If a pint of Guinness had a voice, it might sound like Huw Dylan Owen on this new album – velvety, dark and very sustained. The album is a loose, zigzagging musical journey tale connecting his native Dolgellau, in the shadow of the lofty heights of Cadair Idris to Meirionydd, with his home today in Morriston, on the northern edge of Swansea. Meandering it covered various places along the way, such as Usk, Cardiff and Pontypridd. Like a brief poetic promissory note on the album cover reads “Ar hyd heol hudolus _ am ennyd / Dymunaf eich tywys”, which in free translation suggests “Along a magical road, for a moment / I want to lead you. As he does then.
Huw Dylan, poet and also author of a book on Welsh Folk Sessions, has been involved in various musical formations over the years such as Gwerinos, Mari Lwyd and Yr Alltud and this time he does not go entirely solo, for he lived -in voice is joined on some tracks by the silver chimes of the voices of Heledd and Mirain Owen.
Some tracks on this wandering album, like “Cregennan” are simple folk melodies complemented, or perhaps rivaling a sound reverberating guitar, while on others, the words are simply recited or incanted over the music, the songs. words themselves often being composed in fluid cynghanedd. Indeed, Huw Dylan Owen is poet enough to create lyrics by simply linking englynion, which is no easy feat, while on a song such as “Llwydwyll Gwareiddiad Llydaw”, he takes those of this master of form. , Gerallt Lloyd Owen to evoke the emptying life of an old woman in Brittany, while the fine lace of her culture is unraveling.
There is a similar haunting sadness that inhabits ‘Cau’r Hen Le’ (Close the Old Square) which depicts an old lady as she closes the house for the last time, with goose bumps on her skin and her hair. conscience weighing heavily. One can imagine a long, long poetic connection with the resonant void of medieval poet Llywarch Hen’s performance of the Cynddylan Halls, now silent after so much gaiety and camaraderie. This unnamed woman also remembers a society that no longer remembers the dawn, in which it is even impossible to remember common songs and laughter. Despite its painful feeling of threnody, lamentation, it is a charming, charming song, especially when the singer harmonizes with himself, two rivers of baritone coming together.
‘Mudo’, meanwhile, traces the long transcontinental journey of a migrating bird from Soweto to South Africa and from there over the Sahara and Morocco, with a late burst of percussion reflecting the beats of the then-little bird’s metronome. he flies to a temporary home in the attic of the house somewhere in Wales.
A long, seedy moment in ‘Gwenllian’ anime history. After the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales, his daughter, along with other family members, were confined for life to remote priories in Lincolnshire. In Gwenllian’s case, she died 54 years after being taken prisoner, and this simple and tender song portrays this attack on innocent people and serves both as a testament and as a remembrance of a forgotten lady.
The album plays with a casual live number called “Eirth” in a recording of a concert at the Tyrfa Tawe Festival at the National Waterfront Museum. Much like fellow poet and troubadour Twm Morys – who shares a similar voice and flair for versification – often sings over hares, Hyw Dylan Owen sings here of the beloved bears of his childhood, now distant, now long gone. It’s a good, upbeat ending to an album from a natural rover, taking the folk music for a ride along new paths, full of beautiful turns and sudden, unexpected views.
You can buy O Feirion… i Dreforys here.