Awst is the project of Eryri musician Cynyr Hamer. Awst returns with bittersweet new single  'Afallon’  a hazy wistful song about not being able to recapture childhood memories of long hot summers in the 90s, spending time with family in his grandparents home. Hamer says  “over the years our grandparents' home has become like a mythical magical place which exists only in our memories, like the mythical story of Avalon.”  

With a redolent, glowing, psych tinged strum and lilting vocals, it’s a wistful and gorgeous window into childhood and fond memories. The accompanying video is a snapshot of that place and time, filmed by his dad through a larger camcorder in the early 1990s.


"And to be in the place of my home, now i seek for that place far within my memory"

Having been involved in various other bands over the years, such as Worldcub, Hippies Vs Ghosts, and We Are Animal, Awst is Cynyr's more personal solo brainchild. Active since 2021, a handful of releases are already under the belt, including debut album  'Haul/Lloer'  follow up self titled album  'Awst'  and newly released album' Mewn Côf'. All released within a year.

Awst's songs are crafted from acoustic melodies, layered with dreamy guitars and synths, with the occasional horn sections. The material is written and recorded entirely by Cynyr on a tascam multitrack recorder in a caravan up in the Eryri hills. The songs are recorded almost always on first takes, keeping the live element of excitement of playing the parts for the first time, with spontaneity, playfulness and freedom captured in the music. The songs often conjure up nostalgic feelings at the end of summer, capturing bittersweet memories and sounds.

Having played electro-acoustic sets at numerous shows in the past year, including FOCUS Wales Festival and FOCUS Wales’ Dydd Miwsig Cymru event,  Awst set out to release his third album, with the single  'Hafan'  being the first to appear, followed by second single  'Aros Tan Ddydd', 'Afallon';  is the third and final single to be released from his summer album release titled  'Mewn Côf'.


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Llanelli-raised Dr Mari Morgan emigrated to the United States in 1996 to pursue a career as a classical singer.  Braids of Song: Weaving Welsh Music into the American Soul  (Y Lolfa) by Mari Morgan evokes the experiences of other Welsh people who have ventured across the Pond to follow their musical dreams. Mari Morgan asks: “Do you ever wonder what happens when a person moves to a new country? Do they change? Does the way they sing stay with the old or blend with the new? And if they are creative types – what happens to their artistic output?” 

Several voices tell their story, both real and imagined, in the book – the charismatic composer, Dr Joseph Parry from Merthyr who stages a Welsh opera in Danville, Pennsylvania; the steady but ground-breaking conductor, Dr Daniel Protheroe from Cwmgiedd who measures for a suit in Chicago; and the international concert pianist, Marie Novello from Maesteg wrapped in glamorous furs on the first-class deck of an ocean liner. 

And there’s also the author’s own story, a girl from Llanelli who founded and conducts the North American Welsh Choir. Her narrative is a medley of reflections and observations in a Welsh-American context: “I wanted to recognise the richness, humanity, and cross-fertilisation of cultures and identities that built some of the America of today – the interconnection between immigration, identity, and creativity within a Welsh Trans-Atlantic context. 

Braids of Song  is a celebration of life in stories. The idea for the book began after the death of my father on 1 March 2015. A Welsh Nonconformist minister and a man of his people, he posed two questions of me during his final weeks: ‘When are you going to write my story?’ ‘Who are you?’  Braids of Song  is my creative response to those two simple questions. The writing and research took my grief on a thrilling treasure hunt of discovery. 

“My father’s bequest of a score and story of  Arianwen  begins  Braids of Song , combined with my own experience as a Welsh musician who has lived in the United States of America for over twenty-five years, led me on an exploration of how immigration to a new country can alter a person, how the challenges and opportunities of the new are balanced with a sense of loss for the old, and how the creative output is affected in the process of assimilating to a new culture.”  


Raised in the coastal town of Llanelli, musician and writer Mari Morgan was educated at the University of Wales, Cardiff; Trinity College of Music, London; and later at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. She holds degrees in both Music and Creative Writing. She emigrated to the United States in 1996. An acclaimed classical singer with many recordings to her name, she formed and conducts Côr Cymry Gogledd America. Now a naturalized American citizen residing along the banks of the Susquehanna river in Pennsylvania, Dr Morgan divides her time between the United States and Wales.

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Cardiff Alternative band  'Part Time Signals'  are set to release their brand new debut album  'Another Day In Paradise'  on the 13th of October via  Bubblewrap collective.



Following on from  ‘Take Me For A Ride’ , and  ‘The Man’ , the final taste of music from thebands upcoming album will be  ‘Lazy’.  Jacob explains: “Lazy is a familiar feeling, it’s a laidback groove you can listen to while you’re feeling lazy in the morning.”


The Previous  'Part Time Signals'  singles the band have enjoyed radio support from  Adam Walton BBC Introducing in Wales Huw Stephens BBC Radio Wales,   WRIR Postcards From The Underground  Kool Rock Radio , and some lovely reviews from  Nation Cymru Circuit Sweet Amplify The Noise,   Americymru  and  Spotlight on Kulture.


Part Time Signals Bio

Part Time Signals  is the new project formed by  Sock  vocalist and guitarist Jacob Church. The band came together initially by taking demo ideas written by Jacob. When introduced to a live band setting they grew into the form they take on this record.  Part Time Signals  features the talents of  Sam Barnes  (bass),  Gavin Jenkins  (drums) and  Michael Blanchfield  (keys).


All songs on the album were tracked one hot day in August 2022 at  Chapter Arts Centre  Cardiff, followed by a few days recording additional overdubs. The album was mixed by  Sam Barnes  and mastered by  Eddie Al-Shakarchi.


‘Another Day In Paradise’  is a journey through the days. It will be released on a  limited run of 100 vinyl  copies and across all digital platforms on  October 13th.


The artwork photo is by  Jacob Church  with typography and layout by  Rich Chitty.

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The Miners Strike Back  is a new satirical novel by ex-miner Kevin Dicks and published by Y Lolfa. It is his debut novel and has been described as ‘ Twin Town  meets the Miners’ Strike”. 

Kevin Dicks said:

“The idea for the novel came to me whilst digging in my garden I came across a few rogue lumps of coal. What if an ex-coal miner discovered a seam of coal and opened a small clandestine colliery? I saw comedy in the story and a quirkiness to the story that may appeal to readers. As an authentic voice, perhaps I could capture a little of the miners’ humour before it disappears for good.” 

Dr Daryl Leeworthy of the South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University, calls it “A madcap valleys comedy with a serious message for our times. Dicks reads like the heir to Iain Banks, Gwyn Thomas, and Boyd Clack's  Satellite City . At once hilarious, authentic, and thoroughly charming.” 

Kevin Dicks mostly worked as a surveyor’s assistant at Deep Navigation Colliery, Treharris from 1974 until 1988. He has dedicated  The Miners Strike Back  ‘For the Miners’. 

“The further I got into writing this story, the deeper a sense of injustice arose within me. I saw injustices toward the miners everywhere and they underpin the humour of the book. When Johnny the Cutter opens his secret coal mine, with good intentions to provide work for the local antisocial teens, he becomes an anti-hero you can root for. While seeing the world through a coal miner’s eyes, we want him to succeed and it becomes a battleground between employment and energy needs against climate needs.” 

“This story is unique, as to my knowledge there are no working-class novels that examine the failure to economically regenerate mining communities post heavy industry. There is very little out there regarding novels on climate change or the energy crisis and certainly none from the perspective of an ex-coal miner.” 

March 2024 sees the 40-year anniversary of when the Miners Strike began in the UK. The industrial action within the British coal industry was an attempt to prevent colliery closures by the Conservative government, and lasted until 1985. 

The Miners Strike Back  by Kevin Dicks (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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Four children died when the first and largest black church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on 15 September 1963 – a tragic day that became a defining moment for the Civil Rights Movement in the USA.

To mark the 60 th  anniversary of the 16 th  Street Baptist Church bombing, representatives of Wales’ largest youth organisation, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, will visit Birmingham, Alabama to show solidarity with its African American community.

Next week, 13 Urdd Gobaith Cymru Ambassadors who were responsible for the  Urdd’s 2023 Anti Racism Peace and Goodwill Message  are to visit the region and learn more about its rich Civil Rights history.

Urdd Chief Executive Siân Lewis explains : “We are delighted to continue developing our relationship with the African American community in Birmingham, Alabama and to give Urdd members the opportunity to learn more about the history and events of Alabama.

“Earlier this year, our young people created a powerful Peace and Goodwill Message which throws a spotlight on anti-racism, clearly stating that if people see racism, we need to ‘Call. Them. Out’. It’s fitting that we’ll be visiting Birmingham on this important anniversary with the students who created this impactful message, which was heard and shared by thousands across the world.”

Sian Morgan Lloyd, senior lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture, who is accompanying the ambassadors on the trip, said : “We feel privileged to be travelling to Birmingham Alabama with Urdd Gobaith Cymru, as we explore the history of the Civil Rights movement, fostering new friendships along the way. The students, who worked on this year’s Message of Peace, are passionate about using their voices as a means of change. I have no doubt that this trip will inspire and motivate them even further.”

The trip will include visits to historically significant buildings and organisations that were key to the civil rights movement, such as Rosa Park’s House, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the A.G. Gatson Motel and the Legacy Museum, as well as a workshop with young people in Birmingham.

Welsh ties with Birmingham, Alabama were formed in the immediate aftermath of the vicious bombing. A campaign by artist John Petts and the Western Mail resulted in the people of Wales donating a stained-glass window to the church which is still known as the ‘Wales Window’ by Birmingham residents today.

In 2019 an official visit to the church  by Siân Lewis, the Urdd’s CEO, and then Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams strengthened these ties. This resulted in a partnership between the Urdd and the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a renewed desire to provide opportunities for young people on both sides of the Atlantic to learn more about each other’s cultures and traditions.

The partnership with Birmingham, Alabama forms part of the Urdd’s International Strategy to engage young people from around the world with the young people of Wales. Since its establishment in 1922 the Urdd has nurtured over 4 million youngsters to be proud of their country, open to the world and living embodiments of our language and culture, along with the universal values which we cherish in Wales.

Urdd i dalu teyrnged 60 mlynedd ers ffrwydrad eglwys yn Alabama

Ar 15 Medi 1963, lladdwyd pedwar o blant mewn ffrwydrad terfysgol yn eglwys ddu gyntaf a mwyaf Birmingham, Alabama, a hynny yn ystod yr ymgyrch Hawliau Sifil yn America.

Union 60 mlynedd ar ôl ffrwydrad Eglwys y Bedyddwyr ar 16th Street mi fydd cynrychiolwyr o’r Urdd yn ymweld â’r rhanbarth er mwyn dangos undod gyda’i chymuned Affricanaidd-Americanaidd.

Wythnos nesaf, bydd 13 o Lysgenhadon yr Urdd a fu’n gyfrifol am  Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da Gwrth-hiliaeth 2023  yn cael y cyfle i ddysgu mwy am hanes hawliau sifil cyfoethog Birmingham, Alabama.

Eglura Prif Weithredwr yr Urdd, Siân Lewis : “Rydym mor falch o’r cyfle i gryfhau ein perthynas gyda’r gymuned Affricanaidd-Americanaidd ym Mirmingham, Alabama a rhoi cyfle i aelodau’r Urdd ddysgu mwy am hanes a digwyddiadau’r rhanbarth.

“Yn gynharach eleni, lluniodd ein pobl ifanc Neges Heddwch ac Ewyllys Da hynod bwerus sy’n taflu’r chwyddwydr ar wrth-hiliaeth, gan nodi’n glir, os yw pobl yn dyst i hiliaeth, bod angen i ni eu ‘Galw. Nhw. Allan.’ Mae’n briodol iawn, felly, ein bod ni’n ymweld â Birmingham ar y dyddiad pwysig hwn yng nghwmni’r myfyrwyr a greodd y neges ddylanwadol hon ac a glywyd a rannwyd gan filoedd ledled y byd.”

Dyma a ddywedodd Sian Morgan Lloyd, uwch-ddarlithydd yn Ysgol Newyddiaduraeth, y Cyfryngau a Diwylliant Prifysgol Caerdydd, sy’n mynd gyda’r llysgenhadon ar y daith : “Rydyn ni’n teimlo’n freintiedig i gael teithio i Firmingham, Alabama gydag Urdd Gobaith Cymru, wrth inni ymchwilio mwy i hanes y mudiad Hawliau Sifil, gan ddod i adnabod a meithrin cyfeillion newydd ar hyd y ffordd. Mae’r myfyrwyr, a fu’n gweithio ar y Neges Heddwch eleni, yn frwd dros ddefnyddio’u llais i greu newid. Does gen i ddim amheuaeth y bydd y daith hon yn eu hysbrydoli a’u hysgogi hyd yn oed yn fwy.”

Bydd y daith yn cynnwys ymweliadau â nifer o adeiladau a sefydliadau hanesyddol ac arwyddocaol eraill a oedd yn hynod bwysig i'r mudiad hawliau sifil, megis Tŷ Rosa Park, Sefydliad Hawliau Sifil Birmingham, Motel AG Gatson a’r Amgueddfa Etifeddiaeth yn ogystal â gweithdy gyda phobl ifanc Birmingham.

Ffurfiwyd perthynas rhwng y Cymry a chymuned Birmingham, Alabama yn dilyn yr ymosodiad terfysgol pan ysgogwyd yr arlunydd o Lansteffan John Petts i ddylunio ffenestr liw ar gyfer yr eglwys. Yn dilyn ymgyrch codi arian gan y Western Mail gwireddwyd y freuddwyd a chyflwynwyd y ffenestr i’r eglwys gan bobl Cymru fel arwydd o gefnogaeth ac undod, ac fe’i hadnabyddir hyd heddiw gan drigolion Birmingham fel y ‘Wales Window’.

Yn 2019 bu i ymweliad swyddogol gan Siân Lewis , Prif Weithredwr yr Urdd, a Gweinidog Addysg Cymru ar y pryd, Kirsty Williams gryfhau’r berthynas hon, ac arwain at bartneriaeth rhwng y mudiad ieuenctid a Phrifysgol Alabama ym Mirmingham ac awydd o’r newydd i ddarparu cyfleoedd i bobl ifanc ar ddwy ochr yr Iwerydd ddysgu mwy am ddiwylliannau a thraddodiadau ei gilydd. Ym mis Mehefin eleni, teithiodd Côr yr Efengyl Prifysgol Alabama (UAB) i Gymru i berfformio a dysgu mwy am hanes, iaith a diwylliant ein gwlad.

Mae’r bartneriaeth gyda Birmingham, Alabama yn rhan o Strategaeth Ryngwladol yr Urdd i ymgysylltu phobl ifanc Cymru â phobl ifanc o bob cwr o’r byd. Ers ei sefydlu yn 1922 mae’r Urdd wedi meithrin dros 4 miliwn o bobl ifanc i fod yn falch o’u gwlad, yn agored i’r byd ac yn ymgorfforiadau byw o’n hiaith a’n diwylliant, ynghyd â’r gwerthoedd cyffredinol yr ydym yn eu trysori yng Nghymru.

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To mark twenty years since God Is In The TV Zine started, we are throwing a party at The Gate, in Cardiff on Saturday 30th September 2023, featuring incredible bands and artists. The bill includes the two-time Welsh Music Prize winners and GIITTV favourites  Adwaith  who will be headlining. Main support comes from bilingual noise pop trio  Chroma  fresh from supporting Foo Fighters and ahead of the release of their debut album  Ask for Angela  this October. They will be joined by master Welsh songsmith  Carwyn Ellis  of Rio 18, Colorama and The Pretenders live band, who will be playing an exclusive stripped back set, plus emerging artist  The Honest Poet , who blends soul, hip hop, and pop into personal songs full of heart.

Opening the show will be one of our tips for 2023,  Half Happy , a wonderful bittersweet indie-pop band who have captured our hearts in recent months. Great practitioners of soulful lo-fi pop  Papaya Noon  will then ease you into the late afternoon.

Finally, on the decks we have former Boomtown booker and local legend  Kaptin  who will be bringing the party with his encyclopaedic collection of hip hop, soul, disco music and beyond. We are incredibly excited to be bringing this event to such a historic venue from 3pm onwards until late, in association with Hope Not Hate, our friends at Joyzine who are also celebrating their twentieth year, and The Zine. Tickets are £20 in advance, more on the door, order your tickets here.

An independent publication, GIITTV, started life in 2003. This was an era even before blogs, before YouTube, and Twitter. Inspired by webzines like Drowned in Sound and the punk zine spirit of Repeat fanzine, editor Bill Cummings started posting early reviews from the Cardiff University newspaper, Gair Rhydd on a basic Yahoo Geocities page. Over the years he was then joined by writers from around Britain and the world. Since then GIITTV has evolved through many incarnations and evolutions as a website and publication and now boasts a passionate and hardworking editorial team, over 200 writers, and the contributions of artists and web designers, without whom this website would not have grown and thrived for so many years. With a solid following, we hope we have grown into one of the most lasting online portals for music and culture that is around today. We have always championed the artists that excite us from throughout the country and beyond, no matter their level or label, providing a platform for emerging artists and groups. The site has also had a special focus on Welsh music over the last decade, championing the new Welsh wave of artists. We have developed this by spotlighting as many genres as we can in the principality, sponsoring a stage at the Focus Wales festival and by featuring the likes of The Anchoress, Adwaith, Carwyn Ellis, Aderyn and many more artists besides on our podcast Show Me Magic.

As well as delivering a stream of quality writing, our achievements over the years include raising £5000 for Help Musicians from a R.E.M. Covers compilation that was endorsed by the band and helped to promote several charity shows including G Spot in London and Mind Fest in Cardiff. We have also staged shows by the likes of F rightened Rabbit, My Sad Captains, Orphans and Vandals, Rose Kemp, Love Inks, Eric Chenaux, Slow Down Molasses, HMS Morris, Vessels  and many more. Our deputy editor, Simon Godley, received an award for best festival journalist at the Festival Congress in 2015.

With an independent voice free of corporate constraints, we have always believed in giving new artists and writers a platform to gain experience, hone their craft, and explore their passions. We are powered by the goodwill, knowledge, and enthusiasm of our writers, the support of labels and artists, and the readers. We hope this event – set in the heart of Cardiff at one of the city’s most impressive venues- a converted church with listed status as a building – marks this special occasion in style with an event that celebrates some of Wales’s finest artists and which will act as a huge thank you to everyone involved.

Tickets here:      GIITTV 20TH ANNIVERSARY

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mali haf.jpg

Igam-Ogam is one of Mali Hâf's favorite Welsh words, so he decided to write a song with this title. She identifies with the reality she describes and believes it is onamatopoeia. He has a lot of fun dancing energetically to the song when it's live.

Mali hopes, through the chaotic but catchy electronic beat, to convey the frustration and uncertainty of the zigzag road as well as the relief that comes from beginning to surrender to its amazing pattern. In the more slow and vulnerable parts she talks to her young self and sympathizes with the little girl who expected to travel a simple and straight road, without mistakes and pain.


But ultimately it is a song that celebrates the unexpected, the unknown and the unusual and encourages movement and dance.


Igam Ogam will be on the six song EP called “Jig-So” which is being released in the Autumn. And Mali is also extremely grateful to the Arts Council of Wales for its financial support towards completing her songs in this project.


This is the second single leading towards an EP in the Autumn. This new material is a collaboration with the South Wales based producer  Minas.


Lyrics 'IGAM OGAM'


What did you expect, from someone so clumsy?

He is so tired, he is so tired Tried to stay and the path is so straight and narrow I'm sorry, I'm sorry for the trouble I plead, plead If you were expecting a more simple journey



I always walk the zigzag path Sometimes I long for the straight path There is no way around the zig zag path did you join me for a spin?

There was a shy little girl, looking for the way The path to the stage with red ribbons I plead, plead For her to lose her way But now I celebrate On my own special way



In Zig Zag I always walk the zigzag path Sometimes I know what's around the corner But there is no way around the zig zag path You come to look for the wizard with me?





Last single  'Shwsh!'  supported by  Tom Ravenscroft  and  Deb Grant, New Music Fix, BBC 6 Music, Huw Stephens, Adam Walton, BBC Introducing, Rhys Mwyn, BBC Radio Cymru, Georgia Ruth, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Cymru 2, The Unsigned Guide: July Spotlight, Klust Music, Y Selar, She Makes Music, New Lease Music, Amplify The Noise  and many more......



 'Her musical essence, a fusion of electronic pulses, pop allure, and Alt RnB vibes, harmoniously embraces her ancestral Welsh mysticism!'

- Where The Music Meets ⭐  ⭐  ⭐


'That is quite magical. Mali’s magnificent voice is angelic and effervescent!'

Amplify The Noise ⭐  ⭐  ⭐

'Mali Hâf takes us on a most experimental sound journey while immersing us in electronic Pop sounds that she dominates with an irresistibly catchy voice!'

   - ExtraVAFrench ⭐  ⭐  ⭐

igam ogam.jpg

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Indie Punk band 'Pseudo Cool' release their brand new 'Sharp's Catching Waves' single Independently on Friday 11th August. It's an empowering homage to 1970's Welsh surfer Linda Sharp.


Linda Sharp was a champion surfer who was born in Aberafan. She won the European surfing championships twice, the British surfing championships ten times and the Welsh surfing championships 19 times. She is deemed one of the most successful British Surfers of all time.


Inviting you back to the polluted skyline of 1970s Port Talbot, Pseudo Cool return with their latest single ‘Sharp’s Catching Waves’.

Join them to cheer on trailblazing surfer, Linda Sharp. Woah!


Previous singles featured on Adam Walton, Lisa Gwilym shows on BBC Wales.
‘I felt both uncomfortable and thrilled. That’s exactly what I’m looking for!’

‘Dirty Riff with excellence over the top.’

Adam Walton (BBC Radio Wales)


Pseudo Cool are a ‘Dirty Pop’ band from Maesteg, South Wales.
Witty, punchy and raw with influences ranging from The Clash to Lily Allen.


‘Profound but with some light-heartedness and humour’

Nicole Mendes, The Other Side Reviews

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AWAY WE GO' is the fourth single and video in a series of five music videos to be released by the band from their acclaimed  album ‘Druids and Bards’  - created by award winning Ukrainian Filmmaker Taras Merenkov and filmed by Jason Griffith .

Notably, Taras Merenkov won an award for the video he shot for the band for their video for ‘The Hurt Within’ and we can see history repeating itself with the video for ‘Away We Go’.

Merenkov's hazy cinematic style of direction really emphasises  and captures the very essence of the music and makes a formidable accompanying visual, filmed on location in the band’s local vicinity in Wales. 

As mentioned above, 'AWAY WE GO' is taken from the band’s critically acclaimed album 'Druids and Bards ' which is out now via Welsh label 'Yr Wyddfa Records'

‘Druids and Bards’ has been championed by Gary Crowley on BBC Radio London and playlisted on Amazing Radio's A List, Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music and with BBC Radio Wales support from Huw Stephens and Adam Walton . It's fair to say that  North Wales Psych-Rock Band Holy Coves have had quite the year! 

Through long time friend and Producer David Wrench (just mixed the new BLUR album), 'Holy Coves' were put in touch with Texan Producer Erik Wofford ( The Black Angels / Explosions In The Sky ) and have built quite a magical working relationship, one where Wofford found himself on Mixing and Mastering duties for the ' Druids And Bards' album and it has certainly contributed massively to their new sound and ethos.

The track ‘AWAY WE GO’ is the work of Welsh Singer/Songwriter, Scott Marsden and was Recorded at Pehhesgyn Hall Studios, Menai Bridge Anglesey, Produced by Scott Marsden, John Lawrence (Gorky Zycotic Mynci ) & Owain Ginsberg ( We Are Animal / Hippies vs Ghosts) and Mixed by Erik Wofford (The Black Angels) in Austin Texas USA.

Scott has said of the inspiration behind the track and video: 

“The line ‘ All I see is you and me ‘ was written for my wife. She's my soulmate,

We’ve been through so much together, Whenever I sing this I think of her.”

And further

This record is about stepping out of the darkness and into the light”

The physical copies of the Druids and Bards album sold out within just two months and the band are set to release another coloured vinyl pressing shortly. 

This year has  also seen Holy Coves touring  the whole of the UK and they have plans to do so again before the end of the year. During their earlier tour of the UK they took in festivals such as the Isle Of Wight Festival where they enjoyed playing to  a packed out tent on the This Feeling stage.


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BUY IT HERE - The Greatest Sporting Family in History: The Blue & Black Brothers

greatest sport in history.jpg Terry  Breverton , who has been translated into languages as varied as Chinese, Japanese and Turkish, recalls the almost forgotten eight brothers who all played for Cardiff Rugby Club, when it was universally acknowledged as the ‘ greatest rugby club in the world’ . For forty years to 1974, in every season at least one of the brothers was a regular first team member, and the youngest four brothers sometimes all played together. The careers of four of the brothers were halted because of World War Two, where the eldest and ‘best’, Gwyn Williams, was carried off on a death cart but recovered, never to play again. Brother Bleddyn was a fighter pilot, pressed into service as a glider pilot, flying paratroopers for the invasion of Germany. In the 1953 New Zealand rugby tour of Great Britain, the All Blacks suffered their only defeats to Cardiff and Wales, both captained by Bleddyn. Another brother, Lloyd, captained Cardiff and Wales, as did their cousin Bill Tamplin. Their uncle Roy Roberts played with the older brothers for Cardiff and won the Military Medal. Despite the war ending 6 years of fixtures for the 4 older boys, and the next 2 having to undertake National Service, the brothers played 1,400 games for Cardiff Firsts. They grew up with four sisters in a rented terraced house in the small village of Taff’s Well – theirs is a unique story of sporting achievement, impossible to replicate.

Some 5* reader reviews include: ‘This book not only records graphically the history of Cardiff and Taff’s Wells rugby clubs, but also the first hundred years of Welsh rugby. I could not put it down as I felt that I was there on the field. It is an incredible story of eight brothers from a small village who played for Cardiff when it was the greatest club in the world. This achievement can never be repeated. It is also a valuable document recording social history of its time in Wales, a wealth of information for historians and sportspeople alike. This is  Terry   Breverton  at his very best.’ - ‘Wonderfully researched … This is an important book in the annals of rugby history, and also shines a light on the social and economic history of Cardiff, Wales and the wider UK.’ – ‘Having spent time in conversations with four of the brothers, I can highly recommend this book to lovers of the game they play in heaven.’

‘Writing about sport can be neat and academic, with scores, records, reports, lives and opinions cited to describe this game or that as a social phenomenon…This is not such a book. It’s a love letter – to rugby, to Cardiff Rugby Football Club, and to the extraordinary Williams family. For you don’t go to Cardiff Arms Park – or Bath Rec or the Brewery Field or Twickers – to watch a social phenomenon. You go to see victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, or to bear disappointment with a pint; to applaud that outside break, that tackle, that kick; to bemoan the one-eyed referee or the team selection; to be partial but generous; to complain that the game isn’t what it was … but still to follow the latest stars and stalwarts, the clowns and villains that some rugby Shakespeare has placed upon the green stage. And to honour the Williams family and Cardiff RFC,  Terry   Breverton  has turned himself into that know-all who drives you nuts, but with whom you will always go the match. The one you tell to shut up, because he goes on so – but when you want to know something, he’s the one you ask. This book is long overdue, but none the worse for it. Read it, and cheer.’

It's a bit of a doorstop, 650 pages showing why for over 100 years Cardiff were regarded as  'the greatest'  - alongside the history of the Cardiff club, Taff's Well RFC and the Welsh team to the era of Gareth and Barry in the mid-1970s.  Terry  began writing it because a few people had heard of Bleddyn Williams, but hardly anyone recalls the family. He tells  Nation Cymru  that: "Amazingly, eight brothers played rugby for Cardiff, when it was regarded as 't he greatest club in the world ' . An unknown story - two of the boys captained Cardiff and Wales, as did their cousin Bill Tamplin, who played with the famous Bleddyn Williams. Their uncle Roy Roberts also played for Cardiff with the older brothers before and after the War, winning the MM as a tank commander. The three eldest boys, Gwyn, Bryn and Bleddyn Williams fought in the War, Gwyn getting hauled off on a 'death cart' in North Africa for a desert burial, before a miraculous rescue. Gwyn was riddled with shrapnel, blinded in one eye and in pain for the rest of his days. Bleddyn risked court martial by racing to Gwyn's hospital in Oxford, talking constantly to him about their childhood and rugby, until Gwyn came around from a coma. Gwyn did not even know he was married. In his spare time, Gwyn’s Taff's Well schoolmaster selflessly threw himself into teaching Gwyn to read, write and count again. Bleddyn had trained as a fighter pilot but had to retrain, to fly paratroops through immense flak for the Rhine Crossing, as so many glider pilots had been lost at Arnhem. The rugby careers of Gwyn, Bryn and Bleddyn were put on hold for six years because of War, and the next three brothers Vaughan, Lloyd and Cenydd, lost two years for National Service.   

Despite thus losing 24 seasons of playing time, the boys played 1,480 times for Cardiff Firsts. By the time their careers ended, three were in the top 8 appearances for Cardiff - Elwyn with 339 games, Tony with 328 and Lloyd with 310. Tony and Lloyd were the only backs, the other six being forwards. The book takes us over 100 years from the founding of Taff's Well and Cardiff rugby clubs in the 19 th  century up to the mid-1970s, when the youngest two brothers, Elwyn and Tony returned to play for Taff's Well with great success. It is a UNIQUE story, never to be repeated in any team sport, with what amounts to a social history of rapidly changing times, and describing why Cardiff were acknowledged as  'the greatest ' team for a century. They played the best teams in Wales and England, and all the major touring sides, never coming close to a losing season. In many seasons they scored three to six times as many tries as their opponents, but the other teams scored more penalties. Cardiff always preferred to run the ball, the mission of the forwards being to get the ball to the backs for entertaining flowing rugby that brought record attendances wherever they played. 

We may have heard of Bleddyn, who captained Cardiff and Wales to the only two defeats of New Zealand on their 1953 tour of Britain, but there are the rugby biographies of all the brothers, their relatives Roy Roberts and Bill Tamplin, and some of the greatest men in Welsh rugby that they played alongside, for Cardiff, the Lions, Barbarians and Wales. I sometimes saw the four youngest in the same team - Lloyd (who also captained Cardiff and Wales), Cenydd, Elwyn and Tony - and this was the most difficult team to play for in British, if not world, club rugby. From 1933 to 1974, at least one brother was a regular first-choice player. Theirs is a frankly  incredible and inspiring  story of 8 brothers and 4 sisters growing up in the Depression and War. Their father was out of work as a coal tipper down Cardiff Docks for 6 years before War broke out, and they grew up in a 2.5-bedroom rented terraced house in a tiny, polluted village. 

Despite constant offers to turn professional - Bleddyn was offered a world record fee - only two 'went North'. Gwyn before the War joined Wigan, known as  'Wigan Welsh'  for their preponderance of Welsh players.

He told the press that he went to help his father financially, but three years ago I discovered that he turned professional to pay for Bleddyn's Rydal School fees. Cenydd was being touted in all the press as the next Wales outside-half or centre, but had played outside-half to rugby league legend Alex Murphy as his scrum-half for the RAF. Murphy convinced St Helens that they needed Cenydd, and he decided to go, for a record for a non-international. He and his wife were living at his in-laws' terraced house in Rhydyfelin, and the fee enabled him to buy a new four-bedroom house in a Lancashire village, with plenty of money left over. His rugby union career could have ended at any time with an injury, and he has never regretted the move. (Incidentally, turning 'professional' meant that one was paid for playing rugby, but still had a full-time job.)  In effect this is the story of the first 100 years of Welsh rugby, along with that of the Taff's Well and Cardiff clubs - a engrossing read and a riveting history of changing times."

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