Khasi-Cymru Collective: Sai-thaiñ Ki Sur (The Weaving of Voices
) review – from Wales to India


Also generally known as the Gentle Good, Gareth Bonello is a Welsh musician and singer who engages in far-reaching cross-cultural collaborations. Ten years in the past, he launched Y Bardd Anfarwol (The Immortal Bard), working with musicians in Chengdu to inform the story of the Eighth-century Chinese poet Li Bai, aligning the Taoist grasp’s life with druidic storytelling, in Welsh.

Sai-thaiñ Ki Sur (The Weaving of Voices) was made with musicians from the Khasi hills of Meghalaya state in north-east India, an space dominated within the mid-Nineteenth century by a Welsh Methodist mission, towards which an indigenous people tradition motion fought again. Some Welshmen helped them print Khasi literature and battle the British empire, having fled a rustic the place their language and tradition was additionally suppressed; this messy legacy is explored by a collective of modern musicians, poets and lecturers, led by Bonello, whose deep, lilting voice has by no means been extra transferring.

Songs used as instruments of subjugation, similar to Welsh hymn Pererin Wyf, are reworked by the duitara, a stringed instrument made from the wooden of the jackfruit tree. Bryniau Cassau, a long-lost, bawdy Welsh ingesting music, is performed reside in a bird-filled tropical thunderstorm (it’s nonetheless within the Khasi hymn ebook). Other tracks merge influences in language and sounds, like Hediad Ka Likai, mixing the Welsh phrase for flight, the identify of a Meghalaya waterfall, and the enjoying of a besil (a local bamboo flute) whereas Pahambir underlines how radically completely different, percussive and textural Khasi people music is.

Powerful originals similar to The Men Who Have Hate Speech on Their Lips by spoken-word poet Lapdiang Syiem – an acclamation of Khasi girls’s energy by way of the generations – take the listener deep into the territory’s id. This stunning album underlines the significance of delving into historical past with sensitivity and creativity.

Also out this month

No Fixed Abode (self-released) by Northern Irish trio Trú (comprised of gamers from British-Ukrainian, Ulster-Scots and Irish nationalist backgrounds) is a particular, atmospheric debut of Gaelic waulking (fulling fabric) songs, Scots lullabies and ballads about vengeful Japanese spirits. Cath and Phil Tyler verify my hunch that they’re Newcastle’s Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings with Some Heavy Hand (Ferric Mordant), a improbable set of dwelling recordings and unreleased tracks: Cath’s voice straight as a die, roughly tender in your ear. Crate-diggers will love Robin Denselow’s The Electric Muse Revisited (Good Deeds), a lovingly constructed four-disc tribute to the 1975 ebook he co-wrote exploring British people’s interactions with different genres. It travels from beautiful, uncommon demos from Sandy Denny and Shirley Collins to new tracks by Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and a nightingale.



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