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 the  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. 😀 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. 😀

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 😂 ), and they both also played on Gwilym’s first album “O Groth Y Ddaear”, and there is also Marit Fält, 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! 🙂

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. 😀 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. 😀

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. 🙂

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.

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Bwncath – “Melyn” (Yellow).

Hi guys! 🙂

So here’s another song from the band Bwncath, the first one that I heard from them and I really like it a lot. Hope you enjoy it too. 🙂

Bwncath – “Cân Lon” (A Joyful Song).

Hi people! 🙂

So, as I promised, I’m bringing you another song by this year’s “Cân 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 “Cân 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 gânau 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. 😀 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.

Lisa Kelly – “Lift The Wings”.

I guess I haven’t yet posted any (or not many anyway) songs from one of my absolute favourite Irish Celtic folk bands, Celtic WOman, nor any of their soloists. So here is one of them that I like the most – Lisa Kelly! – I think she’s gorgeous, just as all of them are. Celtic WOman is an Irish band performing Celtic folk music. The line-up has been changing a lot but the soloists are all women, and all are very talented. From what I know, Lisa Kelly is no longer with them, I guess she went on to make some dance-related project with her husband. I think she has a very clear voice and I like to listen to her. So here’s her solo song, “Lift The Wings”.

Song of the day (4th March) – Emma Thompson & Peigi Barker, Ashley Serena ft. Karliene – “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” – “Noble Maiden Fair”.

 

Some time ago, I shared with you guys a couple songs by Scottish singer Julie Fowlis, who sings in Scottish Gaelic, and I wrote that Julie Fowlis became known to some wider audience because of the Disney film called “Brave” where she sang two songs in English. I didn’t show them as there is so much more great and far less known music from Julie Fowlis, but I’d like to share something from “Brave” now. This song “A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal” or “Noble Maiden Fair” in English, is sung in the film by queen Elinor (Emma Thompson, Merida’s mother) and Merida (Peigi Barker). They sing it when Merida is desperate to get her mother back as a human after she is transformed to a bear, and while the girl is having a memory of herself with her mother. It is a beautiful lullaby. I, being in love with all things Celtic, listened to the song before I even knew that this film exists and was quite surprised to hear it there, haha. I loved “Brave”, and still do, much enough to infect my sister, I started loving it because it seemed so very Celtic to me. While I still like it, I find that much of the Celticness in it is rather very stereotypical and artificial, which is sad, but I guess to be expected in a Disney film, however it’s good that they wanted to make Celtic culture more widely popular.

When it comes to this song, as I read somewhere it seems like it’s actually a direct translation from English, not a Gaelic song really, and also, Emma Thompson who plays Merida’s mother, is ENglish, and not a gaelic speaker, so even I, although I don’t speak Gaelic, only small bits and pieces, but managed to figure out its phonetics, was  able to say, or have a strong suspicion, that something is wrong with her Gaelic. Peigi on the other hand does it a bit better, because as I’ve been able to find out she had studied some Gaelic. While I loved Emma Thompson as Merida’s mum, and she sang it well, I wonder a bit why if they had someone like Julie Fowlis in the cast, they didn’t get her to sing it, she’d do it great, and it would be more authentic! Despite lacks in the linguistic sphere though, the song is very nice musically, and I love the harp in it.

But also, since I’ve been sharing some Karliene’s music with you, I thought I’d share her beautiful cover of this song, made in collaboration with Ashley Serena. While they both don’t speak Scottish Gaelic either, their version is also beautiful and with fabulous and much more present harp as well. I also have a feeling that despite linguistical lacks it’s somehow even more Celtic than the original for some reason, despite that part of it is actually in English. The English part is the translation (or original?) of the Gaelic version. Enjoy and let me know which one you like more. 🙂

Song of the day (3rd March) – Karliene – “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme”.

And here’s another song from Karliene, it is a traditional Irish ballad which she covered, and I like the symbolic language in it a lot, I think it’s incredibly beautiful.

Song of the day (2nd March) – Karliene – “I Will Be No Mistress”.

I would like to dedicate a couple of posts to share with you some songs by this great English artist – Karliene Reynolds. – She is really great, I like how expressive she is, how very versatile and just simply interesting her music is, that it is folk but often with some modern influences, but that she also often refers to the history in her music, and the effect is always very natural and genuine. Also, what I like about Karliene’s music, is how feminine it is, her lyrics often have to do with women – either some historical figures or just womanhood/femininity, and she does it in a great way. – This song comes from the album that is a tribute to Anne Boleyn, and is I think my most favourite song on it.