Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 – Joia!
Joia! is almost certainly the first Welsh language album recorded in Brazil and what could have turned out as a culturally appropriated cliché has ended up being a triumph. Producer Kassin was introduced to Carwyn Ellis by his Pretender’s bandmate Chrissie Hynde and he managed to assemble a stunning group of local musicians who are clearly masters of their craft. Rather than try and re-create the likes of Sergio Mendes the album has taken inspiration from the music and created something that sounds fresh and new. From the outset with opener “Unman” (nowhere) you can almost feel the heat oozing from your speakers and can literally hear the sounds of Rio’s exuberant and chaotic street life. Tracks such as “Tywydd hufen ia (Ice cream weather) and “Undiu” reflect the sound you might have expected from an album recorded in Brazil. However, the majority of tracks are more diverse and range from the glorious summer pop of “Duwies y dre” to the incredible “Ymosodwyr anweledig” (Invisible strangers) which is dark, foreboding and sounds like it could have been recorded at Hansa Studios with Eno at the helm. Several reviews of the album have already suggested that Joia! could be the soundtrack of the summer. We ask, why stop there? This could well end up being the soundtrack of your summer, autumn, winter and beyond.