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ô Seasons ô Castles

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iTunes Review

Welsh-born Katell Keineg explores the limits of her mesmerizing vocal range and impressionistic songwriting on her debut album, O Seasons O Castles. Little is predictable or comfortable in these tracks. Emotions shift from sorrow to anger as the musical dynamics swell and subside, riding sparse arrangements that blend acoustic folk and jazz elements. Keineg’s singing is remarkable, veering from soft murmurs to tormented cries and guttural moans (sometimes in the same song). Tunes like “Hestia,” “Burden," and “Paris” are cathartic meditations on lost love. The lyrics reach deeply inward, whether Keineg is ripping into a no-account lover (“Franklin”) or brooding over a cosmic sense of oppression and loss (“The Gulf of Araby”). The breezily upbeat pop of “Destiny’s Darling” and the punkish abandon of “Bop” add some contrast to this mostly ballad-heavy collection. Taking its title from an Arthur Rimbaud poem, O Seasons O Castles combines a delicate artistic sensibility with a visceral intensity that goes beyond typical singer/songwriter fare. A neglected gem from the ‘90s that’s well worth discovering.


Born: Wales

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

b. Wales. The child of a Breton father (the poet Paol Keineg) and Welsh mother who were active in the Breton independence movement, Katell Keineg (pronounced Cat-Ell-Kay-Neck) listened to both Welsh and French folk music in her youth. When the family moved to Wales, Keineg immersed herself in local choirs, appearing at several Eisteddfods and exposing herself to the pop sounds of the day. By the age of 16 she was busking on the streets of Cardiff, before professional engagements took her throughout...
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ô Seasons ô  Castles, Katell Keineg
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