Welsh artiste Georgia Ruth and folk band Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog look forward to giving Bangalore a touch of Celtic music
The city will experience a soulful breeze of Welsh sea vibes this weekend. With singer, songwriter and harpist Georgia Ruth and folk-tinged rock band Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, both from Wales, performing at Windmills Craftworks on Saturday, the city’s music atmosphere is bound to undergo a sea change.
Brought to Bangalore as part of the British Council’s three-year Folk Nations Project, the performance is set to give music lovers here a spectacular Celtic experience.
Georgia Ruth is an accomplished vocalist, songwriter and harpist with an evocative contemporary feel. The Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, comprising three brothers Aled (bass, vocals), Dafydd (percussion) and Iwan (guitar, harmonica, vocals), will play along with Georgia in the concert.
India is nothing new to Georgia. Having played in Mumbai and Kolkata on earlier occasions, this will be her third trip to the subcontinent. “But I have never been to Bangalore and I’ve heard so much about the city. So I’m really excited and looking forward to playing here.”
Aled from the Cowbois says they are excited about playing here since it’s their first trip to India. “We have had our share of Indian music though, especially during our sessions with Georgia. Indian music is very different as the scales and the instruments are very diverse. We really enjoy it.”
Georgia has always had a deep love for Indian music. “When I was a teenager, my mother brought me a CD of Asha Bhosle. I got totally hooked to it because I thought she was exciting. Her voice was also something very familiar. I don’t know why buy she sounded like a Welsh woman,” laughs Georgia. Her connections with India went deeper in the last few years. “When I came first to India in December 2012, I played with a ghazal singer from Mumbai. I fell in love with ghazal singing because it is so poetic and very emotional. That influenced me a lot in my own music.”
Looking back, the 26-year-old harpist says in Wales, the harp is quite a popular instrument. “Much like the sitar in India, people associate the harp with Wales. When I was a child, it was quite natural that I learn to play the harp. So when I was seven I was asked by my teacher if I’d like to. I started playing and never stopped.”
She adds that over the years, she has changed her technique. “When I started, it began with a classical manner of learning. As I got older and started listening to more contemporary and folk music, I decided to change my harp technique to suit what I listen. It’s being quite a journey.”
About her gig here in Bangalore, Georgia says she will be playing with the Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog. “They are a Welsh country folk band I met three years ago. They are now my band as well and helped a lot in my debut album Week of Pines. In the Bangalore set, we will be playing from the album as well as perform some of their own songs in the Welsh language.”
Week of Pines received numerous accolades since its release, including the 2013 Welsh Music Prize. Looking ahead, Georgia says the next thing she would like to do is work on her next album. “I’m really hoping there will be an Indian element in it since India is being such a big part of my life. I’ve been talking to my good friend and sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan who I played with in Mumbai. Maybe we could collaborate and explore some new songs.”
With three albums in their cap, the brothers say their experience has been great. “When we started our songwriter was 15, so we just had fun. Now we have matured and we sound more developed. We are more like a band now,” shares Aled.
The trio used to play in various bands in their teens since they were all interested in music from a young age. “Forming the band together seemed the most natural thing to do,” he says.
At the heart of their music is pure Welsh folk music influences. Georgia says Wales has its own very distinct folk tradition. “When I write, I’m always thinking about Welsh music.” Aled echoes the same thoughts. They are both also inspired by songwriters and country artistes like Bob Dylan.
Catch Georgia and the Cowbois at Windmills Craftworks, Whitefield on Saturday from 9 p.m. onwards. Call 9008079000 for details.