This weekend sees Gwyl Nyth Festival at Porter’s in Cardiff as we head for a last hurrah on our extended Minifest month. While it might seem like some time since we reported on Wales Goes Pop, we’ve been catching experimental awesomeness across at Holy Boredom, had a ball enjoying some brilliantly fully formed new music such as HMS Morris at Pili Pala in Swansea and we didn’t even have time to see a packed out Gwdihw host Jealous Lovers & Juxtaposed’s Microfest with its Indie-pop cool.
If that wasn’t a varied enough plethora of musical enjoyment, Nyth Fest is packing out Porter’s with a stellar cast of Welsh (and English) language gems, including Colorama, who release new album Temari next month and several emerging electronic artists including Carcharorion, following in Y Pencadlys (also playing!) steps in turning electronic flourishes to add melancholy and darkness to Welsh language songs.
Listening to Hiraeth, as a non Welsh-language speaker, got me thinking about how Welsh language music is perceived. There’s no doubting the beautiful effectiveness of the hazy yet glistening sound brought by the subtly shifting electronics, but not understanding the lyrics to such songs adds an immediate mysticism to the mix. It’s something I’d attribute to losing myself slightly to Ifan Dafydd when the DJ played some of his records at Swn Festival in 2012. It’s a undoubted plus (for myself) on tracks like this, but does that do disservice to the songs themselves? Wanting to avoid doing so, it was questions such as these about Welsh language music and particularly promoting events, that I put to Gwyn Eiddor, one of several guys behind the Nyth Record label, ahead of Sunday’s all-dayer.
Q: There’s been so many Minifests in Cardiff over the last month, there’s clearly a demand for events curated in particular ways – is the fact Nyth is Welsh Language artists a good selling point?
There’s a few really great micro-fests happening on Cardiff theese days so there’s obviously a demand for it. In many ways a micro-fest or an ‘all-dayer’ is a more managable way of enjoying loads of great music for musicians, promoters and the public but still provides that festival feel. I would never pigeonhole Nyth as exclusively Welsh language music though, we take all-sorts. Obviously the majority of the artists playing are from the Welsh language scene but we always aim to mix them with all kinds of artists to create an amazing overall lineup.
Above all we pick our artist based on merit rather than language, by coming to a Nyth event you’re coming to see good music, some of it will be sung in Welsh, but it’s still good. You can still have a good time if you understand the words or not!
Q: Do you think there’s enough serious discussion of Welsh language artists in the Welsh media?
There’s fairly good good coverage of Welsh music in the Welsh language media but I do believe that some of the highest quality artists deserve more attention from the English media and press in Wales. Musically they’re on a par with their English language contemporaries therefore it would be advantageous to give them wider acknowledgement.
Q: You’ve put varied types of shows on in Cardiff – what kind of spaces do you look for to suit the artists playing and why?
We look for venues that people can have a good time watching music in them. Porter’s is perfectly suited for the Nyth Festival, there’s plenty of space for a stage outside, and another inside, plus a great whopping long bar with plenty of lovely beers stacked behind it. This year Bobby Smooth will be bringing his Caribbean ‘Ackee Seeds’ cuisine to the festival, firing up some jerk chicken on the BBQ in the courtyard. We’ll also be transforming Porter’s cinema room into an art-gallery.
Porter’s is a great place to hang-out anyway, but dressed with the usual Nyth colours and lights plus that amazing array of artists, Nyth Festival 2014 will be epic.
Q:What’s the main challenges for putting on Nyth/Welsh lang gigs in Cardiff – and Wales generally?
Obviously Cardiff’s bigger population will yield more events than smaller towns and rural areas, having said this there seems to be cool independant events happening all over Wales. ‘Gwyl Gwydir’ in Llanrwst and ‘Gwyl ‘Nol a ‘Mlân’ in Llangrannog are particular favourites of mine. Nyth originates from Cardiff but we’ve put on special events all over Wales, so we might consider hosting an extra Nyth Festival outside the capital in the future.
Q:Who’re you most excited to see play this weekend?
Alun (Nyth’s co-chief) and I picked all the artists so were obviously looking forward to seeing all of them!
Colorama are officially launching their new album ‘Temari’ at the festival so that should be special. I’m also intrigued and excited to see debut performances from ‘Carcharorion’ and ‘Carw’, both acts creating really interesting electronic sounds. Desert Mountain Tribe are stopping at Nyth as part of their UK tour as well.
I’m also really looking forward to seeing the art exhibited by four young talented visual artists; Gwion Christmas, Elin Meredydd, Manon Dafydd and Steffan Dafydd.
The whole lineup is amazing really; you just need to make a day of it!
Gwyl Nyth Festival is at Porters from 2pm-2am on Sunday 25th May. Advance tickets cost just £9 from www.sadwrn.com. The full line up includes –
YR AYES / CARCHARORION / CARW / COLORAMA / DAN AMOR / DESERT MOUNTAIN TRIBE / Y FFUG / KEYS / KIZZY CRAWFORD / LLWYBR LLAETHOG / Y PENCADLYS / NYTH DJS
OSH TAL / SPIKES / SGILTI / CARL MORRIS / EL-ROW
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