Dydd Miwsig Cymru 2023: Sister Wives, KIM HON, Hazmat.

Hearing songs sung in Welsh by new and emerging bands playlisted and played on 6 Music feels a natural part of the everyday soundscape now, when even a couple of years ago such a thing was a rare as rocking horse droppings. We’ve witnessed the likes of double Welsh Music Prize-winners Adwaith uncompromisingly planting the Welsh musical flag into the earth of new territories in more recent times, with further artists following their wake; and increasingly, celebrations around Welsh Language Music Day each February are not confined within the borders of Wales itself. The annual event to highlight contemporary Welsh music in all its delicious flavours grows bigger and ever more ambitious.

Merseyside joined the Dydd Miwsig Cymru party for 2023 thanks to Future Yard in Birkenhead featuring artists singing in both Welsh and English. Grunge four-piece Hazmat from North Wales but based in Liverpool have been making themselves known locally over the last months and stormed it, Cobainain intensities present but with sensitive touches and elements too.

KIM HON made a return journey to Birkenhead – their second visit to the town in less than a year – and once more charmed the room with laid back wit, recent single ‘Interstellar Helen Keller’, and crowd pleaser crowd pleaser ‘Mr English (don’t steal my village)‘ personal highlights. Libertino label mates Sister Wives – based in Sheffield – were to play for us back in November but we’re all accustomed to practicisng patience these days, and the psychedelic folklore goddesses did not disappoint. Be kinda awkward if they had. Debut album Y Gawres is inspired by ancient burial site Barclodiad y Gawreson (The Giantess’ Apronful) on Anglesey, the band ever mindful giants in folklore are commonly male; it is a rarity to hear of tales of female giants. Women can be powerful too, a message nailed home for Dydd Miwsig Cymru via feminist anthem ‘Ticking Time Bomb’. We loved ‘O Dy i Dy’ (House to House) and being more than slightly unnerved by ‘Greater Place‘.

New data has revealed an unprecedented spike in the demand for music written and performed in Welsh, Europe’s oldest language. Active listeners on AM – the Welsh music and arts app, which hosts a God Is In the TV channel featuring our Welsh music-related content – has increased by 190% since 2020, with Gen X and Millennial listeners making up just under half of users. Lead vocalist and guitarist for the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers James Dean Bradfield, said of the app: “I use AM to discover the ways we see the world and how we see ourselves in it… we always feel as if Wales is sometimes ignored by the mainstream media, AM has done something about that and it’s now invaluable.”  

Creative Wales – the agency representing Wales’ creative industries – has been essential in fostering the growth of new Welsh music, providing funding to different platforms, and supporting Welsh artists through the PPL Momentum Music fund and the Welsh Music Prize. The breadth of discplines forging forward is evidence that the music made is as varied as it is celebrated, by the industry and listeners alike.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.