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Catatonia were a music band from Wales who gained a national following in the United Kingdom in the mid-late 1990s. The band consisted of Cerys Matthews on vocals, Mark Roberts on guitar, Paul Jones on bass (both now members of Y Ffyrc, and former members of Sherbet Antlers and Y Cyrff), Owen Powell (who is a judge on 'Wawffactor' - akin to a Welsh X-factor) on guitar, and Aled Richards (who now drums for Amy Wadge) on drums. Matthews and Roberts were the main songwriters.

Initially the line up fluctuated, at various times including Clancy Pegg (later of Tystion) on keyboards and Dafydd Ieuan and Kris Jenkins (of Super Furry Animals) on drums and percussion, before settling down to the "classic" line up in 1995.

It is rumoured that Matthews and Roberts first met in Cardiff when she was busking. They hit it off and began writing songs together in 1992. For four years after this they were also in a relationship, many aspects of this being played out publicly in their lyrics [1].

The couple came across the word catatonia, believing it to mean a sense of extreme pleasure and sleep, and the band was subsequently originally called 'Sweet Catatonia'. On discovering the real meaning of the word (i.e. a psychiatric symptom of certain mental disorders) they dropped the prefix 'sweet'. [2]

Catatonia deliberately tried to make their songs accessible to a broad audience, while at the same time not shying away from original, experimental, or even potentially abrasive sounds. The result was a mix of hooky pop and underground indie rock.

Their songs are characterized by clever lyrics and Matthews' enticing, raspy vocals, which made her something of a sex symbol. Also prominent is her Welsh accent.

The band, in its music, lyrics, and PR, were proudly, or at least happily, Welsh. The chorus of the (mostly Welsh) song International Velvet declares "Every day when I wake up, I thank the Lord I'm Welsh." This, they insisted, should not be taken too seriously, as they are more internationalists than nationalists (hence the name of their 1998 release, International Velvet). Catatonia, in fact, only ever released 5 Welsh tracks - International Velvet being the only one to appear on a UK album (As well as Gyda Gwen, which was a hidden track on their debut album "Way Beyond Blue". The others appeared as B sides and on EP collections.

After their rise to fame with their second album "International Velvet", and subsequent success with third release "Equally Cursed And Blessed" they returned in 2001 with their fourth studio album Paper Scissors Stone. During promotional appearances for this album it became clear that Matthews was not coping well with the increased pressure, suffering from anxiety and nervous exhaustion which resulted in the cancellation of several tour dates and a deterioration in the relationships between the band members. On September 21, 2001, the band officially split.

Cerys Matthews went on to release her first solo album, "Cockahoop", in May 2003. Her second album "Never Said Goodbye" was released in August 2006. In November 2007 she released a mini-album of Welsh language songs "Awyren=Aeroplane" on the My Kung Fu label.

Indexed at Wikipedia.

Chords and Tabs: Catatonia


Catatonia tabs @ 911Tabs