Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Elsa Davies and Gwilym Hardy

I'm still about five weeks behind with the blog.  It's mid-December now.  Week 41, Day 280 to be exact.  I thought I'd have time to catch up but there's no way.  It's been an amazing journey so far.  When I think back on my life entirely, it's all been pretty incredible.  I'm glad I stuck with music... there's so many stories to tell and not enough time to tell them......

Anyway, a short break from Wales as I head back to Canada for x-mas.

But before I get on that plane, I have to say a quick word about Gwilym and Elsa.

It's high time to write about these two.  We haven't had a chance for all three of us to play together in a while and I really miss it.  You have no idea how much.  So a little tribute.

I know you both read this silly blog so close your eyes for a spell...

It's a great joy for me to play with the two of them.  What happens when we play is very rare.

I've been gigging professionally now for over 17 years... has it been that long?!  duw, duw...

At any rate, over those 17 years I've met some great musicians, a whole bunch of pretty good ones and then a whole lot of terrible ones.  I've been around now long enough to know who's who and which one's which.

So believe me when I say, Gwil and Elsa are a couple of the great ones.

I count them amongst the top.  Strange then that they haven't considered music as a career... but that might be Wales-itis.  Mind, being in the arts takes a tremendous amount of tenacity...

If there's ever been two of most talented people ever, and that deserve some serious recognition in the arts, it's these two.

I'll try to describe them.

Gwil has been playing folk music most of his life.  He's a great fiddle player but he's also studied classical violin, classical piano and plays the squeezebox.  He's had a special interest in folk dance in particular.  You can tell because he's able to make every note match the dancer's foot step, and he responds to their every movement and they respond to him.  He's able to play the most mundane tune and make it soar and sing until it becomes a thing of beauty.  His tone is sometimes lush and sometimes earthy and his timing is funky, he plays with a great groove.  Sometimes understated, and often quaint.

I'm not sure what I'd say his energy is like.  Perhaps like an owl, but especially an arctic owl that is sometimes difficult to see in the snow... its wings silent in the cool night air with the aurora borealis deep in his eyes, eyes that can see absolutely everything around it and take it in, and intrinsically understand it all...

Elsa has also played for most of her life, a mix of classical violin and folk fiddle.  She also plays classical piano and squeezebox.  She moves with grace and dignity and plays in the same way.  Elsa could be a character from a Jane Austen novel and that's why I'm always surprised by the variety of music that she listens to... from classical, to folk, to pop, to jazz... She bends and swirls time to her will.  She plays with a deep, rich tone that is delicate and sweet all at once.  And the tunes she chooses to play move and float in the wind.

At first, I thought she was like a small nervous bird, and then, sometimes like a tragic swan... but she's a bit of a mystery to me still and constantly surprises me, which leads me to think she's a dragon of sorts.  A little dragon born of the forest, raised on dew and apples, her family the Tylwyth Teg and now never far from the dark cliffs of west wales...

And me... I'm an ox.  Plain and simple.  I've been playing music nearly all my life and it's the only thing I understand...  Folks back home used to tell me I was a dragon.  That is also true.  Not very many can see me.

And when we three play together, absolute magic happens.  Something that is wonderous and joyous, spiritual yet earthy.  Worlds open before our eyes, time itself bows down as we travel the cosmos, galaxies rise and fall, colours explode to create anew both love and joy, mystery within mystery, lightness within light, darkness within dark, the gateway to all things...


     And I miss it beyond reason...

  We haven't played together for so long now...

   And I've been in music for so long now that I can recognize when something special and rare has occurred.  I also know that many things in music often take twice as long to develop as you'd think.  I also know, that a spark doesn't last forever and I fear I've missed the chance, the fleeting moment when it could have all taken off, when the flame could have lit.

It may happen yet.  There's always hope.

And, being an ox, I won't ever rest... I'll never rest...

Da boch chi.



  1. Dear Ceri,
    you don't know who I am. But I think you should know that I think this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read

  2. Dear Ceri,
    this is what you get when you post something at 05:52. Dumbass.

  3. Dear Anastasia,
    Thank you for your kind words. I was really touched.
    Yours Ceri x

  4. Dear Gwil,
    lol! ...I told you to close your eyes!! :P
    True, I write strange things during the night but that's also the time when some truths are easier to express.
    Take care.
    Yours Gwdihwynos.

  5. Okay, I read this marvelling at how beautiful the images are! Strange or not, what beautiful visions were dancing through your head and your heart! Obviously you were moved deep deep down somewhere! May you be blessed with more such experiences in your life!

  6. Thank you Alby!
    So good to hear from you! Truthfully, I was very fortunate to meet these two. It's been a life altering experience.
    All the best,
    John Ceri