Ceri Shaw



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Category: about


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John MOuse releases his new album ‘The Goat’ via digital platforms on the 31st of July followed by a physical vinyl release on the 28th of August through Keep Me In Your Heart Records. It is preceded by the lead single ‘Le Pigeon’ at the end of this month.

When lockdown commenced John MOuse seized the opportunity to create a new album. The concept behind  The Goat,  was to write, record and release a song on a weekly basis. Each song, accompanied by its own artwork was then uploaded to Bandcamp.

Social distancing meant that the music for the album was created Lincolnshire by long term collaborator Phil Pearce and then sent to John in Cardiff who worked on the lyrics and vocal melody for each track. The result is a typically idiosyncratic and heart on its sleeve, electronic pop album, heavy on spoken word content and catchy chorus hooks, these songs possess musical hints of everyone from  Adian Moffat, Momus  to early  Pulp .

The lyrical subject matter is varied ranging from fleeing from a pigeon on urgent first single  ‘Le Pigeon’  (loosely based on Suskins novella The Pigeon) with its vivid stream of consciousness and chirruping synths. To fragments of bittersweet memories, witty imagery, despair not salved by defunct technology and Anne Summers parties.

Ten tracks were completed and are now set for official digital and physical release on Keep Me In your heart records.

“The Goat”  is John’s fifth full-length album and his first since last year’s limited digital release of The Fen Sessions and 2018’s warmly received  ‘Replica Figures’  which was described as  "In turns touching, hilarious and heart-breaking"  by Buzz Magazine and as  "powerful stuff. Rentokil wouldn’t have a clue how to deal with any of this."  Louder Than War. While 2014’s ‘The Death of John MOuse’ was praised by The Line of Best Fit and its brilliant lead single ‘I was a Goalkeeper’ featured Gareth from Los Campesinos, prompted Steve Lamacq to pronounce it ‘my new favourite football song’.

John MOuse, real name John Davies has been described as  ‘A Welsh Beck,’  under his previous incarnation  JT Mouse  he worked with  Sweet Baboo  (aka Steven Black) while in 2010 he scored a cult hit with a song about a gay romance with another duet, this time with TV presenter Steve Jones lifted from the acclaimed album  ‘Humber Dogger Forties’.  John MOuse has received airplay support from Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, Mary Anne Hobbes, Steve Lamacq, Stuart Maconie, Gideon Coe and Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and Adam Walton & Bethan Elfyn on BBC Radio Wales.

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

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

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

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We are delighted to offer Alwyn 'Taffy' Parry's new book 'A Brush With Love, Life and Laughter' to our readers. The book is available for free download here:- A Brush With Life & Laughter

The book is the story of a boy growing up in Wales during the 1940's and is illustrated throughout with the authors' paintings.

Alwyn told AmeriCymru that, with so many older folk in lockdown, the book might inspire them to record their own family history. We thought this was a wonderful offer and would like to take this opportunity to thank Alwyn for his example and his generosity. It is also a superb (and productive) idea for passing the time during the lockdown. 

For fans of Alwyn's work there is also an interview with the author and a review of his earlier title 'The Quarryman's Son' here:- From Wales To New Zealand

Enjoy / Mwynhewch :)


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Golwg article. Translation by Gwenno Dafydd. Read the article yn Cymraeg here .


The efforts to encourage people to sing ‘Hen Wales fy Nhadau’ (Land of my Fathers – Welsh National Anthem)  to thank not only the NHS, but also everyone who has played their part in fighting the Coronavirus was ‘a huge success’ according to Gwenno Dafydd, one of the organisers of the ‘Sing for Wales’ project. (Editor – And our very own Americymru Saint David’s Day World Ambassador)

She talked to golwg 360 after seeing that videos of people who sang on Monday night (April the 13th) had arrived in the Facebook ‘Sing for Wales’ group as far away as Jamaica, America, South Africa, Australia, Cambodia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain.  

And the Facebook group ‘Sing for Wales’ has attracted more than 120,000 members in a very short time. 
After seeing a Facebook message by Sarah Evans from Gwent, just a few hours after Sarah established the group on March the 29th, Gwenno Dafydd was inspired to join the campaign, and they are both now two out of the five organisers, who include Scott Evans, Sarah’s husband, Plaid Cymru Councillor Rhys Mills and song writer Gavin Clifton

“On the Friday before this I was out on the pavement myself singing the anthem to thank the people working for National Health System (NHS)”, said the performer, author and public speaking coach to golwg 360.

“On the following Sunday, I saw that someone called Sarah Evans had established the group ‘Sing for Wales’ and I thought ‘Wow!’.

“She wanted to sing to thank everyone who had been supporting us during this time. So I contacted her and offered to help. 

“It was a huge honour to lead the singing during this really special event and to be one of the five very hard working and active members of the organising Steering Committee,” said a message at the bottom of a video on Youtube.

“I would like to thank Rhys Mills, Gavin Clifton, Scott Evans but especially Sarah Evans who had the idea, and also latterly the BBC and Wynne Evans for their support, and of course, lastly and more important than anything, thanks to over 120,000 (hashtag)Welshies and (hashtag)WorldwideWelshies for their support for the group. We made an amazing team!”

Teaching people to enunciate the words

Having been responsible in the past for helping to create an Iphone App to help people learn how to enunciate the Welsh National Anthem, Gwenno Dafydd – author of ‘Stand up and Sock it to them Sister. Funny Feisty Females’, a book about female stand-up comics, decided to take advantage of the resources she had from the time of the App.

“Although the app is no longer available, I still had the resources and one of those was a video of me clearly enunciating the words with sub-titles of the words beneath”.

“I offered these to Sarah, and I said I would also record myself singing and she could put these up on the group, and that’s what happened.”

Radio Cymru and Radio Wales backing the campaign

Apart from this, she has also been helping to raise the profile of the campaign by being responsible for drawing the attention of the media, including Radio Cymru and Radio Wales, who both broadcast the anthem live at eight o clock on the Monday night.  

“I got in touch with Radio Cymru and spoke to Rhuanedd Richards, Head of Radio Cymru, a few days before the event and told her what was happening, and at that time the BBC really came fully ‘on board’.

“We  needed to get a backing track that everyone could use  and the two most important  issues, in my opinion, was to put it up on the group so that people could have a practice before the event, and the other issue was that we needed to have a ‘lead in’, so that we had an introduction.

“I was in discussion with Gareth Iwan Jones at the BBC Radio Cymru Music Department and we decided together that we would use a track of  Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir singing and that’s what happened. Then Wynne Evans also made a video of himself in his kitchen teaching people how to sing the anthem, which proved popular

“Between everything, it came together just like that really, truth be known.”

Raising awareness of a medical condition

And Sarah Evans had an even better reason for setting up the campaign – by seeing an opportunity to raise awareness of her son’s very rare condition. 

“Sarah and Scott have two children and the eldest, Harri, has a very rare condition called Williams Syndrome and Rhys Mills, as their local Plaid Cymru councillor has been very supportive to them with his condition.

“Sarah was very keen to raise awareness of this condition whilst running this campaign."

All the Steering Committee have various connections,  and one of the groups I contacted was ‘Corona’ (Welsh medium Facebook group dedicated to singing – with over 40,000 members)  and we had people from the four corners of the world literally contacting us. 

“Although some people were too shy to record themselves, they did sing the anthem to thank all those who had been looking after us during this worrying time, not only those in the NHS but also those who work in the supermarkets, garages, cross country lorry drivers, refuse workers, those who have lost their businesses, children who stayed at home…….”

Worth the effort’

“To those people who were not in the front line, that was Sarah’s intention, and that’s what I liked, was that we were doing something small to thank everyone for doing their bit.”

“Although I worked day and night on this for two weeks (as did all the others in the Steering Committee) I think it was worth the effort. 

Article by Alun Rhys Chivers. Translation by Gwenno Dafydd.
Additional information

Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/557557901860425/

Twitter https://twitter.com/SingWales

The group will be singing for Wales once again at 8.00pm Monday 4th May. Whether we are singing because we will celebrate coming out of lockdown or because we need to knuckle down again. We will sing! 

Please retweet!!!!

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unnamed.jpg The Welsh response to the vandalisation of the iconic mural near Llanrhystud was the spark that inspired Mari Emlyn’s new bilingual book - Cofiwch Dryweryn: Wales Awakening  (Y Lolfa). 

Author Mari Emlyn says:

“We are indebted to the group of young people who went and rebuilt and then repainted the wall. Perhaps the vandals did us a favour, as a mass patriotic awakening has snowballed as a result of their heinous act. Even when some of these new murals have been defaced, the Welsh people have returned quietly, and with dignity, to repaint their tributes.” 

The original slogan was painted by author Professor Meic Stephens, who was a student at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth at the time, as a protest against the decision to drown the Tryweryn Valley in order to provide water for the people of Liverpool. Despite all his literary work, Meic Stephens swore: ‘This is my most famous statement, my most eloquent poem, my most important political act’. 

The book places the mural phenomenon in the context of Capel Celyn’s history, with contributions by three whose roots are firmly in the Tryweryn Valley: Eurgain Prysor Jones, Gwyn Roberts and Elwyn Edwards. Their stories make up the early chapters of the book, as well as a chapter by Emyr Llywelyn who was imprisoned for a year for his part (with Owain Williams and John Albert Jones) in trying to stop the development of the dam in February 1963. There’s also a chapter by radio and television presenter, Huw Stephens, who is the son of the original mural painter. 

Following these contributions, elements of this year’s story are presented in the form of pictures and short written pieces by the public who have been appreciating other people’s efforts during the spring and summer – from Bridgend to Bwlch-y-Groes, from Llangrannog to Llanuwchllyn – and even Chicago! This book is only a taster of the hundreds of murals which continue to be created. 

Siôn Jobbins, Chaiman of Yes Cymru said:

“Destroying the Cofiwch Dryweryn mural was an attempt to destroy the memory and idenitity of Wales as a nation. This book shows that we will never let that happen again. It documents the brave and challenging words on walls across Wales that commemorate our history and demand a better future for our nation.” 

The author and actress Mari Emlyn originally comes from Cardiff, but has long since settled in Y Felinheli with her husband, and has raised three sons there. The Treweryn story has intensified her belief that Wales, if it is to be a proud and confident nation, needs to know its own history. 

Cofiwch Dryweryn: Wales Awakening  will be launched at 7pm in Studio 1, Galeri Caernarfon on Friday, 18 th  October.  

Cofiwch Dryweryn: Wales Awakening  by Mari Emlyn (£7.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

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The most comprehensive study of Wales’ maritime history ever commissioned, taking over a decade to research and produce – sees publication this week. Entitled  Wales  and the Sea: 10,000 years of Welsh Maritime History , the volume delves into every aspect of Wales’ connection with the sea, from earliest history to the present day: from archaeology to paintings and poetry, from naval history to seaside holidays. 

The volume was commissioned by the Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales working in partnership with the National Library of Wales, CADW, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales, and is written by some of Wales’s foremost historians and archaeologists.  Wales and the Sea  contains archive photographs drawn largely from the vast collections of the National Monuments Record of Wales, the National Library of Wales and the National  Museum of Wales, but also from libraries across the world. 

Archaeological finds from Wales – including Bronze-Age boats, Roman ships and their cargoes, the medieval Newport ship and the seventeenth-century royal yacht  Mary  – all testify to the long history of Wales as a seafaring nation.  Wales and the Sea  brings to life the age of ocean-going liners, the cable-laying ships that connected Wales to the rest of the world, the pleasure steamers, racing yachts and the seaside piers as well as the busy docks that supplied Welsh slate, coal, iron and steel to the world. 

Heroes and villains from the book include the buccaneer Henry Morgan, the smuggler William Owen and the infamous Bartholomew Roberts, known as Black Bart, who is reputed to have captured 400 ships in a two-year period before eventually being shot by the Royal Navy in 1722. There are also figures such as the red-cloaked Jemima Niclas, who, armed with a pitchfork, famously helped to see off the last French invasion during the Battle of Fishguard on 24 February 1797. 

Beautifully illustrated with over 300 images, the 348-page large-format book also looks at the impact of the sea on the artistic imagination through naval paintings, seascapes, poetry, song and popular seaside souvenirs. It aims to raise the profile of the Wales’ maritime heritage in the public consciousness and celebrates the hard work of those who safeguard  this legacy for the nation, through recording, site protection and museum curation. 

In his foreword, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Welsh Assembly Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, congratulates the contributors to  Wales and the Sea  for “reminding us that Wales has a proud maritime history” and that the Welsh seas cover a greater area than our land area (marine area 32,000km² / land area 20,375 km²). 

Wales and the Sea  is an incredibly comprehensive and accessible history of every aspect of Wales’ connection with the sea, from the creation of land mass to the present day,” says Nicola Roberts, Public Engagement Officer at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. 

Wales and the Sea  is rooted in scholarship but written to be enjoyed, and is packed with stories and pictures that remind us of the vital role that the sea has played in Wales’s distinctive history. 

Wales  and the Sea  will be launched at the National Waterfront Gallery in Swansea, at 2:30pm on Thursday 24 th  October 2019. For further details, please contact Nicola Roberts:  Nicola.roberts@rcahmw.gov.uk  

Wales  and the Sea  (£24.99, Y Lolfa) is available now (also available in Welsh-language version:  Cymru a’r Môr: 10,000 o flynyddoedd o Hanes y Môr )

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The Story of Welsh Boxing - A Review

By Ceri Shaw, 2019-08-31

Lawrence Davies is a Welsh boxing historian, the author of Mountain Fighters: Lost Tales of Welsh Boxing and Jack Scarrott's Prize Fighters. His groundbreaking work has served as the basis of a TV documentary and numerous newspaper articles. His meticulous original research has uncovered many Welsh prize fighters previously unrecorded in any publication. Read our interview with author Lawrence Davies here .

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Lawrence Davies' new book confirms his status as the historian of Welsh Boxing. His earlier title 'Mountain Fighters of Wales' ( see this post ) first published in 2012, established his reputation and subsequent offerings have amply confirmed his dedication to the task of chronicling the early development of the Welsh 'fancy'. Davies' obvious passion for his subject matter and meticulous research combine to ensure that this book will appeal to boxing afficianados everywhere but the general reader will also find it a richly rewarding experience.

The core of the book consists of a series of biographies of early Welsh pugilists all of whom have been more or less lost to history. You might be forgiven if the names of Thomas 'Paddington' Jones, Ned Turner, the Savage brothers and William Charles are not familiar to you. In his day the last named was, "considered another Glendower,..." and was hailed as the Welsh Champion. William Charles' battles with Bristolian Jem Bailey are vividly and entertainingly recounted in the closing chapters of the book. 

Readers who are intrigued by Tom 'Paddington' Jones and wish to learn more are advised to check out this article which Lawrence Davies posted on AmeriCymru earlier this year:- Tom Jones Inducted Into International Boxing Hall Of Fame!

Ten chapters are devoted to the career of Ned Turner, the Out-and-Outer, who in his day was 'the greatest fighting Welshman of the age'. Although he was born in London both his parents were from Newtown in Montgomeryshire and this fact sufficed to guarantee him the support of his countrymen. He was noted for his extreme skill in the ring and his gentlemanly conduct outside it.

'The game Ned Turner once a toast,
No better man alive!
He was 'the Fancy's' pride and boast,
On victory did thrive.'

This is also a book which will delight social historians and anyone with a penchant for archaic English slang. Pierce Egan was the author of Boxiana, a  series of volumes of prizefighting articles published in the early 19th century. Mr Davies says of him:-

"Egan was .... named 'the Great Lexicographer of the Fancy' as he did not merely record the language of the followers of the ring; in many instances he created it. The 1822 edition of Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, which had been edited by Pierce Egan, would include many terms that had been coined by Egan himself.'

The book includes an appendix on pugilistic terminology where we find such entries as:-

KNIGHT OF THE LEEK - A term used to denote that a pugilist was of Welsh origin. Occasionally also used to describe his supporters 'the benefit was well attended by the knights of the leek'

IVORIES - The teeth. A pugilist who has broken his opponent's teeth is said to have 'cabbaged his ivories'.

In conclusion we unreservedly recommend 'The Story of Welsh Boxing' to the Boxing enthusiast and general reader alike. You may find inspiration and you will certainly find humour, but above all you are guaranteed a first rate read.


The Story of Welsh Boxing: Hardcover

The Story of Welsh Boxing: Kindle Edition

2012 Interview with Lawrence Davies

2019 Interview with Lawrence Davies

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Cardiff duo  Right Hand Left Hand  are back with a brand new album. Following on from their self-titled, Welsh Music Prize nominated second album, their third offering,  ‘Zone Rouge’ , tells the story of humanity's contempt for the earth beneath us, the air above us and the people around us. Our fractured planet lays the groundwork for the 11 new tracks. Each referring to a location on Earth where something bad has happened: An act of corruption against the planet, an act of evil against fellow humans and occasionally both. 

The first single,  ‘Prora’ , derives from a building complex, built by the Nazis on the island of Rügen, Germany, in the 1930’s.  ‘Strength Through Joy'  was the Nazi's program for giving the people a holiday. It resulted in the building of the cruise ship Wilhelm Gustloff and Prora, 4.5km of brutalist seaside resort. Soon after completion, both were requisitioned for use in WW2. Prora is still there, fulfilling its original purpose as a seaside resort and youth hostel. The Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in 1945 with 9,400 people perishing, many of them civilians and it lies at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. It is estimated to be the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking.

Recorded and produced by Charlie Francis ( Future of the Left, REM, Robyn Hitchcock ) at Cardiff’s Musicbox Studios, Andrew Plain (drums/guitars) and Rhodri Viney (guitars/vocals/ drums) continue to build and develop their trademark sound: looped and layered guitars and driving powerful drums that are intercut with atmospheric ambience. ‘Prora’ is available to buy and stream digitally on 30th August. The album will follow on 15th November, 2019. It will be available digitally, on CD, and on limited edition double clear vinyl.


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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.

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