Support our Nation today - please donate here
Culture

Mari Mathias releases haunting new single Pan O’wn y Gwanwyn today

29 Mar 2024 7 minute read
Mari Mathias

Stephen Price

Modern Welsh folk artist Mari Mathias releases the first taste of her latest project today, with the launch of a new single – Pan O’wn y Gwanwyn.

The stirring and evocative new track is the first single from Mari’s highly anticipated EP, AWEN.

The release is an original adaption of a traditional Welsh folk song, with a haunting medieval melody that Mari says hopes to “capture the essence of spring – a reflective season for both nature and self”.

Mari will be releasing this track and EP independently through her own recently-launched music label called ‘TARIAN Records’.

A modern mysticism

23 year old artist Mari’s mystical compositions, which have been described as ‘alternative folk’ are driven by nature, landscape and tradition. Singing in her native Welsh tongue, she puts her own contemporary take on traditional folk melodies, many of which originate in west Wales and Pembrokeshire. 

Mari grew up in the rural village of Talgarreg, a stone’s throw away from the Ceredigion coastline.

Her Debut Album ‘Annwn’ was released in March 2022, framed around samples of her great-grandfather’s cassette tapes, creating a window into a significant place that no longer exists but holds vast meaning.

Collaborations

Pan O’wn y Gwanwyn is layered with rich vocal harmonies, the Tagelhrapa, rhythmic guitar & percussion.

Mari told us: “The ‘Awen’ EP captures and responds to the changing rural lands and communities through the creative practice of collaboration.”

Mari Mathias

The forthcoming project is set to feature 4 tracks, guided by each seasonal change and incorporating a cultural fusion of Welsh artists working in the Welsh language.

The EP reflects on lost Welsh traditions and the modern disconnection between nature and climate.

Its first single, Pan O’wn a Gwanwyn’s lyrics (below) appear, at first, quite simple, but Mari’s version has harnessed and captured its mystical nature – creating an almost transcendental balance of the ancient and the innovative.

Pan O’wn y Gwanwyn Lyrics

“Pan o’wn y gwanwyn ar uchelfryn,

Yn gwylio’r defaid gyda’r wyn,

Clwyn lais fy nghariad ber ei chaniad,

Yn seinio’n llawen yn y llwyn;

Oedd gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd

O mor hardd ei lliw a’i llun,

A minnau’n syllu, ac ymhyfrydu,

Gan hardded hwyl fy annwyl fun. (Traddodiadol) 

Pan o’wn y gwanwyn, clywn lais aderyn 

 yn canu’n llawen fel hên swyn, 

Clywn lais y dafad o ddan y lleuad, 

Yn nghuro’n llachar i’r morwyr; 

Oedd gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd

O mor hardd yw tyf y celyn, 

A minnau’n blasu’r , perlysiau’n casglu, 

Rwy’n tyfu fel yr hedyn pur.” (Gwreiddiol) 

When I was in Springtime (Translation)

When I was in springtime on a high hill,

Watching the sheep and the lambs. I heard the voice of my lover singing purely,

Ringing happily in the grove,

Happiness was dawning on her two cheeks

So beautiful her colour and image, And I was staring, and delighting,

At how beautiful my dear one looked. (Traditional) 

When I was in springtime, I heard a voice of a bird.

Singing merrily like an old charm, I hear the voice of a sheep under the moon, Beating brightly for the sailors;

Happiness was dawning on her two cheeks,

Oh, how beautiful the holly grows.

I taste the gathering herbs, and grow like the purest seed. (Original) 

Equinox

Mari told us: “I had the privilege of writing this song with the magical Angharad Iris in Pontypool, a Celtic flutist on a new Spring Equinox track that infuses a rooted touch of mysticism and tradition.

“Whilst writing, I had the pleasure of meeting Angharad’s twin sister, Evie, who joined us in the songwriting session.

“Our three voices blended together beautifully and after a lot of laughter and story sharing, we managed to conjure a harmonious track inspired by the haunting melody of a traditional Welsh folk song ‘Pan Own y Gwanwyn’.

“We then combined our own melody reflecting on themes of rebirth and rejuvenation that often accompany the Spring Equinox.

“Angharad’s textured voice and her flute lilting notes weave through the music, creating an ethereal and uplifting atmosphere whilst Evie’s beautiful vocal creates a dynamic and powerful tone layered within the track.

“Sean Parry from north Wales (also on another collaborative track of the EP) added the Tagelharpa on to the track, Iolo Hughes on Drumming and Percussion as well as SilurianFolk‘s Luke Huw Llywelyn.

“This collaboration resonates deeply with me and evokes the spirit of the changing seasons.”

Critical acclaim

Mari Mathias has gained a growing reputation as one of the rising stars of the modern Welsh folk scene, and her music has been defiantly and proudly Welsh to its core from the outset.

Mari Mathias

Mari told us about why it’s important for her to sing in her native language, saying: “For me, singing in Welsh imbues my music with a richness and a deep-seated connection that cannot be replicated when I sing in English.

“It is, after all, my mother tongue and a language with a unique melody, punctuated by words and phrases that are inextricably linked to the natural world.

Origins

“Most notably, the names of the mountains, rivers, lakes, trees, and countless species are steeped in historical significance, providing a gateway to better understanding the people who have inhabited this land for centuries.

“In the stories, it gives the land and its characters their origin and true identity, enabling us to understand the landscape that surrounds the tales.”

She added: “Cymraeg is such a poetic and ancient language and it connects me to my heritage, my ancestors, and my hopes for the future of Cymru.

“I believe that as the whole world recognises the beauty and rich history of Wales, the Welsh language will be acknowledged as a vital part of its Celtic heritage.

Acclaim

All Roads Festival has said of her: “Mari Mathias and her band are not only producing songs that live in their own world, they are heirs of a bardic tradition and musical folklore that has communicated stories, lessons, morals and imagery over the green lands of Cymru for centuries.”

While God is in the TV Magazine has christened her the “new star of the Welsh alt-folk scene.”

AWEN EP, Mari Mathias

“Absolutely jaw-dropping. The mood and atmosphere of that track is something else. It’s not an easy thing to do, to record something that evocatively. Mari’s voice, as many people are remarking, is absolutely beautiful.” – Adam Walton, BBC Radio Wales

Bethan Elfyn, BBC Radio Wales said: “She’s had an incredible year as well, her shows are much talked about and her album is just stunning. One of my favourites of the year.”

AWEN

Awen is a Welsh, Cornish and Breton word for “inspiration” and typically, poetic inspiration.

In Welsh mythology, Awen is the inspiration of the poets – something found within the breeze of the mountains, the water, the clouds.

The longing to return to your cynefin (habitat) – the mellow reflection of creativity.

AWEN will be released in time for the Winter Solstice, but in the meantime its first single, Pan Ow’n y Gwanwyn is available here.

You can also keep updated with Mari’s latest releases and tour dates via her Instagram, website and YouTube accounts.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
11 days ago

Sadly only for sale on iTunes, so no purchase from me.

Null
Null
11 days ago

Hyfryd iawn!

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
11 days ago

Looking forward to this…her first album was great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Arthur Owening
Arthur Owening
10 days ago

A woman sings a song celebrating the male gaze.Weird.

Glwyo
Glwyo
9 days ago
Reply to  Arthur Owening

You should try reading some Dafydd ap Gwilym

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
4 days ago
Reply to  Glwyo

I don’t think Dafydd ap Gwilym was a woman.

Art Byrant
Art Byrant
9 days ago

Very good record

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.