The shortlist for this year’s Welsh Music Prize has been announced today (28 October) and for the ninth year running, the 12 albums showcase the abundance of musical talent in Wales right now.
A celebration in the Welsh music scene, the prize recognises the best in creativity and new music in Wales. Winners and nominees of the past have gone on to achieve wider or continued recognition due to the prize’s impact, including albums by Boy Azooga (2018), Gwenno (2015) and Gruff Rhys (2011).
Co-founded by BBC Presenter, Huw Stephens and Music consultant John Rostron, the winning album will be selected by panel of judges including Dexter Batson (Spotify), Sean Griffiths (Mixmag), Kaptin (Boomtown), Daniel Minty (Minty’s Gig Guide), Carolyn Hitt (Journalist) and Chris Roberts (Son Am Sin).
The Welsh Music Prize will place at The Coal Exchange on Wednesday 27 November alongside other activity in celebration of Welsh musicians. A Welsh Music Prize mixer will take place during the afternoon at Sunflower & I to showcase short performances from three emerging artists and an opportunity to network with those from the wider UK music industry.
The 2019 nominees are…
Echo the Red by Accü (Libertino Records)
The half Welsh, half Dutch musician created this magic debut album in her caravan in Carmarthenshire. Accü creates ethereal spell-binding electronica, enough to prepare for life on planet Mars. The album includes vocals by comedian Stewart Lee on one of the songs.
Now! (in a minute) by audiobooks (Heavenly Recordings)
The avant-electro pop surrealisms of audiobooks play on moments experienced by Evangeline Ling and David Wrench. Their stories are told through a meld of elegant synth hooks and dancefloor thumpers that leave no choice but to get up and dance.
Joia! by Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 (Banana & Louie)
Taking his Welsh language all the way to Rio, the cultural influences are very apparent – joia meaning ‘groovy’ in Brazilian. With tropical Latin American flavour and grooves to make the hips move, Ellis’ musical intelligence makes what he does hard to pin down but definitely leaves listeners wanting more.
Reward by Cate Le Bon (Mexican Summer)
Growing up on a rural farm in Carmarthenshire, Cate Le Bon’s airy synths and her trademark saxophone with licks of wavy percussion take you back to her place of solitude. Her melodies are sweet but beneath the surface emerges essences of a post-punk world. Reward was also nominated for this year’s Mercury Music Prize.
Lover Loner by Deyah (self-released)
Rapper Deyah brings RnB soul to this album with smooth, intimate and personal lyrics about introspective experiences of releasing past thoughts and feeling. She wants listeners to heal through messages of forgiveness, value and love.
You Say I’m Too Much I Say You’re Not Enough by Estrons (Gofod Records)
Maintaining intensity throughout the album, Estrons fiery energy deliver statements of female empowerment and the damaging male ego. Cutting guitars, beastly bass and red-hot vocals from vocalist Tali Källström.
Inspirational Talks by HMS Morris (Bubblewrap Records)
For their second album, HMS Morris maintain mysterious futuristic alt-pop psych with bi-lingual lyrics covering subjects appearing in many an album this year, Brexit, Trump, and the want to jump off the edge of the earth.
Gwn Glan Beibl Budur by Lleuwen (Sain)
Her most experimental album to date, Lleuwen unites ancient Welsh history with personal compositions to master this album. The work features a variety of musical talent from harpist Llio Rhydderch to alt-rock country musicians, Aled and Dafydd Hughes.
Touchy Love by Lucas J Rowe (self-released)
A Cardiff based singer song writer; Lucas supported Sean Paul at Motorpoint Arena this year shortly after releasing his first album. A soulful blend of RnB on this album fuses influences from the likes of Craig David, Usher and Justin Timberlake.
Oesoedd by Mr (Strangetown Records)
A man with a wealth of experience Mark Roberts has been in various Welsh bands over the years. After countless gigs and tours with Y Cyrff, Y Ffyrc, The Earth and Catatonia, Mark – under the name ‘Mr’ – presents his first solo album, Oesoedd. This album is filled with bouncy bars and relatable humour of the modern world.
Melyn by Adwaith (Libertino Records)
After a successful first eighteen months of being, Adwaith’s debut album was delivered with much excitement. The project is sharp, groovy and confident, marking a growth in their creative boundaries.
Tŷ ein Tadau by VRï (Recordiau Erwydd)
The folk trio return with this memoir of Welsh heritage loaded with inspirations from traditional hymns and Sunday morning church bells. The album is earthy, rooted and beautiful.
Huw Stephens said, “Every year I’m blown away by the music coming from Welsh artists and the popularity of music made in Wales is just growing and growing. I know it’s always such a difficult decision for our judges to decide. None the less, all of the artists have streams of creativity that will take them onward in today’s music world.”
For more information about the Welsh Music Prize go to welshmusicprize.com or follow @welshmusicprize