From the Margins : January 2019 News Archive
The fourth annual Dydd Miwsig Cymru (Welsh Language Music Day) takes place on Friday 8th February; it has solid foundations to build on - last year the event reached a total 73 million people. This year sees a slew of gigs and releases that demonstrate more than ever the creative depth of the Welsh language music scene. Read more.
Film : Backwards To Go ForwardsThere is undoubtedly a real magic at work in Irish folk music at the moment. As concrete evidence for that conviction, Backwards To Go Forwards, a new documentary made by Myles O'Reilly (collaborating with Islander), captures a brilliant sliver of it.
The format used is simple but beguiling. Over a beautifully produced near-hour of film enthralling performances by This is How We Fly, Cormac Begley, Saileog and Muireann Ní Cheannabháin, Radie Peat, Cormac Mac Diarmada & Brian Flanagan of Rue, Ye Vagabonds, Slow Moving Clouds, The Bonny Men, and Zoë Conway & John Mc Intyre are punctuated by short, informal interviews that go a good way to explaining the heart, and modern relevance, of contemporary Irish folk.
O'Reilly consistently makes films that breathe a love of music and he always records musicians in natural settings where they are comfortable to fully express themselves; with his deft touch Backwards To Go Forwards has the feel of being a privileged window into a vibrant creative community. If you have an hour, it's a delight.
Essential Diary Dates : Lleuwen : Gwn Glân Beibl Budr Chapel Tour & VideoFollowing the recent release of her exhilarating fourth album, Gwn Glân Beibl Budr (Clean Gun Dirty Bible), singer songwriter Lleuwen has announced a series of acoustic gigs in chapels across Wales.
The album's raw, rooted and radiant music, which gave us our 2018 Song of the Year, will form the core of four shows, with a different guest performance or speaker opening each. The dates & venues are:
Thu 14 Feb : Capel Goffa Williams Pantycelyn : LLANDOVERY
Sat 16 Feb : Capel Salem : CARDIFF
Sun 17 Feb : Capel y Morfa : ABERYSTWYTH
Mon 18 Feb : Capel y Groes : PENYGROES
To coincide with the tour announcement a video of the opening track of Gwn Glân Beibl Budr - Myn Mair (By Mary) - has also been released. Myn Mair is a song of prayer that dates from before the 16th century protestant reformation - it has a coruscating, dark vitality in Lleuwen's elemental reading.
Irish singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey might be at his most imperious on a stage, but Union, an album of spellbinding collaborations featuring songs that span his career, conclusively makes the case for the importance of his recorded work. Dempsey plays the 02 Academy 2 (Liverpool) on Saturday, 16 March (Tickets : £22.50). Union review.
The monthly club at Llangollen Town Hall has passed through four sets of hands in a decade and finally moved to the centre of the town a few years ago, from its original home at the Pavilion. Boothby Graffoe made a second visit to the venue and vanquished any early January Dee Valley doldrums. More.
Track of the Month : Cynefin : Cân Y MelinyddCynefin is a project conceived and marshalled by folk musician Owen Shiers; the carefully chosen word 'cynefin' was the Welsh term for the paths worn by sheep on hillsides (related in meaning to the English word 'hefted'), but has developed a deeper connotation of human sense of place, belonging and heritage.
After two years assiduously collecting songs in his native West Wales, Shiers has successfully crowd funded and recorded a debut Cynefin album, due out this Spring. At its heart will be almost-lost songs, some hundreds of years old, with refashioned arrangements and renewed spirit. To set the tone Shiers' 2016 recording of Cân Y Melinydd (based on an old ballad from Llanybydder, set to an equally ancient Welsh folk tune, with a theme of economic hardship during the American War of Independence) offers a fitting start for a New Year. [More : Facebook I Website]
- Beth Celyn : Troi
Beth Celyn is a young singer-songwriter from Denbigh, who has recently returned to North Wales after three years in London. In that context her enchanting debut EP, Troi, sounds like a definitive statement of intent.
- Fiona & Gorwel Owen : Releasing Birds
These songs were written and recorded one each month through 2014, with slow metronomic discipline despite what life turned up in the year. The album in its entirety features a consummate mix of acoustic folk and electronic instrumentation, threaded through sinuously by Fiona's rich, warm vocals. Each song is a distinct delight.
- Goat Roper Rodeo Band Live : Blue Sky 2016
There is an irresistible sport, the luge, in the Winter Olympics where athletes slide down an iced toboggan track with unstoppable momentum on what looks like a spray painted silver service tray. Watching The Goat Roper Rodeo Band in full flight is something akin to that headlong rush. With the animated stage show, bodies and instruments jolting incurably with the music, it's probably just as dangerous in close proximity.
- Findlay Napier : Glasgow
Findlay Napier's brilliant second solo album, Glasgow, has eleven songs - five covers, three co-written with producer Boo Hewerdine, three solely self-written. Each track essentially takes the lyrical form of a vivid short story with a film-maker's eye for detail, focusing on his home town for subject matter.
- VRï : Tŷ Ein Tadau
VRï are a folk trio that formed in 2016, intent on combining "..the energy of a rowdy pub session with the style and finesse of the Viennese string quartet." With Tŷ Ein Tadau, their debut album, they have realised this singular aim emphatically.
- Blodau Gwylltion : Llifo Fel Oed
An exquisite, muted mix of folk and country influences, this debut album from duo Manon Steffan Ros and Elwyn Williams will be one of the first chiselled into 2018 end of year lists.
- Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion : Dal i 'Redig Dipyn Bach
Fourteen years after Dore, Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion have released a new album, Dal i 'Redig Dipyn Bach (Still ploughing on a little bit). From a band credited with putting fire into the 90's Welsh folk revival, the new album does their heritage full justice.
- Daoiri Farrell / Elidyr Glyn : Galeri : 15.05.18
Award winning Irish folk musician Daoirí Farrell and support, singer-songwriter Elidyr Glyn, offered remarkable performances at Caernarfon's Galeri
- 9Bach : Anian
'... challenging, experimental and a graceful triumph'.
- Bendith : Bendith
A collaborative project between Carwyn Ellis of Colorama and Snowdonia's Plu has produced a beautiful collection of songs.