Wales Music Day
So, here we are, a handful of days away from Wales Music Day, BBC Radio Wales' inaugural celebration of Welsh music's contribution to Welsh culture and the economy, on St David's Day 2010.
I had the idea a couple of years ago: a flag day for Welsh music staged by the national station. It would signify a real and ongoing commitment to Welsh music and Welsh musicians. Most importantly, it would be a fascinating and entertaining listen for the station's audience.
Back at the end of November we had the go ahead to organise this musical feast. Three months might seem like a long time to pull this together, especially if you're used to hit 'n' run, impromptu gigs, but those months soon feel like minutes when you have Christmas in between and other programme commitments to fulfil.
Kids In Glass Houses
This is what is going to be happening on the day itself - deep breath! From 6am, Good Morning Wales includes a report from Kayley Thomas on Kids in Glass Houses' current tour - previewing their live appearance on Good Evening Wales later in the day. Nick Servini will be examining the economic health and contribution of the Welsh music industry. We'll hear about Kenfig Hill's Jayce Lewis, and how his synth-driven gothic pop is proving extremely popular in India.
Jamie and Louise are live in Wrexham from 9am with an acoustic appearance from the Alarm's legendary Mike Peters. Wrexham's summer folk ensemble Heal the Last Stand will ward off any clouds that may have gathered. I'll examine the importance of independent Welsh record shops to upcoming indigenous artists, and how that symbiotic relationship is becoming more and more important as high street chains either fold or change their focus away from music sales.
Jamie and Louise will also be joined by Gareth Hargreaves, a renowned guitar tutor from Colwyn Bay. I wonder if he knows how to play any Y Niwl?
The Radio Wales Phone-In from midday will focus on a music-related issue. Penarth's Pete Lawrie will be live in the studio showcasing tunes from his debut EP on Field Recordings. Cardiff soul musician, Tony Etoria, long-serving and legendary music promoter Paul Clark, and eminent music journalist, Simon Price will be the in studio panel to discuss the merits of Welsh music, past, present and future with the callers.
Georgia Ruth Williams
Roy Noble from 2pm will play host to the luminous, soulful artistry of Aberystwyth harpist / singer / songwriter Georgia Ruth. Feeder's Grant Nicholas will chat with Roy on the phone about the band's forthcoming plans. Milford Haven's exquisite Paper Aeroplanes will play live in studio. And BBC Radio Wales' Amy Wadge visits a music project for young people in the Cynon Valley.
Good Evening Wales at 4pm will feature a live appearance from the feted Kids in Glass Houses. Radio 1's Bethan Elfyn comes in to assess the current state of the Welsh music scene.
From 7pm, The Evening Show will be co-hosted by Alan Thompson, Mal Pope and, well, me, with a trans-Wales broadcast that will include Sarah Howells and Al Lewis, the Me Me Me's, Amy Wadge, OK! and Zervas and Pepper in our Cardiff studios and Tim And Sam's Tim And The Sam Band With Tim And Sam Band up in Bangor.
From 10pm until 1am, Chris Needs will treat the listeners in his Garden to a feast of Welsh music.
That's quite a line-up of upcoming and established artists. To represent the impressive legacy of Welsh music past, we have asked each of the day's featured artists to cover a recognisable Welsh classic. That will be one of the recurring, surprise elements of the day. Listen in to find out which songs our artists have chosen.
One of the key intentions behind Wales Music Day is that it will have a legacy, that it will open up the ears of the audience to some of the newer, hitherto uncelebrated musical talents within Wales, and also that it signifies an intention on the station's behalf to be more accessible to, and supportive of, Welsh musicians in the future.
I've been working at the station since October 1993, and I can say that more Welsh music is supported and celebrated on the station now than ever before. Okay, the fascinating leftfield, noisy and experimental music is always going to be the domain of my Sunday night show, but recent playlistings for the likes of El Goodo and Paper Aeroplanes demonstrate that bands who got their first airplay during my graveyard shift are successfully filtering down to daytime programmes, exposing them to a new and significantly wider audience.
If you have any ideas as to how we can extend and improve on the legacy of Wales Music Day, please let us know. If you're a Welsh musician with some music that you think would be suitable for our daytime/evening playlists, please send CDs with a biography and contact number to:
Head of Music,
BBC Radio Wales,
I'm really excited about Monday's music-orientated celebration of Welsh musical talent. I hope you can tune in and enjoy it, too.