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iolo morganwg.jpgAn author who moved to the Vale of Glamorgan has been inspired by the story of Iolo Morganwg so much that he wrote a novel about him.

Gareth Thomas moved to the Vale of Glamorgan six years ago following a career in England as an actor, teacher and director.

Like many others he had heard of Iolo Morganwg but knew little of his story or significance.

His imagination was fired by the attention given to ‘Old Iolo’ in the National Eisteddfod in Llandow and visits to the places in the Vale associated with the bard such as his memorial in the church in Flemingston, the Samson Pillar in Llantwit Major, St Mary Church where he was married, the examples of his work as a mason that can be seen across the Vale and Cowbridge and The Bear Hotel where Iolo performed much of his seditious verses and delivered passionate speeches on political issues.

‘The more I learnt, the more I marvelled at his story’ said Gareth Thomas, ‘It’s a tale that needs to be told.’

But Iolo proved to be an enigma. There were differing opinions amongst his friends on the subject of Iolo - some of whom admired him as a hero who helped form the national identity of Wales and others who saw him as a cheat and con-man. Having read the research of Gwyneth Lewis, Geraint Jenkins, Mary-Ann Constantine and others, Gareth came to the conclusion that here was a story with real contemporary significance.

The result is  Myfi Iolo, a new Welsh language historical novel which recounts Iolo’s true story which is published this week.

The novel is set at the end of the 18th century where Iolo is a young man with a host of talents and limitless energy. He is full of anger against the injustice he sees and is committed to the cause of freedom in Europe.

‘Iolo’s story has every element you would wish for in an historical novel: adventure, mystery, love, revolution, violence, drugs, passion, spies and betrayal’ said Gareth.

The scene moves from Cowbride to the grand drawing rooms of Mayfair, from Gorsedd ceremonies on inhospitable hillsides to the luxurious bordellos of Covent Garden, from his cottage in Flemingston to a hearing before the Privy Council in Downing Street.

‘Here was a man who inspired friendship but turned friends into enemies. Here was an incredibly talented man who ultimately failed to win a livelihood in any field.’ said Gareth, ‘Was Iolo a conscious trickster – or was he inspired by a bigger vision?’

The novel has already recieved substantial praise by the author Dr Mary-Ann Constantine calling it ‘a fasincating novel about a fasinating person’.

The novel will be launched in the Georgian ballroom in the Bear Hotel in Cowbridge on November 23 at 7pm.

‘It was in The Bear hotel in Cowbridge that Iolo Morganwg performed his poetry and spoke passionately about politics. So there’s no better place to launch the novel!’ added Gareth.

The launch will be led by Carys Whelen who will be interviewing the author and there will be readings from actors Eiry Palfrey (Gwaith/Cartref, Dinas) as ‘Peggy’ and Danny Grehan (Harri Tudur, Casualty) as Iolo Morganwg.

Gareth Thomas was born to parents from Cwm Rhondda and studied drama in the Barry and London. He worked in England as an actor, teacher and director before learning Welsh aged fifty. His first novel, A Welsh Dawn, was published in 2014. He currently lives in Cowbridge.

Myfi, Iolo by Gareth Thomas (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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Margam Mountain by Bee Richards


By AmeriCymru, 2017-11-12

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Hi all, Beryl Richards here.. As you know I live in South Wales, in the heavily industrialised town of Port Talbot. I have long been interested in Welsh history, but the early Bronze and Iron age, I sort of dismissed as being a 'long way off' and probably not relevant to me or where I live. I had seen pictures of iron a forts or enclosures but in no way were they associated in my mind with smokey ol' Port Talbot. Which in a roundabout way brings me to the subject of my new novel which has a working title of 'The Mountain', and the thought process which led to writing it.

I picked up in a second hand bookstall a copy of a slim volume entitled “Antiquities of Margam Mountain” which immediately aroused my attention. It is written by a gentleman called Bill Howells and sponsored by the Llynfi Valley Historial Society. It is a very interesting book illustrated with some airial photos of the mountain and some taken by the author. There are illustrations of prehistoric tracks burial mounds ancient farms and forts all over the mountain. The realisation suddenly dawned on me that outside my own front door were the vestiges of an advanced urban society. Further research led me to another book written in the thirties by Cyril and Ailen Fox entitled “Forts and Farms of Margam Mountain' documenting the same information that Bill Howells so graphically highlighted with new technology.

A frail little book called Tir Iarll (The Earls Land) which I again found in a thrift store seems to have been published as a child's textbook on local customs also gave some account of the site of Margam Mountain, I wrote to the Glamorgan and Gwent Archaeological Trust on various statements in this book but some of it was discredited as Iolo Morgannwg's (a self styled Bard of Glamorgan) rantings. Apart from the old Ordnance Survey maps which confirm a lot of the evidence I have found for Iron age inhabitation on Margam, this is about the only written evidence I have been able to find on this subject. But the actual site speaks for itself.

There is no direct evidence of the Roman influence on Margam Mountain. The Glamorgan and Gwent Archaeological Society give no credence to this. As the site has not been excavated there is according to them no direct evidence that the Romans trod Margam Mountain. However other sources state that the Romans had a presence there and some indications of this can be found in the old place names such as Mynydd Ty Talwyn, and further west at Rhyd Blaen y Cwm. One of the locations is named Cwm Lladfa, Valley of the Slaughter where it is claimed that the last battle between the Romans and the Silurians was fought locally.

There is physical evidence of a Roman Fort at Neath (Nidum) and remnants of what is known as marching camps is strewn across the uplands. The Old Ordnance Survey Maps indicate some of these geographical features as scenes of battle fought between the local tribesmen and the Romans. As there is not yet archaeological evidence of any of this we can only wait until the whole mountain is excavated properly. Its all shrouded in Celtic mist!!!!

The Silurian tribes or familial groupings range from Eastern Wales down as far as Loughor in the West. A well organised rural/urban system stretched across these hills. It was thought by many early historians, that the iron age celts did not have the ability to build such a complex system of roads/tracks settlements on the mountain tops and the thinking was that they were Roman. But archaeological excavation has proven that these were Bronze/iron age sites built and engineered by the indigenous population, who also had codes of religion law making and customs particularly their own. The term 'forts' is a label for the many enclosures found scattered across the West Walian hills and also throughout the British Isles. Many of these enclosures were of obvious strategic importance and could also have been used as enclosures for cattle and people in times of strife.

Much emphasis was placed on the oral memory of history and of healing techniques by the Druids, who had a great influence over Celtic Society. They were priests, law givers, healers and were often used to negotiate in times of war between two or more rival clans. The Celts loved to fight and argue, today this takes place on the Rugby field. Celtic myth propagated by the Victorians portrays them as blood thirsty human sacrifice fiends. Human sacrifice,was practiced but to a much lesser degree than the popular celtic hocus pocus will have us believe. Although they used the innards sometimes of animals for divination (ugh!!!)

Celtic dress was flamboyant and colourful. Men would wear homespun trousers, a simple tunic and sometimes a cloak held by an ornamental pin, the more decorative indicated a higher social status. Women wore a long robe which was also homespun and dresses were secured with a sort of a celtic safety pin, very often beautifully decorated. They loved jewellery and ornaments. The ruling classes often wore huge intricately decorated gold torques and arm rings. They loved colour, bangles rings and much of what has been internationally excavated such as the golden cauldrons found at various locations place them in the realms of high art, and not the ignorant savage portrayed by the Romans. (Early racism??). Tribal chieftains and kings were often elected by the clan. Often there was a familial line from which they were elected.

There were many festivals held at the quarters of the year, which also acted as an agricultural calender were used to foretell the advent of winter, summer, autumn. Festivals such as midscummer and the advent of winter played a huge part not only in the gathering of crops but fertility rites, the drinking of wine of which they were very fond and the really spooky time when it was said that the veil between the dead and the living was the tiniest, today celebrated as Halloween.

The Silures were a tribe which lived in familial and village groupings in South Wales and fought off Roman occupation for some 25 years longer than in other parts of Britain. The Romans recognised them as worthy opponents. Their method of guerilla warfare locally continued until early medeavil times as was documented in the annals of Kenfig Castle, now covered by sand, but thats another story!

I am trying to answer the question of the underestimation of the Silurians. They seems to have had a quite sophisticated urban society with laws and customs which did not die easily with the onslaught of roman occupation. The remains on Margam Mountain which as I have mentioned contained the traditional enclosures or hill forts at strategic points along the hilltops, have not been archaeologically excavated but further east there are many sites which have yielded a definite identity, which did not seem to have been undermined by Romanisation. The end seems to have come unfortunately with the advent of Christianity when the Celtic identity was melded into what we now recognise as the Celtic Church with numerous monasteries, and hermitages being established along the South Wales coast and also inland.

I like to think that the spirit of the Celts remains in the gritty character of Port Talbot as it exists today. The realisation that such a society existed here has prompted me to write another novel which is a work in progress.

Every so often I get fascinated by something I read, or an aspect of local history of which I was not aware (which are many) prompted me to write a novel entitled 'Golconda' which is in part based on the facts about the early copper industry based in Castell Nedd (Neath) West Glamorgan. The story concerns a young American woman named Holly Darby who attempts to find her Welsh roots. I created a real stinker of a villain named Edward Hawksworth who seduced, cheated and plotted his way to achieve wealth. Holly and her friend (with benefits) trace the story from Castell to the states of her Welsh heritage. I have endeavoured to draw on a number of historical facts and blend them in to this story, in order for Holly to find closure in what can sometimes be quite a fast paced but rather sad story.

CELEBRATING THE BEST OF WELSH MYTHOLOGY


By AmeriCymru, 2017-10-31

colouring welsh tales.jpgWith this year designated the Year of Legends in Wales, an artist has gone on to celebrate the best of Welsh mythology by publishing a sequel to her bestselling colouring book.

Lliwio’r Chwedlau / Colouring Welsh Tales by artist Dawn Williams published this week includes 21 beautiful pictures of scenes from popular Welsh folk tales to colour in, including Gelert, Pwyll Pendefi g Dyfed, Branwen and Llyn y Fan Fach.

The book is a follow-up to the incredibly popular Lliwio Cymru / Colouring Wales, the first Welsh colouring book for adults published last year which sold over a thousand copies in its first run.

‘Following the success of Colouring Wales we thought it would be an ideal time to publish a colouring book depicting scenes from some of Wales’s most popular folk tales and well-known legends’ said Meinir Edwards, an editor at Y Lolfa publishers.

‘The book contains some beautiful, exciting and dramatic scenes from the ancient Mabinogion, Britain’s earliest prose tales. Stories such as Blodeuwedd and Culhwch and Olwen were compiled in Middle Welsh in the 12th–13th centuries from earlier oral traditions’ said Meinir, ‘The book also includes some historical figures such as Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, and the Red Bandits of Mawddwy, plus favourite childhood stories such as Twm Siôn Cati and The Lady of the Lake. The stories are our heritage, and they fire the imagination.’

‘I’m so glad to have been given the opportunity to create a second Welsh colouring book based on the best of our mythology,’ said Dawn, ‘Welsh mythology is an integral part of our culture and history as the people of Wales and has formed the backbone of our literature. I hope this book will be a different way to tell these stories – and encourage people to relax as well.’

According to the Mental Health Foundation 59% of adults in Britain say they are under more stressed today than they were five years ago. Although colouring is an activity for children it is now being used as a form of alternative theraphy to help adults relieve stress and anxiety.

The professional artist Dawn Williams was born in Bangor and raised in Ynys Môn. She now lives in Llanrug and is married with three sons.

Lliwio’r Chwedlau / Colouring Welsh Tales by Dawn Williams (£4.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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A well known Welsh artist has accused the art scene of being ‘too elitist’.

The famous artist, Wynne Melville Jones, said that ‘art needs to be for everyone and not just for a select few who are financially privileged’.

‘Too often public galleries and private business concentrate more on people who are wealthy’ said Wynne, ‘But I strongly believe art should be a medium that enriches everybody’s life’.

His comments follows the publishing of Darluniau o Gymru / Paintings of Wales this week.

This striking bilingual book shares some of Wynne Melville Jones’s most well-known paintings, as well as telling the story behind the pictures.

Best known for his images of west Wales, the artist now paints landscapes from all over the country and some of his works have created interest far beyond. His painting of Soar-y-Mynydd chapel is owned by former US president Jimmy Carter, and his picture of ‘Elvis Rock’ at Eisteddfa Gurig, Ceredigion, is now on display in Graceland Tennessee.

Most recently his painting of Pantycelyn went on a tour around Wales including visiting the Senedd in Cardiff, as a response to the lack of celebration and recognition for influential national figure Williams Pantycelyn, three hundred years after his death.

The book was launched last Saturday at an exhibition of some of the works featured in the book at Oriel Rhiannon, Tregaron in the company of Ben Lake MP and Sulwyn Thomas with Bois y Fro and Merched Soar performing

‘I sincerely hope the paintings in this volume will appeal to a variety of people and that it will bring fine art to a new audience’ said Wynne,

‘Many of my paintings include Welsh iconography. This is where I’m from and I feel pride in my Welshness, my heritage, and my language and culture. I feel passion and responsibility for all things Welsh’ added Wynne.

‘These paintings will enrich your lives – enjoy the book, the feast awaits you.’ Added David Meredith, Chairman of The Sir Kyffin Williams Trust.

‘Painting brings me great pleasure. I hope I can share this pleasure with others – that is all I need’ said Wynne.

Best known for his pioneering work in bilingual communications Wynne Melville Jones (Wyn Mel) is a former art student, who has rediscovered his zest for painting and is establishing himself as one of the most prolific artists in Wales.

Darluniau o Gymru / Paintings of Wales by Wynne Melville Jones (£12.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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New Welsh Review is excited to announce the opening of the fourth iteration of the New Welsh Writing Awards. The 2018 award is the Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection. To complement the awards, a companion Readers’ Poll for the best essay collection ever published in the English language (including in translation) around the world, is also being launched.

Now in its fourth year, the Awards were set up to champion the best short-form writing in English and have previously run non-fiction categories with the WWF Cymru Prize for Writing on Nature, won by Eluned Gramich in 2015 and the University of South Wales Prize for Travel Writing, won by Mandy Sutter in June 2016. In 2017 the awards ran two categories for the first time: the Aberystwyth University Prize for Memoir, and the AmeriCymru Prize for Novella. The winners were Catherine Haines (Memoir), and Cath Barton (Novella).

For the 2018 prize, New Welsh Review editor Gwen Davies acts as main judge, with the help of students from Aberystwyth University. The Awards are open to all writers based in the UK and Ireland plus those worldwide who have been educated in Wales. Entries opened on 02 October 2017 and will close on 02 February 2018. Entries for the prize will be longlisted and announced online on 3 April 2018. The shortlist will be announced at an event at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Bookshop on Thursday 03 May 2018, and the winner will be announced at a ceremony at Hay Festival on Friday 01 June 2018.

Judge Gwen Davies writes that ‘As judge I will be looking for essays written in a style that is literary and rigorous (rather than academic), with a personal voice and elements of present docu-journalism. Some of my favourite models for essay collections include No Man’s Land by Eula Biss, Margaret Atwood’s Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature, and Geoff Dyer’s Yoga for People Who Can’t be Bothered to Do It.’

First prize is £1,000 advance, e-publication by New Welsh Review on their New Welsh Rarebyte imprint in 2016, a positive critique by leading literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes at WME. Second prize is a weeklong residential course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre in Gwynedd, north Wales. Third prize is a weekend stay at Gladstone’s Library in Flintshire, north Wales. All three winners will also receive a one-year subscription to the magazine.

In addition, New Welsh Review will consider the highly commended and shortlisted nominees for publication in a forthcoming edition of its creative magazine New Welsh Reader with an associated standard fee.

Nominations for the Readers’ Poll will be open until early 2018, and can be submitted via Twitter (#newwelshawards), email, or through the New Welsh Review Facebook page. The winner of the Readers’ Poll will be announced at the longlisting event for the awards

The Call for Entries video can be found here: https://vimeo.com/230047799
For a selection of New Welsh Readers’ Poll videos, visit the New Welsh Review Vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/newwelshreview

To request a more information, please contact Jamie Harris, Marketing Officer at
marketing@newwelshreview.com/07812804505




Call for Entries: New Welsh Writing Awards 2018 Aberystwyth University Prize for an Essay Collection from New Welsh Review on Vimeo.


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An Interview With Philip Thomas - Beyondstorytime




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AmeriCymru: Hi Philip and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to describe Beyond Storytime for our readers? What inspired you to create the site?

Philip: Beyond Storytime is a streaming service for stories – a sort of ‘Spotify for stories’, if you will. Some of the best storytellers have visited Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival over the years, but not everyone is able to make the trip to Wales to hear them. We have created Beyond Storytime so anyone with a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone can log in from wherever they are in the world and listen to stories the way they should be heard – told by the best storytellers!

Beyond Storytime is an online library of stories suitable for children of all ages that we hope will promote storytelling and the storytellers who have kindly donated these stories. Maybe hearing these stories will encourage some listeners to make the trip to Wales to experience the Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival for themselves. We hope so.

AmeriCymru: What can you tell us about the Beyond the Border Wales International Storytelling Festival? How long has this event been held? When is the next one?

Philip: Beyond the Border is a wonderful and vibrant three-day festival of stories and music from Wales and across the world. Our mission is to bring the world to Wales and take Wales to the world. Our home is the stunning medieval castle of St Donats, overlooking the beautiful Glamorganshire coast.

The festival is a feast of storytelling, poetry, music, singing, theatre, circus, puppets and films for all ages, and much much more including:

World food stalls

Real ale bar

Bigger craft market

Workshops for all ages

Street theatre

Story walks

Open mic stages

Expect at BTB 2018:

Kidzone - dedicated area for performances and activities for young people and their families

Improved campsite with free camping

Full-time festival shuttle around the site

Plus lots more opportunities to take part

We like to think it is one of the best festivals in the world. If you want to find out more you can head to www.beyondtheborder.com and keep up to date with what is happening. 2018 is the 25th anniversary of the very first Beyond the Border in 1993 and David Ambrose has been its Artistic Director throughout supported for many years by Co Founder and storytelling superstar Ben Haggerty. The next festival is planned for June 2018 (confirmed dates will be on the website).

The festival is run by a charity, set up to create, encourage and promote traditional storytelling for contemporary audiences. We want to bring storytelling to everyone. We rely on the generosity of people who care about storytelling, and the festival, to make our work happen. Beyond Storytime is one of the ways we raise funds to support our work.

AmeriCymru: Care to introduce some of the storytellers on the site?

Philip: It’s difficult to choose. We have over twenty tellers involved in the project as of now.

David Ambrose has been at the forefront of the storytelling revival in Wales for more than 25 years, as a promoter, a performer, and as Artistic Director of Beyond the Border Wales International Storytelling Festival.

Tamar Eluned Williams won Young Storyteller of the Year in 2013 and has gone on to tour story clubs and festivals across the UK. In 2016 she was awarded the Esyllt Harker Commission for a new work to be featured at the next festival.

We have the cream of Welsh storytellers including: Guto Dafis, Megan Lloyd, Cath Little, Carl Gough and many more.

Kamini Ramachandran is a storyteller based in Singapore with a wide Asian repertoire of stories.

Judi Tarowsky is a storyteller from St Clairsville, Ohio. Her repertoire includes folk tales, ghost stories, and original historical narratives. She is the first American teller to join us.

Morgan Schatz-Blackrose is a storyteller living in Brisbane, Australia. She grew up in Wiradjuri Country at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, in New South Wales, Australia.

Bevin Magama comes from Zimbabwe and now lives in Cardiff. He brings the sights and sounds of his native Africa to our collection.

See what I mean? It’s a long list of tellers from around the world! Check out the full story at http://www.beyondstorytime.com/about-our-storytellers/

AmeriCymru: What subscription plans are on offer?

Philip: There are a number of ways to find out what Beyond Storytime has to offer:

Listen to a FREE story! – Go to www.beyondstorytime.com and click on the special offer box. You can hear a full story for free with no obligation. We are sure you will want to know more so….

A Full Year’s Subscription costs just £11.95 (currently that’s about US$15 – just 28 cents a week! Payable by PayPal or credit card through PayPal)

A Gift Subscription – We have made it easy to buy a gift subscription for children of all ages (we have story listeners in their seventies and older). The perfect gift with Christmas coming soon.

3 Month Trial Subscription – If you want to ‘dip a toe in the water’ to see if Beyond Storytime is for you, take out a 3 month trial subscription for just £5 (currently about US$6.50). But be careful! Once you have tried Beyond Storytime you will want more!

AmeriCymru: What's next for Beyond Storytime?

Well, if your readers are quick enough they will be able to enjoy our latest project which will be available for subscribers only.

On 1st December 2017 we are creating an Advent Calendar! 24 new stories, one for each day of advent, each with a Christmas or winter theme and much healthier than chocolate! Just the thing to get you and your family in the mood for the Christmas festivities.

And in 2018? Well, we already have stories ready to be added to the collection. We have just celebrated the first birthday of Beyond Storytime and plan for the collection to grow and grow as we head towards birthday number two and beyond!

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

Philip: Beyond Storytime has stories and storytellers from all over the world but, like the Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival of which we are a part, we are proud of our Welsh roots. Most the tellers featured on the site have been featured at the Beyond the Border Festival and many are based here in Wales. We have begun to feature stories in the Welsh Language and some of the stories have their roots in Welsh history and tradition. If you have Welsh ancestry we think there is no better way to help your family make and keep contact with their Welsh heritage that through a subscription to Beyond Storytime.

If you would like to explore visiting the festival as an individual or maybe with a group then please contact us and we will be pleased to help if we can

If, as a business person or individual you feel you would like to support Beyond Storytime or the Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival in other ways then we would, of course, be pleased to hear from you. All things are possible. Just email us at support@beyondstorytime.com

We hope you enjoy listening to Beyond Storytime and maybe we will see you at the festival next year.

A Welsh Western?


By AmeriCymru, 2017-10-09

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ORDER HERE

What? A Welsh Western?

I have called All Through the Night (my new book) a Welsh Western for the simple reason that I think, only half tongue-in-cheek, that cowboys were as much invented in Wales as in Wyoming.

My story is about a group of men who drive a large herd of cattle a great distance, through a wild landscape, across rivers and over mountains, threatened by rustlers and ne’er do wells (sounds familiar?).

The bond between these drovers (cowboys!) is strengthened by the shared experience of overcoming the various threats they face on their journey. Basic human decency can win through in the end (even more familiar?).

It is not that fanciful to think that, amongst the many thousands of Welsh people who emigrated to North America from the time of the Welsh Quakers settling in Pennsylvania in the 1600s onwards, that there would have been men who had worked as drovers, driving cattle to market from Wales to England and London in particular. I like to think of some of them later bringing their skills to bear in a new country, rich in opportunity for those with the courage to forge their way in the tough challenges of cattle driving.

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It is for this reason that All Through the Night, my story of a Welsh cattle drive in the 1790s, should appeal to lovers of Westerns: those fictional exploits of cowboys which examine the fundamentals of human nature. Westerns form a rich cultural body of work comprising countless books, films and TV series. Maybe crossing the Menai Strait in Wales with a herd of cattle is not as romantic sounding as fording the Rio Grande, but maybe, perhaps, a few Welsh cowpokes did both?

We also know, interestingly, that, for example, the James gang, the most famous cowboys of Welsh descent, were led by the brothers Jesse and Frank James. Their family had originated in Pembrokeshire in Wales and, as others from amongst their forbears were Baptist ministers, they clearly were the disreputable side of the family. Maybe some of their ancestors in Wales had been outlaws and, as alluded to in my book, could have inspired their exploits.

We don’t know for sure quite how many, or in what way, the Welsh, from the country that the nineteenth century author George Borrows called Wild Wales, went on to help shape the Wild West, but it is fun to speculate.

My book too is very much a homage to Wales and its music and culture - it even quotes Welsh songs. I see that aspect, in a way, as part of the tradition of Westerns with their familiar harmonica, guitar, honky-tonk piano or banjo music. These and other elements of Welsh cultural traditions in the book will appeal to the many, many thousands of US people with Welsh ancestry.

The Welsh diaspora to America began in the 17th century, peaking during the 19th century, and today there are over ten million people in the USA and Canada with Welsh surnames. Many Welsh North Americans still treasure their Welsh heritage and actively help to preserve the rich traditions through joining Welsh societies and organisations, by celebrating St David’s Day, organising events, festivals and eisteddfodau, and hosting choirs and entertainers that visit from Wales.

Other examples of all this are:


  • americymru.net which is a website devoted to welsh cultural heritage from North America

  • The North American Festival of Wales which is held annually over Labor Day and attended by numerous delegates from the USA and Canada; and

  • Ninnau & Y Drych which is a monthly newspaper servicing the Welsh-American community with news and articles about Wales and North America.


You only have to search the internet for a few seconds to find numerous entries for famous Welsh Americans. For example, you will find famous US Presidents with Welsh ancestry listed as including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James A. Garfield, Calvin Coolidge and Richard Nixon (!)

An example of the importance of this (to me, at least!) is that on a plaque mounted on the east facade of the imposing Philadelphia City Hall, the following inscription is found:

Perpetuating the Welsh heritage, and commemorating the vision and virtue of the following Welsh patriots in the founding of the City, Commonwealth, and Nation: William Penn, 1644-1718, proclaimed freedom of religion and planned New Wales later named Pennsylvania.

Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, third President of the United States, composed the Declaration of Independence.

Robert Morris, 1734-1806, foremost financier of the American Revolution and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Governor Morris, 1752-1816, wrote the final draft of the Constitution of the United States.

John Marshall, 1755-1835, Chief Justice of the United States and father of American constitutional law.

More recently a ‘Friends of Wales Congressional Caucus’ was formed on Capitol Hill in Washington DC to help further develop business, academic and cultural links between Wales and the USA.

My book is another Wales/US link, maybe the missing one, between cowboys and cowboyos!

Neil Thomas, 2017.

www.thorogoodpublishing.co.uk


Pharmacy_Single_Cover.jpgHoult releases his debut single ‘Pharmacy’ on Friday 6th of October through Phwoar and Peace, it will be available on digital and streaming platforms.

Hoult has the rare knack of sounding both dreamy and sharp at the same time. This, married with vital yet wistful song-writing, concocts his imaginative brand of guitar pop. ‘Pharmacy’ builds from an affecting intimacy into a song with a grand scale: possessing folk-tinged anthemic choruses reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle club and Frightened Rabbit and rippling with personal lyrics that tap into wider themes: “Pharmacy summarises the feeling of frustration when you cannot help someone you care about.” Says Hoult “Darker themes run through the veins of this track, yet the energetic and cheerful instrumentation represent the mask a lot of people wear on a daily basis.”

Hoult better known as Sam Fowke is a singer-songwriter / producer from Gloucester, now based in Cardiff. Sam likes fine jumpers and long walks on the beach. He released one single entitled 'Red Handed’ under his own name last year, it quickly racked up over 7000 plays. He now returns under the new moniker Hoult with his most affecting and ambitious song yet.

Links:

www.twitter.com/houltuk

www.facebook.com/houltuk

www.phwoarandpeace.com

www.twitter.com/phwoarandpeace

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