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Welsh Icons - 2007
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Catatonia

Catatonia

Stereophonics

Stereophonics

Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers

Feeder

Feeder

Super Furry Animals

Super Furry Animals

Goldie Lookin' Chain

Goldie Lookin' Chain

Bryn Terfel

Bryn Terfel

lostprophets

lostprophets

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

John Cale

John Cale

Geraint Evans

Geraint Evans

Charlotte Church

Charlotte Church

Tom Jones

Tom Jones

Shirley Bassey

Shirley Bassey

Katherine Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins

Shakin' Stevens

Shakin' Stevens

Mary Hopkin

Mary Hopkin

Bonnie Tyler

Bonnie Tyler

Mike Peters

Mike Peters

Phil Campbell

Phil Campbell

Stuart Burrows

Stuart Burrows

Robert Tear

Robert Tear

Margaret Price

Margaret Price

Grace Williams

Grace Williams

Andy Fairweather-Low

Andy Fairweather-Low

Dave Edmunds

Dave Edmunds

Steve Strange

Steve Strange

Pino Palladino

Pino Palladino

Wales is often known by the phrase "the Land of Song" (Welsh: Gwlad y Gn) and its people have a renowned affinity for poetry and music.

Perhaps the most well-known musical image of Wales is that of the choir, in particular the male voice choir (Welsh: cr meibion). While this is certainly a part (though of greatly diminished importance) of the current musical life of the nation, it is by no means the only or the oldest part, and the choral tradition does not really stretch back significantly beyond its heyday in the 19th century.

Much older is the tradition of instrumental folk music. The harp has been closely associated with Wales for a very long time, and one kind of harp, the triple harp is uniquely Welsh. Other specifically Welsh instruments included the crwth and the pibgorn, though both fell out of general use by the end of the 18th century. Due to Nonconformist Christian disapproval, the instrumental folk tradition fell into decline through the 19th and early 20th centuries, but has since seen a revival and is now arguably as strong as ever. The principal instruments are the harp and the fiddle, but many other instruments are used, and both the crwth and pibgorn are again being played by a small but growing number of people.

Wales also has a long tradition of folk song which, like the instrumental tradition, and for the same reasons, was long in decline but is now flourishing again. One notable kind of Welsh song is cerdd dant which, loosely, is an improvised performance following quite strict rules in which poetry is sung to one tune against the accompaniment of (usually) a harp to a different tune.

In the mid- to late 1990s new Welsh music became unexpectedly fashionable, with the chart successes of bands including Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia and the Stereophonics. These groups helped the media at the time invent the epithet "Cool Cymru", an answer to Britpop's "Cool Britannia". Prior to that, Welsh acts including The Alarm, Shakin' Stevens and Bonnie Tyler had all had high profiles, but there had never been much of a movement.

Around this time, groups such as Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci rose to popularity, and artists such as Tom Jones, John Cale, and Shirley Bassey had something of a renaissance.
 


 

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Comments

Re. Eric Whitley
There are so many good welsh born entertainers around but as a mark of respect I would like to remind you that there was one tenor that had not been given the recognition he deserved and that was Eric Whitley. Born in Wrexham he was lead tenor for the travelling Black and White minstrels, touring Australia and New Zealand in the 60's. He died on the 4th August 1993 at the age of 80.
He also sang with the BBC Light Orchestra as well as with several other well known bands of the time.
#1 - Charles Cater - 08/28/2007 - 15:53
MR
Chris Slade: drummer, Uriah Heep, The firm, AC/DC, Tom Jones
Dave Evans: singer, original vocalist in AC/DC, Carmarthen born.
Bands: 60ft dolls, Badfinger
#2 - G Lewis - 09/08/2007 - 21:15
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