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Gwely’r Môr, OUT NOW!

Well hello there, how are you doing? ‘Gwely’r Môr’ (‘Sea Bed’) is the latest (third) in a series of collaborative single releases this year by Rio 18. The singer is Elan Rhys, one third of magical Welsh folk trio, Plu who has collaborated extensively with Rio 18 since our inception in 2018.

This Welsh language song is a whimsical (and bilingual!) paean to underwater reveries, set to a summery samba soul beat. The introductory refrain in English spells it out nicely:
 

Under the waves we could be,
Just you and me
Dreaming away as we sleep
In the deep blue sea


As ever, the personnel is as incredible and international as can be: Elan Rhys and yours truly from Wales take care of vocals and keys respectively, Shawn Lee from the USA drums and produces and Andre Siqueira and Kassin from Rio de Janeiro take care of percussion and bass, with Kassin also mixing.

And it’s available to stream in all your favourite places now!

There is also a gloriously whimsical video to accompany the song, made by Japanese illustrator and animator, Tomo Oriyama. I first saw Tomo-san’s work on the amazing video to ‘Float’ by The Altons and I knew I wanted to work with him straight away. His style works perfectly for this song and he’s been a dream to work with. We’re even more taken by the idea of becoming sub-aquatic beings now!  The video was commissioned  by the lovely folks at  Lŵp / S4C  and is over at their YouTube page. Feel free to watch and drift away…

In other news just off the press, I’m delighted to announce our first Mexican dates! Me and our Baldo Verdú will be playing some duo shows at the following venues:

28 September – Musak, Mexico City
1 October – Jazzatlán, Mexico City
7 October  –  La Brújula, Xalapa
Come and see us if you’re around! CAN. NOT. WAIT.

That’s all for now – enjoy the music and we’ll see you on the other side. Until then, take care of yourselves and of each other.

NEW RIO 18 SINGLE!

Well hello there, how’s it going? No matter the weather Rio 18 keep bringing you the sonic sunshine, this time with two covers of artists close to my heart: “Gorffennaf” (meaning “July” in English) is my Welsh translation of the Italian summer pop classic “Luglio’” by Riccardo del Turco – an infectious ear worm if ever there was one. Hopefully we’ve retained some of it’s summery sumptuousness!

“Esa Tristeza” (“That Sadness”) is originally by the legendary Uruguayan group, El Kinto and is a Spanish version (my first!) of the song which appears on the forthcoming tribute compilation to its composer, Eduardo Mateo. It also features guest appearances by our dear Rio 18 pals, Nina Miranda on vocals and Little Barrie on guitar.

Two international delights for your enjoyment, adorned with lovely artwork by the amazing Welsh painter, Meirion Ginsberg. Available via your favourite streaming platforms now – enjoy!

BRAND NEW RIO 18!!!

New phase! New look!! New sounds!!! After three albums as Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, all of which bearing our trademark tropical tunes sung in Welsh, I’m stepping back from the mic to focus on showcasing the group’s other members, alongside collaborations with some of the magical friends we’ve made along the way. First up: Young Gun Silver Fox, featuring velvet voiced Andy Platts (also of Mamas Gun) and Shawn Lee, the platinum polymath who has played on and co-produced many of Rio 18’s records right from the get go. Together we bring you ‘She’s in L.A.’ – a new strand of lowriding West Coast funk, telling a story about the joy of finding a new life in the City Of Angels, the metropolis by the sea. And it’s available NOW on all platforms plus lovely vinyl 7″ single (in EU & UK). It’s got a gorgeous video made by our dear friend Chiara Meattelli in some pretty iconic locations too. Enjoy!!!

REFUGEE WEEK
BENEFIT SHOW

As part of Refugee Week, the good people at Oasis Cardiff will be hosting a fundraiser at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on June 22nd.

I’ll be performing my ‘Across The Water’ album for the first (and only?) time with a special band of friends put together for the occasion. The album was made in aid of Oasis Cardiff so this is the perfect place for it to be performed.
Don’t miss it!

(Dal) Yn Rio

Dear friends, we’re delighted to announce the release of (Dal) Yn Rio, the extended edition of 2021’s Yn Rio album, made with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. It includes previously unreleased instrumentals plus two tracks hitherto unavailable on any streaming platforms: ‘Ti’ and ‘Yn Y Gwaed’, our song for legendary harpist Llio Rhydderch. This means that all the original material we recorded in our session with the orchestra is now available across all streaming platforms, and that you can hear the majestic arrangements by Chris Oyens, Owain Gruffudd Roberts and Carwyn Ellis as never before.

And it also means that we’re getting ready to release BRAND NEW material imminently! 💜

Annwyl gyfeillion, mae’n bleser gennym gyhoeddi ein bod yn rhyddhau (Dal) Yn Rio, y fersiwn estynedig o’r albwm Yn Rio, a wnaed gyda Cherddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig y BBC. Mae’n cynnwys traciau offerynnol sydd heb eu rhyddhau o’r blaen ynghyd â dau drac nad oedd ar gael hyd yn hyn ar unrhyw lwyfannau ffrydio: ‘Ti’ ac ‘Yn Y Gwaed’, ein cân deyrnged i’r delynores chwedlonol, Llio Rhydderch. Mae hyn yn golygu bod yr holl ddeunydd gwreiddiol a recordiwyd gennym yn ein sesiwn gyda’r gerddorfa bellach ar gael ar draws yr holl lwyfannau ffrydio, sy’n eich galluogi i glywed y trefniadau swmpus gan Chris Oyens, Owain Gruffudd Roberts a Carwyn Ellis fel na fedrwyd erioed o’r blaen.

Mae hynna’n meddwl ein bod ni’n paratoi i ryddhau rhywbeth NEWYDD SBON yn fuan iawn! 💜

Cynara 🌹

Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18

I’m very sad to hear of the passing of Cynara Faria, one of my musical favourites. With Quarteto Em Cy she was a member of one of the greatest vocal groups of all time, and her solo album Pronta Pra Consumo is one that I adore.

I’m so glad I had the chance to meet her in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 – in our correspondence she was very kind and supportive of me and Rio 18 and had even appeared in one of our videos. Recordings that Cynara sang on were some of the biggest influences on my Rio 18 songs, and our vocal sound.
Our song Cynara was made for her.

My sincerest condolences to Cynara’s family and friends and to all of the wider Quarteto Em Cy family. Rest in peace, legend. xC 🌹

Here is my Soho Radio tribute to Cynara and Quarteto em Cy. Enjoy x

Colorama – Liar
Watch the Video Now!

Stream the song across all digital platforms now, or purchase on Bandcamp

LIAR – A new song by Colorama.

Available to stream from Thursday December 1st!

ACROSS THE WATER NOW AVAILABLE ON LP & CD!

After a digital only release earlier this year, I’m happy to announce a very limited run of  ‘Across The Water’ on LP & CD. Released in conjunction with the brilliant Bubblewrap Collective, it’s available to pre-order via Bandcamp now with 50% of all proceeds going to the Oasis Centre for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Cardiff, Wales. The vinyl LP version is a limited edition of 100, while the CD is an edition of 200. So don’t delay – pre-order today! 

“This album is dedicated to the brave people who’ve crossed the oceans across the millennia in search of a better life – people to be admired and respected, not vilified and scorned. And it is dedicated to the memory of the many who tried but did not make it, but hopefully found peace instead.”

You can pre-order and find out more about the album HERE

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT
(Rio 18 Remix)

We’re delighted to announce the release of Freedom Of Movement (Rio 18 Remix) – a new version of the song from Carwyn’s recent solo album, Across The Water, only this time it’s produced by the mighty Shawn Lee and features members of Rio 18 too!

As with the album, 50% of the proceeds of this track will go to the Oasis Centre For Asylum Seekers And Refugees in Cardiff, Wales so please give generously if you can 🧡

For more info about the tune and to download or donate, visit:

carwynellisrio18.bandcamp.com/track/freedom-of-movement-rio-18-remix

Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 Summer Dates!

21 August – Green Man Festival
27 August – Ara Deg Festival, Bethesda
3 Sept – The Gate, Cardiff
4 Sept – Jazz Cafe, London

New Carwyn Ellis Solo Album – Across The Water

I’ll be releasing my first solo album ‘Across The Water’ this Friday May 6th.

It will be a digital release available exclusively via Bandcamp for the time being with 50% of all proceeds going to Oasis Cardiff, a centre for asylum seekers and refugees in Cardiff, south Wales.

More info to come but you can hear the title track in all the usual places now.

“A document of our times” – Mojo
“Musically effective” – Uncut
“Continued excellence from a musical treasure” – Shindig

GREEN MAN 2022

Delighted, no thrilled – no ASTOUNDED to announce that Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 will be performing at Green Man Festival in August WITH THE BBC NATIONAL ORCHESTRA OF WALES!! That’s right – full band and orchestra. I think it will be very, very good. Get a ticket if you can.

LONDON DATE ANNOUNCED!

New Dates

Hello there. After more than two years away, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 are finally going to be playing live shows again!

I’m delighted to say that we’ll be opening for the magnificent Bebel Gilberto at the Royal Festival Hall in London as part of the La Linea Latin Music Festival on Sunday March 27th. You can find more info and tickets HERE

The following weekend we’ll be back in Cardiff, performing at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival at the Tramshed on Saturday April 2nd. More info and tickets HERE

These shows will be our first together since 2019 so they’re going to be SBESHAL. Can’t wait!

YN RIO New Vinyl Edition

The Yn Rio LP by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is back in stock! The re-press is available in a gorgeous handcrafted tip-on sleeve, classic-style. Available in record shops, our Bandcamp (UK) and Légère Recordings (EU).

Yn Rio – Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18
with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales Out Now!

‘Yn Rio’, the new album by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is available on LP & CD and via your preferred streaming service NOW!
 

Late in 2020 as a global pandemic was raging, BBC Radio Cymru approached Carwyn Ellis with a view to performing a radio concert with Rio 18 and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

There would be no audience present. The orchestra would have limited numbers due to social distancing measures. And as the pandemic worsened, it became clear that Rio 18 themselves would not be able to travel or rehearse together either.

But the show must go on! So Carwyn adapted. He came up with these songs, and began recording them alone at home. Then, he sent them to his co-producer Shawn Lee who added drums and percussion at his studio in London. With these elements, the rest of the band were able to add their contributions from wherever they were, with Shawn co-ordinating the group’s recordings into the super tight tracks you hear here. Rio 18 did not see each other, or play together at all during the course of this process! Which is truly remarkable because the energy, joy, love and pure magic is palpable in these recordings.

And so, at 8pm on March 20, 2021, Carwyn Ellis sang and played these songs with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in one take, over the course of an hour or so. The full show was broadcast the following day on BBC Radio Cymru (no time for re-takes or overdubs!) and was more than we could ever have hoped for. This record is a document of the thrilling new music created in that performance.

These are songs of hope, history and harmony, recorded in exceptionally challenging circumstances but in a spirit of international brother- and sisterhood, showing just what we can achieve if we dream, work and play… together.

You can read more about this epic undertaking (and hopefully enjoyable listen) on the Bandcamp page.

“I sat in the room when the BBC National Orchestra of Wales accompanied Carwyn Ellis at this very special concert. I’m so glad this record is being released; it shows the depth of Carwyn’s talents and takes us somewhere very special!”

– Huw Stephens (BBC Radio Cymru / BBC 6 Music) 

New Single Out Now!

We’re very pleased to share with you ‘Y Bywyd Llonydd’ (‘The Still Life’), the second single from ‘Yn Rio’, the gorgeous new album by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

With the group’s principal producer, the Rio de Janeiro-based Brazilian polymath Kassin unable to participate in this album (it was written and recorded during the depths of the Covid winter of early 2021), Carwyn set about thanking him in the purest possible way, translating Kassin’s beautiful bittersweet break-up song ‘A Paisagem Morta’ to create ‘Y Bywyd Llonydd’. “It actually means ‘still life’, but the titular Portuguese words literally translate as ‘the dead landscape’, which in itself is beautiful.”

With another superb arrangement by the Brazilian maestro, Christiaan Oyens, and amazing artwork by Michael Gillette, ‘Y Bywyd Llonydd’ is available to stream on all your favourite paltforms now!

Olá! – Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18
Out now!

‘Olá!’ Meet the first single taken from the forthcoming album, ‘Yn Rio’ by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 performing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

A truly international project, it features players from Wales, Brazil, Venezuela and USA – and the simple Portuguese greeting, ‘Olá!’ is coupled with a message of hope, friendship and working together for the better times to come!

Musically, ‘Olá!’ Is a love letter to the Samba music of Brazil and the video, our third to be made by Tocavideos of Rio de Janeiro, illustrates this wonderfully. It was filmed on location at Portela Samba School in Rio – one of the samba schools which compete at the carnival and are places where the community can learn instruments, dancing, costume making and all sorts of arts and crafts. And proudly represent their neighbourhood! The samba schools are the beating heart of samba music and culture in Brazil.

We’d like to sincerely thank the Portela Samba School and community for allowing us into their world and letting us share a glimpse with you. Enjoy!

New Album ‘Mas’ Out Now!

Never one to sit still, Carwyn Ellis is continuing his voyage into Latin Americana with the release of a new album with Rio 18, ‘Mas’.

Like it’s predecessor, the acclaimed ‘Joia!’, this album is a collection of songs sung in Welsh combined with distinct pop and South American flavours drawn from Bossa Nova, Cumbia, Samba and Tropicalismo styles, recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Caernarfon and London.

Mas feels strangely right for our times: an album whose title means several things, as befits its global outlook. Mas means “out” in Welsh, “more” in Spanish, and “but” in Portuguese: these meanings filling that single syllable with promise, potential, but also the subtle edge of a warning. It’s a mood that fits the more political tenor of Rio 18’s second turn around the world, as Carwyn and his friends explore some substantial subjects: the drowning of villages, climate change, migration and the rise of megacities. They do so not in sober, serious settings, but beautiful, uplifting songs. Other tracks also celebrate the vivid pleasures of love, nature and our essential humanity. 

Mas is a record of beautiful songs that says, wait, listen, delight, come together, then act. We owe it to ourselves, to each other, to our beautiful world.

LAWR YN Y DDINAS FAWR

A song equally influenced by Georgie Fame, Sergio Mendes and Kassin (its producer), Lawr Yn Y Ddinas Fawr (‘Down In The Big City’) concerns those hours around dawn between throwing out time at the clubs and when people start to go to work. A time of limbo, wherever you are in the world. But a great time to see a city, when there’s no-one around. So long as you can stay awake!

Available to stream now.

AR ÔL Y GLAW

The first song to be taken from the forthcoming album by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, ‘Mas’, Ar Ôl Y Glaw [After The Rain], is a “lockdown-flavoured reaction to the horrible swirling nastiness in America that we saw earlier this year,” says Carwyn Ellis. The song talks of the hope that we have to cling to after such troubling events, its mood inspired by a YouTube clip Carwyn loves of Donovan and Sergio Mendes singing Donovan’s song, ‘There Is A Mountain’ together. Marged Rhys (of Welsh folk trio Plu) co-wrote it, Carwyn sending her the original demo and chorus, which she finished, he laughs, “unlike me, at lightning speed”.

Ar Ôl Y Glaw is available to stream now.