I’m literally just in the door from an evening of Celtic poetry and song with Cerys Matthews at the National Library on Kildare Street.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but after seeing and hearing Mike Scott & Co give the work of Yeats musical treatment earlier this year I had a hunch it could be pretty good. It was that. That and more.
Cerys was armed with a huge and long love of Yeats, Burns and Thomas and an amazing ability to deliver a ballad. I was hooked from the first few bars of her opening ballad. Her gorgeous delivery of Spancil Hill brought me back to my own childhood – in scary vivid fashion – to when I would play a set of traditional tunes for my grandmother (by request) on my keyboard. I think it was second or third song on my playlist and I can’t wait to get home to have a look for my little setlist and handwritten sheet music.
Anyway, back to the gig. Having the memory of a goldfish at times I sadly can’t recall names of songs of the setlist, most of all the beautiful Welsh hymn and traditional songs she treated us to in between affectionate readings of her favourite poems. The Welsh ballads brought me back to my home turf in Ballyvaughan, Co.Clare where an impromptu “Welsh weekend of music” has been taking place every Spring for years. I wonder could the travelling songlovers bring her with them in 2011?
Something magical happens when a singer takes up a song that means something to them. They don’t sing it from the throat, it comes from the centre of their being, almost like they expend part of their soul in the expression and delivery. It’s powerful feel, it’s powerful to hear and it was there in bucketloads tonight.
I could have listened to her for hours. Thanks Cerys.