Searching for Songs

By Chris Jones, 2018-01-16

Searching for Songs

Hi my name is Chris Jones, I'm a traditional folk singer and musician from Wales. A member here on Americymru who is interested in the Welsh musical history and heritage of America. I suppose I'm doing the opposite to Welsh Americans who investigate their Welsh ancestry. My project is the reverse as I'm particularly interested in investigating Welsh folk music that would have been taken to America by the ancestors of today's Welsh Americans and rediscovering (hopefully) sources that still exist-particularly those that remain undiscovered, uncatalogued and unpublished.

Perhaps there are collections that exist which Americymru members may be aware of, catalogued or yet to be catalogued in community or city museums? Perhaps you know of collections bequeathed to Universities or colleges and may be unresearched? Perhaps some members here know of unpublished PHD theses that studied Welsh history particularly our folk music, song and lore.

In addition I'm looking for archived collections, as I'm also very interested in family, community and personal accounts and stories remembered till this day. Family heirlooms such as books or documents and collections which may contain or reference song lyrics or tunes from Wales. And, of course families memories, written accounts of the Welsh immigrant experience in America: memoirs, biographical or autobiographical that members here might want to share. Are there Welsh folk songs waiting to be rediscovered?

My project is primarily looking for Welsh folk songs that might have made it across the Atlantic and sung in Welsh communities in America, but have been "lost". And my long term plan is to collect enough rediscovered songs to reintroduce them into the Welsh repertoire and record them onto an album. But please do respond with any information regarding the Welsh American immigrant experience in either Welsh or English, as who knows what gems may be found?

If you are curious about my music and want to hear what I do then please click this link to my new website on:

Yn Ddiffuant (sincerely)

Chris Jones

File:Blodwen, album cover.jpgPRESS RELEASE: January 2018 In May/June of 2019, NOVA Center for the Performing Arts, in a co-production with Rimrock Opera Foundation in Billings, Montana, USA, will perform Joseph Parry’s Blodwen (the first Welsh opera) – yn Gymraeg! [in Welsh], with English supertitles. Tickets will go on sale in September 2018 – seating is limited so the early bird …

This will be the first complete stage production of Blodwen in America and will use Dulais Rhys’s 2015 chamber version of the orchestration. For more information: 

 DATGANIAD I’R WASG a GALWAD I GANTORION: Ionawr 2018 Yn ystod Mai/Mehefin 2019, bydd NOVA Center for the Performing Arts, mewn cyd-gynhrychiad gyda Rimrock Opera Foundation yn Billings, Montana, UDA yn perfformio Blodwen Joseph Parry (yr opera Gymraeg gyntaf) – yn Gymraeg! - gydag uwchdeitlau Saesneg. Bydd tocynnau ar werth o fis Medi 2018 – mae nifer y seddau’n gyfyng, felly’r cyntaf i’r felin … Dyma fydd y cynhyrchiad llwyfan cyfan cyntaf o Blodwen yn America, gan ddefnyddio fersiwn siambr 2015 Dulais Rhys o’r gerddorfaeth. Am fwy o wybodaeth: GALWAD I GANTORION: mae Rimrock yn gwahodd cantorion proffesiynol o Gymru sydd â diddordeb mewn ymgeisio am Brif Ran* i anfon portffolio proffesiynol at y Llywydd: Ms Lucinda Butler, 4964 Nez Perce Lookout, Billings, Montana 59106, UDA neu Disgwylir i’r unawdwyr gynorthwyo cantorion Rimrock gyda chanu yn Gymraeg  * Mae croeso i chi anfon y wybodaeth hon ymlaen at unrhyw un fyddai â diddordeb.

Posted in: Art | 0 comments

cinemas of west wales.jpgThe secret history of the forgotten cinemas of west Wales has been rediscovered this week. Most of the cinema and picture houses of west Wales – from Barmouth in Gwynedd to Llanelli in Carmarthenshire – have long since disappeared, been demolished or converted to other uses. The Cinemas of West Wales by Alan Phillips records where they were, gives descriptions of their interiors and programmes, and includes over a hundred photographs of what they looked like then, and now.

In Wales construction of most cinemas took place in 1910 and 1911, although a number of buildings had been converted into cinemas before that.

‘In days gone by a weekly visit to the “flicks” was as common as watching the television is today. It was an adventure and one of the few modes of entertainment available,’ said author Alan Phillips, ‘It was a chance to step back in time or to the future, a chance to forget daily toils and, for an hour or two, be transported to a make-believe world’.

Wales had its own film pioneers, such as John Codman, son of the Llandudno pier Punch and Judy man, who travelled throughout north Wales with his magic lantern living picture show. Then there was Arthur Cheetham who filmed day-to-day scenes throughout the country for the purpose of showing them at venues across most of Wales. He eventually settled in Rhyl and in 1906 established the Silvograph Animated Pictures - the first permanent cinema in Wales.

But, by the 1960s the advent of television and increased running costs caused cinema attendances to decline and several went into financial difficulty.

‘Times have changed now,’ added Alan, ‘Some cinemas or theatres were converted into bingo halls or were used for other uses, such as supermarkets, or eventually demolished. Today several cinemas have been taken over by J.D. Wetherspoon pubs, and they have retained the décor to give us a glimpse of their former glory days’.

There are still some independent cinemas left in Wales, mostly run by local authorities with the help of volunteers. Over the years the Welsh Government has supported the venues with grants from the European Development Fund which have enabled the cinemas to invest in modern equipment such as digital projectors.

As well as being a former cinema projectionist himself, Alan notes that his motivation behind the book were ‘more than anything seeing the number of cinemas that have closed throughout Wales since the 1960s’.

Alan Phillips studied history at University College of Wales, Swansea, before joining the RAF. He worked as a cinema projectionist with the Kinema Corporation and later with the Ministry of Defence.

The Cinemas of West Wales by Alan Phillips (£6.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

Posted in: New Titles | 0 comments

Correct answers below -  Cymraeg - Vocabulary Crossword 1

Try our new interactive crosswords here -  Welsh Crosswords

NEW!! Welsh language vocabulary section - Geriadur 

welsh crossword 1.jpg

Posted in: Cymraeg | 0 comments

The loss of the supernatural weighs

as heavily on us

as the loss of our religion

we invent new terrors

novel demons

the latest monsters

surreal serial killers

genocidal generals

privileged politicians that condemn

thousands to slow deaths

by favouring the rich

instead of the poor

what occasionally appears

in the corner of an eye?

what does one divine

in the embers of a fire

one has stared at unceasingly

for a whole wordless evening?

what is heard above the crackle

of a hearing aid

when the wind bends branches

and is somehow transformed

into footsteps on roof tiles

as one is separated from sleep?

we are haunted

we haunt

so bring me my ghosts

before dawn

before the replaying

of days and daylight begins again

all the old spectres congregate

in the camouflaged fog chapel

that is the meeting place of their calling

closer to Heaven

in what was once called

“God’s country”

the cast includes the celebrities

of my land’s theatre of haunting

the corpse candles

highlighting imminent death

the bwcas that preceded

then made mischief for miners

the fair folk the fairy folk

known as the tylwyth teg

and revenant sin eaters

who gorged on surfeits of sin

and the spirits of ordinary

and extraordinary sinners

dogs and magpies

we enjoy illusory freedom

and unjustified notions

of our own independence

our elbows perpetually jostled

by endless distractions

and chapters of false narrative

I fantasise about phantom football teams

playing in a dead Premier league

unseen in video playback

as an antidote to endless TV

shot in poorly lit US constructions

purporting to show scenes

unsettled by poltergeists

we are haunted

we haunt

so bring me my ghosts

Posted in: about | 0 comments

john mouse.jpg

After a successful fan funding campaign, John MOuse releases his fifth album ‘Replica Figures' out through Keep Me In Your Heart Records on the 19th of February 2018. For ‘Replica Figures’ John returns to work with original band member Sweet Baboo. It's been 15 years since the two worked under John's previous moniker JT Mouse and the result is a touching album with glimpses of John's black humour, which has been a signature throughout his career.

"We had talked about working together but other commitments had taken president. This is the type of album I have been wanting to release for some time.” Says John of his decision to work with Steve Baboo “ Steve understood straight away what I was trying to achieve and we worked really quickly on just letting the songs breath and be themselves. Nothing was over thought or overworked."

‘Replica Figures’ features Steve Black (Sweet Baboo) on piano and bass, former guitarist of early 90's indie band Hopper (who were signed to Tony Wilson), Paul Sheppard, and John's daughter Maggie Lola on backing vocals. The album circulates around the concept of memories, different memories, how they are created, the lack of memory, enforced and false memories...

"We wanted the album to have restrictions in place, a limited palette of instruments and sounds, and most importantly a vocal performance to capture emotion and the moment.” Says John about recording the album “We are so used to listening to perfect vocals and I wanted to create a snapshot, much like a memory."

‘Replica Figures’ is John’s first album since 2014’s greatly received long player ‘The Death of John MOuse’ that was praised by The Line of Best Fit and Louder than War websites and its brilliant lead single ‘I was a Goalkeeper’ which featured Gareth from Los Campesinos. John MOuse, real name John Davies, has been described as ‘A Welsh Beck,’ and ‘A Less Funny Half Man Half Biscuit'. Under his previous incarnation JT Mouse he worked with Sweet Baboo (aka Steven Black) while in 2010 he scored a cult hit with a song about a gay romance with another duet, this time with TV presenter Steve Jones lifted from the acclaimed album ‘Humber Dogger Forties’. Airplay support for John MOuse includes Frank Skinner on Absolute Radio, Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music and Adam Walton & Bethan Elfyn on BBC Radio Wales.

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

“A Welsh Weezer… arty and not afraid of whopping melodies”  The Line Of Best Fit

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

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

john mouse2.png

Posted in: Music | 0 comments



The winner of our free ticket competition has been drawn and announced. For the rest of us there is a discount code in the blog post below AND the opportunity to watch the concert streamed live on  Facebook


"Sir Karl Jenkins is the most performed living composer in the world."

We are extremely pleased and proud to announce that Distinguished Concerts International have made available a pair of tickets for the forthcoming Karl Jenkins concert in New York at the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall on Monday, January 15th, 2018. The program includes Sing! The Music was Given, a new work commissioned for DCINY’s 10th Anniversary, and The Armed Man, which is presented with film. Read our (2010) interview with Karl Jenkins here

We are offering these tickets as a QUIZ PRIZE on Americymru!

Just answer the three easy quiz questions below ( answers can all be found on Wikipedia ) and send them to us at ( all email addresses will be deleted when the competition closes ). We'll throw all the entries in a hat and pick the winner! Please email us by Tuesday, January 10th, 2018 no later than 9 PM ( Pacific Time ). Tickets will be ready at will call on 1/15 at the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall; the winner will just need to bring a photo ID.

Only one entry per email address is permitted. Duplicates will be disqualified. You do not need to be an AmeriCymru member or logged into the site in order to enter this competition.

If you don't win the competition, please do not despair. DCINY is very kindly offering a 30% discount code for AmeriCymru readers. The code is DCC27599 and it can be used online, over the phone, or in person at Carnegie Hall

Karl Jenkins Quiz

  1. What are Karl Jenkins middle names?
  2. When is Karl's birthday and what year was he born?
  3. At which Welsh university did Karl study music?

​MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2018 at 7:00 PM

Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall

The Music of Sir Karl Jenkins: A DCINY Tenth Anniversary Celebration

DCINY honors UK composer Sir Karl Jenkins with an evening comprised of both new and lauded compositions by the honoree. The program includes Sing! The Music was Given, a new work commissioned for DCINY’s 10th Anniversary, and The Armed Man, which is presented with film. The performance is conducted by Jonathan Griffith, DCINY Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, and features Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International.


KARL JENKINS: The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (with film)
KARL JENKINS - Sing! The Music was Given (New Work Premiere; Commissioned by DCINY Premiere Project)


Jonathan Griffith, DCINY Artistic Director and Principal Conductor
Sir Karl Jenkins, DCINY Composer-in-Residence
Featuring Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International
Tickets $20-$100!
On Sale Now!

Visit or call 212-247-7800
Box Office: 57th Street and Seventh Avenue
Senior and Student Discounts Available at the Box Office with ID
For Group Tickets, VIP Packages, Discounts, and More, e-mail

Ticket Link: The Music Of Karl Jenkins


Posted in: Music | 0 comments

New book

By Meurig Williams, 2017-12-08
New book

I have recently published this book at Amazon about the noted Welshman Goronwy Rees.

Meurig W Williams 

GORONWY REES, GUY BURGESS’ “most intimate friend” flew too close to the sun


       Goronwy Rees is best known for his close friendship with Guy Burgess, one of the Cambridge Five Cold War spies, and how that ruined his career and his life. His convoluted motivations remain an enigma. Here we interpret his life in terms of current understanding of human behavior. Rees was a handsome, athletic, charming and brilliant but self-destructive man. He rose from a modest Welsh background to become in 1931, at the age of 21, a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford which was a center of the powerful English Establishment. Now having access to the corridors of power, he attracted the attention of Guy Burgess who informed him that he was a Soviet agent. Rees was easily drawn into the powerful vortex of Burgess’ charm and manipulative prowess and was recruited by him, perhaps against his better judgement, largely as a consequence of his poorly developed sense of identity, a phenomenon that was not well understood at that time. That intense relationship, which lasted through Rees’ marriage and a variety of jobs, ended when Burgess disappeared in 1951. Rees immediately realized that he had gone to the Soviet Union and, strangely, attempted to inform the authorities. Having lost his closest friend, in order to feel fully alive again, Rees felt a need for a new challenge, and to continue to live life his own way, regardless of conventional values of society. Such an opportunity arose in 1953 when he accepted the Principalship of a provincial Welsh university which was fraught with complex challenges. The following year, a new President of the university was elected who opposed Rees’ plans, disliked him personally and waited for an opportunity to move against him. To make matters worse, Burgess surfaced to considerable fanfare in Moscow in 1956, proving that he was a spy. Those two unrelated and unanticipated events transformed what Rees had considered to be acceptable levels of risk into a major threat. To which Rees overreacted by attempting to distance himself from Burgess by writing angry letters to a newspaper, describing him as a corrupt man, spy, blackmailer, homosexual and a drunk. As the result of a ‘trial’ by the university authorities, which revealed their own backwater prejudices more than any wrongdoing by Rees, other than showing poor judgement, he lost his Principalship. For exposing Burgess, Rees was vilified by the English for violating E.M.Forster’s dictum that “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”, which was a cultural foundation of the English Establishment into which he had been accepted. And he was vilified by the Welsh Establishment for betraying Welsh cultural values in his position as Principal. An unfortunate consequence being that he failed to get the recognition he deserved as a writer of distinction.

    The degree of Rees’ involvement in espionage was inconsequential, based on published evidence, but may not be fully determined on account of unreleased British government files. We make the case that, in spite of their many common personality characteristics, Rees differed fundamentally from Burgess in that he was a constructive but flawed person, whereas the evil Burgess was hell-bent on destroying his country and himself. The opinions of Rees’ closest friends must be respected. Some thought that perhaps he never grew up, and just enjoyed the pleasures of the moment, especially those of being attractive to women sexually, and to men who were dazzlingly brilliant outsiders like himself. One admirer wrote that “If he had not held pleasure to be his first principle, he might have suffered dismaying attacks of responsibility and ambition, in which case he could not have given so many of us over so many years such delight in his company”.

      When does a reasonable level of risk become untenable? Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T.S. Eliot.

     In Greek mythology, Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned on Crete but escaped after Daedalus made wings out of wax and feathers for himself and Icarus. Before taking off, Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sun or the wax would melt his wings. Icarus of course did exactly the opposite of what his father said, the sun melted the wax on his wings, the feathers fell off and he fell into the sea and drowned.

     The danger with accepting risk is that unanticipated factors can transform the risk into disaster. For Icarus, the risk was flying with feathered wings. The unanticipated factor was the heat of the sun. Rees took two major risks. One was his friendship with Guy Burgess, knowing that he was a Soviet spy. The unanticipated factor was Burgess’ appearance in Moscow, creating an international furore, thus proving his espionage and posing a threat to Rees’ career. The other risk was acceptance of the Principalship at a provincial university which posed known major challenges. The unanticipated factor was the election of a new President at the university who opposed Rees’ policies, disliked him personally and waited for an opportunity to move against him. One followed the other closely, and Rees responded to the cumulative stress by writing a colorful and detailed exposé of Burgess which ended his academic career and to a large extent ruined his life. He had flown too close to the sun.


I           SYNOPSIS




V          EARLY DAYS

VI         OXFORD







XIIa        …. IN BRIEF






Posted in: default | 1 comments

John MOuse shares lead single

By Ceri Shaw, 2017-12-05

John MOuse shares lead single "Bunkbeds and broken" from his new album "Replica Figures" via Youtube.

The crowdfunded album which is officially released Feb 19th is a collaboration with Sweet Baboo, who produced and played on the album. It's the first time in 15 years that John has worked with Steven Black since they were in the band JT Mouse.

The album also features Paul Sheppard, former guitarist of 90's indie band Hopper who were signed to Tony Wilson's Factory Too records, and who's debut album was produced by Bernard Butler.

The Video is filmed entirely by John's daughter Maggie Lola Davies who also features on backing vocals on the album.

John MOuse is promoting the single and album at

Crofters Rights, Bristol Dec 11th

Morgans, Rhondda Valleys Jan 1st

The Moon, Cardiff Jan 12th

Price Albert, Stroud Feb 10th

Le Pub, Newport Feb 17th

Posted in: Music | 0 comments

Bryn Yemm Releases 'Across The Bridge'

By Ceri Shaw, 2017-12-04


sensational new album - released 1 December 2017


an album of songs to inspire & lift your spirit

to reflect upon treasured memories of loved one

Across the Bridge”

the latest album release from

international best selling artist

Bryn Yemm

bryn yemm.jpg“I am immensely proud of this album; an album that I never thought I would record”, explains Bryn. “Like many parents who lose a child, it takes something exceptional to begin a normal life again – my longstanding friend John David gave me the song “Safe N Sound” and rekindled my desire to sing and record again”.

“Listen to ‘Safe N Sound’ it expresses all our wishes for a dear one who has passed”.

“I have gathered one of the most talented teams in South Wales to perform on and produce this album. It was recorded at Nick Brine’s Leeders Vale Studios – Nick is a young dynamic producer who already worked with Oasis, Thunder and Chapel Row after learning his craft at Rockfield Studios. Nick was assisted with ‘mixing and mastering’ by talented sound engineer Jon Constantine”.

“Adding an extra dimension to the vocals are the amazing Katy Dann and the Kidz R Us choir; they truly enrich this album”.

“I have recorded an album of songs to inspire, to lift your spirit, to reflect upon treasured memories of loved one”.

Posted in: Music | 0 comments
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