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Gentle Good - Y Bardd Anfarwol

  by Lisa Torem

published: 10 / 1 / 2014

Gentle Good - Y Bardd Anfarwol
Label: Bubblewrap Collective
Format: CD


Stunningly beautiful folk pop, sung in his native Welsh and inspired by a trip to China, from the Gentle Good, the project of experimental musician Gareth Bonello

Beginning with the chatter of animated Chinese voices and a highly charged acoustic solo, ‘Erdddigan Chengdu’ melts into a gorgeous folk guitar/flute solo. The flute touchingly reverberates and the hypnotic sounds of tweeting birds fill the background. Delightful harmonies follow. ‘Antiffoni’ starts out raw, wildly suspenseful and percussive before assuming a rollicking dreamlike state. The guitar moves along at a serious clip, as though anxious to keep up with the sublime Chinese instrumentation. ‘Yr Wylan Fry’ is a warm vocal. ‘Ymadael Dinas Brenin Gwyn’ is also beset with those native twittering birds. This extremely elegant piece boasts a fierce call and response between the Welsh and Chinese counterparts. The result is a sweeping, weeping, fugue-like masterstroke. ‘Marwnad Chang-Kan’ features a stunning female vocal performance and then a male-female duet. ‘Meddyliau Distaw’r Nos’ is a infusion of classical Chinese at its best. ‘Yfed Gyda’r Lleuad’ provides a great juxtaposition between the ancient and the contemporary. ‘Brwydr An Lushan’ is quite effective even though it relies heavily on percussion. ‘Edau Gwyn’ begins with chanting and the strike of a gong, and then a high-wired guitar. ‘Afon Arian’ has a breathtaking melody. The last two numbers, ‘Afon Arian’ and ‘Bore Braf’ are concise, but absorbing; the latter featuring a series of maddening rhythms. What ties these lithe pieces together is Gareth Bonello, who took up a six-week residency in China. Once there he collaborated with Chinese musicians and then returned to the UK to work with Seb Goldfinch, the Mavron String Quartet and some of the UK Chinese Ensemble to record ‘Y Bardd Anfarwol.’ What is even more impressive is the narrative thread – it tells the story of much beloved poet Li Bai through Welsh and Chinese sensibilities. The album is stunningly beautiful in its textures, and a wonderful, pragmatic use of each and every instrument, voice and theme. It honours Li Bai’s life in an imaginative, colourful and vibrant way.

Track Listing:-
1 Erddigan Chengdu
2 Antiffoni
3 Yr Wylan Fry
4 Ymadael Dinas Brenin Gwyn
5 Marwnad Chang-Kan
6 Meddyliau Distaw'r Nos
7 Yfed Gyda'r Lleuad
8 Brwydr an Lùshan
9 Edau Gwyn
10 Afon Arian
11 Bore Braf
12 Dienw

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