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Carwyn Ellis from Cardiff/Wales is a singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He fronts Colorama, formed the Welsh folk group Bendith and hosts a regular themed radio show on Soho Radio. In 2019, Ellis embarked on the first project under his own name, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18. Sung in Welsh and recorded mainly in Rio de Janeiro, the album, "Joia!" was nominated for the Welsh Music Prize and followed by "Mas" in early 2020. The new album "Yn Rio" is a collection of new songs recorded in Cardiff together with The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales.

In 2017 Carwyn Ellis joined the touring line-up of The Pretenders. For Ellis, a record collector and fan of Brazilian music, the opportunity to tour South America would present opportunities he couldn't have possibly imagined when he accepted Chrissie Hynde's invitation. "The first place we went to was Rio and by the time I met Chrissie for breakfast the day after our gig, I already had a bag of albums I'd just bought. I'm sitting with her and she says, 'You should meet my mates, and do something in Welsh with them! Nobody's done a Welsh language album with Brazilian musicians?"

In 2018, when Alexandre Kassin, a leading light in that Brazilian scene announced a show in London, Hynde suggested that they see it. "I met him afterwards," Ellis recalls, "and we hit it off straight away." Within weeks, Ellis was on a plane to Rio with songs that would form the basis of the first album. This creative purple patch extended into another album released early in 2021 with Carwyn working once again with Kassin plus long-time friend Shawn Lee. The songs on "Mas" drew on the environmental threats that face both Wales and South America, spidering out around the central theme of water ("rains, no rain, droughts, rising seas and flooded valleys for corporate gain. We're screwed without it and screwed if there's too much").

With "Mas" recorded but weeks away from release, Ellis received a call from Gareth Iwan Jones, head producer of BBC Radio Cymru, offering a third album to be performed in March 2021. Ellis started to reflect upon the life-changing events triggered by his South American adventures. The Welsh word 'hiraeth' which describes the longing that Welsh people feel when they're far from home, was something that he was now beginning to feel for Rio de Janeiro: "'Yn Rio' is based around a day in Rio," he explains. "The events of 2020 influenced the record in as much as I wanted it to be a complete antidote to what was going on. If you couldn't go on holiday in real life, you could at least put this record on."

The first single "Olá!", incorporating Jorge Ben's spirit in the chorus and rhythmic breakdown, manages to sound languorous and euphoric. "Cariad, Cariad" was a Portuguese folk poem brought to Ellis' attention by Sonya from Quarteto em Cy and arranged by Christiaan Oyens. "Tristwch 20" is a nod to "Foot and Mouth 68" by Gorkys Zygotic Mynci from "The Blue Trees", 'one of the most beautiful albums of all time', while "Ynys Aur" is named after a 1929 book by Welsh missionary J. Luther Thomas written on returning from his travels to Papua New Guinea. With Kassin unable to participate, Ellis thanks him by translating his "A Paisagem Morta" to create "Y Bywyd Llonyd". For Carwyn Ellis "Yn Rio" is an extraordinary memorial to extraordinary times."There are some days so idyllic you just want tobe able to jump back into them at the touch of a button. That's what I was searching for when I was writing these songs."

TRACK LISTING

1. Botafogo Blue (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
2. Olá! (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
3. Y Bywyd Llonydd (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
4. Açai (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
5. Cariad, Cariad (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
6. Tristwch 20 (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
7. Ynys Aur (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
8. Y Ferch Ar Y Cei (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales & Nina Miranda)
9. Arpoador (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)
10. Ble Aeth Yr Amser (feat. The BBC National Orchestra Of Wales)

PM Warson

True Story

    PM Warson grew up in an English town, in a post 9/11 world, drifting into financial crisis, against the staple suburban musical landscape of heavy rock, the ghost of the New Wave, and the fading star of the Indie Boom of the Noughties. He found his own fit in the form of Rhythm & Blues from half-a-century before, drawn in by records in the family collection, engaging at a visceral level, abstract from any subcultural connotations. While an outlier stylistically, he found camaraderie and direction among musically inclined peers, saving up two summers straight for a Rickenbacker guitar, getting the taste for playing live with an archetypal teenage power trio. After a move to London to study, he was without a band for a while. The Rickenbacker was sold for an archtop, and he delved deeper into his musical vocabulary - delta blues, Americana, early jazz and Rock'n'Roll. Meanwhile, via the capital's blues clubs and soul nights, he discovered a new setting for the music that had enticed him the first place, existing, not in a vacuum, but alive and in the moment.

    A chance audition thrust him into full-time work as a touring musician. He found himself, blissfully under-qualified, serving an apprenticeship alongside conservatoire-trained jazz musicians and session pros. Meanwhile, the inevitable downtime in new cities on the road allowed for significant crate-digging between coffee spots and sound checks, while feeding off the knowledge of the players around him. Becoming more and more interested in production, ever-drawn to the Golden Era of record-making, he befriended the proprietors of Soup Studio, then an all-analogue facility based on Cable Street. He started moonlighting on production projects and learning the inner workings of a studio environment. A network was building, and when it was time to break out on his own, everything was in place.

    Shedding the construct of a 'band' or a 'singer-songwriter', and perhaps the monoculture of contemporary music-making, he started cutting sides with a band of friends and acquaintances found along the way. Without any wider ambition, it was as much about the process as the outcome, evoking the R'n'B records of the '50s and '60s in practice rather than emulation. His first effort, the ramshackle "You Gotta Tell Me" became a de facto single, and after being urged to press a few copies to vinyl by a friend, it began to cause a few ripples on the local DJ scene. Meanwhile, a wild, off-the-cuff cover of 'Hit The Road Jack' caught the attention of a London music agency, giving his lineup an outlet for playing out. This included house-band sets at London establishments such as the Blues Kitchen, Old Street Records and notably at the opening of the Mary Quant Fashion Exhibition at the V&A Museum.

    TRACK LISTING

    01: Losing And Winning
    02: Seen You Around
    03: In Conversation
    04: Say The Word
    05: I Don't Need No Doctor
    06: (Don't) Hold Me Down
    07: True Story
    08: To Be Alone With You
    09: You Gotta Tell Me
    10: (Just) Call My Name


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