You might know CARWYN ELLIS from other projects like COLORAMA (part of the most heterogeneous and open-minded pop made in the UK this century), Bendith (Welsh dreamy folk) or Zarelli (hauntologic electronic).
Or maybe you might be familiar with him because he collaborates with pop superstars and universal references like Edwyn Collins, Pretenders, Oasis or Saint Etienne.
Or maybe you don’t know him at all, so far, because Ellis is one of those musicians that does not feel self-important, that is not under the spotlight but that is praised by other musicians and everyone wants to collaborate with. His diverse personal projects are a sample of his passionate love for the music with no borders of any kind. He is hard to label, and transforms his skin in each new record. Almost in every song. He records the albums that he feels like doing whenever he feels like doing them, and with the sound and the people that stand out for him in that moment. Most of his songs are sung in Welsh, his mother language, but his music is timeless and universal. Carwyn always approaches the global by the local.
It isn’t a coincidence that precisely now he has decided to take the plunge and go to Rio de Janeiro to record, along with two distinguished crazy local artists like Domenico Lancellotti and Kassin, his most colourful record. “Joia!”, in which he presents his new band Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, is a non-explicit plea against the Brexit. Against any Brexits taking place right now any way or another in this world shocked by the continuous transformations and fears that they lead to.
Pretty sure that Lancellotti or Kassin might say that it is an anti-Bolsonaro record. However, Carwyn and his fellows in Rio 18 prefer to do a cheerful and positive record, like almost all the south American music it is inspire in, to celebrate that those changes, that definitely mark an era, boost and ease the fact that a musician from Cardiff is able to record an album with musicians from the other side of the world, and make it halfway between Rio and London with the invaluable help from another top musician like Shawn Lee. A record with latin American flavor sung, again, in Welsh, whose phonetics and sound matches surprisingly well with tropical music.
The record stars (literally: it’s the sound of a car engine which starts this trip) with a cumbia, Unman (Nowhere, perfect title for a project like this), which is a curious starting point and a good letter of introduction of the intentions for an album recorded by a Welsh man with some Brazilian friends.
But this is a sensory party, a celebration in which you never know what you’ll find when you turn around the corner. Ellis already got us used to it in all of his projects (and within every Colorama record), but that now, precisely due to the collaboration between such imaginative, incorruptible and original musicians such as the ones forming Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, is when they get even more special and fun.
Cumbia, Bossa Nova, Samba, Tropicalism, Latin Funk, Pop and wonders like Ymosodwyr Anweledig (Invisible Attackers), a pure Tropical Krautrock song; like if Broadcast were to move their bunda to the sound of Os Mutantes, and which illustrates perfectly what can we expect from this JOIA which is the opposite of Brexit and narrow minds. Jump on to this trip and you’ll end, like the record ends, saying Diolch almani (Thanks For That) to Ellis for this record; obrigado, as the female chorus responds to the beat of the bossa.
2. Tywydd Hufen Iâ
3. Dant Melys
4. Duwies Y Dre
7. Ymosodwyr Anweledig
8. Hen Beth Cas
10. Diolch Amdani
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