From the Margins : December 2017 News Archive

  • FtM Icon2017 SONGS OF THE YEAR
    Rooting like an anosmic truffle hog through hundreds of songs released over a year, it is easy to make a definitive selection only for it to seem wrongheaded hours later. After a lot of iterations these final two tracks have been chosen for what they offer musically, but also for the promise they hold for 2018.
    • First Band Pres Llareggub's Cymylau, released to herald their new album and featuring a dazzling vocal from Alys Williams. For anyone who might hesitate before a song with Welsh lyrics, Cymylau demonstrates that music can completely transcend language whilst at the same time showcasing its vitality and vibrance.

    • Then from I Asked My Friends to Cover my Songs and This is What They Came Up With, Benjamin Mason's exceptional charity compilation of covers of his songs, the simplicity of Jodie Marie's version of Skies are Falling demonstrates her emotional power. That she has the blues in her bones, even on a low-key arrangement such as this, is undeniable.

    Plaid Cymru's Shadow Health Minister and Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth cautiously welcomes an outline agreement for improved medical education in North Wales, and explains the path forward he sees for the NHS and Plaid itself. Read the interview.
    A fourth release for North Wales collective CEG records - Colossous is the recording name of Melys' bass player Rich Eardley. His four track solo EP has a straight forward energy that makes it instantly memorable and endearing - Vanarchy in the UK has a recipe of rhythm, subtle humour and guitars in exactly the right proportions. Review

    This interview piece has been written by guest contributor Kevin McGrath, who also writes for NewSoundWales, Wales Arts Review and Pop Matters. Kevin has a passion for music coupled with an encyclopedic knowledge, and if he sees Beth Goudie as an underrated artist, we should all take notice. The interview explores Beth's recent releases and the motivations for her songwriting. Read more.

    New bands desperately need venues to play - especially in North Wales where their options are patchy at best. As a practical, direct response a new group of young people has formed to promote live music in Llanberis, taking a name - Gigs y Gilfach Ddu - to mark the area's slate quarry heritage. The first planned date is at Llanberis Social Club on Thursday, December 28th, and sets out their intent with an outstanding bill - local bands Alffa and Gwilym booked to support the electrifying Y Reu.

    Sôn am Sîn music bloggers Gethin Griffiths and Chris Roberts are involved in the project, and have underlined the groups' aims: "We are delighted to be part of organising Gigs y Gilfach Ddu. In the dust of the old gigs at Y Bedol and Fricsan, locations that have closed or changed over recent years, we hope Gigs y Gilfach Ddu will revive the live music scene in the area." Bethel musician Marged Rhys (Plu, Bendith) has also welcomed the new initiative, noting that it will compliment and balance the resurgent live scene in Caernarfon, and give vital opportunities to young bands to develop their sound.

    It looks a very promising collaborative venture. Ticket details will be available soon (we will post them as soon as they are) - for more information check the Gigs y Gilfach Ddu Facebook page.

  • Focus Wales 2018FOCUS WALES 2018 : TUDUR OWEN'S COMEDY MARATHON : 11.05.2018
    Focus Wales, Wrexham's dynamic annual international music/arts/interactive festival, is stepping up its commitment to Welsh comedy with a new 'Live at the Apollo' style showcase hosted by Tudur Owen. Already confirmed for the bill are rising stars Hywel Pitts from Colwyn Bay and Bangor funnyman Johnny Williams. More names will be confirmed soon.

    Tudur is a well-established act on the UK stand-up comedy circuit. Having started his career in 1999, he is now regarded as one of Wales' finest comedy talents with a string of sell out Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs to his name, as well an impressive writing and broadcasting CV. He has been recently commissioned by BBC Radio 4 for a series next year titled "Putting Anglesey On The Map". Tudur is well known for his comedy whether working in Welsh or English; the showcase will be bilingual, and fun for everyone, regardless of Welsh language abilities. He is, as The Reviews Hub states, 'riotously funny'.

    As Tudur is one of our favourite comedians (read the last review), we are exceptionally pleased to be working in association with Focus Wales to deliver this event; Tudur Owen's Comedy Marathon starts at 7.00pm on Friday 11th May, at HWB Cymraeg, Queens Square, Wrexham. Tickets are £8. Early bird tickets for the whole weekend of Focus Wales 2018 cost just £35 and are available here.