As many artists delay releases while they navigate the effects of the pandemic, what joyous news it is to learn Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 are bucking the trend, bringing their new record originally due in 2022, forward by a year.
‘Mas’, the follow-up to 2019’s Welsh Music Prize shortlisted ‘Joia!’, is out on 26 Feb 2021 on Banana & Louie Records.
As with the much lauded ‘Joia!‘, the songs are sung in Welsh, blended with distinct pop and musics from across Latin America to create a delicious infusion of Tropicália, bossa nova, samba and cumbia.
Having recorded the bulk of ‘Mas‘ in Rio de Janeiro in late 2019, the album was completed and perfected over the last few months during Carwyn’s not quite so fallow year.
‘Mas’ means “out” in Welsh, “more” in Spanish, and “but” in Portuguese: these meanings filling that single syllable with promise, potential, but also the subtle edge of a warning. It takes on global and universal concerns thematically; the drowning of villages, climate change, migration and the rise of megacities.
Carwyn recorded backing vocalists Elan and Marged Rhys (of Plu) remotely, and when lockdown eased he boomeranged back to Shawn Lee’s studio in London to polish the production.
Today you can hear the first song from the album, ‘Ar Ôl Y Glaw’ (After The Rain).
Carwyn describes it as , a “lockdown-flavoured reaction to the horrible swirling nastiness in America,” after the horrific killing of George Floyd. Co-written with Marged Rhys, it is a song of hope in desperate times.
The track listing of ‘Mas’ is as follows:
- Ar Ôl Y Glaw
- Dwyn Dŵr
- Golau Glas
- Cestyll Papur
- Lawr Yn Y Ddinas Fawr
- Hedyn Ar Y Gwynt
- Y Cariadon
- Cwmwl Pluog