Finally, it happened! I still find it a bit difficult to actually believe in, but I am now sure that it’s for real. My new faza has actually started some time ago already – on 13th January – but I felt like I needed some time to process things and to feel really sure that it’s a proper, long-term faza to be able to write about it publicly, I wouldn’t even tell people in private, except for Sofi, who it was because I always feel a bit, hm, insecure kind of, at the start of a new faza, and also I wasn’t sure if it was for real, I didn’t want to regret sharing something with someone too early on.
But, before I’ll write anything more, I want to tell you that if you’re a newbie here and have totally no idea what I’m talking about when I say “faza”, or maybe you’re even a regular but still find the concept a little confusing (because it certainly can be a bit confusing), I’ve got a
new page here,
which I hope will make things clearer for you. Please let me know if you’d like to know something and it’s not clear on there, because it’s difficult to explain stuff that is going on your brain level to outside people. If you’re not really familiar with what I mean by fazas and you want to be , I suggest you read that page before this post as otherwise it might be hard to make sense of what I’ll write here and I don’t want to clutter the post with explaining things on the go, as it’ll probably be a long post anyway. On that page you’ll also learn who it is I’m going to be talking about…
So yeah, I’m in the midst of a fabulous faza peak, which means I’ve been having quite a good time lately. What this new faza has certainly already taught me is: you can’t just make such things happen at will, just because you want. If you have been following me all that time ever since my faza on Gwil has started to fade and it didn’t seem like anyone was on the horizon to replace him on the dominant spot, perhaps you know a bit about my frantic search for a potential faza subject, especially in the music world as that’s where I most often get my fazas from. I tried to narrow down my criteria and especially looked for all sorts of musicians named Jack in whom, or in whose music alone at the very least, I could become passionately interested. Not because it’s any kind of requirement for my faza subject to be called Jack, or anything specific, for that matter, but, just like I said, it was just some sort of a criterion I used to narrow down what I was searching for, and I really love the name Jack so I thought it would be cool to finally have a faza subject named Jack. Later on I also started looking for people called Hamish because quite recently, being a name nerd who often falls in and out of love with different names, I’ve become enamoured with this name, according to my Mum it’s because it almost sounds like “Hey, Mish”, which is possible but in my opinion it’s mostly just because it’s so Scottish and both strong and kind of cute at the same time.
Despite my huge efforts, it just failed massively. Well, I did find a lot of great music so that was a plus, but none of these people were seriously interesting for me enough as individuals, nor did I feel their music enough to be able to consider them as my faza candidates for long. In fact most of them always turned out to be more Sofi’s thing, which means they just absolutely couldn’t be my thing because our tastes in most things vary a whole lot and thus it was just almost physically impossible. 😀
On January 13, I decided to finally do as mundane a thing as cleaning of all my gem stones and their appartments (which I normally make sure to do regularly and generally like doing but now somehow hadn’t done in quite some time and totally didn’t feel motivated as it really takes some time because different stones often need different kind of handling, and I’ve got lots of semi-precious and precious stones). So on January 13 I just got down to doing it. I put some music on just to play in the background , and even Misha came to entertain me with his company.
I think I was listening to one of Spotify’s Daily Mixes (if you’re not familiar with Spotify, Daily Mixes are mixes of music that it makes for you based on your listening activity, with stuff you’ve liked and things you might like but might also not have heard, there’s up to six of them depending on how varied your music taste is). I wasn’t really paying much attention to it, being deeply engrossed in my own thoughts, but just as I was polishing my lovely Fulk the Pyrite, I suddenly did start paying attention to the music because there was a rock piece I’ve never ever heard before and someone was “singing about [Welsh] independence” in a way that first made my heart wrench because of the hopeless lyrics, and then all of my brains melt with delight because it was so good overall and my synaesthetic experiences were bliss when listening to it. I had a quick look to see what that song was and by whom and that’s how I’ve first heard about a band called Y Trŵbz. It’s interesting how even small, minority language music scenes have just so much going on that even if you’re as familiar as I am/feel I am with the Welsh-language music scene, there always seems to be something you won’t know about, even if it’s not exactly very new.
Much later on that same day, just out of plain old curiosity, I looked Y Trŵbz up. What was my surprise to learn that one of the people in this band is Jacob Elwy – the same
whose song (together with Mared Williams) I shared just two days prior to that, saying that I didn’t really know much at all about him. How fabulously ironic! 😀 In hintsight, I botched that post properly, because I even wrote that Mared Williams was from Gwynedd even though I knew full well that she was from Conwy, I don’t know what happened to my brain, but now it’s edited so hopefully my crime is forgiven and forgotten. While I’ve always found that song of Jacob and Mared that I posted really nice, it hadn’t exactly made me feel anything special which could suggest any forthcoming fazas, and I’ve listened to it many times, it was just that – very nice and pleasant. –
That in turn sparked my interest with Jacob himself, and, while I couldn’t find a whole lot about him, I thought I’d see if he’s doing anything solo. It appears like he’s just started spreading his wings in this respect last year, starting with the 2020 edition of Cân i Gymru (so the second one in a row in which he took part), where he sang a song called “Pan Fyddai’n 80 Oed” (When I’ll Be 80), which I could vaguely recall and I knew I loved it to bits but I didn’t know who did it or how it was called or anything, I just heard it once on Radio Cymru while laying in bed half asleep with a migraine or something and thinking that it was really cool and reminded me of something very pleasant.
So I had a listen to his solo pieces as well and with time that priceless feeling I always get when having a new faza was getting stronger and stronger. I only had some doubts because I still knew precious little about him as an individual, and this is so key with fazas, but he has both rock and folk leanings, and also seems very much into reggae (which is cool because I used to be madly into reggae before I discovered folk so I have a bit of a sentiment for it) so at least musically I believe I feel him, although, a little surprisingly for me, even though I am a bit more into folk than rock, in his case I somehow prefer his more rocky side so far.
At the same time, as I was listening to him, somewhere in a corner of my mind I could feel that his music reminded me of something very vaguely but persistently. Something I couldn’t identify. And then I had a realisation! His voice, particularly in the lower register, reminds me of Jacek from Helsinki – my Polish Finnophile friend whom I’ve written a bit about on here who passed away from cancer a couple years ago. – Jacek was a rather musical creature who liked to sing sometimes, but most of all play the cello, which instrument I will probably associate with him forever and ever so it always makes me a little nostalgic. I really needed some validation of my experience so I even reached out to our mutual Polonophile Swedish friend although we’ve barely been in touch since his passing and I showed her the song of Jacob which he sang at last year’s Cân i Gymru, where he sounds the most like Jacek in my opinion and asked her if she feels the same. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if Jacob could also play the cello. Honestly, I would be very surprised, because while they sound very similar sometimes, I don’t suppose they are very similar in other ways and I just can’t imagine Jacob playing cello! 😀 But, if he does, that would be a cool surprise.
But I didn’t want this faza to be just based on the fact that Jacob reminds me of Jacek, that would be just so bloody unfair, especially that by then I’ve already started to like him overall, not just because of some sort of similarity to Jacek! So, to avoid that, I am starting to get to know him the best I can without actually knowing much about him directly – because it’s not like he’s very popular outside of Wales or perhaps north England so naturally I won’t be able to find a lot of information about him like I could with one of my previous faza subjects, Cornelis Vreeswijk, for example. I am also limited by the fact that I can’t see (and when you can see you can figure out a lot of things about a person easier, obviously), and that I’m not on most social media, but oh well, we can deal with that. With my own online research I actually learned more about his family rather than himself, which was also interesting.
Jacob is from a village called Tan y Fron near Llansannan in Denbigh in the Vale of Clwyd, however currently I believe he’s studying music in Manchester or was doing so not very long ago. If I’m guessing right (I may be guessing totally wrong because I’m shitty with counting as you know and I only guessed it based on other things I knew) he’s probably 26-27 and he has a lot of siblings for these days’ standards which I think is so fun and they all sound very cool! Sadly what also seems to be the case is that his family has been through a lot of hardships, I personally think more than what would be considered a fair share, which is perhaps just the reason why they make an impression of being very close with each other. I’m not sure I can talk about this because I didn’t really find most of it as something in relation to his music career, the only thing that does somehow connect to his music out of these is that his father had an alcohol problem, and died quite early on, when, I believe, some of his siblings were still teenagers. He left behind a book of penillions – which are, if I understand that correctly, poems which are sung to music – and they discovered them later and Y Trwbz made a few of them into great songs, they also wrote a song about him.
I always ask Sofi to tell me what my faza subjects look like and what she thinks about them subjectively (she summed her description of him up saying that she thinks he looks like Justin Timberlake 😀 ), and Sofi’s usually the first to know about my new fazas. And she made me notice a thing I didn’t even realise before. I told her that I’ve got a faza on a guy called Jacob Elwy and she was like “Oh wow, so your dream has come true! You’ve got your Jac- someone”. I was dumbstruck for a moment. Yes, I am a Jackophile, so I was looking for a Jack, or a Jac, or a Jacqueline, or a Jacek, or a Hyacinth (because it’s etymologically related to the Polish Jacek as you may recall from
but despite the name Jacob obviously starts with Jac-, and even despite Jack Vreeswijk’s full name is Lars Jacob, it never fell under the same category for me because it neither sounds like Jack, nor shares the etymology with either Jacek or Jack. And then I realised one more thing. Namely that, after all,
Hamish is a, somewhat distant, but still, etymological cousin of Jacob.
And then poor Sofi got quite confused, because I just couldn’t help myself and started laughing my brains out. It was as if God – or perhaps my Guardian Angel or one of my purgatory soul friends, because God probably has more urgent stuff to deal with, especially right now in these hectic times, than my fazas – was smiling at me mischievously and saying: “Hey you, Bibielle, you wanted a Jack or a Hamish, why not all in one, eh?”” I was always rather neutral about the name Jacob, given that it’s so popular for children in the US and I’ve got a lot to do with baby names every day so it seems a tad bit overused to me, and here Jakub has been nauseatingly popular for baby boys for decades, but I’m gradually changing my view on it now, obviously. Edited to add: a few days after writing this post I learned that, in case of this Jacob, his name is pronounced like Jack, as opposed to like Jay, which makes the situation even more hilarious and also really cool because I actually like this pronunciation a lot more, and don’t know why I couldn’t figure it out on my ownn that this must be the way it is pronounced in his case, since with Welsh phonetics it makes all the sense in the world.
I also had my doubts about whether it will really be so cool to have yet another Welsh faza in a row after Gwilym, but now I think it’s the perfect situation. Because I’m nowhere near fluent with my Welsh yet, and if I got a faza subject who would speak another of my favourite languages, I’d get distracted. Last year was very fruitless for me Welsh-wise because it was such a techy year, with my eventful computer transition and then the iPhone and getting used to the touchscreen reality which for me took a lot of time even though it went much better than expected. This year, even before I got the faza, I’ve decided to catch up on this and that’s what I’m doing. It’s good to be back on track again.
Because I believe that when getting to know a person, it’s good to know their background and things like that, I made my Dad feel appreciated by asking him to have a look at what Jacob’s area looks like. My Dad loves Google travelling (he’s often like: “When I was in Mexico a few days ago…” and sometimes people get confused but he only was there on Google Maps 😀 ), and so I always give him that mission with my new fazas, to go on Google Maps and have a look around where they live or grew up or something and tell me what he thinks, like generally about the place, what it looks like, what there is, whatever. I don’t talk with my Dad about my fazas, he doesn’t know about it, he’s just used to me having weird whims like that sometimes and wanting to travel virtually to some often a little obscure corners of the world, but he seems to enjoy these Google rides a lot and they are very useful for me to form a bit of an idea. He also helped me a bit with my geography, because while I’ve got quite a good idea of north-western Wales, with north-central/north-east I didn’t really know where exactly all these counties are and what distances between different places there are and couldn’t make sense of it on my own. Fazas, you see, can be very educating experiences.
I’ve also figured out (which I may be wrong about, it’s just my suspicion/gut feeling), that while it doesn’t seem like he has written any of his Welsh lyrics because most or all of them are by Rhydian Meilir with whom he collaborates a lot, nor I guess any of the lyrics for Y Trŵbz that he has sung with them, all his solo music in English (he has released only one English song officially but I’ve seen more unofficial songs of his) may have been written by him, and some of it has been written by him for sure. Which is a good news for me because people’s own lyrics usually can tell a fair bit about them. Perhaps not everyone is somehow super exhibitionist but still, it’s hard not to reveal yourself at all.
I’ve also looked at his Instagram even though I’m not on there myself and even though of course it’s not a very friendly place for blind people with so much pics, but still, I made use of all the image recognition stuff I have on my phone (Sofi was out, and I wouldn’t want to take an advantage of her too much) to get any idea of the pics, with mixed results, and luckily Instagram is not pics alone. So now I have a bit more of an idea of what he’s like, for example that he’s very keen on travelling as it seems, and has been to quite a few countries, I guess most recently Brazil before the pandemic has started. I’d read before that he went to Australia for a year, and, nosy as I am about my faza subjects and anything that may fascinate me (I should probably really work on this and become less nosy when it comes to people but oh well I’m an Aquarius and curiosity, which sometimes goes overboard, is the only Aquarius trait I seem to truly have so if I eradicated it out of myself I’d feel like a very fake Aquarius, this is my only excuse), I was wondering a lot about why, I mean whether it was something to do with the music or some other kind of career/education thing he was doing or just for fun, and now the latter seems most likely.
Okay, so, to finally close this lengthy post, I have a bonus song of the day for you. The one which originally caught my attention so much – “Annibyniaeth” (Independence) by Y Trŵbz.
Y Trŵbz is very much a family business, as originally it was created by Jacob as the vocalist and his younger brother Morgan as the bass, and then two other members – their cousin and Morgan’s friend – joined. Later on, Jacob was replaced by Mared Williams who is Morgan’s girlfriend, and then when Mared had other artistic things going on Jacob was with them again. Despite I’ve got a faza on Jacob, I like Y Trwbz with Mared just as much, it’s equally great but in a totally different way.
The lyrics are written by Morgan Elwy and I don’t feel like I can translate them for you literally because I don’t know the meaning of some words, but I do understand the point of it well and I can tell you that this song shows how one feels when their own country is not independent and basically facing a lot of unnecessary difficulties which surely wouldn’t happen otherwise, like the flooding of Capel Celyn, which was carefully planned ahead, about losing hope and not seeing the point in fighting for your rights when no one hears you anyway. So there’s a question, when will the day finally come that their country will be strong again, and the Welsh will be singing about independence. I dearly hope for it to happen as soon as it’s only possible, and wish them good luck with regaining their autonomy, just as I do with all of “my” other countries which also can’t enjoy independence.