Big Leaves biography

Big Leaves

Last updated: 30 January 2009

Played twice in a row by Radio 1 DJ Mark Radcliffe, Big Leaves were a Welsh indie band with friends in high places.

Three tapes, Ffraeth, Aer and Beganifs, were released by Ankst, and Beganifs were invited to perform at a festival in Amsterdam. Shooting a video there, their name was misunderstood by a local rastafarian who thought they were called Big Leaves.

Our song Seithenyn has a middle eight that's like a Welsh Bohemian Rhapsody. It's a song about this Welsh legend. There's barber shop singing in the middle!

Rhodri Sion

The name stuck, and in 1998 Big Leaves released their first EP, Trwmgwsg (Deep Sleep), on the Crai label. It was followed the next year by the Belinda EP, which was most notable for live favourite Seithenyn, a classic song melding Hendrixian riffs with high harmonies, spellbinding lyrics and an unforgettable a capella chorus.

Two further singles, Sly Alibi and Racing Birds, signified the band's first attempts at entering the English language market. They were followed by the debut album Pwy Sy'n Galw? (Who's Calling?) in early 2000. Songs such as Pryderus Wedd (Anxious Face), Meillionen (Clover) and Synfyfyrio (Meditating) combined their natural songwriting talents with a raw live sound.

A host of further new singles came in the wake of the album's release, including Fine (reportedly Liam Gallagher's favourite song of 2000), Boobytrap's Electro-Magnetic Pollution, the Animal Instinct EP and another Welsh language EP, Siglo (Swinging).

With barely a weak link in their back catalogue, and a frequently sensational live act, they demonstrated exactly what popular music in Wales can and should be like. Sadly, though, they split up following the release of their second album, Alien & Familiar, in March 2003.

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