Review: Gwenifer Raymond “Strange Lights over Garth Mountain”

Gwenifer Raymond – Strange Lights over Garth Mountain

Welsh-born fingerstyle guitar devotee Gwenifer Raymond‘s second album contains five tracks less than You Never Were Much of a Dancer, over pretty much the same running time. This is significant because it gives each longer piece (most are around six or seven minutes) space to breathe and Gwen time to flex and explore. Although You Never Were Much of a Dancer was an accomplished debut, it still felt like Gwen was demonstrating her skills and doffing her cap to the players who helped influence and shape her sound. Strange Lights feels like a huge leap forward; every note sounds original and creative. That space in the songs is also critical to how the album plays. There is still plenty of Gwen’s punky frenetic picking across the set, but it is juxtaposed with moments of calm (touched with menace of course; it’s still a Gwenifer Raymond album). Take opener Incantation as an example; after the briefest of percussion intros, Gwen begins playing a low tattoo, which leads into a slow-picked line that hits top strings before heading into a slightly more anxious part. The bass notes run through the whole song, giving it structure, but the tune is complex and intriguing, not quite allowing us to relax. This incantation could still take you somewhere dark.

Things heat up for Coal Train down the Line, this album’s train song. After another fairly calm intro, Gwen’s fingers start moving and after half a minute she hits a groove that gathers pace until the engine is hurtling. A train song is a staple feature of solo guitar music, but this piece is far from posturing to tradition; indeed, it is as brimming with ideas and complexity as all of the other tunes here. There are moments of intense playing in several places, but each is balanced with a strong melody line and interesting direction. Living up to a gory title, Gwaed am Gwaed (Blood for Blood), is the most hostile piece, with flat notes hidden throughout that give it a rough cut texture and a sinister edge. Even the melody line that crops up at points is unnerving. More forgiving is Marseilles Bunkhouse, 3am, a fascinating song that shifts pace at several points, letting a sense of drama and paranoia build until a quickly picked line with buzzing bass string bursts out at the halfway point.

Gwen plays with pacing throughout Strange Lights to great effect. Stand out piece Ruben’s Song begins with a lullaby of a line before gathering momentum a la Coal Train down the Line and then deciding to switch into a tightly played upbeat melody song. A deceptive little creation, it’s a lot of fun and shows off Gwen’s deft playing and her ability to write a cracking hook. Eulogy for Dead French Composer is another multi-faceted tune, with as many moods as a piece of classical music. The final title song maintains the drama of the previous Eulogy, but while the playing is softer and quite sweet in places, the oddness of the shifts and fidgety nature of the piece lends it the strange character of its title. Completely fascinating, daring and complex, it’s a splendid piece that neatly sums up the progressive nature of this album and Gwen’s playing as a whole.

Source: Folk Radio UK

Dating a Welshman: from conversation to love

Dating

Once partitioned from England by ‘Offa’s Dyke,’ a lengthy earthwork separating warring tribes, Wales’ boundary with its larger neighbor runs for around 160 miles. Aside from the Dee estuary in the north, and the Severn estuary to the south, this barrier crosses fields and hills, traversing roads and villages. Although governed by London as part of the UK, Wales retains fierce independence. One thing you must never do is call a Welshman English!

If you fancy your chances with one of these Celtic romantics, you could always start your quest by joining an online dating service. On https://www.datingadvicehelp.com it is easier to find a dating site where you could meet a like-minded person because experts have already cared for you and proposed a list of platforms where you could start more safe and productive communication. Once you’ve come across a site where you’ll find cute guys from Wales (Cymru in the Welsh language) you’re in for a romantic experience.

Reasons Why You Should Date a Welsh Person

The Welsh are known the world over for their warmth and affection. They can act (think of Richard Burton, with his gravelly voice) and they can sing. To hear the massed ranks of red-bedecked Welsh rugby fans breaking into their national anthem before a rugby match against England at Cardiff Arms Park is to listen to waves of passion. But they are also down to earth, far friendlier and more approachable than their neighbors across the River Severn. They’re also fond of family and community and loyal to those they love.

Things you must to know dating a Welshman

1. They Invented the ‘Cwtch’

The Welsh language isn’t remotely like the English spoken by their neighbors (the English were originally the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic tribe who invaded these islands after the Roman left.) The Welsh were the natives, their spoken tongue is Celtic, and this is a beautiful, lyrical language. Cwtch has two meanings. Firstly, it’s cuddle. Secondly, it’s a cubbyhole to store something. Where romance is concerned, combining these conjures the perfect picture of wrapping your arms around someone, keeping them safe.

2. They’re really just romantics, as their history shows

Welsh history is exemplified by the red dragon on their national flag, an emblem of strength and pride. They have long battled to assert their autonomy from the English, and this is reflected in rich poetry and folk music. Wales might be much smaller than England, but this has empowered their romantic sense of the underdog. Wales embraced the 19th century Industrial Revolution, developing an extensive coal mining industry. Welshmen have always been hardy, toiling in dangerous conditions far underground, but each colliery had its own choir, the men combining to sing songs full of passion. Continue reading

Welsh filmmakers shortlisted for LGBT+ prize

Two Welsh filmmakers have spoken of their joy of being shortlisted at this year’s Iris Prize.

Anna Winstone who directed Rhiw Goch (On the Red Hill) and Ian Smith, who made Go Home Polish, made the final 15 for the Best Short category.

For the first time in the Cardiff LGBT+ film festival’s history a film from the Netherlands was awarded the £30,000 prize.

Short Calf Muscle, by Victoria Warmerdam, was crowned the winner.

The organisers of the festival, which is now in its 14th year, said the money would allow the producer to make a new short film in Wales.

Winstone, 27, from Cardiff, said she was “screaming” when she learned her film had been shortlisted.

“Iris is such a big deal in the film world and for our short, whereby we borrowed a camera and only had a budget of £150, to have been selected was incredible, I thought they had made a mistake,” said Winstone.

Her documentary tells the story of a gay couple, Mike and Peredur, who inherit a house just outside Machynlleth, Powys, from an older gay couple George and Reg. The story is of the house – their sanctuary

Continue reading