Tincian - 9Bach
Tincian is 9Bach's second album. It's an atmospheric, emotional record that reflects their home environment of Gerlan, North Wales. As Lisa Jen explains, 'tincian can mean a lot of things, to move with a tinkling sound, to ring and make a clear sound. Depending on what area of Wales you are from, the meaning varies. It comes to life in dialogue when you use sentences like "I gave him such a talking to, he didn't know what had hit him...he was 'tincian'." It's almost like a cartoon image of someone's head being hit by a hammer'.
Tincian can also mean 'to resonate... it's like the bell of your memories, the sound in your mind that awakens to things forgotten. It would have also been used in sentences like "ma na rhyw *dincian ymhlith y bobol". ("There is a murmur amongst the people"). That kind of whisper, that fear or excitement of a (bad) report amongst the people like a wave of noise'.
(Note: *dincian Tincian is mutated to dincian in this sentence because of a soft mutation that happens in the welsh Language)
The songs on the album are all stories: some of them autobiographical, some are other people's true stories and others imaginary. There are stories of the quarry men, of strong and brave women, of lost children, of foxes feasting near blood stained streams in areas of natural beauty, of forgotten derelict houses, of nature, of slate, of red dust, of family and of 'cariad' which means love. Sometimes there is pain, sometimes anger, a harshness that rings a heavy sound. But there is also a beauty and serenity, a light and gentle sound that resonates much further - TINCIAN.
9Bach aim to take the experience and the culture of North Wales out to a wider audience. Tincian is worked from the mountainous, mining landscape of Gerlan and Bethesda: the harshness and the beauty, its ever-changing moods and the solidarity of the people who live there.
Even so, the album was written in a variety of places, as Lisa explains: 'in the back of a 4x4 travelling to the remote community of Papunya Northern Territory Australia, in a chapel vestry in Bethesda, and the bulk was written in Llanddewi-Brefi, Ceredigion. Mart and I took ourselves there to song write and demo, and there is no mobile phone signal or internet. I found myself wanting to write about home... the landscape, the nature, families and foxes'.
The rich songs on the album are all new compositions, except for one traditional folk song. Lisa: 'one welsh folk song has demanded its place - that one is Pa Le? There are two other songs - FFarwel and LLwybrau - which are poems written locally. I gave them a melody and we turned them in to songs. These two tracks and Pa Le? are going away from the first album, which was all traditional. It's a development in my songwriting.'
'My inspiration has come from people's real life stories, like Plentyn (which means 'child') which is a song about the Stolen Children of Australia. Aboriginal children were still being snatched from their parents, taken away forever, as late as the 1970's - it's crazy and we don't know enough about it over here. I met people directly affected by this and simply had to tell the story.'
'I never aspired to be a songwriter, but when I was in Australia in 2012, collaborating with the Black Arm Band, my time there became life changing. I was embraced by the Aboriginal culture, their history and their languages. The stories they told and the things they taught me. They opened my eyes to the earth I stood on, the nature that surrounds me, the voices heard by ancestors. I blame these amazing aboriginal sisters for inspiring me to write and sing and tell stories! (Shellie Morris and Lou Bennett both guest on the album)'.
Lliwiau means Colours. It's a song written about childbirth. All the colours you can see when you close your eyes and the instant love that you feel for this soul that comes out.
Llwynog means Fox. Away from his home he kills best. It references Gyrn Wigau, which is a summit amongst the Carenddau. The fox stands still at the foot of this mountain, he's escaped the shot of the farmer's gun and is much faster than the farmer's dog.
Pebyll is a ruin in LLanddewi-Brefi, Ceredigion, Wales. Lisa: "It was written after discovering this derelict but beautiful building on a walk with my dog. He barked and refused to come in."
Lisa: "An imaginary story about an aboriginal child, based on people's real life stories during my time with the Black Arm Band. The Stolen Generation of Australia is recent, I met people affected. It hit a nerve then, and continues to make my blood boil."
Wedi Torri is a song about seeing someone you love in a state. Wedi Torri means 'It's Broken'.
Pa Le means "which place?" and it's a version of a traditional Welsh folk song -- the only traditional song on the album.
Ffarwel is a poem that comes from a book of local songs collected by Ieuan Wyn, a local bard and historian; songs that have been written by local people of the centuries. It is about a quarry man leaving the quarry for the last time. Features the Penrhyn Male Voice Choir.
Llwybrau means Paths. This is a poem called Llwybrau Unig by William Griffiths, Hen Barc. It's a lonely poem about a person who is walking paths ... This person is very lonely although the world is full of people.
Babi'r Eirlys means Snowdrop Baby. It's a song about a woman in the late 1890's giving birth at home, in the middle of the night in extreme weather. The wind is howling and trees are crashing.... Lou Bennett sings the backing vocals
Δστεριυ / Asteri Mou
It means My Star in the Greek language. This is a very simple song about wishing for the qualities in someone, that love you crave, and then it comes to you when you least expect it.
- The Guardian review of WOMAD 2014 **** ...9Bach matched cool female vocals against harp, guitar, electronics and a pounding rhythm section. The Guardian (Robin Denslow, from WOMAD UK 2014) (UK)
- Live from WOMAD 2014 - The Telegraph **** Bridging the generations, the past and the future coalesced in two female-led quartets: 9Bach from Wales and Dhaka Brakha from the Ukraine, both reanimating charged, political folk songs with dubby beats and bewitching vocals. The Telegraph Live from WOMAD 2014 (UK)
- Stand out album - Emotionally-charged Welsh folk. …the result is inspirational. The Musician - Journal of the Musicians Union (UK)
- ...an extraordinary artistic achievement... ...and a genuinely unique and intensely rewarding listening experience. And it's definitely going to be in my list of contenders for album of the year… Fateh Online (UK)
- * * * * Celtic tongues and lilting female vocals take two new folk releases to a new level. Brythonic Celtic language, Tincian breaks new ground. The music beds on which the words float also exude a fresh lyrical quality... Australian Lou Bennett joins the band's leader in another song pertaining to childbirth, the evocative a cappella choral study Babi'r Eirlys. The former Tiddas member's vocal cords, along with those of her compatriot Shellie Morris, also adorn a riveting song pertaining to the Stolen Generations, Plentyn, that features mouth-generated beats similar to those pioneered by Laurie Anderson in her 1981 hit O Superman. The Australian (Australia)
8/10 - The musicianship and the sublime vocal talents... ... on show here are good enough to make you want to find out more about the ten songs on show here, and there are plenty of places to look.
You'll find something new to appreciate each time you listen to 'Tincian'... it's definitely a rewarding listen... subba-cultcha.com (Online)
- **** 9Bach reflect on their folk traditions with something of a modernist's or internationalist's perspective, and remain unique in Welsh folk music. Songlines (UK)
- ..lyrics may be lost on non Welsh speakers, but the gravity of... ...the subject matters - love and loss, identity and the power of nature - is conveyed amply through Lisa Jen's dextrous delivery. Clash Magazine (UK)
- ...delicious rocky riffs amid the acoustics - and the sparseness becomes hypnotic. There's an almost Portishead-like trip-hop-folk feel to some of their material, not least Llywiau and Wedi Torri which finishes their set here. A folk music that dabbles in the esoteric and the street taste of ambient. Each of the songs has a subtle power, a stealthy, emotional force which seeps through spurred by the rhythmic inventiveness and the sculpting of new from old, Jen's voice carrying an ancient and beautiful language atop a quietly original sound. bristol247.com (Live from the Louisiana, Bristol)
- **** Easily the best Welsh language record since the Super Furry Animals' Mwng. Q Magazine (UK)
**** Touring their second album, the Welsh folk-rockers give traditional music a spectacular makeover. "Lliwia", a synaesthesiac celebration of childbirth, snuck in on skittering brushed cymbals and keyboard warbles and a frantic oscillation of shakers. When Jen, hand on heart, sang the aching chorus, folding up and over above where the melody had any right to be, it felt like trip-hop on gas and air.
An evening of spectacular reinvention ended with "Wedi Torri" riding nagging and claustrophobic over tides of Dan Swain's fast-thumbed bass; when Byworth's drums fell silent, the bassline tumbled down and away like a landslip. The Financial Times Online (UK)
- **** File next to the Super Furries' Mwng as a landmark album for Welsh-language pop. It's been five years since 9Bach's debut, a trip-hop take on traditional Welsh folk, but that has been time well spent as Lisa Jen and Martin Hoyland have learnt how to write songs that build on their heritage yet still resonate with an essence of the hills, rivers, quarries and hard-scrabble environment that shape their lives. With jen appearing on the sleeve as if in a police mugshot, album title on a board around her neck, there's already a hint they have a story to tell, and the 10 songs flow like a suite, darkness and a hint of pain linking them as effectively as Jen's voice highlights the magical realism - haunted buildings, stolen children, death on the mountains - behind so many folk songs. File next to the Super Furries' Mwng as a landmark album for Welsh-language pop. Mojo (UK)
Defying folk conventions, Tincian comes across a familiar landscape seen through new eyes. Falling somewhere between folk and a band backed singer/songwriter, Tincian pulls off an intimate, plush sound that occupies a space rooted to earth by the music and yet takes the listener to the ethereal with its vocals.
9Bach unravels the traditional folk sound with stunningly smart arrangements and unexpected twists and turns, all without leaning to overproduction to overflowing. World Music Central (Online)
- Tincian will surely be regarded as one of the most important folk/world music releases of 2014 9Bach have made great strides since their 2009 debut album. It's a measure of Tincian's success that the listener does not need to know any Welsh to be fully immersed in the soundworld the songs create. brightyoungfolk.com (online)
- ***** Album review … after working with the Black Arm Band, Jên found original songs tumbling out of her, and these dark, dubby, detailed arrangements do them full justice, from the looped Laurie Anderson-style breath on "Plentyn" to the male voice choir on "Ffarwel". Financial Times (UK)
- Lisa Jen has a voice of mountain-brook purity. Metro (UK)
- While their roots lie in a recognisable folk sound... ...North Wales' 9Bach music is ripped through with transcendence; a brooding melancholy as much as a gossamer dreaminess. The Line Of Best Fit (Online)
- Welsh band 9Bach sets folk themes to mostly gentle music graced with Lisa Jen's haunting voice. Jen's voice is a treasure and the band's citizen-of-the-world sensibility feeds its art generously. The best of this collection takes the intent listener to distant places in the world and in the mind. Seattlepi.com (USA)
- ...anyone who has a gently come down... ...to the strains of Massive Attack, Air or Portishead will engage with the vibe on offer here. Sunday Times Culture (UK)
- * * * * 9Bach's appeal is centered on singer Lisa Jen, whose cool and exquisite vocals dominate the album...impressive set. Lisa Jen, whose cool and exquisite vocals in Welsh (and a dash of Greek) dominate the album. She is backed by a band who mix an often languid wash of guitars, bass, harp and harmony vocals with subtle use of technology, adding loops or dub effects. The songs are all self-written, but fit easily alongside the one traditional track, and there are appearances by a male-voice choir and two members of the Australian aboriginal performance group, the Black Arm Band Company. The a cappella duet between Lisa Jen and Lou Bennett is one of the highlights of this low-key but impressive set. The Guardian (UK)
The most exciting thing to happen to traditional welsh song in many a year What needs no translation is the excellent musicianship, their particular blend of the organic and the electronic, the traditional and transmuted that makes 9Bach unique and Tincian a thrill a minute.
With Jen's crystal voice anchoring the swirling breezes... of instrumentation, garnishes of harp and picked out piano runs shudder through the textures with the loose feel of improvisation. The songs walk across tightropes of dark ambiguity, the flexible push and pull of their tones adding great weight.
- Tincian is a captivating original. 9Bach's flavours are lighter, more mysterious and more uplifting. Uncut (UK)
- ***** A brilliant, genre-defying album Lisa Jên's voice elevates these songs into something perhaps best described as a Cymraeg Fado, capable of transcending language barriers and transfixing the listener with her emotion and artistry. (Martin Hoyland's) atmospheric, song-serving guitar playing is nothing short of outstanding. Ali Byworth, Dan Swain, Esyllt Glyn Jones and Marain Roberts all play a full part in arrangements which eschew standard pop/rock structures while successfully incorporating age-old Welsh touchstone sounds of garb and male voice choir with an irresistible modern dance ambience. A brilliant, genre-defying album. fRoots May 2014 (UK)