CD only BEJOCD-23
The sequel to fernhill's acclaimed debut ca nos (BEJOCD-14), Llatai (BEJO-23) again presents rich, vibrant interpretations of the traditional songs and dance music of Wales, Brittany and England, with the soulful voice of Julie Murphy at the heart. From the tumultuous suites Pontypridd and Cariad to the spare, exquisite settings of The Blacksmith and A.E. Housman's Bredon Hill, this is an album of fluid grace and beauty which will confirm fernhill's place 'at the forefront of new Celtic music from Wales'.
What the critics
'If there is to be - as seems likely - a brave new dawn for acoustic and roots music, Fernhill are pioneers. What they do is so simple but so effective, nobody else does it quite like they do and nobody does it better. With minds patriotic, Eurocentric, ethnic and any other 'ics you may care to conjure with, the results are beautiful and magical. This is forty-five minutes of music I'd happily play to any and all comers as a shining example that demonstrates the grip and power proper folk music has. Moreover, it's obvious that Fernhill care, they give a damn like too few do these days. This is an album sensitive to its soul, and with each play the sense of achievement grows.
And if you want an example take the heartstopping treatment granted to The Blacksmith, which echoes Pete Morton's 'this is one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard.' Here that is amply delivered; sure it's a lovelorn ballad, but hell, Fernhill's stab at it is wonderful.
Coming on in English, Welsh and French they've adapted sources from trad to A.e. Housman and written (sorry, made) more of their own. Central to the whole is Cariad, thirteen minutes which pulls together four disparate Welsh strands in a mini symphony, Julie Murphy's voice is buoyant over Ceri Matthews's jaunty guitar, whilst Andy Cutting's accordeons weave a counterpoint, and Jon Shorland's ancient woodwinds break almost jazz-like into blasts of Breton, enjoyably raunchy and rustic.
You want me to say more? Come on! Eight tracks but not one ounce of short change. Take it home and appreciate.
Simon Jones - Folk Roots
'At last! An exciting band from
Wales, vibrant, soulful and even tumultuous... This is their second CD
and it's full to brimming with erotic overtones, using some well known
love songs... Fernhill have interpreted some old Welsh, English and Breton
songs by chopping, dividing and introducing alternative melodies and rhythms,
successfully. An uncompromising passion for making music and song accessible
to all "Celtic" cultures... if you're a musophile, let the band's synergy
and the powerful yet emphatic voice of Julie Murphy, guide you through
the moods of each song.'
J. Gwenllian - The Living Tradition
'A glorious swirl of ideas in which
Welsh themes wash up against Gallo and Breton tunes, old Welsh words take
on another life, in the cloak of new Welsh melodies, and where deeply English
songs are honoured for their sheer beauty and traditional majesty... Each
track is a voyage of discovery...World stage, here we come!'
'Llatai is the Welsh name for a
messenger of love. This gorgeous album from Tim Healey's Beautiful Jo Records
surely must be the high point of Fernhill's output so far. Julie Murphy,
increasingly regarded as one of the most superb voices around at the moment,
delivers the message in languages the names of which are irrelevant. The
timbre and soulfulness of her voice coupled with the sensitivity of the
arrangements says it all. Ceri Rhys Matthews, Jonathan Shorland and Andy
Cutting help to weave a colourful fabric of sound blending traditionally
crafted themes around timeless words.'
'Consolidates Fernhill's position
as arguably the finest interpreters of the Welsh tradition, and once again
proves that Welsh music has as much to offer as that of the other Celtic
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