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Listen: Rhys Ifans lends his voice to English and Welsh versions of dance track

10 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Rhys Ifans records ‘Cofio’ and a sunset in Ibiza. Images: Gareth Potter

Stephen Price

Acclaimed actor, Rhys Ifans, has lent his voice to English and Welsh versions of an ambient dance track that brings to life the stirring poetry of Waldo Williams.

Mystical prose

Its creator, Gareth Potter, recently told Nation.Cymru how the track came about as part of his latest release, Cofio – Recorda – Remembrance, which draws on the sun of Ibiza, the talents of actor Rhys Ifans and the poems of Waldo Williams for its inspiration.

Old friends

Gareth said: “One afternoon, my old friend, the actor Rhys Ifans texts me about an unrelated matter. A massive music fan and a Balearic figurehead himself, from his hilarious role as DJ Eyeball Paul in Kevin and Perry Go Large.

“I’d recently seen him in a couple of extraordinary stage roles. His voice had matured remarkably over the last decade or so. His well-documented wilder days behind him, Rhys now lives a calm, focused and sober life in Deia, a small, artistic enclave on Mallorca.

“I ask him if he would like to record Cofio for the project I was working on. He immediately agrees. The stars are aligning.

Waldo Williams

“I contact Hefin Wyn at the Waldo Williams society. He puts me in touch with the poet’s niece, Eluned, who gives the project her blessing.

“Y Lolfa, the company that publishes his work allow us to officially license the poem. All we need to do now is to contact Alan Llwyd, Waldo’s biographer and translator to ask about using his English version

“At an event to celebrate the late, great Cardigan pioneer and Peel favourite David R Edwards of Datblygu, I get chatting to the then National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn. He loves the idea and promises to ask Llwyd himself. Alan gives his blessing, and the project moves up a gear…”

Master guitarist

“Phil suggests that Joan Bibiloni, the Mallorcan master guitarist and previous fellow resident of Deia become involved. His powerful, emotive compositions are perfect.

“He agrees and helps get renowned Mallorcan actor Pep Tosar to contribute his voice to the Spanish and Catalan translations we’d commissioned.

Rhys Ifans records ‘Cofio’

“The October evening booked for Rhys to record his bit at Ultra Studios, Kings Cross couldn’t be more different to the evening at Cala Comte. Damp, grey and chilly, the Balearic spirit somehow still abounds.

As soon as the engineer presses record, that magical sunset is conjured up once again, goosebumps appear, and hairs stand up. I’m filled with the warmth of that Balearic breeze.”

Cofio – Recorda – Remembrance is a labour of love for Gareth: love for a poem, culture, music, for a state of mind. A powerful celebration of affinities between societies and peoples at a time when so much is divided.

He said: “When differences and animosities seem to be the norm. A record celebrating civility, beauty, shared knowledge and identities is a mighty statement.

“To me, this is testament to the ever-prevalent spirit of acid house, spreading love, understanding and empathy rather than fear, hate and difference.”

Often at close of day, when I am lonely,
I long to know you all, bring all to mind;
Is there a heart or memory still to cherish
The old forgotten things of humankind?

Waldo Williams

You can hear Badia On​í​rica here. It is available to buy here.

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