Welsh Language Music Day will be celebrated with two gigs in the capital

‘Some people think Welsh language music is one genre but it’s an evolution of all genres’

Artists Dom James and Hana Lili spoke to The Cardiffian about the Welsh Music Day scene

A FREE 12-hour gig featuring 11 artists from a variety of genres takes place in Cardiff today to give a flavour of the depth and variety of musicians working in the Welsh language.

The mammoth session is part of Dydd Miwsig Cymru, or Welsh Language Music Day, and takes place at Clwb Ifor Bach, on Womanby Street, from 4pm until 4am.

“We have loads of amazing and different artists going out there so it’s going to be a good day,” said Dom James, one half of a rap duo with partner Lloyd Lewis.

Dom James performing at Cardiff-based Welsh music festival Tafwyl last summer
Credit: @domjames_f

“I think the opportunities are starting to come now. It used to be hard because people thought that they had to do a certain thing like folk or indie to get into the industry but people like us and Sage Todz are making a different type of music.”

Sage Todz is a North Wales rapper who worked on a Welsh language rap in collaboration with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) for the World Cup last year.

“I have a show on Radio Cymru 2 every Friday, and we play all types of Welsh music, we play rap, we play pop, we play indie,” said Dom.

Lloyd & Dom James’ rap single Pwy Sy’n Galw?/Who’s Calling?

“I think we do need to do more to celebrate Welsh music. Obviously we have festivals and things but there’s only so much you can showcase and I think that there’s just so much excitement and new people breaking through that we need more opportunities to show this.”

The Welsh music pipeline is showing no signs of dropping the pressure with more than 70 albums and 140 singles released in Welsh over the last 12 months.

“I think there’s a strong future for Welsh music, so we just need to keep going now and think of it as any other type of music,” said Dom.

“The songs that have been released this year have been unbelievable, Sŵnami’s new track Wyt Ti’n Clywed is one of those transcending types of songs that could go on to win British music awards, not just Welsh ones so yeah, it’s a very exciting future for us.

Dom James praised Sŵnami’s track Wyt Ti’n Clywed?

“The only thing you can do is just release your music and see what people think of it. There’s an audience for everything. Like I always say – just believe in yourself.”

Indie-pop artist Hana Lili will also be performing during the gig and says that she’s found inspiration by working alongside other Welsh artists.

“I made a track with Gwilym over the summer, and I think that just being with them and seeing how they perform as a band was a big inspiration for me and how I go about performing live,” she said.

Hana Lili performing with Welsh band Gwilym at the National Eisteddfod this summer

“The reason that I’m looking forward to playing the gig is because it celebrates a variety of genres and I think that sometimes outside of Wales people think that Welsh music is just one thing.

“We have so many amazing opportunities with the Eisteddfod, Maes B and Tafwyl not just to perform but also to discover who you are as a growing artist.”

Hana’s discography features both Welsh and English songs but she says that her Welsh heritage influences all of her music.

“I think that the cool thing is that because I’m back and forth from London it’s made me realise how proud I am to be Welsh and how it’s a big part of my artistry.”

Like Dom, Hana believes that there has been an increase in the variety of Welsh music over recent years.

“It’s definitely something that I’ve noticed has improved,” she said.

“You see a lot of new artists coming out and trying new things and I think that, in combination with the fact that we can just make and release our own music now, has definitely led to an evolution of new genres in Wales.”

Dydd Miwsig Cymru gigs will be taking place across Wales on February 10 and 11
Map Key: Red- Feb 10, Orange- Feb 11

There are 15 Dydd Miwsig Cymru events taking place across Wales today and tomorrow with two events in Cardiff.

Porters on Bute Terrace will be hosting a free launch party on February 10 for a five-track electronic music EP which features 15 Welsh artists.

There are also gigs being held in Swansea, Aberystwyth, Wrexham, and Pontypridd.

Hana said that she was most excited to hear Lloyd & Dom James and Tara Bandito play at Clwb today.

Also performing are Y Dail, Mali Haf, Ci Gofod, Gwcci, Parisa Fouladi, Hyll, Band Pres Llareggub and DJ Dilys.

The Welsh artists set to perform during Dydd Miwsig Cymru

Dydd Miwsig Cymru was set up by BBC Radio 1 DJ and Cardiff local Huw Stephens in 2013.

“What’s great is that it really is a year-round thing; it’s a live culture, a real culture, not a manufactured culture, it’s a very organic and natural scene,” said Stephens.

“Dydd Miwsig Cymru celebrates all forms of Welsh language music, diverse scenes which are thriving and it’s about welcoming more people to dive in and discover what we have,” said education minister Jeremy Miles.

A playlist of Welsh songs recommended by learner DJ Katie Owen
  • Listen to the above playlist for songs recommended by a Welsh learner and DJ Katie Owen – alternatively, you can find more of Dydd Miwsig Cymru’s playlists here.
  • Find out more about upcoming Welsh language gigs here.