I am going to start this weeks review with a confession … I am probably the most dishonourable welsh person in existence! I don’t know a lot of Welsh/Celtic history (which is evident through my review of My Lands Shore available at https://rhysreviews.com/2020/11/09/my-lands-shore-soundtrack-review/ which is a musical retelling of a key Welsh Revolution), the only time I am extremely patriotic is when Wales play England in rugby (despite having no interest otherwise in the sport) and I don’t speak Welsh at all, in fact, I am learning Hungarian instead of my own national language. However, I am instantly filled with joy whenever I see Wales being mentioned in mainstream media so when we were sent a preview listen to the new musical “For Tonight”, which is partly set in Wales, I was super excited to give it a listen! This excitement was only exaggerated by the fact that I have been following the musical for a long time on Instagram so just releasing an album was exciting enough but for it to shine a light on my home country was the icing on the cake.
This recording of “For Tonight” is a fully-fledged two-act musical that is comprised of twenty-six unique tracks. The musical tells the story of a Romani family who find refuge in a small Welsh town on the farm owned by the Parry Family. The Romani family are forced into hiding are being accused of bringing filth and death to the town of Trelawnyd which in all honesty is a reflection of the attitudes many people still hold about immigrants even today! A know numerous people who claim to be accepting of everyone but whenever something goes wrong it is magically the refugees/asylum seekers fault. This sort of casual racism needs to stop as oftentimes the two events have no relation at all to one another and suggesting they are is simply racism. The show beautifully ties together the ideas of the Romanian gypsy community with the Welsh nationality very cleverly through the story but also the inclusion of folk music and specifically the use of a violin. This stringed instrument is a classic motif of both Celtic music but also a key part of Romani culture and so using this element to future blend the two communities together is a very clever inclusion!
Generally speaking the music in this album is more subsided than the type of music I usually enjoy. I believe this is due to the real-world issues of discrimination and immigration that the show covers and firmly keeps the show based on the real world! This is a concept recording from an all British cast and so suggests that this is not the final form the musical will take as it will continue to grow/develop in the near future. The opening number in this concert album is called “away” which takes the listeners onto a journey from an upbeat festival track to more serious/emotional vibes throughout the course of this 8-minute song. I was personally very excited to hear the inclusion of the Welsh phrase “Croeso” which means welcome within this song as it’s great to hear welsh (which many class as a “dying” language) in a song that will hopefully encourage more people to study the language. For the same reason, this is why I loved the songs “Suo gân”, “The welsh prayer” and the bonus track “Fy Mywyd I Gyd.” Despite not being able to fully understand the Welsh in any of these songs (especially the bonus track as it was fully sung in Welsh) but the vocals and music work beautifully together. The song “Suo Gân” not just celebrated the Welsh language but also Welsh culture as it is a version of traditional Welsh lullaby that many welsh speakers will recognise.
I enjoyed the song “stay” which was an emotionally powerful duet that talks about being forced to leave those you love. The two voices in this song worked beautifully together which incredible vocals from all those involved. The titular song “For Tonight” was so wonderfully pretty where again the voices worked very well together. The song was very ornate and pretty which makes the listeners feel as if time itself has been suspended and the moments within the song are all that matter which is an incredible example of the lyrics/music reflecting the setting/theme of the song itself. The song “keeping us alive” is very different to the other songs on this album as it contains an extremely folk feel and insane amounts of energy. The song “all this time” future suggest that this is a musical about the ideas surrounding immigrants that people still possess. While this is explicitly discussed, this number talks about beliefs that have been held and the need for them needing to change. The song “wait for the morn” is a very uplifting number which has an incredible vocalist performing the number. The performer manages to portray the optimism in this number but also the subtly ideas of desperation which again is an ideology that many migrants/asylum seekers possess.
Overall this is a song that has a very powerful underlying message about acceptance and changing our ideas surrounding asylum seekers/refugees etc. It not only gives those from different countries a voice but also puts Welsh culture/language at the forefront which I personally really enjoy! I would rate this musical 4.5 stars out of 5 and would recommend that everyone (especially any Welsh identifying people) to check out this album when it is released on all musical streaming platforms on the 30th of July!
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