday is Choir of the World which this year will also feature Only Men Aloud, Last Choir Standing TV winners while for the first time dance will be teamed with choral music on Saturday night as the Eisteddfod’s top two dance troupes dance off for the new Dance Champions 2013 Trophy.

On Sunday keyboard king Jools Holland will bring the house and the curtain down with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and a special guest.

To book tickets and for more details on this year’s event go to the website at and on Facebook at

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