Read our interviews with author Rhys Hughes here and here


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In this collection of bizarre tales from the Welsh master of the absurd we are introduced to a Professor with a small class and an unusual subject matter. Rhys explains thusly:

There are few students in my class. When one considers what the subject is, this isn’t surprising. I teach myself.

In other words, I impart to my students facts and fancies based on my life and ideas. It’s the least popular class in the university and I doubt it will be funded for another term.

As a homework assignment the students are asked to write an essay in which they must try and imagine how the Professor spends his spare time. Needless to say he has told them nothing of his personal life.

The eighteen essays which follow offer an extraordinary and hilarious variety of imaginings, some of which are, worryingly, partially accurate. Is the Professor being spied upon? Who is the woman waving from the street below, and which of his students is prowling around on the roof presumably watching him? Of course you will have to read the book to a conclusion for answers to the above questions. 

Meanwhile the 'homework assignments' on offer here will delight Rhys Hughes fans. There is the strange case of Professor Spark who we meet walking the corridors of the university thinking about the meaning of life. His musings are of little interest because:

It could be the case he was about to make a major discovery in his field, to prove that viruses have knees or that aardvarks are descended from dragons, who knows? I didn’t care much.

The situation quickly deteriorates, however, when Prof Spark returns from a local bookshop with a copy of 'The Pop-Up Book of Fire'. The consequences of his purchase are at once, tragic, absurd and hilarious.

Then there is the tale of Miss Diane Ra who loves labyrinths. The problem is that clothes have a habit of unravelling whenever she is accompanied on a walk through town. And who is the madman who prowls the city streets with the strongest lamp he can find looking for darkness?

Towards the end of the book the Professor is advised by one of his students:

You have taught yourself. Now teach others.

Is this further foreshadowing of Rhys Hughes forthcoming emphasis on non-fiction and essay writing?Readers may remember the following announcement in Weirdly Out West :

I will switch to non-fiction and start writing essays and articles. In fact I began last year to take my non-fiction much more seriously and I am hoping that my first book of essays will be out in the next year or two.

Whatever the truth of that, 'Students of Myself' is another triumph from the pen of Rhys Hughes and will delight both fans and new readers alike. If you are not familiar with Rhys's work this would be as good a place to start as any. If you are, you will need no further recommendation or encouragement. 

The Eisteddfod of The North American Festival of Wales is on, with a wide range of opportunities to participate!   Poetry Composition is back and available to anyone, anywhere, while for the Festival itself in Utica (Sept. 2-5, 2021) the Visual Arts competition returns along with some stage competitions.

For Poetry Composition (Welsh Language and English Language), send in your work (via email) by the deadline of August 8, 2021, on the theme of "Hiraeth", for a single grand prize in each competition... the David Llewelyn Williams Prizes (US $250 each), honoring the memory of a great friend and huge contributor to the NAFOW Eisteddfod. 

The deadline for entering the other competitions (Visual Arts and stage competitions) is August 20, 2021.

For Visual Arts (painting, sketch, sculpture, etc.), only a description of your work is needed by that date, then bring your work to the Festival hotel (Delta Hotels by Marriott Utica) on Friday, Sept. 3; this year, the competition also includes a theme of "Hiraeth". 

Stage competitions will take place on Saturday, Sept. 4 at the hotel.  The Solo Voice competition welcomes singers of all ages, with a special Youth Prize available for an outstanding youth entrant; hymns are also a possibility as performance pieces. 

The two Recitation competitions (Welsh and English) offer as set pieces the winners from last year's inaugural Poetry Composition Competitions... "gobaith" by Christine James and "Alphabet" by Robert Walton.  For Welsh, entrants of all levels are welcome, and adjudicators will recognize anyone's status as a "Learner" if so declared. 

Click on the link below for online entry forms and detailed information on all of the competitions, as well as an email link if you have further questions... and we'll see you soon!   

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Creative Supervisors clockwise from top left_ SZW Lily Beau Minas and Monique B.jpg
Creative Supervisors (clockwise from top left): SZWÉ, Lily Beau, Minas and Monique B

Applications are now open for new music industry project, Honey Sessions , which launches this summer to educate, mentor and inspire young songwriters, artists and producers aged 16-26 who create Hip Hop, Rap, Grime, R’n’B and Pop Music in Wales. Applications close on 31st July.

The ‘Honey Sessions’ will take place throughout August 2021, and will provide a unique opportunity for five young artists and five producers to work together to make brand new music, further their knowledge of the industry and enhance their creative portfolios by learning from a range of high profile industry professionals.

In collaboration with Forté Project, the team recognised a lack of applications from artists from Black and minority backgrounds in their previous programs and wanted to create a brand new project with emphasis on artists and producers creating MOBO - Music of Black Origin.

The ‘Honey Sessions’ has been developed in consultation with a range of industry professionals working specifically in MOBO genres in London and other cities outside of Wales. Sizwe Chitiyo, a musician and project consultant, has long felt the need for support in MOBO music in Wales:

“Young people creating music in MOBO genres have previously lacked support in many areas of the industry, ‘Honey Sessions’ has been designed to provide a platform for creativity and knowledge to those emerging musicians, as well as creating a new network of high profile industry expertise.

‘We want the Honey Sessions to provide a community with the space and the support to help them flourish!”

Not only this but unlike similar programs that exist, every single eligible applicant will receive feedback on their application and access to exclusive online workshops from industry experts in A&R, songwriting and social media expertise to help contribute to their success in the future.

Applications can be made here: APPLICATIONS

This project is a collaboration between Welsh music talent development programme, Forté Project and a new music industry initiative, Beacons, which supports young people in Wales to enter the music industry. It is made possible through funding from PRS Foundation for Music, Ty Cerdd and Youth Music.

Applications close Friday 31st July.

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‘Balafô Douma’
 yw’r sengl gyntaf oddi ar  ‘Aros I Fi Yna ’ EP cyntaf  N’famady Kouyaté . Yn wreiddiol o Guinea Conakry, mae cerddoriaeth N’famady wedi ei wreiddio yn nhraddodiadau Mandingue ei famwlad yng Ngorllewin Affrica, gyda dehongliadau newydd o fywyd ac egni yn deillio o ddylanwadau indi, pop a jazz ei gartref newydd yng Nghymru.

Cyfieithiad Cymraeg y teitl yw ‘mae’n wych cael chwarae’r balafon’, ac mae’n cynrychioli taith gerddorol N’famady, o bŵer a chryfder ei etifeddiaeth deuluol (cafodd ei ddysgu sut i chwarae’r balofon, sef xylophone traddodiadol Affricanaidd, yn blentyn) i fod yn swyno cynulleidfaoedd yn y DU ac Iwerddon ar daith gyda Gruff Rhys. Cafodd y gan ei recordio yn Rockfield, y stiwdios enwog, gyda llais wedi ei recordio yn Guinea.

Mae’r EP sydd i ddod yn cynnwys cyfraniadau gan artistiaid megis  Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals ),  Lisa Jên Brown (9Bach) , a  Kliph Scurlock (ex-The Flaming Lips) . “Aros I Fi Yna” is a kaleidoscope of vibrant sounds and colours, a mesmerizing and joyous introduction to a truly international artist. Mae 'Aros I Fi Yna' yn gymysgedd llachar o synau a lliwiau, ac yn gyflwyniad swynol a bywiog at artist gwbl ryngwladol.

Rhestr Traciau 
Aros I Fi Yna
Gadael y Dref
Balafô Douma

‘Balafô Douma’  is the first single from  N’famady Kouyaté’s  debut EP,  'Aros I Fi Yna' . Originally from Guinea Conakry, N’famady‘s music is rooted in the Mandingue tradition of his West African homeland with new interpretations, life, and energy provided by the indie, pop, and jazz influences of his new home in Wales.

The title translates as ‘it’s great to be playing balafon’ and represents N’famady’s musical journey, from the power and strength of his family heritage (having been taught the traditional wooden African xylophone – the balafon – as an infant) to wowing audiences in the UK and Ireland on tour with Gruff Rhys. The song was recorded at the legendary Rockfield studios with vocals recorded in Guinea.

The forthcoming EP features guest appearances from  Gruff Rhys (Super Fury Animals) Lisa Jên Brown (9Bach) , and  Kliph Scurlock (ex-The Flaming Lips).

'Aros I Fi Yna' is a kaleidoscope of vibrant sounds and colours, a mesmerizing and joyous introduction to a truly international artist.

Track Listing
Aros I Fi Yna
Gadael y Dref
Balafô Douma

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Not Welsh Not

By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-07-18

This is not a Welsh Not

but a Welsh is and always will be

raving over higgledy piggledy slates

with fingernails of demons scraping

screeching out a lost non rock and roll

and not a low flying bomber

in sight or sound

tipsy on communion wine 

and a quick fumble

in the ecumenical jungle

dog tired dog collars loosen

to a beat of life lived

and not analysed

not a sermon planned

nor an afterlife awaited

submerge into sublime harps

inherited from the elders

never understand 

but defined as Corvid


avoid their Larsen traps

and their booby traps

with our Weapons of Non Destruction 

Peter Hurkos a Dutch psychic

and y Mab Darogan

(the Son of Destiny)

and how about a little of Twm o’r Nant

or David R Edwards ?

we have become strange bedfellows 

but at least it is touching

I am not the National Poet

and I know it

I know my place

but not where to find it

we are all the National Poet

but don’t know it

we don’t know our place

nor where to find it

this is not a Welsh Not

a Welsh Not not

not Welsh not

I am not a Welsh Not

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LLEUWEN releases 'RHOSOD' on Label Eg

“My roses are fragile, and come with thorns. . . ”

Here is a line from 'RHOSOD' (Roses) written, composed, recorded and performed by Lleuwen Steffan in her home in Brittany. Lockdown has been a time of home recordings. She usually composes her songs with guitar, and used most of her lockdown time to learn something she always wanted – the piano. All her gigs were cancelled mid-tour in 2020 so she had the time.

Nothing beats real connection, so when she was given the opportunity to work with producer Erin Costelo, Lleuwen seized the opportunity. What started as a few polite zoom meetings snowballed into long discussions about production, mixing, mastering and talks about the lack of female music producers, or more so, the lack of recognition.

This song is just the beginning of their partnership.

Written on piano and using her zipper lighter as percussion, Lleuwen finds joy in the lo-fi. “This is a song you planted in my garden. From my garden to your radio, to your ear and back into essence”, says the song that ends with poet Sion Llewelyn’s translation of the Serenity Prayer. RHOSOD is the first of two songs composed by Lleuwen in partnership with the National Eisteddfod of Wales and National Arts Centre Canada, with Erin as producer.

If you wish to take part in their next song, we are searching for singers to join Lleuwen, so if you enjoy singing and want to take part, please follow the link below:



or for any further information contact us on  before 21st July.

Rhosod is the first ever release on Label Eg and will be out on all streaming platforms from July 21st, 2021. It is available to pre-order.

'RHOSOD': Cân newydd Lleuwen i’w rhyddhau ar Label Eg

“Mae rhosod yn fregus, maen nhw’n dod efo drain . . .”

Dyma linell o RHOSOD, cân wedi ei chyfansoddi, ei recordio a'i pherfformio o gartref Lleuwen yn Llydaw ar gyfer Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru. "Mae'n un o gasgliad o ganeuon sydd wedi bod yn cysgu yn fy macbook ers dechrau’r cyfnod clo" meddai.

Pan ddaeth y cynnig iddi gyd-weithio gyda'r cynhyrchydd Erin Costelo o Ganada, bachodd ar y cyfle i ofyn i Erin gynhyrchu'r gân hon. Fodd bynnag, yn ôl Erin ‘roedd Lleuwen wedi cynhyrchu'r gân yn barod. Penderfynodd y ddwy gadw at y cynhyrchiad gwreiddiol felly gan gadw’r zipper lighter fel offeryn taro, ynghyd â theganau a’r synth o'r 80au.

Dechrau'r cywaith hwn rhwng y ddau artist yw’r gân hon, ac Erin Costelo sydd wedi cymysgu'r trac yn ei stiwdio yn Nova Scotia. Bu'r ddwy yn cyd-weithio dros fisoedd o sesiynau zoom yn rhannu, cynhyrchu a thrafod pa mor rhyfedd yw'r ffaith bod cyn lleied o gerddorion benywaidd yn cael eu cydnabod fel cynhyrchwyr.

Mae Erin yn credu'n gryf ei bod hi’n bwysig i ferched gael cydnabyddiaeth am eu gwaith fel cynhyrchwyr, yn union fel sy'n digwydd gyda chynhyrchwyr gwrywaidd. Dywedodd Erin “braf yw cydweithio ar brosiect o statws rhyngwladol sy’n rhoi’r sylw haeddiannol i ni am ein gwaith”.

RHOSOD yw'r gyntaf o ddwy gân wedi eu cyfansoddi gan Lleuwen mewn cydweithrediad â'r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol a National Arts Centre Canada, gydag Erin Costelo wrth y llyw yn cynhyrchu. Dyma'r gân gyntaf erioed i Lleuwen greu ar y piano.

Os hoffech chi ganu ar yr ail gân, ‘rydym yn chwilio am leisiau o bob math i ymuno gyda Lleuwen. Am fwy o wybodaeth, dilynwch y ddolen hon: neu cysylltwch drwy e-bost cyn Gorffennaf 21, am fwy o wybodaeth:

RHOSOD yw'r gân gyntaf i'w rhyddhau ar Label Eg sef label cerddoriaeth newydd Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru. Mae hi’n bosib i chi rhag-archebu Rhosod o unrhyw blatfform ffrydio o'r 21ain o Orffenaf.


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An extremely comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to the history and evolution of the castle under Wales' native rulers (c.1066-1283). Spectacular aerial photography, plans and reconstruction drawings examine the various architectural designs and layouts that created the distinctive form of the Welsh castle. 378 pages, full colour, fully illustrated.

Canllaw cynhwysfawr dros ben, wedi'i ddarlunio'n llawn, i hanes ac esblygiad y castell Cymreig yng nghyfnod ei thywysogion cynhenid (c.1066-1283). Ceir ffotograffau trawiadol o'r awyr, cynlluniau ac ail-luniadau o'r adeiladau gan archwilio'r dyluniadau a'r amlinelliadau pensaernïol amrywiol a greodd ffurf arbennig y castell brodorol Cymreig. 378 tudalen, lliw llaw, llawn lluniau & darluniau gwych.

Ar gael yn awr - £19.99 yn unig - yn  ac yn eich siop lyfrau leol.

Available now - only £19.99 - in  and in your local bookshop.

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'Wave Upon Wave', the latest single by North Wales singer / songwriter Eve Goodman is an exploration of the healing power of the sea. Its lilting, rolling melody is one part ‘Bryter Layter’ Nick Drake, early 70s golden period Sandy Denny and the other Eve’s captivating and unflinching musical honesty. 'Wave Upon Wave'’s emotive heart balances the songs questioning yearning with the need for comfort …… the comfort of being carried along the waves towards an awaiting shore.

Eve explains the origin of the song:

"I wrote the vocal parts in one sitting, and never changed them. In fact, the entire vocal recording is the original demo that I created when trying out ideas late one night. I started off with the simple lilting melody of 'wave upon wave upon wave', and loved the way the structure of this sentence means it could go on infinitely. This idea of infinity sparked the next line, 'day upon day upon day'. The sea is vast, infinite, timeless.The song grew from there really, like a wave rolling towards the shore, building strength and power and beauty.”

The single was recorded and mixed by Luke Evans at Somewhere Studio and mastered by Katie Tavini.
About the Song:  "I wrote the vocal parts in one sitting, and never changed them. In fact, the entire vocal recording is the original demo that I created when trying out ideas late one night. I started off with the simple lilting melody of 'wave upon wave upon wave', and loved the way the structure of this sentence means it could go on infinitely. This idea of infinity sparked the next line, 'day upon day upon day'. The sea is vast, infinite, timeless. The song grew from there really, like a wave rolling towards the shore, building strength and power and beauty.I particularly love the autoharp.

The sounds of the strings as they are played sound like the gentle pull and creaks of the mast, and it feels like you're on a boat. Luke did a beautiful job of building a soundscape for the vocals to float on."

"Eve Goodman transmutes the personal into the universal and reveals a deep connection to what it is to be human in these troubled, inspiring times.”Caspar Walsh-  Poet and Author 

"Eve Goodman possesses a rare magic"-  From The Margins 


Wave upon wave upon wave upon wave
Day upon day upon day upon day
Sea shore

I came here to see more
I came here feel more
I came here to be more
Sea shore

Make my way up from the rocks
Make my way with little steps
Wring my clothes out on the sand
Breathing, breathing, here’s dry land 
Sometimes I get lost at sea
Lighthouse, lighthouse, shine for me
Hold me in your trembling arms 
Hold me til my seas are calm




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Led by Welsh-native producer and vocalist Ryan A. James, Man Without Country incorporates modern electronic precision with a love of timeless melodies, and an emphasis on lyrics that cannot be compared to many of his peers.

MWC first emerged in 2007, originally as a duo alongside Tomas Greenhalf. The pair produced two acclaimed studio albums - the confrontational Foe (2012) and the maximalist Maximum Entropy (2015) under Cooperative Music(Universal / PIAS). After parting ways the project resurfaced in late 2017, essentially as a solo act.

In 2018, and following a successful crowd-funder with PledgeMusic, James caught the attention of Camden-based indie Killing Moon Records, who released the ambitious Infinity Mirror in October of that year.

“The fact that Infinity Mirror is primarily the work of just one musician is incredible. There is so much craft and melody on show here you will struggle to hear a better electronic album this year - this is absolutely outstanding.”-

James’ abilities have also seen him collaborate with some prominent names. His vocal-feature on ‘Sordid Affair’ by multi-platinum-selling Norwegian electro-veterans Röyksopp was the first single taken from their 2014 studio album The Inevitable End. In 2019, the duo revealed ‘In the End’ as part of their Lost Tapes series. Originally recorded in 2014, the song features a vocal duet between James and Susanne Sundfør.

Over the course of his career James has also accumulated quite the remix CV, which lists official remixes and co-remixes for the likes of ionnalee (iamamiwhoami), Interpol, Chad Valley, Empathy Test, Carlosh Garzat, School of Seven Bells, Band of Skulls, Röyksopp, M83, Moby and many others.

Now a father halfway through his thirties, James returns with the Nostalgia-tinged Bloods, Side A- his new EP inspired by human relationships. Drawing influence from Com Truise and The Japanese House, lead single ‘Gardener in a War’ blends warped synthesizers and elastic bass-lines with fragile vocals and self-deprecating lyrics (“I was the Petri-dish for you. You’ll be a better man than me”).

The EP’s second track ‘Savannah’ presents a conflicting juxtaposition of bouncing arpeggios, beneath Yazoo-style vocals that recount episodes of sleep regression and feelings of claustrophobia. Whereas closing track ‘Ultra-Nightmare’ is dark and moody, evoking a sense of sadness and unease.

Bloods, Side A is due July 16th on all digital streaming platforms.


3.Gardener in a War
4.Our Silences
6.Gardener in a War - Edit
7.Ultra-Nightmare - Edit

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Cardiff Psych Rock phenomena 'No Thee No Ess' are poised to release their first brand new single from anticipated new 'Dimmer Switch' album out via Surk Recordings this September. 'Chorus' is the first to be lifted from the new LP and will be released on Friday 16th July.

No Thee No Ess is a collaboration between Paul Battenbough (The Cosmic Array, King of Despair) and Andy Fung (Derrero, Cymbient). The two musical and visual artists first met whilst working in the kitchen of a Cardiff arts centre and bonded through a shared love of The Beach Boys, Neil Young, and West Coast psychedelia.

The partnership creates spontaneously, conceiving songs and ideas in the studio and then recording straight away to preserve their freshness and immediacy. The eighth No Thee No Ess album, 'Dimmer switch' was recorded with musician/producer Frank Naughton at his legendary Cardiff studio, ‘Ty Drwg.’

Naughton contributes additional instrumentation, bringing new lysergic colours to songs like “kaleidoscopic” and "Chorus.” The result is among no thee no ess’ most adventurous works to date, rich with experimental energy while retaining their characteristic blissed out vision. Dimmer switch will be released by Surk Recordings on vinyl, CD, streaming, and digital download in August 2021.

Artist:  No Thee No Ess
Single Title:  'Chorus'
Single Release Date:  Friday 16th July 2021
Single Format:  Digital / CD
Album Title:  'Dimmer Switch'
Album Release Date:  Friday 17th September 2021
Album Format:  Digital / Vinyl LP
Label:  Surk Recordings
Genre:  Psych Folk Rock
Social Tags:  @thee_ess @Beastpruk

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