Anian - 9Bach
Anian is a Welsh word that speaks to connections: between body and soul, mano o mano and humans to the natural world. 9Bach is a Welsh six piece orbiting the vocals and lyrics of Lisa Jen. "'9 is as in Nain, (pronounced nine), which means grandmother in the North of Wales, Bach means little and is also a term of endearment in Welsh. In one language 9 is something so mundane as a number, but in Welsh Nain is a cozy, family orientated lovely thing: your grandmother is a person we can relate to and visualize.' This may sound pedantic but it's necessary to give the proper context to this sensuous album, the third from 9Bach. The listener can be excused for being blissfully unaware of the ragged emotions that lie beneath the silky smoothness of the musical presentation. Lisa explains, " I can't write a song about nothing. It has to have a heartbeat. I'm trying to challenge the listener, whether it's making them feel left out because they don't have a crow that brings them gifts, or scowling at them for killing the last living white rhino." Meanwhile, guitarist and dulcimerist(?) Martin Hoylan responds to the lyrical content and vocal melody by "building the instrumentation and arrangements around that, and complementing it as much as possible." The eleven songs were polished to audio perfection at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. My very first exposure to contemporary global music was courtesy of Real World and an album by Abdel Ali Slimani. The label continues to define excellence in sonics and taste. Anian, the song is one of the standout contributions, a song about the aforementioned connections. Moonlight on a Black Lake sets the scene on track one, Llyn Du. The last white rhino is lamented in Yr Olaf. Lisa enjoys singing this song because it makes her so very angry. And, Cyfaddefa (An Admission) takes Welsh poetry to the Greek underworld in a philosophical fight for social justice. And, just so none of the poetry is lost to non-Welsh speakers, a companion disc is included which features spoken worked English interpretations of the songs by Peter Gabriel himself, Iarla O'Lionaird from the Afro Celts and many others. Anian connects on so many levels.