Monday, January 26, 2015

Tricksy: Mank and "Gwydion"



This song is in our collection because every year we do a trickster show the KUNM Global Music Show. This usually happens around April 1st, and it is a fun show because there are a lot of cultures that have tricksters. What is a trickster? A trickster is a being or a god that is mischievous, sometimes cruel, that usually circumvents the normal rules of behavior and in doing so, serves as a way for us to learn about ourselves. For example, in Native American traditions coyote, or raven in some traditions, is a trickster that impersonates the creator, plays tricks on people and sometimes steals from them, and also guards the old ways from the new. It's amazing how many cultures have these figures in their mythologies, and even in America we have our own trickster figures in Br'er Rabbit of the 1800s who eventually morphs into Bugs Bunny of the 20th century...a modern day trickster!

Today's random tune is an ambient/electronic piece from Wales by an artist who calls himself Mank, and is titled directly after a Welsh trickster god. Mank is the electronic project of Ben Powell in North Wales. Begun in 1998, Powell began releasing his own homemade CDs under the name of Mank. His recordings characteristically employ a computer-based combination of field recordings with virtual and real instrumentation. Powell utilizes exotic locations for recording, such as on the Russian polar research ship where he recorded two albums. Radio Wales has labeled him one of the most important electronic artists in Wales. This song, Gwydion, is from Mank's 2010 album Awen. The title of the song refers to the magician, hero and trickster of Welsh mythology.