It’s been cold, and our bioler’s broken down.
We are proud that ‘Draw Dros Y Mynydd’ was nominated for the 2012 Welsh Music Prize.
The Welsh Music Prize is a wonderful event, even if you think awards are irrelevant and pointless. The great thing about it is that it places Welsh language music and non Welsh language Welsh bands on the same playing field.
The night before our theatre tour (more on that below) we were invited to take part in a special gig in Cardiff that showcased all available short-listed acts.
We seldom get the chance to play with non Welsh language bands from Wales, in fact, we play more shows with English language bands from England than we do with English language bands from Wales, which is bizarre.
That’s what’s good about the welsh music prize. It’s nice to have an event where all kind of Welsh artists get a chance to play together, regardless of the language and genre. It was a great night and we are glad to have been part of it.
After a night out in Dempseys, we set off for Ystradgynlais for the first show of the Theatre Tour. It was a tour that consisted of Georgia Ruth with us as band, the amazing Gareth Bonello with strings and all in tow, and then a set by us.
The whole tour went great, we visited the following venvues in a little under a month.
18/10/12: Welfare, Ystradgynlais
19/10/12: Muni, Pontypridd
20/10/12: Blackwood Miners Institute
23/10/12: Theatr Felinfach, Lampeter
25/10/12: Hafren, Newtown
26/10/12: Stiwt, Rhosllannerchrugog
28/10/12: Bungalow & Bears, Sheffield
29/10/12: Gaslight Club, Oporto, Leeds
01/11/12: Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli:
02/11/12: Galeri, Caernarfon:
09/11/12: Cafe Crema, London
10/11/12: Union Chapel, London
Here is a couple of videos from one the tour, including a short welsh documentary by Llais TV.
A lot of this was also caught on film which will soon see the light of day!
A week or two after coming home from Argentina we headed for Finland for a few days. We had been invited to play at an art gallery opening of Marja and Amy and we had a couple of other shows in Hyvinkaa.
They were stripped down gigs, with a couple of acoustics and a snare, and Branwen was also with us singing.
We went to Helsinki and had a beer on a boat and some salmon and sardines.
Everyone’s fit and healthy in Finland. I don’t think I saw a single ‘overweight’ person anywhere. Must be the beer and Salmon. Dandy.
In late September we were lucky enough to go to Argentina for a nearly a month. We went there to do a series of gigs as well as workshops in some of the welsh communities in Patagonia.
A lot of the trip was filmed, and it will hopefully be cut into a film of some kind soon.
We bumped into some people in Manchester Airport, turned out Gethin Evs, Gwion Sgiv and Kate were catching flights to different places at the same time we were catching our connecting flight to Amsterdam.
No idea who the guy in the back is, but fair play, he hijacked the photo pretty brilliantly.
We landed in Buenos Aires after a long flight and had 6 days there to do pretty much what we wanted. We ate a lot, drank a bit and walked for miles.
We somehow found our way inside the Boca Juniors stadium. Someone had somehow left a big garage-like door open that led straight to the pitch and it was a welcomed sight for us and quite a few of the local kids.
A few days later we went on a bus for 20 hours down to Chubut. We were staying in a small town called Gaiman for nearly ten days. We recorded some tracks in Hector Ariel’s studio ‘Bryn Alaw’, did a few radio interviews, the favorate being Luned and Tegai’s weekly show. We also did some gigs in restaurants and bars and did a lot of workshops in different schools and saw a bar where apparently Butch Cassidy and Sundance one drank and slept.
It was pretty strange hearing Argentinians speaking Welsh with such an accent at first, but we then became used to it. It’s amazing how the language has survived there. After a while you realise that they are just normal Argentines that happen to speak Welsh. But they are unbelievably proud of their Welsh background and a lot of the people we met had been here. Some of them even had 100% Welsh blood, and we met one person who had learned Welsh before Spanish even.
Lois, who did all the preparation work on that side even sorted a big screen and projector so that we could watch the Wales V Serbia football World Cup qualifier, but the less said about that the better.
We had an amazing welcome in Gaiman. Billy, Martin and Ricardo showed us around the local farms and made us an asado, and by the end of the week we really had begun to feel at home there.
We then travelled on an overnight bus west towards the Andes. We slept throughout most of the journey and it was pretty spectacular waking up as the sun came up with the Andes all around us.
Iwan Madog, who had sorted everything there for us took us around Esquel and Trefelin. We did a lot of workshops in different schools where quite a few couldn’t speak Welsh or English. It was actually great. Our Spanish was limited at best (in fact Iwan was convinced that my Spanish got worse as the trip got on) but it was a nice way of working. and we even got all of them to sing the welsh song ‘Ar Lan y Mor’.
We sang with a choir as backing vocalists, ate a lot of Pizzas, went to the national park with Claire and Victor, and met loads of interesting people. Isias, who lives there but is originally from Buenos Aires, took us up the mountains to see a Welsh Gaucho (!) and his son who had built an aeroplane and a steam engine (!!). He talked to us about engines in Spanish, and the only thing we understood was that ‘Fiat is shit!’.
We did a gig in a bar in Esquel with a crazy band that wore wrestling masks, and they were good. They were kind enough to offer us their instruments, which we gracefully accepted because I hadn’t seen a drum kit in nearly a month and Aled had a thing going with the double bass he saw in sound check. But Iwan didn’t take to the Argentinian guitar tuner, and two songs in we realised that it was on the ‘Charango’ setting. Lord knows how we sounded before that. But it was pretty funny seeing Iwan break down on stage, which doesn’t happen often. I think he had a genuine fright that he had lost all ability to tune. At one pint he turned around with the look of a man that had lost the will to live and said ‘I just cant do this’.
We then went out all night before catching a bus and made our way up to Buenos Aires for our flight back home.
Argentina is pretty damn cool.
We have been really busy over the last few months.
After the release of ‘Draw Dros Y Mynydd’ and a busy summer of gigging, we returned to Bryn Derwen, but this time as band to Georgia Ruth to record her debut album.
We had a great time recording it, and everyone’s looking forward to getting it out and playing the songs live.
‘Draw Dros y Mynydd’ is our third album, and available to order from http://www.sadwrn.com – it’ll also be on iTunes and the like shortly…
…but this isn’t a press release.
We had fun recording it, at Bryn Derwen studio again with David Wrench at the helm. In the months ‘twixt recording and releasing we managed to a play quite a few shows, and found silly places to stick Dafydd…
The past few months have been rather busy. A lovely summer was had, full of lobsters by the honourable Gruffydd of Trefor, and ice cream at the Rheola Festival in Neath…
…full of wondering where did those Race Horses go without shoes nor red wine…
… and full of finding little sheds to smoke in…
Having left the summer behind, we visited Bryn Derwen studio in Bethesda once again to record 3 tracks for the ‘Trac’ series on BBC Radio Cymru, and to work on our third album.
Funny things were done there:
Iwan enjoyed playing Joe Cool Tough Guy in the studio:
The three song – ‘Yno Fydda i’, ‘ Tawel Yma Heno’, and our version of a song by Gwilym Morus, ‘Cyn Iddi Fynd Rhy Hwyr’ can be found at www.soundcloud.com/cowbois should you wish.
We were then kept busy by the demands of Georgia Ruth. Yonder she is, in finest ostrich feathers, and her biggest fan on the left:
Dafydd spent hours listening to the BBC’s Soothing Panpipes collection whilst Iwan and Aled learned to sing:
At the same time, as Dafydd previously mentioned, we moved house to Llithfaen. Recording equipment were set up:
And stuff were recorded:
The first produce of this little studio can be heard below. It’s our version of an American folk song called ‘Fall On My Knees’:
November saw a trip to London to play one of the www.comedownandmeetthefolks.co.uk night, and a good night it was. Iwan succeeded in fitting Aled’s stomach on a plate for his supper:
In a week or two, we headed for Chester to play at Telfords Warehouse in a lovely night organised by Adam Walton. We were opening the night as Georgia Ruth’s band, then closed ourselves.
We were treated to chips, salad and bread, and a bucket full of ice cold beer:
O! Such wonders it does for a man’s temper – Twm the Dog says that ice cold beer is good for the heart.
However, despite of the fun of summer, one thing became clear. It is still rather hard to accept but – by Hercules – our Iwan is a strong boy:
This one’s going to be hard, but I’m going to try and list my top 5 favourite albums. However, this list will undoubtedly be of 5 albums that are among my favourites. It is in no way a list of ‘the best albums ever’ or anything like that, it’s just a list of albums i seem to enjoy, perhaps more than most other records.
These are the ones that I currently feel deserves a place on the list:
Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker
This is one of two albums that I don’t think I could ever leave out of a list like this. It’s what I would consider to be the best produced and engineered record ever made. Ryan Adams, Ethan Johns, and other amazing people such as Gilian Welch and Dave Rawlings. It’s a brilliantly made, great record.
Neil Young – Harvest Moon
This is the only other that would be safe of it’s place in the top 5. Harvest Moon isn’t considered Neil Young’s best record, far from it in fact. I think a lot of Neil Young fans thought of it as a very Twee, and perhaps tame record, but that’s the exact thing I love about it.
I do admit that a strong element of nostalgia comes into this choice. Dad used to play it a lot when we were younger, and it reminds of rainy Sunday afternoons in ‘Rerw.
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
This is just a downright brilliant album of songs. Not sure what to make of the newer stuff, haven’t given it much chance, I just think one is amazing.
Nirvana – Nevermind
Like most people, I had a Nirvana phase, which says a lot about the influence that they cast over a lot of people. It also helps that I think that some of the drum tracks on this one are the best ever recorded.
EELS – Beautiful Freak
I don’t listen to this half as often as the others. In fact, I had forgotten about it until now. I used to listen to it a lot in the year before i went to college and the following couple of years. There’s just something about it that I love.
The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Steve Eaves – Moelyci
As this is our first blog, I will bore you to death.
We have been working on the Website for a couple of days now. It doesn’t look too bad in our opinion, but, no doubt, we both have lost perspective on the whole thing, and that, combined with hours on end of staring at a computer screen, probably means that it looks pretty goddamn awful.
We were suppose to be down in Cardiff for a few days, rehearsing with Georgia Ruth for a gig in Gwdihw next Wednesday, as well as attending Huw Stephens Christmas Party for Radio Cymru, but Vanessa, the Van, decided against that, instead choosing to sit in the rain outside a garage, refusing to move. Iwan went on the train; god knows when he’ll be back.
We have very recently moved to a house in Llithfaen:
Llithfaen is a 20 minute drive from Botwnnog, where we were born and bred. Llithfaen has a pub, a shop, and now, a home studio:
We haven’t got Internet in the house yet, so we have been home for a couple of days doing stuff like this, as well as admiring Dad’s beard:
Inspired by Dad, Im trying to grow some face fungus myself, however, at present, it resembles a scrawny gorse bush:
As well as losing all her sepctacles, Mam has been shrinking perfectly good jumpers: