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'I TOOK MY CELLO BOW TO B&Q' Grandma Bronwen's unusual musical talent takes her to New York.

Byline: Liz Day Reporter

When musical grandma Bronwen naish got her cello bow out in a DIY shop and started playing the hand saws, she got some funny looks.

But it was the start of a new chapter of her career that has taken her all over the world - most recently to the International Musical Saw Festival in New York.

The pensioner from Criccieth was invited to perform in the Big Apple after her 10-year-old grandson Danny posted a video of her on YouTube.

She was one of about 60 musicians who travelled from as far afield as China, India and Canada to perform. Bronwen learnt the cello at holyhead School, Anglesey, but stopped playing when she married and raised five children.

She later took up the double bass and went on to play as a soloist for 20 years.

She collaborated with Boogie Woogie and swing pianist Maurice horhut to create a classical cabaret act called Slap and Tickle. Bronwen said they were trying to think of a new act and came up with the idea of the saw. Despite trawling music shops in London, Manchester and Liverpool, she struggled to find an instrument.

"I tried a normal hand saw, but it was heavy and unyielding," she said.

"So I went into B&Q in Bangor and took my cello bow, to see which one would work best."

After purchasing a saw, Bronwen encountered another problem - learning to play it.

"I didn't know anyone who could play the saw and it was pre-internet, so you couldn't just Google it," she said.

Bronwen managed to teach herself and incorporated the act into her show. She quickly discovered her saw could only produce one octave and approached the manufacturers to make one twice as long.

"They thought it was a peculiar request, but I got my saw," she said.

Bronwen had to give up her successful career as a double bass soloist when she damaged her hip and could no longer carry the instrument.

At the festival in New York she played Song of India to 200 people.

Bronwen's ambition is to find a composer to write a piece of music for her saw.

Visit to |see video of Bronwen in action


Bronwen Naish playing her saw PICTURE: TERRY MILLS

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 14, 2015
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