I have to say that 2018 has been one of my favorite years for discovering new music. As I mentioned earlier in the week, as I grow older I've gravitated toward songs I've never heard before and become less and less clingy about music that's tied to my past. Perhaps part of that has to do with my gender-transition. As I finally begin to live my life on my terms, I'm assimilating songs and associating them with my new memories!
Today's artist on the Lights-Camera-30 countdown of my Top-30 favorite songs of 2018 sings in a language I don't understand and had never heard of before this year! Gwenno Saunders (she goes by just Gwenno when performing) is from Cardiff, Wales. She speaks English, as well as Welsh (which she got from her mom) and Cornish, which she learned from her dad, who is a linguist and a Cornish-language poet.
Cornish is a very old language spoken in the far Southwestern corner of Britain. It had been listed as an "extinct language" for awhile, before it underwent a bit of a revival. There are currently about 600 people who can speak it.
Her second album, entitled "Le Kov" came-out in March and it's sung entirely in Cornish. She explains she did it to create a document of a living language and to acknowledge & embrace the culture passed-down to her by her parents. I've selected the lead single, "Tir Ha Mor" as my #23 song of 2018. Translated, the title mean "Land and Sea" and the song is a true story about a landscape painter, who learned to fly a glider just so he could gain another perspective on the landscapes he was painting. Don't worry about not understanding the words. This tune is a sparkling pop-gem and truly a moment when music transcends words.
Along with music, I am also featuring some of my favorite photos of 2018 each day throughout December. Today's selection is a shot of Kenmore Square in Boston taken at night last January. As you can see, the field at Fenway Park is still covered in snow. Little did we know in January that another World Series pennant was on its way!
Today's song on the Anniversary-30 playlist is from a band that was first introduced to me by my cousin, Paul: R.E.M. Paul is a few years older than me and was off in college, while I was still slogging my way through high school. In December of 1984 as my extended family gathered for the traditional Christmas Eve Swedish Smörgåsbord at my Grandparents' house in Auburn, MA, Paul handed me a gift. It was a mix-tape (I still remember it was recorded on a Fuji blank audio cassette) that he had named, "A Secret Variety." It contained all of the new music he had been exposed to in college. There was some great stuff on there from Hüsker Dü, Violent Femmes, Angry Samoans, and R.E.M.
I had never heard of this band out of Athens, Georgia until then. Paul's mix-tape had tunes from their 1982 debut EP, "Chronic Town," as well as their full-length debut, "Murmur," which followed a year later. "Murmur" turned 35-years old this year, so let's celebrate that with the tune, "Radio Free Europe." It's just been added to the Anniversary-30 playlist. Happy listening! -Kristen