With two weeks to go before the ceremony, the the shortlist for the Gwobr Albwm Cymraeg y Flwyddyn (Welsh Language Album of the Year) was published tonight, with the winner of this award set to be announced on Thursday 9 August.
The aim of this award is to promote Welsh language music recorded or released during the period from 1 May 2017 until 30 April this year.
A jury of people involved with the Welsh music industry have been discussing a wide range of albums released this year, and the shortlist reflects the eclectic nature of the discussion and the diverse mix of music released and recorded in Welsh and in Wales at the moment. A group of adjudiactors will get together at the Eisteddfod to discuss the shortlist and to choose this year’s winner.
The shortlist is:
This is the fifth time the Award has been presented. The former winners are Bendith, Sŵnami, Gwenno and The Gentle Good. The winner will receive a specially commissioned trophy, made by blacksmith Ann Catrin Evans.
Details of the shortlisted albums:
Band Pres Llareggub – Llareggub
This year is the third time running for Band Pres Llareggub to reach the short list for the prize. Their latest album, Llareggub,includes completely original tracks composed by Owain Roberts, along with some contemporary versions of old favourites. With a few of the scene’s most familiar faces once again stepping into the band’s hip-hop world, the new album is a clear progression of their earlier work.
Blodau Gwylltion – Llifo Fel Oed
Mystery surrounded the debut album of the folk group, Blodau Gwylltion, with only a handful of live performances form the band before its release. However, listeners were pleasently surprised, with Manon Steffan Ros’ captivating voice presenting beautiful acoustic melodies on ‘Llifo Fel Oed.’ With multiple references to childhood in songs, this album successfully guides the listener back to an innocent and dream-filled time.
Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion– Dal i ‘Redig Dipyn Bach
With their first album in almost fifteen years, Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion have succeeded in recreating the iconic sound which was so loved by audiences all over Wales and beyond. Twm Morys’ beautiful poetry weaves the whole album together, with exciting touches as it impeccably mixes traditional and contemporary techniques together.
Gai Toms – Gwalia
It’s hard to believe that Gai Toms has been creating Welsh for over a quarter of a century. ‘Gwalia’ is the latest album by the artist from Ffestiniog, and perhaps his most politically charged album so far. With the continuous themes of patriotism and the uniqueness of the Welsh flowing throughout the album, this is a record that immediately grabs the imagination.
Gwyneth Glyn – Tro
Gwyneth Glyn reached this year’s shortlist with her latest offering, ‘Tro’. Described as “So beautiful...fabulous stuff” by Cerys Matthews, her fourth solo album , she mixes arrangements of traditional songs with her own stunning songs. Featuring folk artists from across the globe, she once again highlights the power music has to bring people together.
Mellt – Mae’n Hawdd Pan Ti’n Ifanc
It feels like ages since this band from Aberystwyth’s first EP was released,with only live performances to tease us of what to expect on their debut album. Finally in the spring of 2018 ‘Mae’n Hawdd Pan Ti’n Ifanc’ was released, to much acclaim. The influence of producer Mei Gwynedd makes the album stand out in a limited market. With memorable songs like ‘Planhigion Gwyllt’ and ‘Rebel,’ the album is sure to transport you back to your adolescence.
Mr Phormula – Llais
With each song’s instrumentation created using only his voice and a looping machine, Mr Phormula’s performance style is completely unique. His iconic rapping may sound familiar to listeners of Genod Droog and Band Pres Llareggub, but some could argue that this record is Ed Holden’s most mature work. Whilst listening to the album it’s easy to see why Mr Phormula comes out top in tens of national beatboxing competitions each year.
Serol Serol – Serol Serol
Last year, audiences across Wales were enchanted by the space pop of Conwy Valley band, Serol Serol. Following in the footsteps of several of the area’s psychedelic bands such as Sen Segur and Omaloma, Serol Serol successfully combine melodic hooks, stunning harmonies and the keyboard’s alternative tones to create a unique sound. With ‘Cadwyni’ and ‘Aelwyd’ already fan favourites, this album will escort you into deep space.
Y Cledrau – Peiriant Ateb
‘Cliria Dy Bethau,’ ‘Cam Wrth Ddiflas Gam,’ and ‘Cyfarfod O’r Blaen.’ Only a handful of the popular songs on Llanuchllyn foursome, Y Cledrau’s debut album. Recorded in Stiwdio Drwm with members of rock band Candelas producing, ‘Peiriant Ateb’ offers itself as a record filled with summer anthems. With a healthy mix of wit, passion and young hopes ‘Peiriant Ateb’ ensures Y Cledrau has a place amongst Wales’ top new bands.
Yr Eira – Toddi
After years of performing tracks like ‘Elin’ and ‘Trysor,’ 2017 was the year Yr Eira changed their image. With an album that’s much maturer than their previous releases, ‘Toddi’ successfully portrays the change in the life of someone leaving university and heading into the ‘real world.’ The band’s signature hooks and riffs are ever present on their first album, but they’ve also built on the psychedelic sounds that can be heard on earlier tracks to create a contemporary triumph.