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Saturday 18 May 2024

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Tocyn Unffordd i Lawenydd – Twm Morys a Gwyneth Glyn.

Apr 25, 2024

It’s been too long since I’ve heard Twm Morys and his music issuing from the speakers, I’m pleased to say that this delightful collection of unplugged gems puts matters right. You may know him in another guise as the leader of Bob Delyn A’r Ebillion, who have long crusaded to rehabilitate and update Welsh folk material – all their albums should be complusory listening. Here however he’s teamed up with the wonderful Gwyneth Glyn, whose own actions show similar determination and drive to open up roots to contemporary/untried fusions, neither is any slouch at song writing and both are poets of no small ability. The results therefore are spell binding.

Let’s put this out there from the start, language is no barrier, great music is great music, so get over the fact that they sing in Welsh, it’s not only a beautiful langauge anyway but it sparkles and glides when spoken naturally. That makes it devastatingly effective when it’s sung and melody integral. The title by the way means one way ticket to joy – which tells you their intention.

Intimacy is obvious from the off, it sounds like the two of them and a couple of chums have popped into your lounge for a session, yet the directness and simplicity of the settings serves only to sharpen the perfomances and message behind the songs. If you dig down enough there is a theme which links each track and that is travelling in different forms. A journey is a journey no matter if it be from Wales to Liverpool for employment, taken overseas to fight in a World War or global wandering across another continent.

Here the traditional meets the contemporary and one flows smoothly into the other, ‘Mi Fum Yn Gweini Tymor’ is a delicate adaptation of an old Llyn folk song which uses the melody of ‘The Lakes Of Ponchetrain’ being a Welsh variant on the story, ‘Coed’ is about returning to your home and recognising the importance of landscape, geography and nature in feelings of being secure and settled. The closer ‘Y Gog Lwydlas,’ has the cuckoo leaving as summer slides into autumn, finishing on a note of longing. Yet the core track ‘Tocyn Unfford I Lawenydd’ – seemingly added at Gwyneth’s insistence since she thought the songs missing a light hearted quality – is a railway journey nearing completion and thoughts turning to a warm welcome which awaits and the appeal of the familiar.

Vocally balanced and contrasted neatly, his rough round the edges, lived in yet passionate, hers tender and haunting, their guitars, harp, piano and harmonica are bouyed on occasion by Aled Wyn Hughes, bass/drums and Ebillion’s Edwin Humphreys’ horn playing, none of which overwhelms the delicacy of the arrangements. Nigh on perfect if you ask me. What’s even more poigniant is the firmness of purpose to use and strengthen the Welsh language and through such atmospheric music reflect the spirit and unity of that resolve, ‘Cymru’n Un,’ – ‘Wales Is One,’ gives the intention voice.

Thoroughly deserving of five stars, ‘Tocyn’ is pure enchantment, captivating listening and bewitches even more on repeat. A bold prediction it may be but this will be a contender for ‘Album of 2024.’  Entrancing.

Simon Jones.



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