Life After Catatonia,Cerys Matthews Goes Celtic

Ex-Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews performing Welsh traditional ‘ Ar Lan Y Mor’ in front of a small audience in Rhosygilwen, Pembrokeshire.

Catatonia were a highly melodic alternative band in the late 90s which produced a lot of international hits . Years later, they just disappeared. Unlike fellow Welsh singer Donna Lewis who has no plans of giving up the pop sound, the band’s lead vocalist Cerys  Matthews moved over to the left of the field-Celtic music. Matthews was born in Cardiff and brought up in Swansea and Pembrokeshire, and is a fluent Welsh speaker and multi-instrumentalist.

She has always been noted to posses the light almost ethereal voice of true sopranos but I never realized that she is going to let those pipes sing traditional Welsh songs. And this looks like a good start for a musical reformation.

Ar Lan y Môr

Ar lan y môr mae rhosys cochion
Ar lan y môr mae lilis gwynion
Ar lan y môr mae ‘nghariad inne
Yn cysgu’r nos a chodi’r bore.

Ar lan y môr mae carreg wastad
Lle bum yn siarad gair â’m cariad
O amgylch hon fe dyf y lili
Ac ambell sbrigyn o rosmari.

Llawn iawn yw’r môr o swnd a chregyn,
Llawn yw’r wy o wyn a melyn,
Llawn yw’r coed o ddail a blode,
Llawn iawn o gariad ydwyf inne.

Ar lan y môr mae cerrig gleision,
Ar lan y môr mae blodau’r meibion,
Ar lan y môr mae pob rhinweddau,
Ar lan y môr mae nghariad inne.


By the seaside there are red roses
By the seaside there are white lilies
By the seaside is my sweetheart
Sleeping at night and rising in the morning.

By the seaside is a level stone
Where I spoke a word with my love
Around it grows the lily
And an occasional sprig of rosemary.

The sea is full of sand and shells
The egg is full of white and yellow
The wood is full of leaves and flowers
And I am full of love

By the seaside are blue stones
By the seaside are the sons’ flowers
By the seaside is every virtue
By the seaside is my sweetheart.

More about the song here.

Performing Ei Di’r Deryn Du on the London Eye. Taken from her album “TIR”

A ei di’r deryn du
To my dearest love?
O cais fy nghangen gu
For I’m so deep in love.

Ni welaf yn un man
Such a damsel in my sight
Â’r ferch mor lân o liw
She is a beauty bright.

Mae’i gwallt yn felyn aur
Just like a ring of gold
A’i phryd fel eira gwyn
The truth it must be told.

“Tir” (Rainbow City Recordings – 2010) is her new album.

“Tir is fabulous. It’s a considerable and thoughtful collection, but more than that, it’s beautiful. Her voice, both frail and innocent, mature and world-weary – as required by such history-rich songs. She asks us to revisit these songs, to engage in their purpose or meaning in a way I never have…”Taplas


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