Colorama frontman Carwyn Ellis has released details of his new solo album, Joia! out on Banana & Louie Records on June 28th. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s a Welsh language record, but perhaps more so is that he recorded it in Rio de Janeiro as well as Caernafon and London, and features a multitude of Latin American flavours drawn from Bossa Nova, Cumbia, Samba and Tropicalismo styles.
Perhaps the most surprising thing is that the idea for the project was suggested by none other than The Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, after Ellis went on tour as a sideman in the band, and she noticed how many records he was buying in South America.
“I’ve been a big fan of Brazilian music for many years now, having been introduced to the music of Joao Gilberto initially, and then via him to Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes, Quarteto Em Cy (my favourite vocal group) and eventually a multitude of other wonderful artists from the Bossa Nova and MPB era through the Tropicalia, Samba Soul and funk styles to the anything-goes hotbed of influences that is current Brazilian alternative music,” explained Carwyn. “The tour with the Prentenders was my first time on the continent and it had a huge impact on me.”
Hynde then introduced him to legendary Brazilian producer and multi-instrumentalist Kassin.The two hit it off immediately when they met in London in the Summer of 2018, and Kassin suggested that Ellis travel to Rio to work together on an album, along with some of Rio’s finest musicians. This they did, drafting in the ‘Rio 18’ and Ellis took the resultant recordings back to Wales to add some further Welsh magic to them.
“Last October, Kassin called to tell me he had a week free in November and would I like to come to Rio to record. Yes, I said – of course! So, we had the dates. Now I just had to write something,” explained Carwyn about the start of the process of working with Kassin.
“So I rocked up in Rio last November with a batch of fresh songs, all in Welsh, and began recording with Kassin at his Audio Rebel studio. He’d assembled a team of phenomenal musicians to join us: Domenico Lancellotti (the +2’s, drummer with Gilberto Gil and brilliant artist in his own right), Andre Siqueira (incredible percussionist and member of Ivan Lins’ band) and the magical Manoel Cordeira, mercurial guitarist from Belem in the Amazon Delta in the far north of Brazil. Amazing musicians and wonderful people every one.”
Carwyn has shared the video to Tywydd Hufen la, the latest track to be taken from the album. It’s a sunny bossa tune, complete with this string bass, drum shuffle and ladies choir in the background. It feels totally at home in its own skin, marrying the unlikeliest of couples into something thats charming and warm.
Check out Carwyn relaxing in South America, here
In addition, Carwyn has announced a number of shows around the U.K. in the autumn. The full list of shows is as follows:
06.08.19 – Eisteddfod – LLANGOLLEN
08.08.19 – Cymdeithas – LLANRWST
10.10.19 – The Gate – CARDIFF
11.10.19 – Gullivers – MANCHESTER
12.10.19 – Pontio – BANGOR