Machynlleth-born Cerys Hafana is a grasp of the Welsh triple harp, an intimidating instrument of three rows of glistening strings. Within the 2022 anthology Welsh (Plural), excerpted within the Guardian, she wrote that “it’s seen as a form of historic artefact, hailing from a greater time when everybody in Wales spoke Welsh”. Glorifying that previous “is an erasure of all of the issues which have modified for the higher”, she added, spit in each syllable.
Hafana explores resonances from the previous that join with the trendy day in a up to date, artistic approach. On her second album, Edyf (which means “thread”) she makes use of her harp as a percussive, jagged-toothed instrument with which she excavates songs from the Welsh Nationwide Library’s archives. The instrument offers a buzzing pulse to Y Mor o Wydr (The Sea of Glass) – an odd hymn about doomsday that crackles with the heated current of local weather change – and a uncooked beat to Hen Garol Haf, a Celtic summer time carol that amplifies present pursuits in pre-Christian traditions. In Tragwyddoldeb (Eternity) and Cilgerran (named after a wooded village on the banks of the River Teifi in west Wales) it creates thickets of surprise in vibrant sounds. Hafana additionally sings movingly, her excessive voice like an indie-pop soprano shorn of its sweetness.
There are additionally moments of deep contemplation. On the wonderful Bridoll, she interprets a psalm tune that she labored on in Bangor’s Capel Y Graig, a former nonconformist chapel transformed into an experimental artwork house. Comed 1858, based mostly on hymn author Benjamin Jenkins’ reflections on gentle taking pictures via house, can also be profoundly lovely. “All ages within the interval of time / Reveals some greatness”, Hafana sings, articulating a communal ache for hope.
Additionally out this month
Paul Hillery’s compilation Folks Funk & Trippy Troubadours: Quantity One (RE:WARM) could have an aggravating title, however it’s a soul-soothing number of sultry late-summer 60s/70s non-public press folks and auxiliary grooves. The ladies are particularly nice, together with Wendy Grose, Ruth Finlay and Cindi Titzer. Alison O’Donnell’s Hark The Voice That Sings For All: New Songs in An Historic Custom (Speaking Elephant) is stuffed with musical ambition, that includes uilleann pipes, modular synths and O’Donnell’s dramatic, visceral vocals. Jackie Oates’ Gracious Wings (self-released) is a gentler affair, folding ballads and originals collectively tenderly whereas avoiding excessive sugar (though her beautiful tackle the Longpigs’ On and On ought to get the John Lewis Christmas advert group on the telephone pronto).