AmeriCymru


 

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STOP PRESS: The competition is open for voting till June but the outstanding quality of Nichola's work has already been recognised with the award of the 'Elizabeth Hosking Prize For Watercolor'. We all wish Nichola the best of luck next month. VOTE HERE

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98380482_275547447155522_1847212270904410112_n 1.jpg AmeriCymru:  Hi Nichola, and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about your entry to the 2020 Wildlife Artist of the Year competition?

Nichola: Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to share my work with your members and communicate. 

My Tansy Beetle, watercolour has been shortlisted for Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020. My work is one of 159 artworks selected from an incredible 1,200 entries from across the world.

It really is a huge honour to be shortlisted by this competition. Through art, we can raise awareness and support wildlife conservation.  This exhibition is usually held in Mall galleries London but due to the pandemic is now a live online exhibition. You can view my work here:

https://davidshepherd.org/wildlife-art/artwork/tansy-beetle/

My work is featured in the category Facing Extinction. This category invites artists to celebrate these vulnerable species, capturing their behaviour and importance in striking imagery. They may be gone tomorrow if we do not act today.

AmeriCymru:  In 2005, you became a visiting artist for WNO. What does this entail? Where can people see samples of your work online?

Nichola:  I observe and draw the rehearsals and performances on stage.  For over ten years, I’ve been documenting a visual history of Welsh National Opera through the medium of drawing alongside my sister Sarah Hope, who is also a professional fine artist. Our work is held in public and private collections across Europe, Australia and the USA

Working from live performance requires a responsive gaze and the ability to capture movement and emotion with immediacy and confidence. Watercolour allows me to work with colour in a very fluid way and this medium offers up unique qualities.

I’ve been fortunate to draw two productions at Lyric Opera, Chicago. It was an amazing experience and I fell in love with the city, the  friendly people and crazy weather!

My work can be viewed on www.nicholahope.com or on social media - Instagram and Facebook  @thedrawingeye 

AmeriCymru:  In 2019 you were invited to do a drawing demonstration in the galleries of the National Museum of Wales for the public event 'After Dark'. Care to tell us more about this experience?

Nichola:  I began drawing natural history specimens at National Museum Wales in 2019. I’m currently interested in shorebirds connected to Wales.  We have a diverse range of habitats that are important for birds. Some, such as the seabird colonies of Anglesey and Pembrokeshire, have probably been that way for thousands of years. 

I was invited to do a drawing demonstration at After Dark, an event held by National Museum Wales in Cardiff. The museum was opened up in the evening and was attended by a thousand members of the public. 

The museum’s taxidermy collection was used as an inspiration for drawing. I chose to draw a grey heron in ink and wash. I hope that this inspired people to look closely and respond creatively to the wonderful wildlife we have.

AmeriCymru:  Your work is clearly inspired by the animal world. What can you tell us about your 2019 exhibition - 'London Rats' - at the Workers Galley in Porth?

Nichola:  The Workers gallery is located in the little village of Porth, South Wales. Three of my works from a series called London Rats were selected for the exhibition Drawn to Life. This aligned with the Big Draw festival 2019. Over 25 countries including Wales participate in this worldwide campaign each year.

London Rats is inspired by the role of rats as Other in folklore and history. Rats are hugely symbolic. Interestingly it’s year of the rat!

AmeriCymru:  What's next for Nichola Hope? Any new exhibitions or events?

Nichola:  My exhibition of opera paintings and drawings at the Pierhead Building, Senedd Welsh Assembly was due to open in May 2020 but has been postponed due to the pandemic. I’m looking forward to rescheduling the show for a future date!

I’ll be submitting a sketchbook to the Brooklyn Art Library, NYC later this year and that will be part of a touring exhibition and will be digitized.

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

Nichola:  I admire how AmeriCymru raises Wales’ cultural profile to American audiences and  I’d love to see more cross Atlantic artistic collaborations between Welsh  and American artists in the future. 



You can vote for Nichola Hope for the People’s choice award here: Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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        Artwork

       TITLE: TANSY BEETLE
       ARTIST: NICHOLA HOPE
       ARTWORK CATEGORY: 
       FACING EXTINCTION
       MEDIUM: WATERCOLOUR
       ARTWORK SIZE (CM): 38 X 46
 

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Idris Speaks - A Poem by John Good

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The Welsh Society board members hope everyone is staying safe and able to enjoy some beauty in their gardens or in nature these days.

In the midst of changing times and sheltering in place, the Welsh Society of Oregon maintains its commitment to share Welsh Language and Culture with our community.  As such, we have re-formatted some of our spring offerings as an on-line festival.  Below you will see participation events for all ages, for kids and for our Facebook community.  We hope that you will be able to join us on May 23rd for one or both of our Noson Lawen events that day, and that you will be able to check in on the talents and creativity contributed to our  Facebook page  during our month-long festivities there.

You can participate either via computer or smart phone, or even just by calling in.

If you have any trouble navigating these events online, don't hesitate to send an email to  oregonwelsh@gmail.com , or give us a ring at  (503) 908-5630 .

A Noson Lawen Online, May 23, 2020, 7pm PDT

An interactive event with songs led in Welsh and English, hosted in English by the Welsh Dragon Choir and featuring special guests Nerys Jones, Eryl Aynesley, Andréa Wild, and others.  RSVP to  OregonWelsh@gmail.com  for event link and details.

A Little Noson Lawen Online, May 23, 2020, 1pm PDT

An interactive event of songs, jokes, and stories for young people and their caregivers, led in English by Dragon director Jamie Webster and friends, and featuring special guest, rising Welsh singing star Bronwen Lewis, with a chance for participants to share their songs and jokes as well.  RSVP to  OregonWelsh@gmail.com  for event link and details.

May Festival of Welsh Culture-Online! May 1-31, 2020  

(Fun prizes awarded for festival highlights)

Our celebration of Welsh culture isn’t limited to Saturday, May 23!  Join us for a month of fun and cultural sharing under lockdown as members of the Welsh Society of Oregon and friends share their talents, creativity, capers, and antics on social media.  Please join us in submitting your own quarantine-time contributions to this community activity. Awards for festival highlights announced May 31.

Who Can Participate?:   You! Our community in Portland, the state of Oregon, friends along the Pacific Coast, and any friends of Welsh culture in the USA and around the world.

What are some welcome submissions?

  • traditional songs/tunes with voice and/or instruments
  • virtual ensembles 
  • sharing stories, humor, or reminiscences
  • recreating Welsh folktales/folklore with dolls/toys/stuffed animals
  • copying Welsh art and folklore with household items 
  • Coloring contest
  • See examples and coloring pdfs on our web site  www.oregonwelsh.org
  • Or, your own creative ways to share Welsh culture online!

How to Participate:

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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

Posted in: Music | 0 comments


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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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