Martin Simpson – “The Cruel Brother”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Today I decided to share another very interesting Child ballad with you. I know many versions and interpretations of it but for some reason I like Martin Simpson’s the most. Somehow it always makes me imagine what’s happening in it very vividly, unlike other versions of it. I hope you will find it very evocative as well. πŸ™‚

Ray Fisher – “Willie’s Lady” & Martin Carthy – “Willies Lady”.

For today I have for you a song in two versions. Firstly because I like them both, and secondly, because they’re both in different languages.Ray Fisher was Scottish, so her version is in Scots, as all the songs she sang, and Martin Carthy is English and his version is in English. Also, I have no idea about what the perception of Scots language is like in people whose first language is English, I don’t know how much you can understand of it, in my case I was able to understand more than I thought I would listening to it for the first time, I suppose both thanks to English and Swedish, as there are Scandinavian influences at all, but there were still big patches of the lyrics that I wouldn’t understand, and even had trouble understanding various bits and pieces when reading the lyrics, so eventually had to just look up what it is about, and then understanding of the song has become much easier. So, if you’re gonna have the same dilemma, Martin Carthy’s version is very much the same in terms of lyrics, only with a few differences, like that in his version Willie is a king, and it’s his wife who comes up with a plan of how to get rid of the spell that Willie’s mother has cast on her, while in Fisher’s version it’s Billy Blind who gives Willie that idea.

“Willie’s Lady” is a Child ballad, and I think I have said it on my blog before that I really love the collection of Child ballads!

 

So, here are the two versions of this song. πŸ™‚

Martha Tilston – “Songs That Make Sophie Fizz”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Today, I’m going to share with you a song by Martha Tilston – who belongs to my most favourite English folk singers. She is really talented and expressive, and I like her light and airy voice a lot. I also love her finger style guitar play very much! She has a lot of connections to people who make folk music, coming from a very folk-oriented family. Her father is the singer Steve Tilston, and her stepmother is Maggie Boyle, who is also a well-known folk singer and musician, hailing from Ireland. So a lot of family friends are folk musicians, or somehow related to folk music scene as well. But Martha’s music is quite a lot different from what her father or stepmother does. She’s been leaning more towards alternative scene, especially at the beginning of her career, and I like that!

I just have some nice associations with the song I’m going to share with you. It reminds me very much of my own sis Sophie, who perhaps is not a big fan of this song, but a lot of things definitely make her fizz, and music does the most. She loves to dance, and rollerskate as well. To make it more funny, the Sophie i the song is indeed Martha’s “big sis”. So it makes her another artist on my blog who has a sister called Sophie (or some variation of this name) and who wrote a song about/for her. The other one is Ji Nilsson, whose sister is Sofi. Isn’t that so very cool?! I guess Sophies make the best sisters!

 

Song of the day (20th September) – Maisie Peters – “Feels Like This”.

Hi lovely people. πŸ™‚

This is a song from an artist I really like recently for the feel of her music and her youthful voice. I’ve been listening to a lot of similar British artists on Spotify lately and I’ve seen Maisie Peters as an artist similar to many of them, so at some point I just had to check her out and liked her pretty much immediately. Her music has some simple charm. This song is my most favourite from her, I love the sound of it!

 

Song of the day (17h September) – Lucy May Walker – “Safety Net”.

Here’s a song from a young British artist I recently discovered. Lucy May Walker is from Worcestershire, and so far I think I like her music, though I’ve only heard a few songs.

Lucy Ward – “A Stitch In Time”.

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

I have a folk song for you today, there hasn’t been a lot of folk here lately, I guess. It’s from one of my favourite English folk singers – Lucy Ward. – Apart from being a great singer, Lucy also plays several instruments, mainly guitar and concertina. She performs traditional folk songs, as well as her own material. There’s something in her voice I like. I remember not liking her very much when I first heard her years ago, but somehow her music and her voice have grown on me. She is a very expressive singer in my opinion and you can hear her passion for what she’s doing on her albums, and she generally seems a very positive person. I also like the minimalism in her music, as well as the versatility of the topics of her songs. She’s not afraid of singing about death, violence, murders or protest songs but her music can also have a humourous feel. Lucy Ward was the BBC Folk Awards winner in 2009. The song I want to show you, comes from her debut album, called “Adelphi Has To Fly”, which I think is my most favourite album by her. And this song is a perfect example of what I’ve written about her not being afraid to dig in serious topics, since this song is about a woman living with her constantly drunken husband who was abusing her physically, but you can’t say it’s a serious song at all! Quite a clever idea to deal with the alcohol problem in the family, seems like it was successful! πŸ˜€ The song is based on a true story and written by Mike Waterson sometime in the second half of the 20th century.

Low Chimes – “Electric Blooms”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Here’s one of my newishly discovered British bands that I like. Low Chimes used to be known a while back as Hot Feet. I like their vocalist, Marianne Parrish, for her smooth and intriguing vocals (I’ve seen someone comparing her to Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention, I love Sandy! and there is some similarity but not that big that I would ever come up with it on my own) and interesting lyrics. I like the sound of their music overall, it speaks to me. And they even have a Jack in the band! But I forgot what his full name was… Jack… Google, help! Yeah! Jack Page! I knew there was some Led Zeppelin connection, hahaha. Jack is their leading guitarist. So, all that I could like in a band. πŸ˜€ Hope you’ll enjoy.

Song of the day (16th August) – Yr Angen – “Nawr Mae Drosto” (Now It’s Over).

I haven’t posted any songs from this Welsh indie rock band I love, even though I still love them very much. So here’s another song from them, I guess this is the one that has been their most famous song in Wales – “Nawr Mae Drosto”.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Jac-Yr-Oil”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

I am still very much in love with Gwilym’s last album, Arenig, so thought I’d share something else from it with you, this time an instrumental, three-part piece. And, since I am a Jac(k)ophile, in line with the song of the day that I shared with you yesterday – by Jac Richards – this one has also to do with Jac, with its title being “Jac-Yr-Oil”. I have no idea where the title comes from or what Jac is doing in it, I tried doing some research but it hasn’t made me any wiser. In any case, the track is beautiful. Just as the previous one I showed you a month ago – “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd” – was haunting, emotional, intense and rather melancholic, “Jac-Yr-Oil” is positive, energetic, refreshing, uplifting and full of enthusiasm, which just shows in a nutshell a wide range of emotions one can feel listening to this album. I love this about it so so much!

As I said, it is a three-part music piece, consisting of three folk tunes, one is composed by Gwilym, the second comes from Anglesey’s 18th century fiddler, John Thomas, and the last is a re-arranged composition of Stephen Rees’ “2 Cardi 3”. Here it is. πŸ™‚

 

Aislin Evans – “Feel About You”.

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

This is a new artist to me, and I’d assume she’s generally rather new to the music scene because I’ve only found two or so of her songs so far. She’s from London, and I really like her lyrics, she seems to always write them very emotional, so far at least. I also like some synthpop like hers once in a while, so Aislin Evans is definitely one of my non folk British faves right now.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd” (Gentle moon, colour of the day).

Oh my! I just couldn’t wait to share with you guys something from this album! I was talking about it some time last month, well I guess around the beginning of May, it was released on May 1st. But as you can see it took a while because it’s only available on the streaming services since yesterday so although I have the album since as soon as I got to know it was released, only now I can share something with you. In a way that’s actually good though because I could familiarise myself with the whole album, with my music crushes it always takes me loads of time to wholely satisfy my musical cravings when they release something new and I always want to know it thoroughly and from all the possible angles.

I am really so, so impressed with this album! I wrote about it on my blog already earlier so I won’t be repeating myself but it just made me fall into pieces the first time I listened to it, so fascinated, engrossed, bewitched and just full of emotions I was, and even though I listened to all the songs and the album as a whole for many times already it still has theΒ  power over me, and I’m listening to it right now as well. It’s always hard to pick something you think is the best or that you love the most from things of which you love all, but I wonder whether it’s not the best album of Gwilym so far in my ranking, or whether it would be if I had a ranking. πŸ˜€ I am just so happy that my current music crush is so artistically fertile and unlike all my previous music crushes I am actually able to thoroughly celebrate all the joys that come with an appearance of a new album. πŸ˜€

This new album is called “Arenig”, which is in reference to Arenig Fawr – a mountain in Snowdonia in North Wales, and also the title track of this album is a poem written and read by Gwilym’s great uncle – Euros Bowen – about this mountain, which is a really beautiful poem. It’s hard to believe for me in a way that this beautiful album is an effect of improvisation, but that’s apparently how it is. I know it’s often so that things come out much better when improvised in music, but it makes me think that they all – Gwilym and all the people who contributed to the album – must be remarkably skillful improvisers, which I think is fairly rare. Talking about the contributors, there is Patrick Rimes on violin, he plays in the Welsh folk band called Calan which I also like, brilliant harpist from Scotland but with Welsh roots and who also speaks Welsh Gwen MaIri (I love her harp skills πŸ˜‚ ), and they both also played on Gwilym’s first album “O Groth Y Ddaear”, and there is also Marit FΓ€lt, who plays viola, and, if I understood correctly, (I suppose I did given her Scandi-sounding name), she’s from Norway, so there’s even a little bit of a Nordic accent here! πŸ™‚

I had a real problem with what I am going to choose as the first piece from this album to share with you, I even thought maybe I’ll just link to the entire album and maybe write some extensive review or something but felt too shy to do such a grandiose thing as seriously publicly review one of my crushes’ album, I always write down my reviews of albums I love for myself and I relish in doing so but never published that anywhere. πŸ˜€ But after some deep thinking I came to the conclusion that the most beautiful piece on this album for me, regarding the melody, the performance and the lyrics is “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd”, which is a traditional song, though the second verse is known to be written by John Ceiriog Hughes. It’s incredibly evocative, magnetic and enchanting, and just don’t know how else to describe it adequately. πŸ˜€

The thing I really like about traditional music, one of many things, especially from Gwilym, and there are also a couple other Celtic people I can think of right now, is the words. I mean, when I was listening to this album before I read the lyrics and translations, I understood some bits and pieces, it wasn’t very much, but I could still thoroughly enjoy music because that’s how it is with folk music very often – even if it is in the most out there language you can still understand the language of music itself and connect with it almost as deeply as through the actual language. But when I read the lyrics, I realised that there are not only plenty of new, enticing, luscious, colourful, magical Welsh words for me to discover, (I didn’t even know that moon is lloer, I only knew the word lleuad for moon in Welsh but it seems like they have two! I now can’t stop wondering what’s the difference, will have to do some research after I write this post, I lthink loer sounds even better), but also a fair handful of English words in the translations that I didn’t know previously. I just love such discoveries! And all those linguistic findings also satisfied my synaesthesia very much, so it’s not only the music. The same was with the previous album “Detholiad O Hen Faledi I”, well actually there were even more new English words to me. That shows how sophisticated folk music can be at times, even if it might not always seem so. πŸ™‚

OK, end of my elaborate. Here’s the translation of the song, which I’ve taken from

Gwilym’s website,

and below is the song, although it’s on Spotify, so very sadly only those of you who have Spotify will be able to listen to it whole, I didn’t see it on Youtube or anywhere that would be a bit more inclusive.

 

Gentle moon the colour of day,

in pain and in sorrow, I’m in a sad daydream.

From splendid astonishment,

my heart is so weak I shan’t live much longer.

When I saw your face you wounded me like a sword,

I received an injury without realising it,

tonight I’m ready for my grave.

Oh good gentle goddess, hear this injured man,

save my life, lovely moon the colour of summer.

Some people’s interests lie in material things,

but on the purity of a fair moon

I gave my whole intentions, one and all.

If I could only have you, I would confidently proclaim

that I had more than enough wealth, pure girl.

Gentle moon the colour of day,

I see your light, you with a pleasing face.

From life to the grave, you are my queen,

fair warm farced one.

You are my fire, the inspiration to my song,

the heavens never did behold

through the light of the sun’s cycle,

such a wonderful sight.

I raise up my head, and look to the skies,

shine upon me, white moon the colour of snow.

Some hold the moon responsible

for pulling the threads and strings of the seas,

the ebb and flow of the tides in and out.

But you, my love, are responsible

for pulling the strings of my heart,

gentle moon the colour of day.

Jade Bird – “Cathedral”.

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Another newish to me singer songwriter today, and also from England. Her name is Jade Bird and she is 21, and is also a really good lyricist, writing about stuff that matters to herself and about her own experiences. It’s hard to classify her music to any particular music genre, but I’d say it’s something in between indie, a bit of a folk pop, like this new wave folk kind of, alternative, and maybe a bit of Americana. The album from which this song comes is by the way called “Something American”. So here’s “Cathedral”. Enjoy. πŸ™‚

Grace Petrie – “Iago”.

This is a relatively new artist for me, she is a folk vocalist, and she seems to write very interesting lyrics, often about politics or social stuff that – I think – aren’t too easy to write about in songs. Grace Petrie is from Leicester, and she is also an avid Shakespeare fan, and this song has been inspired by Shakespeare’s play “Othello”, more exactly the main antagonist Iago, the one who was supposed to be Othello’s best friend and manipulated him. The Iago in Grace Petrie’s song is more like a metaphor, it’s about insecurities that people struggle with in their love life, and Iago is a personification of those insecurities, so it’s like each of us has our own Iago who’s telling us bullshit. I really like this Shakespeare inspired metaphor! And the song is fabulous!

Bwncath – “CΓ’n Lon” (A Joyful Song).

Hi people! πŸ™‚

So, as I promised, I’m bringing you another song by this year’s “CΓ’n I Gymru” winner – Elidyr Glyn – or actually his band called Bwncath. This is a beautiful song, however it’s a bit of an enigma to me honestly! As you’ll be able to hear (hope that you’ll be able to hear at least a bit even if you don’t have Spotify, it’s annoying how it works that if you don’t have it you can only listen to an excerpt of a song) it’s actually a very sad song, both regarding the music, and, as far as I can tell with my lame Welsh skills, the lyrics as well, it even says “CΓ’n o dristwch ydi hon” if I got it right, which means “This is a song of sadness”. Yet it’s called a joyful song. Irony or what?! Seriously, I guess that there just might be something key in the lyrics that I don’t get. Because at the beginning he sings “Mae gen i gΓ’nau o lawn llon…” (I have songs full of joy) or something like that, and I guess later on there is something like that this one is different. Well yeah, figuring out the lyrics while not being fluent in a language, that can be very interesting at times. πŸ˜€ But in any case, I love this song, and if there is indeed something ironic, I like that a lot too, I like some irony in music, like when you have a very cheerful melody and tragically depressing words. And if it’s not irony, maybe when my Welsh gets better I’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s the point here.

Elidyr Glyn – “Fel Hyn ‘Da Ni Fod”(We Are Like This) [?]

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

I’ve just recently learnt who is this year’s winner of Can I Gymru (Song For Wales)! But first, most of you probably don’t know what Can I Gymru is, so I’ll just tell you that it is a song competition that takes place in Wales each year, and the contestants sing only in Welsh, so the aim is popularisation of Welsh language music, and growing of Welsh language music scene. I know about Can I Gymru only since I’ve started learning Welsh seriously, and have never actually watched it, but last year I followed it very enthusiastically. This year was a bit diferent because I missed most of it at the time it was happening because of a few things, and I caught up just recently on who actually is the winner. I haven’t heard all contestants, but of those who I have heard, I also like the winner and his song the most. So, the winner was Elidyr Glyn, whom I already knew from his band called Bwncath (which apparently means buzzard), and I like this band a lot. So I just looked if I had actually shared with you anything by Bwncath before, and turns out that I hadn’t. Therefore I decided that I will share some of their music with you in the next couple of days.

But today, I’ll share that song which Elidyr Glyn sang at Can I Gymru. It’s called “Fel Hyn ‘Da Ni Fod”. I’ve been a bit frustrated with my Welsh lately and my patchy understanding of it, and I was also kinda frustrated that I didn’t really understand much of the song, but if I get the title right at least, it would be something like We Are Like This, or That’s Who We Are, or something like this. I can only understand some little bits and pieces of it, which sucks, I have a theory what it could possibly be about, but because I’m not sure and my Welsh is still in development, I guess I won’t share it in case it’s not true, and I can’t give you any context for the song because literally all that I was able to find was this song on Youtube and the info in different places that this is the song that won Can I Gymru and that Elidyr Glyn composed it himself.

but still, the song is really great.

Song of the day (18th April) – Lauren Aquilina – “Way Too Good”.

Lauren Aquilina is my old-new discovery. I’ve known her and her music for a while but only recently I started to listen to her more and like her more. She has some really cool and often very wise lyrics I think, and a very nice voice too. Many of her songs are actually relatable for me, possibly because Lauren has been through the depression, or maybe simply because I can connect to her music. Here’s her song “Way Too Good”.

Laura cannell ft. Rhodri Davies – “Maske”.

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

A strange little piece today, or actually not so little at all, 8 minutes or maybe even longer. Both Laura Cannell and Rhodri Davies are British experimental musicians, Laura is a fiddler and she also experiments with the recorder since a few years, and Rhodri is experimental harpist. I sometimes do enjoy experimental music, and theirs is quite intriguing, isn’t it?