Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Jamie Smith's Mabon - Theatr Mwldan - 30/11/2013

Jamie Smith's Mabon comprises five of Wales' finest folk musicians. Together Jamie Smith, Oliver Wilson-Dickson, Adam Rhodes, Iolo Whelan and Matthew Downer create a sound that is traditional yet original. Known for their lively tunes and fantastic original material, this Welsh band is definitely one to see live. The evening included tunes and songs influenced by music styles from all around the world intertwined with Welsh Celtic music. Their 'Taith Adre' tour has visited venues only in Wales and is therefore a celebration of the welsh roots of the band.

The evening began with the toe tapping tune set ‘Huzzah’. The rhythmic bouzouki accompaniment blended perfectly with Jamie Smith’s expert accordion playing. It was masterfully played and a lovely way to start the set.

Jamie Smith possesses a smooth and distinctive voice, that complements his songwriting perfectly. He sang the song ‘Summer’s Lament’ which is very fitting for this time of year in Wales. The song is all about the disappointment of winter and is an incredibly pleasant and relaxing song to listen to, although it does not contain a poignant message. Jamie also sang the song ‘Lady of the Woods’ and requested audience participation. A large proportion of the audience joined in with the catchy chorus which definitely added to the song. The song is about fantasy stories and contains lovely lyrics and a very memorable tune.

They played the atmospheric tune ‘The Tale of Nikolai’ which Oliver claimed he notated on a piece of bark using stones whilst listening to it being played in a cave in Russia! This tune is very dramatic sounding and Oliver’s intricate violin playing is delicate yet powerful. This was followed by the best musical sales pitch I have ever heard, reminding the audience of the merchandise for sale.

It is a shame that there was a lack of space for dancing otherwise I’m sure many people would have been inclined to get on their feet during the very lively, danceable tune sets. ‘The Gordano Ranter’ is certainly one of these tunes. One of Jamie’s finest compositions, in my opinion, this tune was written after an interesting incident in a service station in Gordano.  

My favourite track played during the evening was ‘Caru Pum Merch’. This beautiful song in Welsh is about loving a women through the five stages of her life. Its mysterious instrumentation makes the song very atmospheric and interesting to listen to. The song begins acoustically with Oliver on violin and Jamie’s clear vocals. The addition of percussion instruments by Iolo Whelan, and Matthew Down’s bass playing, counterpoint this very traditional sounding melody but do not create a fusion sound. Instead they are more subtle in creating a dark backdrop for the melody. Overall, it creates a rather beautiful effect. 

Link to Jamie Smith's Mabon website : http://www.jamiesmithsmabon.com/

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