Ceri Shaw


 

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Blog



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HMS Morris are a Welsh Art-Pop group that delve into the wonky, odd-ball side of psychedelia, finding the balance between bold experimentalism without giving up accessibility. ‘Morbid Mind’ and ‘Arth’ showcase the range of the band’s songwriting, sailing from a White Denim–esque fluster to melodies reminiscent of traditional Welsh folk music.‘Morbid Mind’ explores the morbid curiosity that resides within all of us, that drives the popularity of ‘murderabilia’ and lies behind the rubbernecking instinct. The lure of the morbid can be explained as a noble desire to empathise with the unfortunate, but can also lead to obsession, insanity, even death...

‘Arth’ (Welsh for ‘Bear’), is a tribute to an animal associated in cultures around the world with spiritual strength, courage, and harmony with the cycles of the Earth. Today, as the fight intensifies to overcome the forces destroying our global communities and habitats, it seems more important than ever for us to channel the spirit of Arth. Following the success of their debut album ‘Interior Design’ the band are excited to showcase new material alongside old favourites and will be hitting the road from April.


Live Dates

June 23rd -  Chester Live, Chester
July 1st -  Gwyl Tafwyl Festival, Llandaff Fields, Cardiff.


Biography

HMS Morris are a Welsh Art-Pop group that delve into the wonky, odd-ball side of psychedelia, finding the balance between bold experimentalism without giving up accessibility. 'With an undercurrent of post-punk edginess, the group toy with colliding synthesisers and cooing vocals and still manage to create something cohesive and alluring'(Clunk).

Released in November 2016, the band's debut album 'Interior Design' is 'a real trip, a multi- dimensional sound that traipses across hitherto unexplored regions of sound' (Clash), and with an as yet untitled follow-up already in production, it seems the voyage is just getting started.

Photo credit: Rhodri Brooks

Posted in: Music | 0 comments

glyndwr call to arms.jpgThe second installment of a new trilogy which tells the compelling story of the early years of Glyndŵr’s uprising is published this week.

Glyndŵr: To Arms! by the late Moelwyn Jones is an imaginary novel based on the real life and battles of Owain Glyndŵr. It follows the publishing of the bestselling Glyndŵr - Son of Prophecy last Christmas.

The trilogy was completed before the author’s death in 2015.

Glyndŵr: To Arms! Offers a portrayal of the life of Wales’ revolutionary hero Owain Glyndŵr, resident bard and Glyndŵr confidant Gruffudd ap Caradog tells of a time at the beginning of the 1400s when a new spirit of Welsh pride was born; when the Welsh nobility put aside their differences to unite under the banner of the Red Dragon to seek justice and self-determination.

In a vivid and vibrant account of the first two decades of the 1400s, we hear of the adventures of master bard and master lover Iolo Goch, the brutal realities of medieval warfare learned at the hands of champion axeman Einion Fwyall, and of Gruffudd's impossible love for the wife of a leader he reveres above all others.

The third and final installment will follow early next year.

Author Moelwyn Jones was raised in Bancffosfelen, Carmarthenshire, and had a career as a Welsh teacher in Cardiff before joining the BBC as an Information Officer. He then became Head of Public Relations for Wales and the Marches Postal Board and following his retirement worked in the Welsh Assembly.

‘Moelwyn had a great interest in the history of Owain Glyndŵr,’ says Delyth Jones, Moelwyn’s wife. ‘He conducted extended research into Owain’s story. He was quite the hero to Moelwyn’.

The cover art was illustrated by Machynlleth based artist Teresa Jenellen.

Glyndŵr: To Arms! by Moelwyn Jones (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now

Posted in: Book News | 0 comments

dadeni.jpgBrexit and Donald Trump have inspired a Dan Brown-esque thriller set at the heart of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Inspired by political upheavals over the past year, author Ifan Morgan Jones asks what would happen in a Donald Trump or Nigel Farage-esque figure lead a populist government at the Welsh Assembly.

Dadeni by south Wales-based author Ifan Morgan Jones is published this week by Y Lolfa. This is his third novel.

‘I’m not sure Welsh literature has really responded to devolution,’ said Ifan, ‘I wanted o change that by writing a political thriller based around Cardiff Bay.’

The novel concerns an archeologist Bleddyn Cadwaladr, and his son Joni Teifi, who ar called in by the Welsh Government to investigate after a theft goes awry.

What they find at the scene of the crime propells them into a race against time to stop a political coup that could change the fate of the country.

Ifan Morgan Jones won the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize for his first novel, Igam Ogam, in 2008. He published his second novel, Yr Argraff Gyntaf, in 2010.

He said that Dadeni also draws upon his ten years working as a journalist covering Welsh Politics.

‘I originally wrote the novel in 2015, but so much happened politically over the last year or so that I felt that I had to re-write parts of it in order to take the new political climate into account,’ explained Ifan.

‘The novel asks where the boundary lies between the kind of nationalism that is acceptable to us in Wales and the nationalism espused by Nigel Farage and Donald Trump’ he said ‘Is it acceptable to use tactics that take advantage of the masses’ emotional, irrational nature in order to ensure constitutional change for utilitarian and rational reasons?’

Dadeni by Ifan Morgan Jones (£9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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From the Wikipedia: "Joseph Jenkins (27 February 1818 – 26 September 1898), was an educated tenant farmer from Tregaron, Ceredigion, mid-Wales who, when aged over 50, suddenly deserted his home and large family to seek his fortune in Australia. The Australian Dictionary of Biography says that "Jenkins's noteworthiness stemmed from the rich documentation of his experiences and thoughts that has survived". He was a consistent diarist for 58 years of his life and a consistent if not outstanding poet, under the bardic name Amnon II. He achieved fame posthumously from publication of some excerpts of his Australian writings. The compiler, his grandson Dr William Evans, a Harley Street cardiologist, coined the title Diary of a Welsh Swagman by which name he is familiar to generations of Victorian school students for whom the book became a prescribed history text in 1978." Read more here

Posted in: Events | 0 comments

AmeriCymru Is Shutting Down In June


By Ceri Shaw, 2017-04-11


UPDATE: This is just a brief note to say that since we announced closure of the site, a number of people have stepped up with proposals to prevent the site shutting down. I hope to get back to you all within a week or two with a more detailed report. Anyway, please don't give up on us yet.  (Meanwhile we will keep posting new content as normal)



It is with regret that we announce the closure of this site. AmeriCymru will remain online until the first week of June 2017 but will no longer be under development. Associated promotional accounts on social media sites will also close.

After that we may reproduce some of the better articles and interviews on a static html site over on our server OR we may sell the site lock, stock and barrel to the highest bidder if anyone wishes to purchase it. We will post again soon with a little more detail about our decision to close, and of course, to thank all of our readers, members, followers and contributors over the years.

Posted in: about | 3 comments

COTTON WOLF: LIFE IN ANALOGUE


By Ceri Shaw, 2017-04-11

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Following the critical success of their three remarkable EPs, Moxa, Cloud City and Catapelt, the union of Welsh ‘Super Producer’ Llion Robertson and classically-trained composer Seb Goldfinch as pioneering musical duo, Cotton Wolf bears the fruit of their debut, full length release. Their nine-track album, Life In Analogue, is released on 28th April by Bubblewrap Collective both digitally and on vinyl.

The pair’s return comes after two years of painstaking studio preparation, setting the dials for further public recognition after their 2015 release, ‘Moxa’, gained repeated radio play on BBC Radio One and BBC Radio 6 Music.

With 'Life in Analogue', Cottonwolf have forged 'a symphony to the conflicted love of man and machine absorbed by digitisation and a soundtrack to modern living.Actively resisting the threat of digital post-production techniques that risk deleting human presence from music entirely, Life In Analogue seeks to outlive modern trends by setting warm, human hands upon the cold levers of contemporary, electronic music. As Cotton Wolf’s first release on vinyl, their choice of format is an extension of an artistic process that manages these exhilarating, contemporary conflicts.

These dichotomies have been confronted, interpreted and now presented as the evolution of Cotton Wolf’s sound as Life In Analogue melds influences and boldly takes the baton from kindred musical spirits. Where there are traces of A Guy Called Gerald, there are hints of Massive Attack and where there is kinship with Hans Zimmer or Hans Richter there are traces of 808 State and New Order. It is all underpinned by unified elements - as effective in affecting the human heart today as they ever were - of epic classical strings, synthesised sounds and the sparing use of evocative vocals. It’s an album born equally in Cardiff as Singapore and Barcelona, with the pair responding to experiences in the streets, clubs and studios of international cities to document modern ways of living, all as uncertain as they are thrilling.

‘Glosh’ opens the album. by boldly hitting the accelerator with a driving beat, giving room for shimmering, light melodies to dance around as a counterweight.'Avalon’ follows with tight rhythms and an insistent, single-note motif on the beat punctuating the track and maintains intensity, consistency and rhythmic discipline. A sparse vocal introduces itself as an accent, another form of subtle instrumentation, rather than a focus.

Cotton Wolf’s use of the Welsh language is unapologetic and ‘Lliwiau’ (translation: Colours) employs an entirely Welsh vocal, which settles in at centre stage. All around the breathless, yet commanding vocal are strokes of scant, flickering instrumentation that brings a sense of cavernous depth to the music and fully reveals the duo’s mastery of deft minimalism.

The title track, ‘Life In Analogue’ is warped, pulsing and riven with subtle motifs that denote it as a track central to the record. Familiar touch points exist in a simple, recurring eight-note melody, which could be lifted from a blueprint used by electro pop pioneers of the 70s and 80s, a vital element of what pushed machine music into the mainstream. The same sense ‘less is more’ restraint is present in ‘Ultra Five’ as snatches of voices, perhaps children’s laughter, again forces humanity back into an electronic framework.

The soulful, vocal atmospherics of ‘Future Never’ are set within further glimmering, austere instrumentation and guided by little more than expansive, sustained synth notes. ‘While Night Grows’ closes the album with a deeply drawn, long exhale, washing over the listener with extended strings and a distant vocal, studded with a high-tempo wave of pulsing synthesiser. Holding a firm line with limited fluctuation, it ominously fades out like only half the secret has been told and there’s more, tantalisingly, to come.

Life In Analogue follows the eight tracks released via their two early EPs, the first being their 2013 debut, Catapelt, which crept into European consciousness through the support of Berlin-based electronic enthusiasts. The follow up, 2014’s ‘Cloud City’ saw the pair garner remix commissions from Gulp (‘Vast Space’) and Trwbador (‘Several Wolves’), before arriving in 2015 at their most successful release to date, the ‘Moxa’ EP.


Posted in: Music | 0 comments

Ani Glass Releases "Ffrwydrad Tawel"


By Ceri Shaw, 2017-03-17


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ANi GLASS press photo by Ani Saunders.jpgArtist: Ani Glass
Title of EP:
'Ffrwydrad Tawel'
Release Date: 21.04.17 via
Recordiau Neb



"Ffrwydrad Tawel - Through the echoes of lost industries, communities and language there is hope. Always hope."

‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ is named after one of Wales’ leading contemporary artists Ivor Davies' major exhibition Silent Explosion/Ffrwydrad Tawel held at National Museum Cardiff in 2016. Ani Glass was inspired by his use and mix of the Welsh language, bleak colours and destruction to reflect society in Wales and was later invited to perform with him at the museum as part of this exhibition.

The ‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ EP’s six electrifying, infectious, socially conscious electronic pop songs are a document of Ani Glass’s artistic evolution invested with grander themes. “It's about reconnecting with my language, history and culture after returning home having been away for years,” explains Ani “the songs are a snapshot of this journey of self discovery.” Recorded in Cardiff and produced by W H Dyfodol (Haydon Hughes) throughout 2016 and the early part of 2017, the songs demonstrate “the fight within yourself to address larger, more pressing themes in society whilst battling the reality of everyday life.”

Exquisite opener ‘Y Newid’ (Change) is possessed of ethereal vocal purity, Ani’s poignant intertwined refrains steeped in lyrics that chart of the rise of the unions within the working classes during the industrial revolution.Swirling with the ghosts of early Goldfrapp, interjected with a vocal sample from socialist activist (Labour councillor) Ray Davies, during his powerful speech at the Yes Cymru rally in 2014.

Released as a single last year, the industrial electro pop of ‘Y Ddawns’ (The Dance) is a rallying call for those seeking inspiration in language and art. Laura Snapes of Pitchfork said it was "a double-edged sword that's as stern as it is hopeful; music for the end of the world, and the start of a new one." While BBC Wales’s Bethan Elfyn named it “Perfect Euro Pop!”

The majesty of ‘Dal i Droi’ (Another Day), with its bubbling synths and infectious vocal hooks, might sound like Ani’s unique collision of euphoric euro pop and synth wave of the 1980s (Human League, OMD) balanced by more weighty thoughts of mortality. While the sublime ‘Geiriau’ (Words) ethereal reverb-soaked melodrama concerns Ani’s experience of leaving home, moving away/escaping to make a new life and returning years later.

Closing track ‘Cariad Cudd’ (The City Sleeps) contrasts bittersweet refrains and dancefloor beats with an urgent Welsh polemic concerned with the history of Cardiff and the South Wales Valleys. This song depicts “the cruel decline of industry and its devastating effect on communities.”

The EP comes with a booklet of Welsh/English lyrics and artwork designed and created by Ani. The ‘Ffrwydrad Tawel’ EP will be launched on the 22nd of April at Cardiff’s legendary Clwb Ifor Bach venue.

Biog

Ani Glass is the persona of Cardiff-based electronic pop musician, producer, artist and photographer, Ani Saunders. Fiercely proud of her heritage, Glass sings in her native languages Welsh and Cornish, in 2015 released her first solo material with lead single ‘Ffôl’ (Foolish) being chosen as single of the week on BBC Radio Cymru and gaining plays on BBC 6 music.

Ani is also known for her work with The Pipettes, joining in 2008 to record the Martin Rushent-produced Earth Vs. The Pipettes album. Prior to her stint with the polka-dotted pop band, Glass was in Genie Queen, managed by OMD’s Andy McCluskey. She also fronted The Lovely Wars, who recently posthumously released two singles 'Gwrthod Anghofio' (We Won't Forget) and 'Cymer Di' (Take) in celebration of Welsh Language Music Day.

Gigs

11.04 The Social – London

22.04 Clwb Ifor Bach – Caerdydd (EP launch)

28.04 Clwb y Bont – Pontypridd

07.05 Acapela - Pentyrch

23.05 Full Moon – Cardiff
26.05 Llambed Arts - Lampeter

31.05 Eisteddfod yr Urdd - Bridgend

Links

Website http://www.recordiauneb.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/aniglasscymru/

Twitter https://twitter.com/AniSaunders

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/aniglass



PLEASE RETWEET


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Diogelwch in Baltimore!


By Ceri Shaw, 2017-03-03

If, like us, you arrive late for your flight at BWI and are desperately scrambling to get through TSA to avoid an eight hour stopover, you might fail to notice the mural at the head of the line. We didn't make our  flight BUT we were left with ample time to take the photos reproduced below. Kudos to whoever was responsible for including Cymraeg amongst the languages of the world displayed on the security notice below :)

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Posted in: Cymraeg | 0 comments
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