Film : Backwards To Go Forwards
There 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 compelling 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.
News : Lleuwen : Gwn Glân Beibl Budr Chapel Tour & Video
Following 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.
Track of the Month : Cynefin : Cân Y Melinydd
Cynefin 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]
- Julie Murphy I Thu 31 Jan
Described by The Guardian as "A towering talent, both in traditional music and as a singer-songwriter. She possesses the voice of a stark, spectral beauty" and by Robert Plant as simply "a great, great singer", Julie Murphy appears at The Gate, Cardiff, in the latest of a series of commendably curated folk nights. Support is from Ben Smith.
The Gate [Cardiff] 7.30pm / Tickets £10 Adv & £12 Door
- 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.