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SIĀN JAMES - Gosteg 

SIĀN JAMES - Gosteg 
Bos Records RBOS030 

Siân James has been a major part of the Welsh folk scene for a long time. This is her tenth album which is described as a collection of hymns and spiritual poems married with traditional melodies and her own compositions. To quote from the liner notes, this music has “the age old themes of faith, hope and love running like a golden thread throughout”. No argument from me, there. All the material on this album is in Welsh but that won’t stop those with no Welsh basking in the clarity and purity of Siân’s wonderful voice and the atmosphere created by fine arrangements. She has help from some heavyweight Welsh musicians to complement her own guitar, harp and piano, including Wyn Pearson (guitar), Oliver Wilson-Dickson (fiddle) and Robin Hames (double bass).

Much of the music here has a very reflective quality, as you might expect, but for me there are two stand out tracks. Pomgranadau (Pomegranates) which has a very contemporary, almost ambient feel and recalls the sound of bells and the scent of pomegranates at Christ’s feet during the crucifixion. Arglwydd Dyma Fi (Lord Here I Am) is the closest Siân comes to ‘letting rip’ and showcases her fine lower register to great effect in this contemporary setting of the words of Ieuan Gwyllt. This CD deserves to be heard widely. You can listen and buy via her website.

Philip Thomas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.