First Welsh songs/bands/musicians you've heard?

When I was growing up Harry Secombe was very popular all over the UK. Mainly I suppose because of his comic persona, especially in The Goons, but he was also always respected as a serious singer, including operatic and sacred music. I mostly heard him sing in either English or Italian (opera). I don’t know if he ever sang in Welsh, or if he could speak Welsh. Whether he could or not, he was a great Welshman.

Another famous Welsh singer in those days was Ivor Emmanuel who always seemed to be on TV. There was always Shirley Bassey of course, although I think I tended to think of her as “International” rather than Welsh, somehow, whereas Harry and Ivor couldn’t be anything but Welsh.

Not a singer, but a Welsh lady whom I became aware of at a relatively early age was Gladys Morgan:

I used to hear her on the radio, I think mostly on Workers Playtime (which started in the war, but carried on until 1964. She was a real character, and relatively unusual for that time, being a female standup. (Beryl Reid was similar in a way, although more of a comic actress).

Another early Welsh voice for me was that of Max Boyce, although more for his comedy than his music.

Back in the day, our daughter was a big fan of Manic Street Preachers. She was very upset when Richey disappeared.


Oh, were they Welsh too? See, how many I’m discovering!
They were not on MTV like the others we mentioned before, and not in my circle so I didn’t get to hear them much (back in the days before Google and YouTube…@robbruce)

And what I heard was a bit too 90s pop punkish, that I didn’t like. I like pop mixed with anything 60s, 70s punk and 80s synth/post punk stuff - in case you have more of those! ;-).
But or in fact “Talk to Me” was/is great!

By the way I’m chatting more about some bands I can more easily relate to, but I’d like to thank @Howard, @Betterlatethan and @mikeellwood for their lists with names I have never heard before! :slight_smile:

Yes great track that.
The link takes you to a fairly comprehensive list but far from perfect.
No one I don’t really know about.though.

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OK, here’s my story. I once gave this as a presentation to a Welsh learners’ festival as an example of how learning Welsh can take on a life of its own and change your world in unexpected ways.

Just after I started learning Welsh I was made redundant from my job as a software development team leader. Now, rural mid Wales is not really a hotbed of technical employment vacancies, so I found it quite difficult to find another job, eventually getting a position in a web development company in Ludlow, Shropshire, England, forty miles and an hour’s drive away. I soon discovered that the company was utterly dysfunctional and a terrible place to work. I hated it, and what’s more, every morning as I crossed the border from Wales into England this horrible feeling of hiraeth came down upon me. In order to shut out the desperate workplace atmosphere and stave off the feeling that I should have been back in Wales, I started to listen to Radio Cymru through headphones while I was working.

Of course, I understood very little of what was being said, and I soon discovered that the daytime shows were playing a majority of soul-destroying, middle-of-the-road dross. However, the forerunner to the BBC radio iPlayer, Listen Again, suggested that if I liked more alternative music, I should listen to Huw Stephens and Lisa Gwilym. So I got into the habit of listening to the previous evening’s C2 shows through the working day day - in those days the youth-orientated C2 strand would broadcast from 8pm to 1am, and Saturday mornings, too.

Little did I realise that I’d stumbled into something of a golden age of Welsh language music. I think the first bands I was really impressed with were Poppies and Radio Luxemburg (ironically both then recently descended from an Aberystwyth school sixth-form band called Mozz). Sam from Poppies played a Rickenbacker which had a trebley, abrasive sound that could slice through granite, but used it sparsely to create a superb full-empty sound. Sam Rhys is now a sound engineer for S4C, I believe and his younger brother is the singer in Mellt.

Radio Lux (they later morphed into Race Horses when it became apparent that the name was legally problematic) had a much more psychedelic, whimsical feel and often found it quite difficult to steer a line away from the dangers of prog. Unlike those of Poppies, who seem to have been largely forgotten (there may be political reasons for this that I won’t go into here), Radio Luxemburg/Race Horses songs such as Marged Wedi Blino and Lisa, Magic a Porva are still to be heard on Radio Cymru. After they split, Meilyr Jones from the group won the Welsh Music Prize for his solo album 2013. Also on the shortlist that year was Alun Gaffey, also ex-Radio Lux.


Hey, that’s a very interesting story! :slight_smile:

And as far as bands…heh, Rickenbacker, gold sparkle Ludwig and garagey three-chords riff…Poppies especially, that’s my tribe…rrreit! :wink:
Whatever the reasons, quite forgotten though - can’t find anything more about them.

@Macky - thanks the list I had found was different (they each seem to include some and not others, but different every time so at some point I’ll get them all.)


I suppose I ought to add that things have improved since then, but I’d still rather listen to a pneumatic drill than Shân Cothi’s show. :slight_smile:


Well…once again…I don’t object other people’s taste but I happened to see a few recent clips of Noson Lawen and that doesn’t seem so improved! :thinking:

I mentioned Harry Secombe. Here he is singing one of my favourite hymns (perhaps my actual favourite), in almost a Christmas card setting:

With the Treorchy Male Voice Choir, singing Guide Me O Though Great Jehovah, to the tune Cwm Rhondda.

Diolch Syr Harry!