From the Margins : May Gig GuideJump to Essential Diary Dates
Picks of the Month
In its eighth year Wrexham's FOCUS Wales (10 - 12 May) has developed into a dazzling new music, comedy and arts festival with an international profile. This year's bill is headed by This is the Kit, Kate Rusby, Gaz Coombes, Jane Weaver and Bill Ryder-Jones, but it is the depth of the programme that impresses; 200 bands on 20 stages, over 300 performances - you could probably attend five times watching different shows, and still not exhaust the excitement and quality of it. A weekend ticket is just £40. Full details.
Winner of two BBC Folk awards in 2017 (including best newcomer) Daoirí Farrell has been rightly championed by Dónal Lunny ('Daoirí is one of the most important traditional singers to emerge in the last decade'). He began his love of Irish folk very young - his father used to play Planxty, Bothy Band and Moving Hearts albums to soothe him when he couldn't sleep for fear of the imaginary cats at the foot of his bed. Farrell's rich voice, passion for the music and rare instrumental skill means he has honoured those early influences with two superb albums - The First Turn and True Born Irishman; traditional music as it is meant to be played, with the spirit of the place it comes from represented vibrant and intact. Support at his Galeri show (15 May) comes from remarkable Caernarfon singer-songwriter, Elidyr Glyn. Tickets £12
- Tues 1 May : Manic Street Preachers & The Coral : Venue Cymru [Llandudno] 8.00pm / Sold Out
- Wed 2 May : Clwb Comedi Club : Sean Collins / Mike Newall / Dan Nightingale : Galeri [Caernarfon] 8.00pm / Tickets £8. Nightingale is a real gem of a performer - described as 'A 100mph whirlwind - Brilliant' by the Manchester Evening News - he is joined on Galeri's studio stage by engaging Mancunian Mike Newall and Sean Collins ('Infectious - evocative and entertaining' - Chortle).
- Thu 3 May : Theatr Clwyd Comedy Club : Mike Newall & Guests : Theatr Clwyd [Mold] 8.00pm / Tickets £10
- Fri 4 May : Alys Williams & Special Guest : Theatr Clwyd [Mold] 7.30pm / Tickets £7 I Caernarfon's Alys Williams was mentored by Tom Jones on The Voice, and she has continued to develop since, demonstrated both through magnificent collaborations (notably with Band Pres Llareggub) and with her own stellar band.
- Fri 4 May : 4Good Comedians : Blue Sky [Bangor] Details I Cracking comedy club in a welcoming venue, this month headlined by Alex Boardman - 'A rare mix of wit and charm' - The Guardian
- Fri 4 May : Rhyl Comedy Club : Entertainment from a small host of new comedians : Rhyl Little Theatre [Rhyl] 7.30pm / Pay donation on door - More
- Sat 5 May : Silky & Carey Marx : Theatr Clwyd [Mold] 8.00pm / Tickets £10 I Elliptical and instinctive comedian Silky paired with the award winning Carey Marx ('Supremely-crafted comedy' - List).
- Fri 11 May : Iwan Huws Album Launch : lloft@tafarnyfic [Llithfaen] 8.30pm Tickets £5 I Exceptional Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog's frontman launches his debut solo album in an intimate venue.
- Fri 11 May : Marathon Comedi | Tudur Owen | Comedy Marathon with Hywel Pitts, Jonny Williams & More : FOCUS Wales - HWB Cymraeg @ Queen's Square [Wrexham] 7.00pm / Tickets £8 or Festival Wristband I FOCUS Wales new comedy showcase, hosted by Tudur Owen ('Great material, great variety, very funny, and very Welsh' BBC Wales) - which should be a small bilingual comedy riot of a night.
- 10 - 12 May : FOCUS Wales [Wrexham] Dazzling new music / comedy / arts festival - Full details I Previews : 9Bach / Gintis / Adwaith et al. - Oblong / Alffa [see above for more]
- Tue 15 May : Daoirí Farrell / Elidyr Glyn : Galeri [Caernarfon] 7.30pm / Tickets £12 [see above for more]
- Thu 17 May : Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita / Gwyneth Glyn : Pontio [Bangor] 7.30pm / Tickets £18-20 I Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita have a new release imminent, which has already been described by Folk Wales as 'a stunning, inspiring album'. Their collaboration, built on Welsh harp and Senegalese kora, is at its most effective on stage - where, as The Guardian has said, they are 'quietly exquisite, emotional and inventive'. Support is from Gwyneth Glyn - a consummate, poetic singer-songwriter and performer.
- Fri 18 May : Ed Byrne : Spoiler Alert : Galeri [Caernarfon] 8.00pm / Tickets £25
- Wed 30 May : Outdoor Jazz Concert : John Etheridge & Vimala Rowe : Oriel Plas Glyn-Y-Weddw Arts Centre [Llanbedrog] 7.30pm / Tickets £15 / £12 (u14)