To follow up on his recent Chinese-Welsh folk fusion LP, Y Bardd Anfarwol (Album of the Month), Gareth Bonello aka The Gentle Good has released a free Christmas EP through Bubblewrap Collective.
The Plygeiniwch! EP is rooted in the Welsh Plygain singing tradition and draws specifically upon the religious songs performed during Christmas services across Wales. For this one-off recording, however, Bonello merges these normally a capella carols with John Fahey-esque guitar instrumentals. The resultant sound is an enchanting folk hybrid of American and Welsh culture that ushers in the festive spirit as celebrated through the generations.
The National Museum of Wales has a great article on this tradition which includes soundclips.
In many parts of Wales, Christmas meant rising early (or staying up overnight) to attend the plygain service at the parish church. The hour for the plygain appears to have varied between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., the latter becoming more common as time went on. To await the service, young people, in particular, would pass away the time in one way or another.
20/12 The Lansdown, Canton, Cardiff
17/01 Millennium Centre, Cardiff, Glanfa Stage (at 19:00)
19/03 Up in the Gallery, Bath Folk Club – St James’ Wine Vaults, Bath
19/03 Bath Folk Club – St James’ Wine Vaults, Bath
– See more at: http://www.thegentlegood.com/