AmeriCymru


 

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Visit the Dydd Miwsig Cymru website here:- Dydd Miwsig Cymru


We will be featuring a new playlists every day or so between now and February 7th.

Today's sample playlist (You will need a Spotify account): Darganfod

"To celebrate European Day of Languages on 26/09/2019 this playlist showcases music in Cymraeg, Gàidhlig, Kernewek, Gaelg and Gaeilge."

14 SONGS

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Welsh Language Music Day (Dydd Miwsig Cymru in Welsh) is on the 7th February 2020. The day is about celebrating Welsh music and the language with thousands of people getting involved across Wales and further afield. This is the fifth Welsh Language Music Day, which has seen Hollywood actors Rhys Ifans and Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, urge fans to discover the incredible music being made in the Welsh language.

Why not get involved with the celebrations in any way that you can? Why not hold a gig and play Welsh language music, or swap your usual playlist to a Welsh language one? Welsh language music has numerous genres, you can find lots of great playlists  here .

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image001.jpg Between the mid 1840s and late 1860s about 5,000 Welsh people, inspired by the Mormon faith, left Wales to start a new life in the far west of the United States. In  Welsh Saints on the Mormon Trail  (Y Lolfa), written by Wil Aaron, the story is told of their journey by ox-carts and on foot from the Mississippi and the Missouri to Salt Lake City, and of their subsequent lives in Utah. 

The book explores a little-known episode of Welsh history. The Welsh Mormons were crossing a continent at a particularly dramatic time in American history. The ‘49ers’ and the Pony Express shared the trails with them. They were passed by the first trans-continental stagecoaches. They saw the beginnings of the Indian Wars and the end of the Civil War. Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickock rode the same trails and Calamity Jane and Crazy Horse have a place in their stories. Part of the Mormons religious responsibility was to keep diaries, and hundreds of these documents describing their adventures are now kept in the Church archive of the Mormon Church History Library in Salt Lake City. Wil Aaron has made good use of this rich resource and of the Welsh journals and memoirs collected on ‘ welshmormonhistory.byu.edu ’. 

“This is a book about the grit and steadfastness of ordinary men and women whose remarkable tale deserves a place in the history of the Welsh people,” says author Wil Aaron. 

Professor Jerry Hunter of Bangor University writes, “Here is a volume I shall return to time after time, and I know that others will do likewise. The author has consulted extensive historical resources and has discerningly deciphered them, arousing anew an interest in the story.” 

Wil Aaron’s career has been in television. He has made documentaries and factual programmes for the BBC and HTV in Cardiff and in London. His production company,  Ffilmiau’r Nant , produced many of S4C’s early successes.  

Welsh Saints on a Mormon Trail  by Wil Aaron (£14.99, Y Lolfa) is available now. BUY IT HERE

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Visit the Dydd Miwsig Cymru website here:- Dydd Miwsig Cymru

Welsh Language Music Day (Dydd Miwsig Cymru in Welsh) is on the 7th February 2020. The day is about celebrating Welsh music and the language with thousands of people getting involved across Wales and further afield. This is the fifth Welsh Language Music Day, which has seen Hollywood actors Rhys Ifans and Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, urge fans to discover the incredible music being made in the Welsh language.

Why not get involved with the celebrations in any way that you can? Why not hold a gig and play Welsh language music, or swap your usual playlist to a Welsh language one? Welsh language music has numerous genres, you can find lots of great playlists  here .

Today's sample playlist: Canu Gwlad

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Adnoddau  A4 DMC 2020 Belly Poster.jpg

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EXCLUSIVE FOR AMERICYMRU READERS

AmeriCymru is pleased to announce the availability of a small number of first edition hardback copies of 'John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary?' by Dr Wyn Thomas. The hardback first edition is now out of print. Originally priced at $34.00 this important & historic biography can be yours for only $23.99 including shipping and handling (offer applies in U.S. only). New, unread and unmarked but slightly damaged with bumped corners. 

"The mastermind of a Welsh bombing campaign in the 1960s claims that the terrorist group he led could have killed Prince Charles during his Investiture as Prince of Wales fifty years ago."






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unnamed.jpg The mastermind of a Welsh bombing campaign in the 1960s claims that the terrorist group he led could have killed Prince Charles during his Investiture as Prince of Wales fifty years ago. 

John Barnard Jenkins plotted a long and audacious bombing campaign with the Welsh nationalist group  Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru  (the ‘Movement to Defend Wales’ – generally known as MAC) that caused damage to water pipes and government buildings throughout Wales from 1963 to 1969. In a new biography of Jenkins, he claims that they could have killed Prince Charles in 1969. He says in the book, published exactly fifty years since the Investiture, “We could have killed him... For one thing, I was a sergeant in the British Army’s Dental Corps, and was on duty in Caernarfon that day. I could have carried a rifle and I could have shot him there and then if I wanted. Furthermore, if I’d said ‘Right, I want a couple of people   who are prepared to do something and not come back from it’, I know at least two who would have come forward and volunteered. I’m talking about a suicide operation.” 

During the period leading up to the investiture many targets were bombed, with one device killing two of the bombers themselves in Abergele. Another bomb injured a child, though Jenkins insists their intention had been only to attack infrastructure and not to injure anyone. 

The campaign was undertaken in the belief that the political voice of Wales was being ignored. There had been mass protest in Wales earlier in the decade about the plan to evict the Welsh-speaking community of the Tryweryn Valleyso as to turn it into a reservoir to supply water to England. Despite the fact that not one Welsh MP voted in support of the Bill, it was passed in Parliament and the project was allowed to go ahead. In 1966, a huge spoil tip collapsed onto the village primary school in Aberfan, killing 124 people, most of them children. Although the National Coal Board had been warned of the danger beforehand and was found responsible for the disaster by the ensuing inquiry, it was not prosecuted or   fined. John Jenkins says that both incidents influenced MAC’s campaign. 

John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary?  by historian Dr Wyn Thomas reveals the international interest in the Welsh bombing campaign, with offers of help coming from Libya and Communist East Germany. John Jenkins also discusses how his campaign influenced the IRA, with their cell system based on the one he devised for MAC. 

The author, Wyn Thomas, said: “What John Barnard Jenkins did in spearheading  Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru ’s bombing campaign in Wales and England during the 1960s is unparalleled in Welsh if not British history.”

Since the group’s bombing campaign ended with John Jenkins’ arrest in 1969, questions have been asked about what motivated MAC’s formidable leader and strategist’s course of action. Wyn Thomas’ authorised biography provides the answers, throwing light on this complex and hitherto guarded individual. As the group’s bombing campaign intensified, the authorities were desperate to locate MAC - and its anonymous controller. But unknown to all but the smallest band of associates, John Jenkins was in fact hiding in plain sight, as a serving member of Her Majesty’s Forces. The story of John Jenkins and MAC has been engulfed in a fog of speculation, innuendo and rumour, but for the first time, with the publication of Thomas’ biography, the true extent of the threat posed by the group is shockingly revealed. 

This meticulously researched appraisal has been written on the back of fifteen years of interviews conducted by Thomas with John Jenkins, and – among others – former police officers and members of MAC and their families. The result is monumental: the amount of fresh information surrounding the narrative is astonishing, and each disclosed detail offers a fascinating insight into the shadowy world of MAC and its brilliant, if flawed, organiser. It is not just a study of one man, but also an absorbing social history which considers the political and cultural background to, and impact of, MAC’s campaign. The extraordinary life of John Barnard Jenkins is as complicated as the campaign of militant activism he so effectively led. The title of the biography is a question:  John Jenkins: The Reluctant Revolutionary? This is based on the emotional turmoil that Jenkins apparently experienced when increasingly compelled to orchestrate a campaign of militant activism in the name of Welsh political freedom. Other observers maintain, however, that far from being resistant and ultimately resigned to his role of leading MAC, John Jenkins relished the challenge and the task of providing a worthy opposition to the British state.


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From the Wikipedia - Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru :- "Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (Welsh: [ˈmɨːdjad amˈðiːfɨn ˈkəmrɨ], Movement for the Defence of Wales), abbreviated as MAC, was a paramilitary Welsh nationalist organisation, which was responsible for a number of bombing incidents between 1963 and 1969. The group's activities primarily targeted infrastructure carrying water to the English city of Liverpool.

MAC was initially set up in response to the flooding of the Afon Tryweryn valley and the flooding of the village of Capel Celyn to provide water for Liverpool. Its founders were Owain Williams, John Albert Jones and Emyr Llewelyn Jones. On 10 February 1963 a transformer at the dam construction site was blown up by three men, of whom one, Emyr Llywelyn Jones, was identified, convicted and sentenced to one year imprisonment. MAC blew up an electricity pylon at Gellilydan on the day of his conviction. This led to the arrest and conviction of Owain Williams and John Albert Jones. READ MORE HERE


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teach your cat welsh.jpg Teach Your Cat Welsh has been developed due to the huge popularity of the dog version, as well as numerous requests by cat-lovers who are learning Welsh!

“The popularity of the series has been amazing! I was thrilled when Teach Your Dog Welsh was re-printed for the first time – but I’m amazed that it’s been reprinted three more times since! A lot of cat lovers approached me personally or contacted me over social media asking if there’d be a cat version of the book,” says author and illustrator Anne Cakebread.

The mischievous black cat in the book, who – unlike the very obedient dog in Teach Your Dog Welsh – often ignores instructions, has been inspired by two cats: one being Chanel, the cat of Anne Cakebread’s two nieces. Mari and Elin are thrilled to have Chanel in a book.

“Chanel made a lovely model as she’s nice and plump and full of character,” said Anne Cakebread. “The other cat that inspired the personality is the local black tom cat with yellow eyes who prowls and hunts around the old Abbey ruins, and is a bit of a legend here in St Dogmaels. He’s a seriously tough character!”

Originally from Cardiff, Anne and her partner moved to St Dogmaels on the west Wales coast. She wanted to improve her Welsh as it was important to her to become part of the lively Welsh-speaking community in the area.

“I first had to unlearn the Welsh I'd been taught in school as it's nothing like the Welsh people speak here. That's why I've made the expressions in the book colloquial, as a large part of learning is listening to what people say around you.”

The original book was inspired by Frieda, a rescue whippet, who only understood Welsh commands when she was first homed with Anne and her partner. Slowly, whilst dealing with Frieda, Anne realised that she was overcoming her nerves about speaking Welsh aloud by talking to the dog, and her Welsh was improving as a result – this gave her the idea of creating a book to help other would-be learners whilst also using her skills as an illustrator.

Summoning up the confidence to use a language you’re learning can be daunting at first, and a number of books are available to help with vocabulary and pronunciation, but the light hearted context and the beautiful illustrations mean that this book is a bit out of the ordinary. Lefi Gruffudd from Y Lolfa says:

“This book is both a practical and a fun way to practise Welsh, and hopefully it will be a useful resource to Welsh learners.”

Carolyn Hodges, Head of English Publishing at Y Lolfa, who developed language-teaching materials for Oxford University Press for many years, said: “Some people have a bad experience of learning Welsh at school and that puts them off trying again as adults. One of the key factors in motivating someone to start learning and using a new language is to make it enjoyable. Teach Your Cat Welsh really brings the language to life and makes it fun – it’s a really positive (re)introduction to this wonderful language.”

“It was particularly fun for me to edit the book as I started learning Welsh on my own in Oxford, where the only ‘person’ I had to practise on was my cat! This book would have been really useful!”

There are plans to expand the Teach Your Cat Welsh and Teach Your Dog Welsh series to include translations into other minority languages including Cornish and Irish. Teach Your Dog Māori is already available as an e-book, and there will be a special travel edition teaching Japanese to coincide with the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.

Anne Cakebread is a freelance illustrator with over 20 years’ experience in publishing and TV, including cover art and illustrations for numerous books, magazines and adverts. She also illustrated sets and props for Boomerang on S4C’s award-winning ABC. She grew up and went to school in Radyr, Cardiff and now lives with her partner, two whippets and lurcher in St Dogmaels, where she runs a B&B Oriel Milgi.

Teach Your Cat Welsh by Anne Cakebread is available now (£4.99, Y Lolfa).

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tt0MiJw.jpeg AmeriCymru: Hi John and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to tell us a little about your new (forthcoming) single 'There's a hole in my heart (an area the size of Wales)'?

John: Hey, its what I thought was a breakup song, but it turns out that the main character is speaking from the grave, but it is still probably a break up song.

A meriCymru: Will there be a new album forthcoming soon?

John: Hopefully, yes. Though as much as I love the form I have been told that it isn't the best vehicle to promote an artist work anymore.

AmeriCymru: We learn from a recent press release that your 'most recent album “The Fen Sessions” was written and released over a weekend and then deleted on the Monday.' Why? Are there any plans to resurrect it?

John: It was a conceptual idea that I had. I wanted to see how many people pay attention to my social media, as that was the main vehicle of promotion prior to and during the sessions. I also like to challenge the creative process and force myself into producing material. I think consumers of music expect the music always to be available and to be free, so I was questioning this concept. One thing I didn't expect to come from the sessions was that many of the people who downloaded the songs actually ended up paying for them. I think this was because they had invested in the process, some of them followed it throughout the weekend, and maybe limiting the release availability gave the album some monetary value.

AmeriCymru: After your 2014 album 'The Death of.....', John Mouse went away for a while. Why was this and why did he return?

John: I had had enough about not reaching a larger audience. I sort of gave up. Now, I'm liberated by this fact and so do what I want knowing that no-one really cares.

AmeriCymru: The track 'Happy I am Not' from 'The Death of John Mouse' seems to sum up the album and is a personal favourite of mine. Care to tell us a little more about the song?

John: That is an oldie! Right, so I mashed up Heaven Knows I'm miserable now, by the Smiths, Lets move to the country, by Smog and Considering a move to Memphis by The Colourblind James Experience. Just have a listen to those three songs and you'll understand Unhappy a little more.

AmeriCymru: Another intriguing track from 'Death of....' is 'Ilka Moor'. Punk versions of old standards are not unheard of, 'The Dickies', 'Banana Splits' and 'Eve of Destruction' spring to mind, but why 'Ilka Moor'?

John: I had this old folk song book and the lyrics for Ilka Moor really stood out. It's so bizzare, eating your mate, turns out it's about sexual disease though.

AmeriCymru: What is your creative process? Do your lyrics simply come to you fully formed or do you work for days/weeks carefully polishing them to perfection?

John: I do a lot of pre-editing, inhaling, before I write the words. I don't really change them much, sometimes move some sentences around so that they rhyme or that the words rhythmically fit.

AmeriCymru: How would you caharacterize your writing and recording process in general? How closely do you collaborate with the other musicians on arrangements etc?

John: It just depends. Sometimes I write by myself and tell people I work with what I'd like to achieve on the instruments I can't play. Sometimes I just let them write the song, for example this new one is written entirely by Phil.

AmeriCymru: What music are you currently listening to? Are there any artists you would claim as an inspiration?

John: New music that I am listening to include Fontains DC, John Maus (I know), Yak, Beak, King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard, but I'll always go back to albums by Bill Callahan and anything Arab Strap related.

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

John: Thanks for reading, and please do spread the word.

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keys.jpg ‘There you will find them, tucked away in between The Stooges ‘Fun House’ and John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band the KEYS, the band you never knew you needed until they changed your life.

Over four Albums, Eps and countless Singles during this millennium the KEYS have become a mythical presence on the Welsh musical landscape. The timeless quality of the band’s music, touches on the wide eyed wonder and boundless possibilities of the sixties pop song, West Coast harmonies, Motown backbeat and the aggression of post 1968 proto-punk, sets them apart as true believers in the communion of Rock and Roll. KEYS are very much a band for the here and now, shaping music from the moon dust of the past into a re-imagined future that is all theirs for the taking.’ – Libertino Records ‘Black and White’ is the confident and bold return of the KEYS. The single was recorded during the productive two days session for the band’s new album in Miner’s Welfare club, lost in the Neath Valley.

Matt Evens, the band’s singer and songwriter, explains the background and the writing process of ‘Black and White’: “I wrote it while playing the drums on my own one morning. I was trying to write a modern-day nursery rhyme so it’s kept really simple. Then it went through the KEYS machine and came out all reverb guitars and maracas. It starts off Scout Niblett and ends up all Stooges with some Ron Asheton-style wah-wah thrown into the mix. It’s still a very sparse arrangement though which is the point. The lyric comes from something a photographer said to us once “Don’t worry, they’ll look alright in Black and White”; Gwion (Lead Guitar) used to quote it all the time in a jokey way so it ended up finding a melody.”



Fe wnewch chi ffeindio’r KEYS, rhwng The Stooges ‘Fun House’ a John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band - KEYS, y band sydd ei angen ar bawb.

Ers rhyddhau pedair albym, sawl EP a sawl sengl yn ystod y mileniwm diwetha, mae’r KEYS wedi bod yn bresenoldeb chwedlonol yn nhirwedd cerddorol Cymru. Mae ansawdd bytholwyrdd cerddoriaeth y band yn cyffwrdd â rhyfeddod diderfyn caneuon pop y chwedegau, harmonïau West Coast a Motown backbeat gydag ymosodiad porto-pync 1968, sy’n eu gosod arwahan fel credinwyr cryf Rock n Roll. Mae’r KEYS yn fand cyfoes, yn siapio cerddoriaeth o lwch lleuad y gorffennol i ddyfodol dychmygus, disglair.

Mae’r KEYS yn ôl gyda’r sengl hyderus a chadarn ‘Black and White’. Recordiwyd y sengl yn Miner's Welfare Club, Cwm Nêdd yn ystod sesiwn dau ddiwrnod o recordio eu halbym newydd. Esbonia Matt Evans, canwr a chyfansoddwr y band, y stori sy’n perthyn i ‘Black and White’:

“Ysgrifennais y gân wrth chwarae’r drymiau ar ben fy hun un bore. Fe driais i ysgrifennu hwiangerdd fodern, felly cadwyd y gân yn syml. Yna, aeth y gân trwy beiriant KEYS ac allan daeth reverb gitars a maracas.

Scout Niblett yw’r dechrau a'r Stooges yw’r diwedd gyda ychydig o steil Ron Asheton-wah-wah-aidd wedi’i daflu i’r gymysgedd. Mae’r geiriau yn dod o rhywbeth ddywedodd ffotograffydd wrthon ni unwaith “Peidiwch â phoeni, bydd e’n edrych yn iawn mewn du a gwyn”; Roedd Gwion (gitar flaen) yn arfer dyfynnu’r linell drwy’r amser mewn ffordd bryfoclyd, felly roedd rhaid rhoi’r dyfyniad hwn i mewn i’r gân.”


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nafowlogo.jpg Hold your beer… are you thinking about The North American Festival of Wales in Milwaukee later this year (Aug. 29 - Sept. 1)? Then how about entering one of our Eisteddfod competitions!

Once again, we have seven different competitions in singing or poetic recitation - suiting all ages and different levels of proficiency in Welsh (from zero to “lots”!) Singers can join our Semi-Professional competition to win a generous cash scholarship for travel to compete at next year's National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru) in Tregaron (Ceredigion). And as an eighth stage competition… we’re reintroducing Instrumental Solo, open to unaccompanied soloists on any musical instrument. All stage competitions are on Fri. and Sat., Aug. 30 and 31, and are time-limited to help you enjoy everything else at the Festival!

Also, the new Visual Arts Competition is open to entrants submitting visual artistic submissions (painting, sketch, sculpture, etc.) based on a Welsh theme, for popular adjudication at the Festival (setup is Fri., Aug. 30 and viewing is that day and Sat., Aug. 31).

Finally, the new Hymn Composition Competition in honor of Daniel Protheroe, with a single grand prize, invites the creation of an original hymn set to the meter used by Protheroe in his well-known “Milwaukee”.

Go to the link shown here for information and guidelines on all of our competitions! You will also find there our new online entry form for the stage competitions and Visual Arts (deadline Aug. 20, 2019). (For Hymn Composition, see the guidelines at the link for further information on entering; deadline July 1, 2019.)

Contact the Eisteddfod Committee with any questions ( eisteddfod@nafow.org ), and we’ll see you – or your creative work - soon in Milwaukee!

(NAFOW Eisteddfod link: http://thewnaa.org/eisteddfod- competition.html )

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