The Golden Land
(Real Music, 1999)

Named for the Celtic goddess of inspiration, the duo Ceredwen has certainly been inspired to move in new directions with their chosen material. Sung solely in Welsh, the songs on The Golden Land are based on various Celtic legends and history. The songs create a storyline of sorts, telling of Britain being invaded by the Romans, the festivals, ceremonies, beliefs, battles and, finally, the losses as the Celts fall.

Fortunately, the group had the foresight to realize that many of us don't know Welsh and may not be up to scratch on our Celtic/Roman history, and have provided bilingual lyrics as well as a short explanation for each song. Although the songs can be enjoyed for themselves alone, it is nice to have an idea of what they are about.

There is only one instrumental piece on the album and it is quite similar to the instrumentation of the other pieces. The instrumentation itself comes as a bit of a surprise. The percussion almost sounds like a dance rhythm and the music overall has a very electric feel to it. It's like Celtic music's answer to club dance music with a new age flavour for good measure. One piece has something in it that sounds like a mobile phone ringing.

Strange though this sounds (who ever heard of Welsh language dance music?), it is quite nice to listen to. Despite the percussion, the music is mellow and the singing is beautiful, if a bit echo-y. All the pieces are original and are performed by the duo with no other musicians. The final song is the highlight of the album. "Er Mwyn y Plant (For the Children)" is a lament describing how the fallen Celts have gained the respect of their foes through bravery, thereby saving the children from the same fate.

So, if you feel up for something a little different, a little inspired perhaps, this CD is certainly worth it.

- Rambles
written by Jean Emma Price
published 21 February 2004

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