The entertainment team are kicking off our section on this blog with what we know best, MUSIC! To stay topical we’re starting with Welsh Language Music Day, which will happen for the second time on Friday, 10th Feb, celebrating music in our native tongue. For us there’s no better feeling than seeing an artist you’ve worked with from very early on, defying the odds and smashing through to a wider audience; it’s even sweeter when they are home grown heroes too!
To give you a brief history on Welsh Language rock & pop, we have to go back to 1967 when Y Blew recorded the first track called ‘Maes B’. It wasn’t until the 90’s and the era of Cool Cymru with bands like Catatonia, 60ft Dolls, Stereophonics and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci that the UK mainstream media took notice. The era produced undoubtedly the biggest Welsh language band - the Super Furry Animals - who over the course of nine albums, have been described as "one of the most imaginative bands of our time" by Billboard, whilst NME say, "There's a case to be argued that SFA are the most important band of the past 15 years.” Their entire Welsh language album Mwng even cracked the UK Top 20! There are no signs of Welsh language music slowing down, as recently as 2015 folk group 9bach won ‘Best Album’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and Gwenno stole hearts and minds with her critically praised album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’!
The inaugural Welsh Language Music Day was a fantastic success with gigs, radio shows and activities in schools all across Wales. This year will be run in partnership with names such as Deezer, HMV, BBC, Spillers and a host of talented Welsh musicians. This event really is a celebration of a proud country’s creative identity.
‘But I don’t know where to start?’ We hear you cry. Well fret no more we’ve got you covered!
CHROMA are three young tykes from Pontypridd and certainly a firm favourite within the office. Combining a frantic and high octane indie-rock sound with frontwoman Katie’s vocals soaring over the top. It all started in April 2016 when they opened up our show with VANT, since then they won the prestigious Brwydr y Bandiau competition to open the main stage at Maes B (the Welsh equivalent to Glastonbury!) and they’ve been a staple on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru’s new music shows. Their latest single Claddu takes a swipe at Brexit, proving their lyrics are as potent as their sound.
2) Georgia Ruth
Former Welsh Music Prize winner, Georgia Ruth is equipped with a fragile and delicate voice that is simply wonderful. She’s garnered sterling support across the UK airwaves and gained notable fans which include Steve Lamacq, Jo Whiley, Gideon Coe, Huw Stephens, Dermot O’Leary, Janice Long and Lauren Laverne. Both her albums are tremendous pieces of work and we’re fully backing her latest album Fossil Scale to win the 2017 Welsh Music Prize!
Enjoy indie-pop? Well you’ll love Wales’ answer to Two Door Cinema Club – Sŵnami. Nominees for this year’s Welsh Music Prize with, their super catchy self-titled debut album and are also BBC Radio Wales Horizons alumni. We dare you not to tap your feet or nod your head whilst listening to them!
Have a listen to our specially curated playlist on Spotify here:
So how can you get involved in all of this?
It couldn’t be simpler to get involved on this day:
• Just listen to some Welsh language music - along side our playlist, Huw Stephens, Gwenno, Bryn Terfel and many more have curated playlists too. Mix up your morning commute playlist by downloading them to your device.
— Huw Stephens (Radio 1): Pop, Indie, Hip-hop - Spotify | Deezer | Apple
— Gwenno: Electronic, Alternative, Pop - Spotify | Deezer | Apple
— Owain Williams (TAG): Pop, Fun, Disco - Spotify | Deezer | Apple
— Elan and Mari: Retro, Pop, Fun - Spotify | Deezer | Apple
— Bryn Terfel: Classical, Opera, Orchestral - Spotify | Deezer | Apple
— The Gentle Good: Acoustic, Folk, Traditional - Spotify | Deezer | Apple
• Go and see a Welsh language band live
• Buy a Welsh language album or song.
• Encourage your local school, workplace or university to play Welsh music in communal areas.
• You can share your favourite Welsh language song using #Tiwn
• Introduce someone new to your favourite Welsh language band by creating your own playlist and tweet us @thinkorchard and @orchardent so we can have a listen and share too!
Until next time