Ceri Shaw


 

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Ysbrydoliaeth - Curiosity Shop / Magasin de curiosités is now open and features gifts from Wales and the world.

St. Johnsbury, VT, 8/3/2022 - Robert Jones, a long-time active member of the Welsh-American community has recently opened a gift and import store in downtown St. Johnsbury, VT inspired by both his Welsh and Pennsylvania German roots with the aim of offering unique and bespoke gifts that emphasize quality and conscience.

Jones opened in the store in the newly renovated Calderwood building on Eastern Avenue in the downtown. Along with the New Avenue Building at corner of Eastern and Railroad, new tenants have been flocking to the town center which is experiencing a renaissance in the post-Covid world. Ysbrydoliaeth, which means "inspiration" in Welsh, is a store that features one-of-a-kind and quality gifts ideal for the person who's "hard to buy for" or simply enjoys some of the finer things in life. The product lines include items only available in North American through Ysbrydoliaeth such as lovespoons from Crefft Patagonia, luxury toiletries from Myddfai, Welsh blankets from Melin y Graig, Teifi Coffee and Chantler Teas from Wales. Product lines also include other well known merchandise from national and international, as well as specifically New England and New York makers. Shoppers can currently browse in person Thursday through Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sunday from 12pm-5pm, but Jones expects to extend the hours in the future. Shoppers can also make purchases 24/7 via the store's online shop linked at www.curiosityshop.us with free shipping included on most orders over $50 delivered to the continental US and Canada.

For more information, contact:

Robert Jones Ysbrydoliaeth - Curiosity Shop / Magasin de curiosités 71 Eastern Ave.
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

802-424-0007
robert@curiosityshop.us
www.curiosityshop.us
Instagram: ysbrydoliaeth71
Facebook: ysbrydoliaeth

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AmeriCymru: Hi Ian and John and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your book 'The Nanteos Grail' for our readers?

Ian: The Nanteos Grail is the first full length, detailed study of a remarkable relic, which probably originated in the Middle Ages and which took its name from Nanteos mansion near Aberystwyth. We have done our best to correct a number of misconceptions about the history of the vessel, and to produce the first detailed account of its history – it covers the whole period from mediaeval times right up to the present day.

AmeriCymru: What is the Nanteos Grail?

Ian: The Nanteos Grail is a relic almost certainly dating from the Middle Ages,and kept in the guardianship of several generations of certain families –notably the Stedmans of Strata Florida and The Powells of Nanteos. For many years it was kept at Nanteos mansion but following the dramatic events of 2014 it has been moved to a secure display in the National Library of Wales. Its history is complex and has been frequently misrepresented in more recent times. We have researched all the surviving original sources and uncovered the most accurate history of the relic to date. Until such time as new evidence comes to light, we have assembled everything we can to give as complete a picture as possible of its history.

AmeriCymru: It was stolen in 2014. How did this happen?

Ian: Back in 1967 the then owners of Nanteos mansion sold up and left for anew home in Herefordshire, taking the Cup with them. It passed to the daughter when her mother died but remained in Herefordshire. The Cup was taken from the owner’s home during a burglary while the owner was in hospital.

AmeriCymru: Where is the 'Grail' now? Can it be viewed by the public?

Ian: The Cup was recovered by the police in 2015 under circumstances which were – and still are – baffling. Obviously the Cup needed to be kept in a more secure location and a decision was made to allow the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth to display the vessel in a specially built exhibition area on the top floor of the National Library. The exhibit was formally opened in the summer of 2016 and the Cup can be viewed by the public during opening hours. You can view a 3D model of the Cup online.

Here is the link: https://www.library.wales/visit/things-to-do/exhibitions/nanteos-cup

AmeriCymru: What first interested you in the story of the Grail? What inspired thebook?

John’s Answer: I've been studying the Arthurian legends and especially those of the Grail for the last 40 years. This brought me into contact with the wonderful Fred Stedman-Jones, sadly now deceased. He was the one who first got me interested in the Nanteos Cup and from there on I allied with his researches. When Fred passed on in 2016 he asked me to complete his work if possible. I was also fortunate enough to meet up with Ian Pegler, who had also researched the subject and was familiar with the site of Nanteos itself and various other places in the area. Once we put our heads together, we decided to collaborate to complete the work begun by Fred. It took us a few years to do it, but I hope that in the end we managed to uncover most of the secrets connected with this remarkable relic.

Ian’s answer: I had family links to both mid-Wales and Somerset and as a child I was familiar with traditional Welsh legends (which I learned about in school) and I read books on Arthurian legends and mythology. My dad was very well read and it was probably he who introduced me to the Holy Grail legend. I was born and brought up in Aberystwyth and in 1977 the Nanteos Cup was displayed in the National Library for a few months in the summer and I think I may have seen it back then. Back in 2012/13 I had been writing a book on the Holy Grail and Welsh legends when I first encountered John Matthews and Fred Stedman-Jones both of whom I already knew by reputation and I had been reading John’s books for years.I decided to shelve the book I had been working on in favour of this new book because it became evident that it was bound to be much better than anything I could do on my own. I was given a golden opportunity and so I grasped it with both hands. Through my own research, principally at the National Library, I was able to make some discoveries of my own and push back the recorded history of the Cup back in time.

AmeriCymru: What healing powers is the 'Grail' reputed to possess?

John’s answer: According to the traditions kept alive locally and particularly by the families occupying Nanteos House, the cup itself is well attested to have brought about a number of seemingly miraculous healings. We noticed in our research that this particularly focused around women's medical circumstances. Certainly the notes that have come down through the generations seemed to indicate that the vessel does have healing properties.

Ian’s answer: In the 19th Century the claims seem to have been fairly limited but over time they grew and once the Cup became identified with the Holy Grail they grew even more. In time and thanks to the influence of certain individuals the reputation of the Cup became distorted to well beyond what one might reasonably expect the Cup to be capable of.

AmeriCymru: Where can readers purchase 'The Nanteos Grail'?

Ian: The book is available from most book shops and of course from online suppliers. For those wishing to purchase a copy signed by one of the authors, you may order it from the website of John and Caitlin Matthews http://www.hallowquest.org.uk. But please be aware that postage is extremely high when shipping items from the UK to the USA. Unless you're desperate for a signed copy we suggest you buy from a supplier in the United States.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Ian: The real story of the Nanteos Grail is astonishing and full of remarkable and colourful characters. We hope that readers and members of AmeriCymru will read the book and if they get the chance will make their way to the National Library of Wales to look for themselves at the Nanteos Cup and perhaps feel for themselves something of its remarkable energy.

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Heddlu is the new musical project by Rhodri Daniel. The Ceredigion native was a founding member of renowned Welsh band Estrons who had a major impact on the industry having gained rave reviews from the likes of NME, Vice, DIY and Clash to BBC Radio, Radio X, Ultimate Guitar, The Guardian and Independent.


After finishing the band in 2019, Rhodri became aware that his hearing was severely damaged. Years of touring the live circuit had taken their toll, Rhodri ultimately being diagnosed with hearing loss, tinnitus and severe sensitivity to noise. The effects were so acute, Rhodri was unable to be in the same room as other people, leave the house or play music for almost a year.




A chance encounter with a retired record producer, who's old forgotten studio on the slopes of the Cambrian Mountains was filled with antique synthesisers, inspired Rhodri to consider music once more. Advised to get outdoors to aid recovery, he embarked on a three month hike spanning 900 miles of the entire Welsh coastline, where he conceived the new project and was inspired to write the music in his head, to be recorded upon his return. Serendipity led Rhodri back to music, and Heddlu was born. Meaning ‘Police’ in Welsh, from the words ‘peace-force’, Heddlu's music has been true to its’ name, offering a force of peace to the songwriter.



‘Locker’, Heddlu’s 2nd release, was born from the frustration of being unable to escape from the confines of the artists’ own mind, after months of insomnia caused by incessant tinnitus. Sung from the perspective of a mad-man the protagonist is imprisoned with, under the sea. The repetitive distorted riffs were inspired by constant hammering of rolling waves on the cliffs of West Wales, when walking the entirety of the Welsh coastal path, where the song and debut album were written.


'Locker'  is out on 27th May 2022 on  'Zawn Records'.

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“Bold, charismatic and a flamboyant powerhouse” Becky and the Bands  

“A true pop star in the making!” Adam Walton, BBC Introducing Wales

FFO: SHAME, The Chats, FIDLAR, Bandicoot



Mr. Bewlay unleashes his brand new indie garage post-punk banger ‘Live Laugh Love’ on SWND Records on Friday 20th May via all major digital distributors and you can pre-save/pre-order HERE.

The Cardiff based musician steps out of his previous neo-glam sound with a bold new direction of frantic indie garage post-punk that refuses to take itself too seriously. Reclaiming the phrase ‘Live. Laugh. Love’ from the hallowed shelves of B&M to under the spotlights of the underground. Bewlay delivers 2 minutes 22 seconds of unashamed fun declaring his love for an older woman through some provocative lyrics. The track sees an expansion of the Mr. Bewlay character, refusing to reveal his identity to his label, furthering his reputation of being an enigma and a bombastic personality.

The song was recorded at King’s Road Studios in July 2021 with producer Sanders, Bewlay tells us, “I have to admit this song lyrically was originally written as a joke. Relying on the meme of the ‘Karen’ with their hollow tastes and tacky sentimentality. The more I tinkered with the song, the more the lyrics were not sarcastic, instead portraying a neutrality to the situation and relying on absurd imagery of middle-aged women's slogans tattooed on faces and blasting out of stereo systems. It definitely has the shock factor to it.

The track was written to be as bare bones as possible, relying on a smash and grab approach. No intro, no outro, no riffs and only a short solo to shake listeners out of their shocked silence. The trumpet solo was provided by the amazingly talented Laurence Collier of Afro Cluster fame who came down and put to audio the wailing, flamenco inspired solo!”

Whether it be Art Pop extraordinaire, Glam Rock Knight or garage post-punk slacker; Mr Bewlay has established himself as the paramount voice for the unorthodox. The Cardiff based artists’ upbringing was flamboyant with an early induction onto the stage. With amateur dramatic performances of classics like ‘West Side Story’, ‘A View From A Bridge’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Bewlay learnt the subtle intricacies of stage performance, a skill he brings with him to this day.

Beginning his music career under the mentorship of the PRS Foundation and Arts Council Wales backed Forté Project, Bewlay has pushed himself into releasing his ‘Electric Reason’ Trilogy which saw him expand his sound with the addition of synth-heavy, funk grooves and sweet retro-inspired pop hits. In addition he has played sold out headliner shows in prestigious venues such as Porter’s (Cardiff), Queens Hall (Narbeth) and Ill Repute (Bristol). As a champion for LGBTQ activism he has also given talks and performed at Queer festivals and shows with the ‘On Your Face Collective’.

With a breadth of sound ranging from retro-spiced pop, to quiet reflective solo pieces, Bewlay’s unpredictability is also found in his music. With influence coming from artists such as David Bowie, St Vincent and Parquet Courts, Bewlay remains in a lane of his own with bombastic vocals, extravagant style and lyrics of the utmost originality. There is little in his way towards inevitable ascension.

Be it Mista, Misses, King or Queen, they all fall under Bewlay’s everything.

‘Live Laugh Love’ by Mr Bewlay is out on Friday 20 May on SWND Records and is available on all
major streaming/download providers.

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Would you please consider signing this petition asking for realistic support for the National Library? Please share the petition.

May I ask you to sign a petition calling for fair funding for the National Library of Wales "one of the world’s great libraries, a repository of the historic, artistic and intellectual treasures of Wales. With no increased support from Welsh Government, 30 jobs are to be cut and services seriously curtailed. Freedom, prosperity and the development of society and individuals are fundamental human values, attained by well-informed citizens with unlimited access to thought, culture and information."


Cymraeg

https://deisebau.senedd.cymru/deisebau/244641

English

https://petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/244641



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988079.jpg She’s Got Spies releases her new album ‘Isle of Dogs’ on the 6th of November. It’s preceded  by the single ‘Super Sniffer Dogs’ on the 23rd of October. 

She’s Got Spies’  second album  ‘Isle of Dogs’  refers to an area of London, Laura Nunez’s hometown,  as well as the state of turmoil of the island of Britain. The follow up album to her debut Welsh language album  ‘Wedi’, ‘Isle of Dogs’ features songs written over the last decade. She’s Got Spies is the project  of Laura Nunez and her cast of collaborators. She spends her time between Cardiff and London, she’s multilingual and can sing in Welsh, English and Russian.  

‘Isle of Dogs’  is a charming trilingual travelogue album, with most of the songs written on the move  while travelling or whilst Nunez was living in various countries. She spent time in Russia, Vietnam, Italy,  Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, and parts were also written in Cardiff, London and other parts of Wales  and England. Threaded with Laura’s knack for a bittersweet earworm melody and surreal yet personal  lyrics, these charmingly wonky songs are underscored with dark psych tinged sounds and an unsettled  feeling which reflects the turmoil of current times. 

With music hall style pianos, bounding percussion, fizzing guitars and a playful vocal, new single  ‘Super Sniffer Dogs'  is inspired by Laura’s time spent visiting Poplar on the Isle of Dogs, an area of high contrast with the rich, banking area of Canary Wharf and large, destitute council estates. It’s about an  imaginary dystopian festival with lots of restrictions in a high walled destitute area. Despite its serious  themes, which is juxtaposed by a catchy singalong melody, it’s a joyous tuneful romp. 



The delightful first single from the album, ‘ Wedi Blino’, was released in 2019 and features a video filmed by Laura in Antarctica when she won a trip there in 2018. Meanwhile ‘The Fear’ is the newest song, written during lockdown. It reflects uncertainty of whether the record would ever see the light of day due to the pandemic, after the last days of studio time were cancelled as the lockdown started. It ended up replacing another song that was meant to be on the album that had not yet been recorded. 

All songs are written by Laura apart from three co-written with Gruff Meredith ( MC Mabon ), who also co produced with Frank Naughton on them. Recorded in Tŷ Drwg studios in Cardiff (with additional recording in various locations including Moscow, London, Vietnam, etc.) with producer Frank Naughton. The album cover was designed by Laura and features a fox that visited Laura’s garden daily during lockdown that she  caught on a night vision camera, and photographed remotely when he came to her doorstep. 

She’s Got Spies band members include Gareth Middleton (guitar) and Mel Beard (glockenspiel/ keyboard) on some tracks, additionally with Pixy Jones ( El Goodo ) on guitar, Andy Fung ( Derrero ) on drums and producer Frank Naughton on piano, synths, guitar, bass, strings and percussion. She’s Got Spies started as a project by Laura Nunez in 2005 with Matthew Evans ( Keys ). Laura’s originally from London but moved to Cardiff and learnt Welsh inspired by bands such as Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Super Furry Animals, Melys  etc. 

She’s Got Spies have recorded sessions for BBC Radio Cymru as well as having performed and been broadcast on Welsh television channel S4C. The band have performed at festivals such as Indietracks, Focus Wales, National Eisteddfod and Wales Goes Pop, as well as appearances in more far flung  places including Russia, Bulgaria, Italy and even on an Antarctic expedition ship.

‘Isle of Dogs’ album cover ‘Super Sniffer Dogs’ single cover

‘Isle of Dogs’ Tracklist: 

1. Super Sniffer Dogs (2:31) 

2. Mariah Pariah (2:54) 

3. Despair Over Here (3:08) 

4. All Outta Tears (3:38) 

5. Harasho (3:22) 

6. Vladivostok (3:18) 

7. Vietnam (3:23) 

8. Mank Shoreshank (3:08) 

9. Cwympo (3:02) 

10. The Fear (2:41) 

11. Wedi Blino (2:30) 

12. Where Did You Go? (4:04) 

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the man in black - peter moore - Wales' worst serial killer, book cover The lawyer who represented “Wales’ most dangerous man” has revealed the chilling moment serial killer Peter Moore confessed to stabbing to death four men and saying the brutal attacks were easy - “like a knife through butter”.  

The shocking inside story is told for the first time by former solicitor Dylan Rhys Jones in a new book,  The Man in Black - Peter Moore - Wales' Worst Serial Killer , which was published to coincide with the 25 th  anniversary of the vicious murders which Moore said he committed for “fun”.

It was in the early hours of Christmas Eve morning, 1995, at Llandudno police station that Nazi-obsessed Moore admitted the killings in a three-month spree that had begun on Anglesey in September, terrorising the gay community in North Wales and Merseyside.

With Mr Jones, alongside him, Moore, a softly spoken film fanatic from Kinmel Bay who owned a chain of cinemas in Bagillt, Denbigh, Holyhead and Blaenau Ffestiniog, told two North Wales Police detectives he had slain the four men.

He said: “I want to admit to both of the murders in Anglesey, the murder on Pensarn beach and also I want to admit to another murder that you don’t know about which I committed in Clocaenog Forest near Ruthin.”

Moore was known in the area for his eccentric dress sense and was dubbed  “The Man in Black”.

And when prosecuting barrister Alex Carlile QC opened the case against Moore at Mold Crown Court in 1996, he called him: "The man in black - black thoughts and the blackest of deeds."

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 1996 with a recommendation that he never  be released.

Moore is still alive, locked up almost certainly for ever, in Britain’s Monster Mansion, Wakefield high security prison where the Supermax wing has been home to murderers like Dr Death Harold Shipman and child killers Ian Huntley and Mark Bridger, who murdered five-year-old April Jones in Machynlleth in 2012.

But at 2.32am on that chilly morning in Llandudno the lawyer calmly took notes as Moore, in his quiet, effeminate voice, told Detective Sergeant Ian Guthrie and Detective Constable Dave Morris about the killings.

They began  in the September when Moore stabbed 56-year-old Henry Roberts to death at his home near Caergeiliog, Holyhead – there were 27 wounds in the retired railway worker’s body.

The reign of terror continued as Edward Carthy, a 28-year-old man whom Moore met in a gay bar in Liverpool, was stabbed to death in  Clocaenog Forest  in the October, followed by Keith Randles, a 49-year-old traffic manager from; in November 1995 on the A5 in Anglesey.

His final victim was Anthony Davies, 40; stabbed and left to die on Pensarn Beach, near  Abergele  in December.

The book tells how Moore called on Henry Roberts’ home in Caergeiliog dressed in black with a Nazi-style cap and armed with a hunting knife with Roberts pleading that he wasn’t Jewish before he was killed, how Keith Randles pleaded for his life and how the killer hid mementos of his victims in his garden pond.

A knife bearing traces of the blood of a number of men was found in a bag belonging to Moore.

On a shelf in Moore's bedroom were a police helmet, two German military caps and a pair of long, black boots.

Hanging on a cupboard alongside the bed was a truncheon and a sergeant's uniform hung in the wardrobe.

Speaking about the murder of Keith Randles, Moore told the detectives: “He asked me why I was killing him as I stabbed him, and I said that it was for fun.

“He fell to the floor. I just thought it was a job well done, and left and returned to my van.”

And when asked how he felt when he killed his victims, Moore replied chillingly: “It was easy. Just like a knife through butter.”

Moore confessed to attacking “many men” in the Conwy Valley over a period of 20 years before the murders started.

He said:  “When driving around, I would sometimes notice someone walking along the road late at night and I would stop and attack them.

“I would assault them with a police truncheon and strike them on the body and their heads many times. Usually I would be dressed as a policeman or in a Nazi uniform or something similar, just to scare them. I heard that a few of these men had been seriously injured after the attacks.”

In the book Mr Jones also describes the traumatic effect on himself and on the two police officers of hearing Moore tell his grisly tale in a calm, measured way.

Mr Jones, who lives in Abergele, added: “It was like watching a cold-blooded lizard move towards its prey, slowly, calculating every move not using its energy unnecessarily, just describing the bare essentials of the deed ... It was the desensitized description by a killer dispassionate as to the implications of his actions.”

The following morning, just a few hours later, Moore withdrew his confession, claiming he had done it to protect his friend, the real murderer, a man he called Jason, the name of the killer in the  Friday the 13 th  films he had shown at his cinemas.

Dylan Jones added: “I have reflected often on whether what Moore said during this interview was true. Was it a case of bravado, the man had his audience and he took his opportunity to perform, like an actor on celluloid before a captive cinema audience?

“Were the two detectives and I the gullible audience ready to lap up the gory details of a horrific killer in some B-movie, just for Moore’s pleasure? The three of us were without doubt shocked, horrified and captivated by the performance we witnessed. But was it true?”

The book conveys Moore’s calmness and composure, his descriptions of killing someone told in assured dispassionate terms, the process of killing sounding easy, the process of stabbing a person simple, straightforward and emotionless.

Author Dylan Jones no longer practices as a solicitor but lectures on Law and Criminology and helped create the Criminal Justice and Offender Management foundation degree course at Coleg Cambria and Chester University. He is a regular contributor to TV and radio.

He said: “Moore made killing an emotionless, simple and efficient process. He had perfected the act of killing in a way which had made him a ruthless machine feeding an inner need in the darkest reaches of his psyche to be pleasured by violence, control and ultimately death.

“The impression I had is that Moore had enjoyed what he had done, that he believed it was a job well done and that he had fed his demons in an effective way, the act of killing was like putting ‘a knife through butter’ the pleasure of killing appeared immeasurable.”

The Man in Black – Peter Moore: Wales’ Worst Serial Killer   by Dylan Rhys Jones (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

Review copies available.

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Sera (from Caernarfon) and Lowri (from Newport Pembs) will be especially familiar to Welsh music audiences as two bilingual singer-songwriters that have been writing, performing and recording as solo artists for some time. Between them they have been championed on BBC 6 Music, Radio 2, performed everywhere from Greenman, Festival Number 6, from King Tut’s to the Union Chapel; From Wales to America to France, which is as it happens, where the two met for the first time last year, performing at the Welsh Pavilion at the Lorient Celtic festival in August 2019.

This first meeting sparked an idea to form a female fronted band and to create their own brand of Americana; an act that could headline  and  represent women’s voices. Inspired by  The Highwomen  , a US ‘supergroup’ featuring Brandi Carlile and Amanda Shires, who formed as a response to the lack of representation of women artists on country music radio and festivals.  

Their songs take their musical colours from a broad palette that includes Americana, Roots, Folk and Country, all beautifully knitted together through their innate musicality and heartfelt delivery. 

AmeriCymru spoke to Sera Zyborksa about the new band and their plans for the future.


.....


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Two of Wales best known singer songwriters have come together to form a newAmeriCymru: Hi Sera and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your new band Tapestri for our readers?

Sera:
Of course! Tapestri is a bilingual Americana band fronted by myself (Sera Zyborksa) and singer-songwriter Lowri Evans. I live in Llanfairpwll in Anglesey and Lowri is in Trefdraeth in Pembrokeshire. We’ve both been solo artists for years, releasing music in Welsh and English. This collaboration brings together our ‘roots’ influences, and the whole drive behind the project is to have confident female voices singing about the things that really matter to us and move us. We’ve got a bit of inspiration from Brandi Carlile, First Aid Kit, Sheryl Crow to name a few. The whole vibe of the band is very much inspired by The Highwomen, which is a US all-women supergroup that formed last year in response to the lack of support form women on Country Radio. They don’t just sing sad love songs and they don’t ‘play it safe’ - they write songs about all kinds of topics and their music manages to be both heartfelt and get you on your feet, make you think but also make you feel really good!

"We think that the fact we also sing in Welsh brings a nice Celtic flavour to our brand of Americana and is so important to who we both are."

That’s what we are also trying to do. We love the confident attitude of the artists involved in that project and felt like it resonated with us. We want to put on a great show too, and so the music we’ve been working on so far has a lot of light and shade. Some songs sound great with just acapella; two voices in harmony, while others have a full country band sound and have been so much fun in rehearsals. We think that the fact we also sing in Welsh brings a nice Celtic flavour to our brand of Americana and is so important to who we both are. Tapestri as a name represents the blending of our musical tastes and our personal experiences. The logo itself depicts trees with roots, and this is a nod to the folk and roots origins of our music.

AmeriCymru: When and where did you and Lowri meet and decide to form the band?

Sera: So although Lowri and I have been making music and performing for years as solo artists here in Wales, I don't think we've ever played on the same line-up as each other, which is actually quite strange. There are a lot of similarities between us, both acoustic bilingual acts, and I would have thought our paths would have crossed long before now! We are based in opposite ends of Wales, so that might have something to do with it, but also many festivals unfortunately don't tend to book too many women on their line up. And as it happens, was one of the driving forces behind forming Tapestri. It’s an issue we bonded over when we first met, backstage at the Welsh Pavilion in the Lorient Interceltic Festival last year in August 2019. Lowri was there performing with her partner Lee and I was there on my own, as a last minute addition to the line up that year. It was nice to talk to another woman in the ‘folk/singer-songwriter’ music scene who seemed to share many of my frustrations, goals and drive. After coming home, I remember  feeling really inspired, musically, ready to take on the world, and wanting to start something new, something exciting.


"I remember talking to my husband about wanting to form an all-woman Americana band. I started thinking of who could be in it. I thought of Lowri."


I remember talking to my husband about wanting to form an all-woman Americana band. I started thinking of who could be in it. I thought of Lowri. At about the same time, I got a message from Lowri on Facebook asking if I'd be interested in forming an all-woman Americana band. It was really weird indeed! But obviously something was going on here, and I think we both felt that it was something that had to happen. We decided to have a writing session and see if it would lead anywhere. Soon after that Lowri came up to my house in Llanfairpwll, and we spent the weekend writing songs. I think we wrote 4 songs, all really different to each other, and it seemed to be working! It was a really interesting process. Spending so much time with someone new and trying to write really honest songs together requires you to get to know each other fast! Wine helped, as did just talking and listening to music! It made the songwriting bit come quite painlessly then, and it all felt quite organic. Which was quite the thing considering we barely knew each other at that point. After that, I went down to Trefdraeth a few times and we started laying down some tracks, making plans and pretty soon we were officially ‘Tapestri’! By Christmas, we had Lowri’s partner Lee Mason on bass and drummer Iwan Hughes on board and we had our first jam. It sounded great! Plans were put in motion for some February launch gigs and we were all set!

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AmeriCymru: How difficult has it been launching a new musical project against the background of the Covid 19 crisis?

Sera:   Everything seemed to be going so well in the latter part of 2019 that we felt 2020 was going to be epic for us! We were due to launch the band in February at a theatre show. We had worked so hard to rehearse our set, meeting halfway between North and South Wales in an old school hall several times, near Machynlleth. I'd been down to Pembroke a few times, and we'd started recording our EP and booked our summer tour already. We put in a lot of hours in a very short space of time. But the morning of our launch gig was the morning after Storm Ciara hit the UK. We got a call saying that the theatre had severe weather damage. So that was rearranged for July. We were disappointed, but it gave us more time to get the EP ready for the July gig and put on an even better show. Of course, the July show hasn’t happened either, so we’ve still not officially ‘launched’ Tapestri. That show, along with every other date we had in our diary for the summer was cancelled. From festivals to theatres. All gone. What's more, due to travel restrictions, I couldn't drive to Pembroke to carry on recording our EP either. Literally everything had to come to a halt after such a whirlwind few months. 

"It’s now more than ever that bands and artists should pull together and try to support each other as much as we can."

Who knows when we'll be able to play again. However, every band is in a similar situation. So it’s not as though we are alone in this. It’s now more than ever that bands and artists should pull together and try to support each other as much as we can. Help each other promote our music online, even just saying kind words and watching each other’s virtual gigs helps keep with morale. One good thing is that a lot of the groundwork has been done with Tapestri. The band exists, we have plans in place, but on hold, so soon as we can, we’ll hit the ground running again.

AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about your first recording 'Y Fflam'?

Sera: Y Fflam (‘The Flame’ in English) will be the first single from Tapestri. It’s ‘Track of the week’ on BBC Radio Cymru from July 20th and then it’s released on all digital platforms on Friday the 24th of July. We really felt it was important to put something out during this time of limbo for us. We recorded a song called 'Open Flame' a while ago - It was one of the first songs we wrote together on that first weekend of songwriting I mentioned earlier.  A little while ago we translated that song into Welsh and called it ‘Y Fflam’. The song is probably the most poetic and ethereal we’ve written, and that made it easy to write a Welsh version. It’s a song about a feeling, a sensation, rather than an event or specific experience, so the translation didn’t need to be completely literal. Although the story and the message remains the same; being drawn to something that may not necessarily be good for us and learning to let go.  

We have a lot of light and shade in our set, with many of the songs really upbeat and fun to play, but Y Fflam is not one of those. It’s one of the most satisfying songs to perform though, as it relies totally on mine and Lowri’s vocals connecting and communicating the emotion behind the song and in fact, the language it’s sung in doesn’t seem to matter. It felt like a fitting song to release for the time we're in and also a nice way to introduce Tapestri, which at its heart is 2 women’s voices coming together. On a practical level, as the music was already recorded, we just had to re-record the vocals in Welsh, which we had to do separately of course. Making a music video for it was a challenge as again, we had to film apart. 

AmeriCymru: What's next for Tapestri. Any new recordings / gigs in the works?

Sera:   Ideally, we want to finish the EP and get it out for Christmas. If we can sort a tour out for it for the New Year, we will. At the moment everything is so up in the air and we have to take each day as it comes right now until we know when the UK will be able to have live music again. But we're keeping the creative channels open and we're focusing on launching the band with the single at the moment. This isn’t a project with an end date on it but something we see as a long term partnership, so a little pause right now won’t change our plans. We both write a lot, so we foresee an album in the future. We also are very keen to head out to the States and Canada as our music would probably find a good audience there, being Americana! We also want to explore other European and international scenes - I think the fact that we are a bilingual band opens our music up to different audiences and those interested in languages. 

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Sera:   We’d love to hear from Americymru readers and members what they think of our first song and if there would be a welcome for us Stateside!

Lowri and I would also like to send our love and best wishes to you all during these uncertain times and thank each and every body who has supported independent musicians during this time, whether it's liking their facebook posts or buying CDs. It all means a lot. 

It would be great if you could follow us on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook etc.

You can find us across social media @tapestrimusic

And there are a few videos you can watch on -  Youtube


Here’s the pre-save link to ‘Y Fflam:’ -  Y Fflam

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John MOuse releases his new album ‘The Goat’ via digital platforms on the 31st of July followed by a physical vinyl release on the 28th of August through Keep Me In Your Heart Records. It is preceded by the lead single ‘Le Pigeon’ at the end of this month.

When lockdown commenced John MOuse seized the opportunity to create a new album. The concept behind  The Goat,  was to write, record and release a song on a weekly basis. Each song, accompanied by its own artwork was then uploaded to Bandcamp.

Social distancing meant that the music for the album was created Lincolnshire by long term collaborator Phil Pearce and then sent to John in Cardiff who worked on the lyrics and vocal melody for each track. The result is a typically idiosyncratic and heart on its sleeve, electronic pop album, heavy on spoken word content and catchy chorus hooks, these songs possess musical hints of everyone from  Adian Moffat, Momus  to early  Pulp .

The lyrical subject matter is varied ranging from fleeing from a pigeon on urgent first single  ‘Le Pigeon’  (loosely based on Suskins novella The Pigeon) with its vivid stream of consciousness and chirruping synths. To fragments of bittersweet memories, witty imagery, despair not salved by defunct technology and Anne Summers parties.

Ten tracks were completed and are now set for official digital and physical release on Keep Me In your heart records.

“The Goat”  is John’s fifth full-length album and his first since last year’s limited digital release of The Fen Sessions and 2018’s warmly received  ‘Replica Figures’  which was described as  "In turns touching, hilarious and heart-breaking"  by Buzz Magazine and as  "powerful stuff. Rentokil wouldn’t have a clue how to deal with any of this."  Louder Than War. While 2014’s ‘The Death of John MOuse’ was praised by The Line of Best Fit and its brilliant lead single ‘I was a Goalkeeper’ featured Gareth from Los Campesinos, prompted Steve Lamacq to pronounce it ‘my new favourite football song’.

John MOuse, real name John Davies has been described as  ‘A Welsh Beck,’  under his previous incarnation  JT Mouse  he worked with  Sweet Baboo  (aka Steven Black) while in 2010 he scored a cult hit with a song about a gay romance with another duet, this time with TV presenter Steve Jones lifted from the acclaimed album  ‘Humber Dogger Forties’.  John MOuse has received airplay support from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, Mary Anne Hobbes, Steve Lamacq, Stuart Maconie, Gideon Coe and Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and Adam Walton & Bethan Elfyn on BBC Radio Wales.

“The blend of unpredictability, wit and sharp reminiscence contained within is the real joy of this latest offering by this highly original artist a Welsh indie pop hero…reminiscent of a South Wales David Gedge” Louder Than War

“An extraordinary piece of poetry” Mary Anne Hobbs on ‘Robbie Savage’.

“There is only one John MOuse, a Welsh Superstar and an impassioned performer.” Tom Robinson


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