‘The Dance Goes On’ - Blanche Rowen and Mike Gulston – echoing the passage of the year(October 13, 2013)
Wandering through medieval heritage, grafting pagan and Christian joy to English and Welsh tradition and expounding those mysteries through the Welsh tongue, Irish Gaelic and French, ‘The Dance Goes On’ is the second album from Blanche Rowen and Mike Gulston. It’s an enchanted journey, a pastoral celebration, a musical, historical and natural-world almanac. The combining of rural folklore and eternal life-circle mysteries with ancient-custom narratives give this album a numinous ethereal feel that exudes tranquillity. If you ever searched for the natural world and its reach into human lives, this is the guide you’ve waited for.
‘The Dance Goes On’ rejoices in the march of the seasons – bitter winter, promising spring, glorious summer, plentiful autumn – echoing the festivals and festivities that mark their passage. From the opening acceptance of ‘The Four Seasons’ through the new year fortune hopes of ‘Joy, Heath, Love And Peace/Dryw Bach’ and the expectant optimism of ‘Ode to Brigid’ there’s much to enjoy. Through traditional May exuberance of ‘Mae’r Ddaear Yn Glasu’ and‘Northill May Song/Mwynen Mai’ the delight of the progression is plentiful. As is their recognition that shortening days and closing nights bring a bounty all their own with ‘The Hops in The Gardens’ and the spiritual ‘Welcome in Another Year (Bonfires)’ - their challenging farewell to the old year and welcome to the new.
Blanche and Mike reveal their love of folk customs without an ounce of tree-hugging in sight. This is traditional values reflected through a deep seated respect for and realisation of the cycle of the year – an understanding that today’s dwellers in concrete and glass so often miss. Their softly-voiced songs weave through distinctively delicate arrangements of bowed psaltery, recorder, guitar, octave mandola and laúd (derived from the Spanish for lute).
‘The Dance Goes On’ echoes ancient days with a past firmly rooted in the future to reflect its observance of the yearly cycle.
Find ‘The Dance Goes On’ here: www.rowengulston.co.uk
Reviewer: Tim Carroll