geraint jarman Tawel Yw'R Tymor (Quiet Is the Season) (CD, £10.95)label: ankst
'Tawel Yw'r Tymor' is his sixteenth album release - exactly forty years on from the 1976 release of his debut 'Gobaith Mawr y Ganrif' (Saviour of the Century.) Irony aside, history has proved this debut to have been no idle boast, as once he got into his stride with a touring band Y Cynganeddwyr (The Poets) modernity finally arrived in the Welsh language rock culture and with it came a golden period as Welsh music finally became alive and vital. Rock, new wave, reggae, dub and country rock were all present and correct on a brilliant series of albums he released on labels such as Sain and Ankst. It is generally accepted that few can match Geraint Jarman's immense and continuing effect and influence on Welsh language music over the past half a century. As a highly original composer, poet, performer and television producer he has had a defining effect on every decade of the story of Welsh language youth culture and his scheduled appearance on the main stage at Festival Number 6 later this year is testament to his continuing relevance. New collection Tawel Yw'r Tymor sees Jarman breaking new ground yet again. For the first time in his career he has scaled down his music to the barest minimum - Song and voice dominate, and what we hear on the album is no drums, no electric instruments, but instead a collection of brilliant, beautiful and beguiling songs woven deep into sparse, atmospheric acoustic arrangements. This decision to seek out the essential has resulted in possibly one of his most satisfying and greatest albums. He has shaped this collection with folk artist, singer and guitarist Gareth Bonello (The Gentle Good) and producer Frank Naughton, with vocal contributions from Huw M and Griff Lynch (Yr Ods) and his three daughters Lisa, Hanna and Mared. The album is undeniably personal, but the voice and lyrics are (as ever) immensely poetic and mysterious- 'a collage painting, like the ones by Schwitters, a nail, a tram ticket' - It all seems to be about feelings not facts. Although many of the songs have a basis in reality with references to other singers like Gram Parsons, Cheb Khaled, Salif Keita and (indirectly) Meic Stevens this collection is totally grounded in Geraint's beautiful singing voice alone. Hearing such a familiar voice in new sonic surroundings offers such a special and rich experience, one that complements the songs in a timeless fashion.
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