Cardiff-based singer-songwriter Gwenno released her latest album Le Kov on Heavenly Recordings last week. It is a really wonderful collection of music that I reviewed for Caught By The River.
Part of my review:
“The album … speaks to all displaced peoples who have ever dreamed of returning home, however impossible that might be. By the end of 2016, the number of displaced people in the world had risen to 65.6 million – more than the population of the UK. These people may end up living for the rest of their lives away from the countries of their birth, dreaming of homelands and speaking languages that may soon no longer exist.
When Gwenno sings “A tongueless man / A tongueless man has lost”, my only thoughts were about those homelands disappearing (and the rich cultural history contained within all languages disappearing too). It made me think a lot about refugees in general, and more specifically about my own parents, who escaped Iran before the revolution, and their brothers and sisters, who left at the same time, scattered across the globe. None of them can ever go back home – the Iran they grew up in (the Iran they would call “home”) is not a place that exists anymore. I grew up as a first language Farsi speaker in Wales – communicating in a language that was imbued with nuance and poetry drawn from a land that I would never live in.”
Head over to Caught By The River – Gwenno’s Le Kov to read the full piece, and why not order the vinyl from your local friendly independent record store, Spillers Records?
Nice druiding on the Eus Keus video…
You can catch Gwenno performing songs from the album on the Caught By The River stages at Port Eliot and the Good Life Experience this summer.
I’ve written a couple more posts for Caught by the River. I’m really enjoying my column for CBTR. Also the teenage indie fangirl in me can’t quite comprehend that it’s happening. But enjoying nevertheless!
Below is a round up of the last few pieces I’ve written for them. It’s a nice focus for my writing at the moment. Plus gets me out of the house and walking, always a bonus.
Wandering the River Taff: A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy.
Did you know that Cardiff’s River Taff has its own Nessie, patrolling the waters, keeping wronguns away? Or at least it used to — an afanc of its very own. The afanc is a complicated thing to translate from Welsh, having been represented in Celtic mythology as anything from demon crocodile to barbarous beaver. It’s basically some sort of terrible beastie from the deep; a river monster that would attack and kill anyone who fancied a paddle or quick slurp from its waters.
Wandering the River Taff: Millennium Walk and the Doomed Graffiti Wall.
Where can you find existential ponderings about mathematical logic, sharing wall space with messages about Mother’s Day, paedo ring cover ups in the BBC, and a sketch of Marge Simpson with a massive spliff in her mouth? In other cities, perhaps this sort of thing is omnipresent, but in Cardiff, there’s only one place: on the banks of the River Taff, at the graffiti wall on Millennium Walk.
Wandering the River Taff: Got Brains?
On my first visit back to Cardiff as an adult, back in 1999, one of the first things I remember is ominous lettering on a railway bridge, somewhere around the city centre, asking an ambiguous question that brought visions of the undead feasting on innocent Cardiffians: GOT BRAINS?
Til next time
So I promised I would write more. And here I am!
I’ve started contributing a new column to the wonderful Caught by the River website, inspired by my wonderings/wanderings around and about the River Taff. The column is called Wandering the River Taff, and my first essay for them is This is Rat Island. I mean I’m actually on to writing my third piece now, but you know, small steps …
As always happens when you start looking into something specific, it ends up raising more questions than answers …
So what happened, nutshell style, is that I did a bunch of research (SO much research … internet, books, Cardiff Central Library’s local area archive, which is an incredibly rich resource that I recommend to local nosy people) and published my piece. One of the things I did was to contact writer Peter Finch, who happens to be local and whose Real Cardiff series has been a total inspiration to me ever since I moved back to Cardiff as an adult. I published my piece – then got a response from Peter which completely went against all the research and anecdotal evidence I had read. So had to publish a secondary piece, documenting all my research and asking for more comments from people who might know more.
I mean, when you lay it out like that it sounds boring AF but if you’re interested in local history, I recommend you read them both. Plus the photos are nice.
I’ll write more about my other instalments soon.