Carreg Lafar

Hyn: Traditional Celtic Music of Wales

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In case you needed a reminder that not all Celts are Gaels, here's a stirring collection of traditional Celtic music from Wales performed by a top-notch band based in Cardiff. The general style of the music played by Carreg Lafar will be recognized by most Celtic music fans, but it departs in significant ways from the music of Ireland and Scotland; it's modal in a different way, evoking the craggy folk music of the Balkans as much as it does the jigs and hornpipes of Ireland, and where Gaelic songs are often heartbreakingly lyrical, tunes like "Blewyn Glas" and "Yr Hen Ferchetan" are a bit more strident. They have more in common with the full-throated Breton style than the more restrained and melodic Irish and Scots songs. That's not to say that they aren't very beautiful, though, and several songs, such as the mournful "Lisa Lan" ("a lover's lament for the beautiful but dead Lisa," according to the liner notes) and the sweet and gentle "Cariad Cywir" rival anything in the Gaelic tradition for heart-tugging loveliness. Highly recommended.

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