Beth Celyn : Troi12.2017 : Sbrigyn Ymborth
Beth Celyn is a young singer-songwriter from Denbigh, who has recently returned to North Wales after three years in London. In that context this debut EP, Troi, sounds like a definitive statement of intent.
Celyn is influenced by traditional music and more contemporary forms - of the latter, Florence and the Machine would be the clearest reference point. Live she has a singing voice with real charisma and emotional depth to it, especially with a decent sound system to project it - she appeared at the Galeri, Caernarfon around the time Troi was released and was no less than spellbinding for the full hour of the set. Her simple ability to bewitch and delight has been captured in full in this recorded set of songs.
On stage Celyn relies on her keyboard and vocal, here her sound is artfully framed by a multi-instrumental contribution from producer Aled Wyn Hughes and deft drums from both Carwyn Williams (Patrobas) and Dafydd Hughes (Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog). All the songs are sung in Welsh and the CD comes with a booklet with full lyrics (that it is worth the time to translate); but just listening to her voice-as-instrument is satisfying enough. Like Alys Williams and 9Bach's Lisa Jên, her voice beguiles well beyond the understanding of language.
The EP opens with the striking Ti'n Fy Nhroi i Mlaen, with Celyn's vocal majestic as it ascends over drum and keyboard backing. Bryn Briallu that follows is more sedate, but still sees Beth take flight - as if the emotion is densely compressed inside her and has to be let out through singing. There is real drama to some of her songwriting, and not just in the vocal swoops and soars - both the title track, Troi, and the sultry, magisterial Castell Dolbadarn pull you into their musical flow like the grip of a compelling soap opera plot.
The two remaining tracks also charm - Gwenllian is a lovely understated piano pop composition, whilst Duwiau (Gods), a final reminder (if needed) of the dexterity of Celyn's vocals, before it beats out an urgent, coruscating end to the EP.
Whatever the timing, Troi demonstrates that Beth Celyn is an exceptionally gifted singer-songwriter. If you want twenty five minutes of unexpected but complete musical enchantment, this EP is the place to look.
BETH CELYN I Troi EP