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Elfed Saunders Jones returns with epic Welsh rock opera, Cofiwch Roswell

22 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Cofiwch Roswell, Elfed Saunders Jones

Stephen Price

Maverick Welsh artist Elfed Saunders Jones releases his epic rock opera, ‘Cofiwch Roswell’ to the world and beyond today.

Reuniting his trusted troupe of collaborators, Cofiwch Roswell is a musical focusing on strange events in mid Wales during the late 1960s.

Saunders Jones’s original full length is a remarkable feat – and is best described as a rock opera meets radio musical meet audiobook with frills.

Budding local newspaper reporter Geraint Jenkins (Iwan Huws, Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog) investigates the apparent disappearances of a growing number of university students.

His search leads him to a mysterious cult holed up in the middle of nowhere as they prepare for a transgalactic journey under the watchful eye of enigmatic leader Mihangel (Ifan Emrys).

Unconvinced by Mihangel’s motivations, Geraint’s hunt for the truth leads him somewhere stranger than he could have ever imagined…

Elfed during the recording of Cofiwch Roswell

His search leads him to a mysterious proto-space-cult in rural mid Wales who are planning on leaving Earth for a new world, Rhoswell, under the leadership of a suspicious figure who calls himself Mihangel.

Inspiration

Saunders Jones told Nation.Cymru: “The character of Mihangel was partly inspired by Michael D. Jones who established Y Wladfa in Patagonia in the 19th century – albeit reimagined as a bit of a snake oil salesman, whose equivalent to the Mimosa is a 100-foot tall homemade spaceship.”

He adds: “But presumably it wouldn’t be much of a hard sell to persuade some Welsh people to join a voyage to a distant planet free from English rule.

“In terms of the music, it’s set in the late 1960s, and the songs are pretty much a full-on pastiche of the sunshine pop and psychedelia of the time.”

Elfed has previous form in using the song/scene/song structure but the songs on this album hold their own regardless of the plot.

Art

The artwork, like the music, is inspired by the period of its setting, a prog 1960, and particularly fairly low-budget designs from small labels of the time.

The inner sleeve of the cassette features the artwork for the single ‘Y Llong Ofod’, with an image of the Credwyr lined up in front of the eponymous spaceship.

We asked if there might be plans for the rock opera to be staged by were told that there aren’t any plans to play it live at the moment as the sheer cost to perform such an opus would be eye-watering, but if a Mihangel-esque figure comes along and offers the cash then Elfed would be open to discussion.

What happens next for Saunders Jones is anyone’s guess but there is talk of a Halloween rock opera.

He told us: “There aren’t enough Halloween songs in Welsh – we need more of them, if only to stop people playing the Huw Chiswell one.

“There’s also a choose-your-own-adventure style project on the cards, set during a cold war between north and south Wales.”

Whatever does come next though, as this magnum opus attests, will be highly original and unexpected and totally Elfed Saunders Jones.

Stream Saunders Jones’ latest single here.

‘Cofiwch Roswell’ is available digitally or as a limited edition cassette from Klep Dim Trep.


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Simmo
Simmo
21 days ago

I enjoy listening to a bit of Nia Ben Aur, good songs and of course the classic rock retro value… sounds like this could be in the same mould. I will have a listen! 🙂

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