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Waterfront celebrates top Welsh musical talent

Whoever said Wales was the land of song couldn’t have been more right!

And the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea is celebrating this with a new Music Achievers Gallery and Film.

Exploring Welsh musical artists throughout the decades, the refreshed gallery features world-class singers, choirs, groups, festivals and composers with the likes of Dame Shirley Bassey, Bryn Terfel, Côr Godre’r Garth, Morriston Orpheus Choir, Ivor Novello and Meic Stevens amongst its displays.

Interesting objects support each panel including the wellington boots Dame Shirley Bassey wore during Glastonbury 2007 (complete with sequins, mud and signature), a suite of Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts brochures, a piece of sheet music by composer Dr Joseph Parry along with a CD of Blodwen, one of the most famous Welsh operas and Welsh folk group Ar Log’s LP, cassette and CD of their albums.

The gallery also boasts a free juke box packed with tracks from Welsh artists including Paul Potts who shot to fame following ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, to Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews, Aled Jones, Connie Fisher and Bad Finger.

The film, which is being shown in the Museum’s Day’s Work Gallery, delves into the industry exploring the success of its recording studios, singers, bands and stars of the future. For example, did you know Queen’s famous Bohemian Rhapsody track was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, South East Wales? And did you know Spillers Records in Cardiff is the oldest record shop in the world?

The film is a dynamic mix of original and unseen footage with still photography all supported by well-known tracks including the new version of Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit song Total Eclipse of the Heart with Only Men Aloud! - winners of BBC’s Last Choir Standing and Ysgol Glanaethwy’s version of Welsh composer’s Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus.

The film also boasts interviews with some of Wales’s biggest names in the business including Bonnie Tyler, Cian Ciaran of Super Furry Animals and Angharad Jenkins of Calan - part of a dynamic Welsh folk music group who are currently working on material for their second album and preparing for a tour of Italy in July and Brittany in August.

“It’s a fresh look at the music industry in Wales,” said Curator of Modern Industry, Ian Smith. “It explores a cross-section from its grass roots, with footage from Kidz R Us, a community project in Tredegar where children aged between three and 19 can learn to sing, dance and act, to individuals whose success has spanned more than 40 years. It also highlights the importance of everyday people who continue to support Welsh music.”

Speaking about the new additions to the collections, Head of the Museum, Steph Mastoris said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have both the gallery and film on display at the Museum. It really emphasises how successful the industry has been and how it continues to grow and develop with more recent stars such as the Manic Street Preachers, Duffy and Only Men Aloud! It uncovers the diversity of the music Wales produces from traditional choirs to rock and pop - and it’s already proving popular amongst our visitors of all ages and musical interests.”

To celebrate the new gallery and film, the launch event will take place at the Museum on Thursday 17 June. The invited audience will have the opportunity to browse the gallery, watch the film as well as enjoy performances from

• Swansea-born Spencer Davis, who led one of the most influential Rhythm & Blues bands in Britain in the 1960s. The group’s first No.1 single was Keep on Runnin in December 1965, followed in March 1966 by Somebody Help Me which also went to No.1. With a changed line-up in 1967 their music was used on the soundtrack of the British film Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.

Calan, a dynamic Welsh folk music band who formed in 2006. The band performs energetic and exciting traditional music and songs with a mix of fiddle, harp, accordion, pibgorn, pipes and guitar with singing and clogging.

Trwbador, a bi-lingual folktronica duo from Carmarthen, South Wales. Despite only having been together for a few months, they have already played a gig for Radio 1 DJ Bethan Elfyn, had 2 songs played by Adam Walton on BBC Radio Wales and featured in Welsh music magazine, Y Selar.

• A string quartet from West Glamorgan Youth Orchestra.

The National Waterfront Museum would like to say a special thank you to Cranes Musical Instruments store in St David’s Square, Swansea for the loan of an acoustic guitar.


For more information, please contact Marie Szymonski on 01792 638970.

Admission to Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales sites is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Amgueddfa Cymru operates seven national museums across Wales.

• National Museum Cardiff

• St Fagans: National History Museum

• National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon

• Big Pit: National Coal Museum

• National Wool Museum, Dre-fach

• National Slate Museum, Llanberis

• National Waterfront Museum, Swansea