Ceri Shaw


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Word Game in Welsh

By Ceri Shaw, 2019-01-09

Venlo, the Netherlands - January 6, 2019 – Smiling Cube Studios today released WORD TANGO , a free word puzzle game in Cymraeg (Welsh), English, Cornish and 5 other languages for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

The rules are fun and very simple: the game shows words with missing letters. Letters can be dragged to the empty positions to complete the words. The goal is to find the correct words and proceed to the next level.

Word Tango is played without time-limit and is relaxing to play. It has an infinite number of levels, randomly generated for the player. The player can earn extra coins and use a hint when he is stuck.

The developers strongly believe in supporting multiple languages :

“ Most word puzzle games can only be played in a few major world languages, but many people speak a different language. We think people prefer to play in their own language. Our goal is to support more than 100 languages , big and small , in 2019 “

In it's first release, Word Tango can be played in English, Welsh, Cornish, Danish, Faroese, Icelandic ,Dutch and Frysian. More languages will follow soon.


* Free to play 

* Play and improve your language skills 

* Train your brain while having fun

* Infinite number of levels, randomly generated for the player

* No time limits, no pressure 

* Beautiful visual design for a pleasant experience 

* Use a hint when you are stuck 

* Play in 8 languages

WORD TANGO is now available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play Store

Google Play Store link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smilingcube.wordtango

Apple App Store Link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/word-tango-find-the-words/id1441751300?mt=8

Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3B9hL2wAdE



Smiling Cube Studios is a 2-person independent game developer from Venlo, The Netherlands. Founded in 2011, their goal is to make fun and educative high quality mobile games.


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1.21.19jenkinsassets_Twitter 440px x 220px minimum just include conc....jpg

"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 21st, 2019. The program includes Sir Karl Jenkins’s Symphonic Adiemus as well as Jenkins’s Stabat Mater. 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 reply with your answers to this email ( 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 Monday, January 14th, 2019 no later than 9 PM ( Pacific Time ). Tickets will be ready at will call on 1/21 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 DCG30382 and it can be used online, over the phone, or in person at Carnegie Hall

Karl Jenkins Quiz

  1. Which famous jazz-rock fusion band was Karl Jenkins a member of in the 70's?
  2. Which of Jenkins' works was listed as No. 1 in Classic FM's "Top 10 by living composers"?
  3. Where was Karl Jenkins born?


David Lloyd chronicles the trials and tribulations, the triumphs and despairs of several generations of Welsh Americans in this series of interlinked stories. These tales combine pathos, humour, drama and insightful observation in an anthology which is at once masterful, entertaining and illuminating. Set in Utica, New York in the 1960's the book opens with a tragic tale from the Vietnam war.

In 'Nos Da' Private Richard Bowen is severely wounded after stepping on a land mine. He rambles, seemingly incoherently, as he recalls the details of his past life. In particular he remembers wishing his father goodnight in the happier days of his childhood.




We are pleased to announce that author David Lloyd has presented us with a signed copy of 'The Moving of the Water' for a giveaway competition. Answer the three questions below (all easy, wiki links provided) and reply, with your responses, to this email. The winner will be announced on January 31st. The competition is open for entrants worldwide and is not restricted to the USA.

Questions: Famous Welsh Americans

1. American pioneer Daniel Boone (of Welsh ancestry) was born in which year?

2. In which year did Meriwether Lewis (of Welsh descent) set out on the Lewis & Clark Expedition?

3. In which American state was architect Frank Lloyd Wright (of Welsh descent) born?

Pob lwc :)



Screenshot from 20190103 112910.png

wmvcs.jpgAmeriCymru: Hi Stuart and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about your book The Power & Glory of Welsh Male Voice Choir Singing?

Stuart: The Welsh male voice choir book is simply an overview of the history of men’s choirs in the South Wales area, from the past to the present day.

It explores what is happening when you join a men’s choir and what to expect.

AmeriCymru: When did you first become interested in Welsh Male Voice Choirs?

Stuart:  I was told about male voice choirs when I joined my first choir at 16 years of age. My first job was to be the choir guest accompanist for Cor Meibion Morlais at the age of 16. I missed their tour of Canada. I couldn’t go as I couldn’t afford it and didn’t know the repertoire but I soon became known as a good musician by pupils from Ferndale Community School when I was known to play the piano for the choir of Ferndale Community School / Maerdy.

There was also a family history of my grandfather singing in Welsh male voice choirs and I got him back into singing again after a long spell of absence since Ferndale Male Voice Choir fell apart around 1989.

AmeriCymru: Why, historically, do you think that choirs became such a central part of Welsh social and cultural life?

Stuart:  Men’s choirs need to keep on attracting students in schools and doing creative projects and events.

All choristers must remain positive and not sit on their bottoms and do nothing all day. Every human must try and make an effort by giving up their time to bring something to young men to come in. They can’t go to a coal mine now to work and say "hey mate do you fancy coming for a drink with me after" and have a sing song and something to do and also keep you company.

They have to forget all that and having music marketing in mind and offer digital products and more and more networking live music events wherever they can travel globally.

When there are no youngsters we won’t have male choirs. They can’t ask young people to pay if they are unemployed. Wherever you're from.

If more choirs were thinking of that psychological strategy more and more young men wouldn’t be isolated and would actually get out more and learn more about life exactly as I did.

AmeriCymru: Do you have any favourites? Any choirs whose achievements and current standards merit a special mention?

Stuart:  Pendyrus Choir are currently outstanding. At the moment their sound is as good as I’ve ever heard them before. I don’t want to give an opinion on certain songs that hit me whenever I hear a male voice choir because wherever you are depends on the venue. I have emotion and some people don’t when they listen to or play music.

I’ll leave that opinion up to you.

AmeriCymru: Do you think that the future of the Welsh choral tradition is assured? The rate of recruitment of younger members is declining. Is anything being done to reverse this trend?

Stuart:  No I disagree, with this opinion, I actually feel younger members have a big role to play in men’s choirs and we are seeing more young singers entering men’s choir not just in Wales but over in England too. I think young men just want to just do something different now. They want to distract themselves from the women if they can afford it. The reason why, if any, young men are not in men’s choirs is because they can’t afford the subscription costs which are often a worry or burden for many young men even though they live with their parents or if they are on their own it’s much harder. If you adapt a range of styles youngsters will just come because the music won’t be the same repertoire. It has to be constantly rapidly changing for concert audiences.

I don’t just talk about Music, but I am making contradictory opinions on what I think happened in the male voice choir’s industry and arguing that not all men’s choirs are suffering for young members declining.

I actually think a lot of training work is being done to attract singers from schools to come to choirs and there is evident research that this does happen from peripatetic music teachers that connect with youngsters in the schools to come to the choirs.

AmeriCymru: Where can people go online to purchase 'The Power & Glory of Welsh Male Voice Choir Singing'?

Stuart:  You can find the book here:- The Power & Glory of Welsh Male Voice Choir Singing

It’s actually free for Amazon Unlimited account users.

AmeriCymru: What's next for Stuart Street? Do you plan any more publications?

Stuart:  I can offer paperback editions of my book when the publisher says they are interested in my book.

I am currently doing a Master of Music in the University of West London – London College of Music so the future is still unknown and I may turn my writing into digital or book publications just a bit like I have been doing with this.

I am going to record a track promotional CD of Bass Trombone & Piano music and also new Bass Trombone repertoire music on YouTube and Vimeo.

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

Stuart:  I haven’t been on here for a while, but I am also a musical artist and my digital sales have actually risen quite well however it won’t harm to trigger further music marketing hyperlinks so that your members can have complete access to my free music tracks in full and there is an option for you to download or stream my music products too. I recorded classical crossover piano music and I think you’d agree that I tried my best with them and tried to upload them on digital aggregator tunecore.com to put my music on all the websites / apps that you love. iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon mp3 Digital Music, band camp

I set up my own music tuition business in Aug 2012 http://streetmusicschool.co.uk/ Stuart Street pianist, I play Bass Trombone and Singer, author.


Discover the formations of male voice and go on a journey with Stuart to see how communities have formed male voice choirs. Learn how singing goes good with sport and why the Welsh love to sing. Why is male singing, so powerful and rich? Why do we still like singing? I talk about the formations of tonic - sol - fa and I follow my roots in the Rhondda Valley's in the mining industry of South Wales. I interview local Rhondda men and women who have actively been involved in music making in the Rhondda. You'll be convinced that singing in Wales is a good interest and everyone should have a go and sing!

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Welsh American author David Lloyd

David Lloyd

themovingofthewater.jpgAmeriCymru: Hi David and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. Care to introduce your new short story collection, The Moving of the Water for our readers?

David: The Moving of the Water is a collection of stories set in a Welsh-American immigrant community in upstate New York during the 1960s, exploring their struggles, aspirations, and desires; how the past helps creates the present, how the present makes us reinterpret the past. Immigrants and their children live within competing cultural currents - some they welcome, some they ignore, some they struggle against. I want to entertain readers but also address large issues: what is “home” for an immigrant? how does culture shape behavior? what connects us to others, and what divides us?

AmeriCymru: What is the origin and significance of your title, The Moving of the Water?

David: The title is from the New Testament, John 5:2-3 - and that passage is the book’s epigraph: “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.” My characters, like those at the Bethesda pool, are (in different ways in different stories) hopeful and faithful, but complexly damaged. In a sense they all are “waiting for the moving of the water” - for healing, fulfillment, transformation. “The Moving of the Water” is also the title of the collection’s final story - and my favorite. Those interested can find it at the Virginia Quarterly Review web site: https://www.vqronline.org/fiction/2018/06/moving-water .

My father emigrated to the US with my mother, eldest brother, and sister in 1948. While minister at the Welsh Presbyterian Church in Liverpool, he received a call from Moriah Presbyterian Church in Utica for a minister who could preach in Welsh. So I was born into a Welsh-American chapel community, attending two services on Sunday, Sunday school, choir practice, and so on. It’s no surprise that passages from the Bible and from Welsh hymns echo in my mind and memory!

AmeriCymru: Can you tell us something about the book cover?

David: The cover art is by Welsh artist Iwan Bala. I’ve admired Iwan’s political and cultural art for decades and found the image in a book of his art, Hon: Ynys Y Galon (This: Island of the Heart). It’s a detail from Iwan’s oil painting Cof, Bro, Mebyd (Memory, Community, Childhood), and shows a figure in a coracle-like boat on the open sea, the dark mountains of Wales looming behind. An umbilical cord stretches from this adult figure back to Wales as the archetypal head faces west - in my mind, towards the “new world.” The figure in the coracle is nourished by Wales, tethered to Wales, but striking out into the unknown.

AmeriCymru: One of your stories (included here) is "Dreaming of Home," which won the 2015 Americymru short story contest. What can you tell us about this story?

David: The main character is Llew, short for Llywelyn, an illustrious name in Wales because of Llywelyn the Great, King of Gwynedd, and his grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last independent prince of Wales, who died in battle in 1282. Llew is a nickname for Llywelyn, and in one of my stories Llew had also been a warrior. Another connection with these medieval warrior-princes is that “Llew” in Welsh means “lion.” In my story, Llew was a soldier in WWI who almost died of his wounds in battle. An immigrant to the US, Llew is psychologically wounded: he’s become an alcoholic, and during the evening of the story, he comes home drunk to his shabby apartment, turns on the TV, and hears news of an attack by the Viet Cong on the Bien Hoa air base. He falls asleep and dreams of his own battle, his wounding in a trench during a German mortar attack. In his delirium, surrounded by dying and dead comrades, his father appears in the trench to comfort Llew - and Llew asks his father to take him home. “But you are home, my boy,” his father tells him - meaning that this trench is a new home for Llew, one he can never leave. Llew wakes up - and remembers nothing of his dream except seeing his father. He falsely believes that he dreamed of his childhood in Wales, the home in the village where he “truly belonged.” But the story suggests that “home” is complicated for Llew, as for all of us. We have many homes that define who we are, and for Llew it is his childhood home in Wales, the flat where he lives in upstate New York, and also a trench in Belgium. The many places to which we belong reminds me of the passage from John 14:2-3: “In my father’s house, there are many mansions.”

AmeriCymru: "Anchored in the community of first-, second-, and third-generation Welsh Americans in Utica, New York, during the 1960s, the stories in David Lloyd’s The Moving of the Water delve into universal concerns: identity, home, religion, language, culture, belonging, personal and national histories, mortality." Is there anything unique about the Welsh-American community or are their concerns and experiences in any way universal among the various immigrant communities?

David: Utica, New York, where I grew up, was home to many immigrant communities: Irish, Italian, Polish, Eastern European Jewish, Welsh, Lebanese, among others. And more diverse populations have arrived since I left. While distinct in so many ways (religion, food, music, the language, and so on), the Welsh-American community definitely shared concerns and experiences with their neighbor communities. My family’s social life was centered around Moriah Church, where my father served as minister, similar to how the Catholic church was central to most of my Irish and Italian friends, and the synagogue to my Jewish friends. But culture is not static - it moves and spreads - so we all learned from each other. We all absorb what’s around us. I’m lucky to have a Welsh and an American heritage, and the weird blending that results.

AmeriCymru: You use Welsh words and phrases in many of the stories: how does the Welsh language function in the book?

David: Many contemporary writers from immigrant backgrounds include their languages of origin in their English-language stories. Translating their characters’ speech would sound false, since immigrants would naturally use a hybrid of English and the family language - in my case Welsh. At home my parents spoke English with Welsh accents, and every day from bore da (good morning) to nos da (good night) I heard some Welsh. At dinnertime, my mother would call out, “mae’r bwyd yn barod” - she’d never say, “food is ready.” In my stories the meaning of the Welsh that characters speak should be evident within the context, but at the end of the book I provide “Notes on Welsh Words, Phrases, and Names.”

AmeriCymru: "Lloyd’s stories are in the realist mode, yet sometimes broken up with startling, dream-like, hallucinatory passages that are decisive in opening up another range of experience." Would you agree with this assessment?

David: Yes I do agree. All the stories deal with people facing crises or challenges drawn from the “real world.” But life - for immigrants or indeed anyone - is not simply made up of verifiable facts. It’s also magical, mysterious, irrational, infused with memory - we dream, we fantasize, we hallucinate, we remember and misremember. I want to build those dimensions of life into some of my stories. So for example, in the story “The Visitor” a woman in her 70s receives a nightly visitor - Geraint, whom she’d hoped to marry when a young woman living in Wales, before her parents brought her to the US. She has conversations with this figment from her past - conversations that help her live in her present and understand the conditions of her early life. The conversations are real, but they’re also a fantasy arising from her past in Wales, impinging on her present in the US.

Another example is the story “Crooked Pie,” in which the ten year old son of Welsh immigrants who has assimilated into American culture visits a theme park based on Disneyfied renditions of Grimm’s fairy tales - Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks, and so on. He enters the House of the Crooked Man. There, in this magical place, he meets himself as he might be at age fifteen. This is impossible, but his double in a lengthy monologue gives him a vision of what it’s like for a boy to live through American culture of the mid to late 1960s. I hope this dream-like dimension conveys the traumatically rapid pace of deracination, and of dynamic American culture generally as experienced by the children of immigrants during that era (and in our current era!).

AmeriCymru: What attracted you to the short story genre? Will you be publishing more collections?

David: In adolescence I wanted to be a poet. And that identity continued through my college years. But while in the PhD program at Brown University, I took a fiction writing course with novelist John Hawkes - a magnificent teacher and an amazing writer. I was hooked. So I joined the Brown master’s degree creative writing program in fiction - not poetry - while completing my PhD. I soon discovered that I’m less interested in writing stand-alone stories than in extended projects, such as story cycles - that’s the case with my first collection, Boys: Stories and a Novella, and with this new book, The Moving of the Water. I am working on a novel now featuring a Welsh American - I won’t say more so I don’t spook myself!

AmeriCymru: Care to tell us a little about your poetry?

David: I’ve published three poetry collections: The Everyday Apocalypse, The Gospel According to Frank, and Warriors. All include poems about Wales or Welsh-American experience, but The Gospel According to Frank is entirely about blended experience, the ebb and flow of cultural forms and ideas. The “Frank” of the title is Frank Sinatra, and so in general the poems explore issues relating to popular culture in twentieth-century America, such as fame, greed, creativity, and power. But in doing so, the forty-eight poems merge Sinatra’s public persona with other cultural materials, including the Old and New Testaments (this is, after all, Sinatra’s “gospel”!), Greek mythology, the medieval Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, and the medieval Welsh masterpiece, the Four Branches of The Mabinogi.

AmeriCymru: What's next for David Lloyd? Any new titles, readings in the works?

David: I have a new poetry collection, The Body’s Compass, just accepted by Salmon Poetry (based in Ireland). And I’ve been giving readings to promote The Moving of the Water. Last summer while in Wales I gave readings at Bangor University, the Imperial Hotel in Merthyr Tydfil, and the Workers Galley in Ynyshir. I have readings coming up at Wells College, Aurora, New York on February 26; at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York on April 4; and the Utica Public Library, Utica, New York on June 1. I’ll likely give a reading in Portland, Oregon in March.

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

David: I’m thankful to see such dedicated engagement with Welsh culture and language on the AmeriCymru site. Books, music, art, film, photography - they give us pleasure, they expand our horizons. They also need our active support!

Link to purchase on Amazon:- Bring The Rising Home!


For anyone who is unacquainted with the historical details of the 1831 Merthyr Rising, the following link should be of some assistance - Merthyr Rising. Of course, the most thorough and authoritative account of these events can be found in Gwyn Williams' - The Merthyr Rising.

The Rising is commemorated with an annual festival in Castle Street, Merthyr where twenty four of the protestors were shot and killed in 1831. This collection was published to coincide with the 2017 event.

The anthology consists of 25 poems (four in Welsh with English translations) and accompanying illustrations by Welsh artist Gustavius Payne. For more details about Mike Jernkins and Gustavius Payne please see the biographical details and links at the bottom of this page.

In 'Ble?' Mike Jenkins asks:-

Ble mae'r enwau'r pedwerydd ar hugain,
gafodd eu saethu gan y fyddin?

Where are the names of the twenty-four,
killed by the army in this square?

Other poems in the collection directly refer to the historical events of 1831 but more concern themselves with contemporary living conditions in Merthyr Tydfil and elsewhere.

In 'Bag Full of Writings (For Merthyr Rock Bands)' we meet a street poet/songwriter who is down on his luck:-

He's been living in the dole age
since they invented it;
his plasticine face moulded
by worry and rage.

A chance encounter with a young lad fresh out of Swansea jail is immortalised in 'Outa Jail':-

Don' know wha I woz doin, see,
pissed outa my ead-
least I gotta job washin cars,
better 'an-a las one
in-a juice factree
all overtime, no breaks an unions,
treated like bloody sheep.

Many of Mike's poems give voice to the disadvantaged, the homeless and the destitute. For example 'In Portland, Oregon' recounts an incident at the local bus station when a homeless person temporarily waylaid Mikes bus when he was on his way to a West Coast Eisteddfod event in the town:-

A downtown junkie came out
from the toilet ranting
and hi-jacked our bus,
the black woman driver calming him
until the cops turned up.

The collection ends with the somewhat disturbing 'We Want it Back!' in which the protagonists are heard to demand:-

We want it back
we want our country back!
We want Grammar Schools
(though not Sec-Mods),
where working-class kids
can achieve (well, a few of them)
we want corporal punishment
like the cane and the tawse,
pupils will be grateful
when they are abused

There is perhaps a certain irony in demanding a partial return to conditions that once led to insurrectionary violence and bloodshed in the streets. But, Mike Jenkins is no preacher and readers are left to their own deliberations and to draw their own conclusions.

The illustrations are powerful and provocative throughout and perfectly evocative of Mike's poetic themes. In a note at the end of the book Gustavius Payne, after detailing their many shared interests, has this to say about his artistic collaboration with Mike Jenkins:-

"It may be that the basic ingredients of our artistic endeavours have more in common than many, and perhaps explains why the visual work I've done resonates so closely with the series of poems that Mike has written."

Whatever the shared background and interests, their collaboration has produced an outstanding book. We have no hesitation in recommending this collection to anyone with an interest in contemporary Merthyr, Welsh working class history or fine poetry and artwork.

Notes on Two Welsh Artists

Mike Jenkins is a retired teacher of English at comprehensive schools. He lives in Merthyr Tydfil, has co-edited 'Red Poets' for 23 years and has blogged weekly on his website www.mikejenkins.net since 2009. He runs creative writing workshops with children and adults and organises regular poetry events in Merthyr and elsewhere in south Wales. He is winner of the 1998 Wales Book of the Year for a book of short stories, Wanting To Belong (Seren); his latest book of poetry is in Merthyr vernacular Sofa Surfin' (Carreg Gwalch); and he was shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Poetry Award 2017.

Gustavius Payne is a Welsh figurative artist, represented by Ffin-Y-Parc Gallery, Llanrwst, where his work is regularly exhibited and held in stock. His paintings are also held in collections including at the University of South Wales and the Museum of Modern Art, Wales. He has exhibited regularly since 1994 including a touring exhibition with Mike jenkins in 2011/2012, funded by Arts Council Wales.



AmeriCymru has 4 spots available in the right hand column on ad supporting pages. These ads are $25 for a year AND we'll throw in the period between now and Christmas as well!!! We welcome ads for Welsh themed books, music, artwork and gifts BUT, please act now, time for this offer is running out.

We also have 5 $10 dollar spots on our new Christmas shopping page. If you want to advertise here to test the response, we will credit your $10 toward a full length (12 month) ad next year.  So, for a mere $15 extra you can advertise right up until next Christmas. Use the PayPal button below to reserve your spot or email americymru@gmail.com for more details.

Christmas Ads 2018-2019

Hear The Echo by Rob Gittins - A Review

By Ceri Shaw, 2018-11-26

Hear The Echo by Rob Gittins 5star.jpeg

When I was a lad in Pontypool I would frequently visit 'Aldo's' on the way home from school to play pinball, drink coffee and socialize. I don't know if it's still there but in my youth it was one of many Italian cafe's that graced the south Wales mining valleys. From Pontypool to Ammanford or from Treorchy to Cardiff you would likely spot a 'Rabaiotti's', 'Bracchi's' or 'Carini's'. These cafe's were run by Italian immigrants who left home to escape poverty, Mussolini, or both.

'Hear The Echo' is Rob Gittins' fifth novel and in choosing to set it against the background of this migration and a related tragic historical incident, he has once again succeeded in crafting a superbly intriguing and suspenseful novel.

In the 1930's, Chiara emigrates from Italy to forge a new and better life in Wales. She encounters bigotry and xenophobia as she and her employer battle to keep their italian cafe in business in the shadow of World War II. But all that's soon eclipsed by a love triangle that threatens to destroy everything.

Meanwhile present-day Welsh-Italian Frankie struggles to find the money and hope to hold her family together in the same valleys community. Along the way she has to decide how far she's prepared to go to do that - and whether what she has is actually worth the fight.

The two women never meet. But as their joint experiences begin to resonate down through time, their journeys intersect. And each becomes as real to the other as if they'd physically breathed the same air.

Arandora Star 1940

One of the novels' principal characters is interned at the beginning of World War II and sails on the ill-fated Arandora Star. In order to discover more you will have to read the book but we have included some useful information and links concerning the ships'  tragic fate below.

This is a superbly crafted  and suspenseful thriller which will hold the reader spellbound throughout. It also has much to say on topics of vital contemporary concern such as immigration and integration.

Arandora Star

From the Wikipedia:- "SS Arandora Star was a British passenger ship of the Blue Star Line. She was built in 1927 as an ocean liner and refrigerated cargo ship, converted in 1929 into a cruise ship and requisitioned as a troop ship in World War II. At the end of June 1940 she was assigned the task of transporting Italian and German civilians among a small number of prisoners of war to Canada. On 2 July 1940 she was sunk in controversial circumstances by a German U-boat with a large loss of life, 865."


Junior Bill release four new self-released tracks on the 15th of November to coincide with a run of dates including supporting Danny Goffey (Supergrass) before returning for a homecoming show in Cardiff.

Junior Bill return after the success of their award-winning concert film “Above Your Station” with brand new music. Their new self-titled release features four fresh, exciting recordings steeped in narratives rooted in the history, myths and culture of Cardiff. The record further expands upon Junior Bill’s distinctive, infectious genre-blurring marriage of ska, reggae, dub, latin, punk and pop songwriting that has won them fans both on stage and on record. It was produced with Andrew Sanders (Jemma Roper, Big Thing) at Kings Road Studio In January 2017 and mastered by Matthew Evans (Keys, El Goodo).

Lead track "There's A Wolf In Grangetown" with its ghostly dub and catchy lyrical stream that’s use of accent and lingo is infectious and manages to have echoes of both Jamie T and The Specials but still retains the Junior Bill stamp. It documents the long-held myth that a wolf prowls the streets of Grangetown, a lively multicultural area in Junior Bill’s hometown of Cardiff. Some say the wolf has returned to the area in the past month or so, whilst others say it may simply be a marketing ploy from a certain band. The band's mischievous promo antics have already caused the legendary 'Grangetown Wolf' to become a cult Cardiff figure, with a local tourist gift shop creating their own Grangetown Wolf logos, art being created by its inspiration and even a twitter account posing as the wolf itself.(more here)  

Second track  “Romas” has a lusher distinctively more latin feel with its use of trumpets and sprightly percussion. Its celebratory chorus was written in defence of an ostracised ethnic community; “This one's for the Romas and the Czechs/They don't get no respect”. Both songs see Junior Bill continue to sing the gritty, street-level stories of urban Cardiff whilst delivering catchy choruses that ring around the listener's brain for weeks, just like the whispered provincial rumours from which the lyrics were born.

"The Butetown RATS" begins with a more stripped back a haunting isolated vocal and narrative rooted in the history of Cardiff’s docks. It is then joined by skittering military drums, organs and glistening chords that unravels into an addictive singalong that reminds one of Joe Strummer’s latter work. The song is based on a play written and directed by Cardiff's Kyle Legall called "R.A.T.S. - Rose Against The System". The play and the song documents the plight of rats being forced out of the former docks of Cardiff Bay by the new developments of restaurants, pubs and flats. In the play, the rats come across an unexploded bomb from World War II, and plan to blow it up to return the bay to what it once was. Rob Nichols of Junior Bill performed the song at a performance of the play in the Wales Millennium Centre. A live performance video of the track will also be released on the 15th November.

Behind the foot tapping dub pop charm of final track “Old Cardiff Winds” lies one of Nichols’s richest and most incisive lyrical sentiments. The song is based on a folk song written by Mike Johnson, the owner of Cardiff’s historic Coal Exchange venue. Rob recontextualised Johnson’s wistful nostalgic chorus about the glory days of Cardiff’s docks - “Oh don’t you wish you’d been there/there brushing steam from your hair” - to make it a sarcastic comment, bemoaning the superficialities of the city’s modern touristic cosmopolitan drive whilst it forgets its true soul and leaves behind the communities who built the it - "Gonna need a bigger rug to hide all you featherweight thugs/Peoples proud and picaresque, make way for the picturesque".  It’s this clash of the new and old worlds, social empathy and political understanding that make Junior Bill’s songs so uniquely pertinent and interesting.

Formed in 2013, Junior Bill have been through a few incarnations, but the writing talents of Rob Nichols have combined with keyboard & synth player Joel Beswick and bassist Rory Saunders since the bands inception. The five-piece is currently completed by drummer Jim Strickland and newest member Luke Owen on vocals, samples and guitar. Junior Bill’s live show has been highly praised for its enthralling energy and has earned them the reputation of being one of the best new acts in Wales.This November they will seek to prove it with a run of support shows across the UK with Danny Goffey (Supergrass) before returning for a homecoming show in Cardiff, their first in a year.

Live dates (*supporting Danny Goffey):

16th November – Old Market Assembly, Bristol
17th November – Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield*
18th November – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow*
19th November – Cluny 2, Newcastle*
20th November – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham*
21st November – Soup Kitchen, Manchester*
22nd November – Bullingdon, Oxford*
23rd November – Thousand Island, London*
24th November – Gwdihw, Cardiff

Social Media: @juniorbillmusic


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