David Thomas Jones


Recently Rated:


Blogs: 6
events: 3
audio tracks: 5
videos: 2

The Fron Male Voice Choir will be in New York from August 22nd until August 29th. They will be giving two free concerts in the city. The first at 12:30pm Tuesday 23rd August at St. Bart's Church, located at the corner of Park Avenue and 51st Street. The second concert is on Wednesday 24th August at 1:30pm at St Patrick's Cathedral, 460 Madison Avenue.

The choir is being followed by two film crews one from ITV Wales who are producing a 30min documentary for UK National TV and one from S4C who are producing a 60 min documentary for the Welsh language TV station back in Wales.

Any member of AmeriCymru who is planning on going to either of the concerts or even meeting the choir (We are staying at the Wolcott Hotel) can you make yourself known to David Thomas Jones, and you could end up on TV back in Wales. S4C are interesting in interviewing anyone in America who is using social media to keep in contact with Wales.

The Fron Male Voice Choir (Wales) hails from the beautiful village of Froncysyllte home of Thomas Telford's famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. The area has recently been awarded World Heritage status.

The choir was formed in 1946 to compete in the local Llangollen International Eisteddfod but have achieved International success on the competition stage by winning 1st prizes at a numerous choral competitions in the UK and the National and International Eisteddfod in Wales. In Europe they have been awarded 1st prizes in choral competitions in Greece, Malta and Germany.

In 2006 they were signed by the Universal/Decca label and have released 4 albums under the theme of Voices of the Valley. They have sold over one million albums and their CDs are sold in over 30 countries. They can be heard to sing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau on Universal's recently released official Rugby World Cup album.

The choir will be joined by the Irish soprano Margaret Keys who is also signed to Universal and has appeared in concert halls as far a field as Australia, the UK Ireland and the USA. The choir will be conducted by Leigh Mason. Both concerts are free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be taken.

Their 5th album will be released in the UK on the Decca label on October 3rd 2011, it will be available for download from Amazon and iTunes.

Posted in: default | 1 comments

A university lecturer has become the first American to win a major literature prize at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

Jerry Hunter won the Blaenau Gwent and Heads of the Valleys National Eisteddfod Prose Medal on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Hunter now lives in Penygroes, Gwynedd, with his wife, the actress Judith Humphreys, and their two daughters but is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

This year's Prose Medal was presented for a volume of creative writing of no more than 40,000 words on the subject 'Adfywiad' (Regeneration) and Mr Hunter, writing under the pseudonym M.W., wrote about the age old relevance of what is today called Post Traumatic Stress.

Nine volumes of work were sent to the competition and 'M.W'.'s work was deemed by adjudicators, Elfyn Pritchard, John Gruffydd Jones and Caryl Lewis, to be the winning entry.

Speaking on behalf of his fellow judges on the Pavilion stage, Elfyn Pritchard said: "The excellence of this volume fully outweighs any weaknesses in it, and when the three of us discussed the works in the competition, we agreed that Gwenddydd by M.W. was not only the best work in the competition but it was also worthy of winning the Blaenau Gwent and Heads of the Valleys National Eisteddfod prose medal."

Jerry Hunter studied English at Cincinnati University, and was introduced to Welsh literature as part of his degree course.

Inspired by the richness of the language and its literature, he decided to come to Wales and learnt the language in an eight-week course in Lampeter. He has an MPhil degree in Welsh from Aberystwyth University and a doctorate in Celtic Languages and Literature from Harvard University.

During his time at Aberswyth University he was a member of Welsh funk band Arfer Anfad.

He now works as reader in the Welsh Department at Bangor University.

He has published four academic books, and one of them - Llwch Cenhedloedd - won the Welsh Book of the Year Award in 2004. He has also published a short novel for children, Ceffylau'r Cymylau and has presented history programmes on S4C.

Jerry Hunter receives the Prose Medal and a financial prize of 750. Both prizes were provided by Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw. He also received the first printed copy of the winning work, which is now available to buy from shops on the Maes and across Wales.

Speaking about the winning work, the author said: "With war still affecting our world, someone often hears about the way Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects the lives of soldiers and former soldiers.

"Of course, this is not a new thing; the poets and storytellers of Walesin the Middle Ages had ways of discussing the same thing. There is a story about Myrddin Wyllt becoming mad during the Battle of Arfderydd (Arthuret). He went to live in the woods - a mad man of the woods - where he wrote prophetic poetry. He avoided other people and his sister, Gwenddydd, was the only person who was allowed to speak to him.

"My aim was to reveal the age-long aspect of the story by placing it in recent times."

Source www.bbc.co.uk

Posted in: default | 1 comments
This is a collection of old images of Wales that give a glimpse as to what life was life in Llangollen, Denbigh and beyond 100 years ago - and, of all the places, the images turned up in the U.S, in the archives of the Library of Congress in Washington. check out this link for the whole story . Make sure you check the links on the page as they link to Flicker where the Welsh photos from the Library of Congress have been placed. 6,882 I think although I have not checked all of them. :)
Posted in: default | 14 comments
BBC News Reports

American learner wins Welsh title A teacher from Ohio in the USA has been named as the Welsh Learner of the Year for 2009.Meggan Lloyd Prys was awarded the prestigious title on Wednesday by judges at the National Eisteddfod in Bala, Gwynedd.The 29-year-old says she started learning the language the day she arrived in Wales, three years ago.She now works as a classroom assistant on Anglesey, putting her language skills to the test everyday.Mrs Lloyd Prys was the only overseas competitor in the event this year, along with three others, all from England.She came to Wales after meeting her husband-to-be Cynog while studying in America.But after setting up home at Rhiwlas, near Bangor, she set herself the challenge of taking her wedding vows in Welsh - less than a month later.'High standards'Speaking as she waited for the judges final decision, she explained: "It started after I met my husband while both of us were studying in Ohio and he had been awarded a scholarship to promote Welsh culture."We only spent a month together in the States, then after a year I moved here and started learning the language the day I arrived."It's a really special competition because it shows people are able to learn to a high standard and live and work through the medium of Welsh."As well as being named the learner of the year, she also won 300 and a trophy in memory of author Marged Jones, from Bala, who died at the beginning of the year.The others on the shortlist were John Burton, originally from Crewe, but now living in Penmachno, Zoe Morag Pettinger from Fareham, but now living in Trisant, Aberystwyth and Dominic Gilbert, originally from Manchester but living in Beaumaris.The three received the Finalists Prize, presented by the Learners of Bala, and 100 in prize money.
Posted in: default | 0 comments

Is Wales or the US the land of song?

By David Thomas Jones, 2009-01-01
Is Wales the Land of Song?It is a myth that all Welshmen can sing. It may have been true in days gone by but unfortunately not today. In the good old days when chapels were in the heart of every community and every village had a choir whether it was a male voice, mixed or ladies, communities would sing at a drop of a hat. If you were not in a choir then you were taught to sing in the chapel.When I was a lad closing time for pubs meant that the men would gather under the lamppost outside our house and even though often inebriated, they would sing in a wonderful four-part harmony. Today all that you see and hear on the streets at closing time is rowdy behaviour.The singing on the terraces of the National Stadium was something to behold but lately the quality of singing has deteriorated. It used to be easy to start a song it only took two or three to start and as everyone knew the words, everyone around you would join in.The chapels had begun to loose their influence in the 70s but the singing at the National Stadium was still strong and if you walked around Cardiff before games singing could be heard from every bar and each one packed with fans. This is where the non-chapelgoer would learn the songs. However, all that has changed, health and safety rules have imposed limits and such alehouses have doormen to prevent entry if they are anywhere near that limit (who has heard of anyone being crushed trying to buy a drink). The bars now all have jukeboxes or heaven forbid DJs. I ask you who wants to dance before a match? The music is so loud that conversation is out of the question and starting a song is impossible.The WRU (Welsh Rugby Union) responded two years ago by starting a competition between the four rugby regions. Each region had to form a choir and would practice the songs and enter a competition, the winner would be chosen to sing the anthem at the Millennium Stadium before a game. It is a step in the right direction and I hope that the success of the Fron, Only Men Aloud and Ysgol Ganeuthwy have had nationally will make singing trendy again.Is the USA the land of Song?From what little I know of the USA I do not think that there is such a decline in singing in the USA. The choirs that have come across to Wales to compete have been youthful choirs with wonderful voices and always do well in competition.Your Universities have leagues for a cappella choirs, thats singing with out a piano or other instrument to accompany the choir (I would have to explain that term to most youngsters in Wales). These choirs seem to compete monthly to progress up the league to gain promotion. They audition for new members each year to replace member that have left the university as their courses finish. Such a competition would be impossible in the UK let alone Wales. You should be proud of the abilities of your youngsters. Is singing part of the curriculum in US schools?Check Myspace for details of two of the American University choirslisten to Divisi a ladies a cappella choir from Eugene Oregonwww.myspace.com/uodivisiListen to SoCal Vocal a mixed choir from Los Angeles, Californiawww.myspace.com/socalvocals
Posted in: default | 3 comments

Rolf Harris has Welsh ancestry

By David Thomas Jones, 2008-12-31
Rolf Harris re-records Two Little Boys to mark 90th anniversary of end of WWIThe Australian musician and artist made the new recording of the song, which dates from 1902, to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War.It tells the story of two brothers who ride wooden horses together as little children before ending up fighting on a battlefield.In 1969 Harris had one of his unlikely hits with the emotional song which tells of the brothers' loyalty.It spent six weeks at number one and became the best-selling single of the year.Now Harris, 78, has re-recorded it with the 60-strong Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir in north Wales.He told how he discovered the song held a strong resonance for his family because it spoke of what happened to his father Cromwell and younger brother Carl.In 1911 they emigrated from Wales to Australia aged 16 and 14, before signing up for service in 1914.Harris told BBC Radio 4: "When the war broke out dad put his age up to 21 so he could vouch that his 16-year-old brother was of military age, which was 18."On their first military leave together they went to re-visit their family in Cardiff, but their mother was "horrified" that Carl had illegally signed up and tipped-off the Australian authorities which discharged him.Subsequently he signed up again when he turned 18, joining a different battalion.Unlike the song, which has a happy ending, Harris said: "They never saw each other again and Carl was killed at the end of the war."Harris found out about the tragic tale while researching his family's past for a BBC One documentary, My Family at WarSourceStephen Adams, Arts CorrespondentDaily TelegraphThe single only made it to number 57 in the UK singles chart. A bit disappointing as all the proceeds was going to the charity The Royal British Legion. However it did not have a level playing field as the single was not released as a hard copy so could not be bought in the shops. 57 was excellent for download alone but with a little more faith by the record company it could have done much better given the publicity it generated over here.
Posted in: default | 1 comments