Mother Of Six's Catalonian connection
Wrexham's Mother Of Six are north Wales' finest stoner rock band. Although they've only released one (excellent) EP so far, their live reputation has spread much further than the confines of their hometown.
They're one of a handful of Wrexham artists who have foregone the drudgery of trying to get a foothold on the UK tour circuit by aiming further afield. In particular, their talent has taken them to Catalonia. I'm resisting the temptation to write 'in northern Spain' because, to the proud members of that autonomous community, that reads as 'taken them to Wales in western England' would to us.
The musical relationship between the two areas has resulted in some fascinating gig exchanges, and this weekend one of Catalonia's finest bands is over in Wrexham for a couple of gigs with Mother Of Six.
Mother Of Six's bass player, and renowned local promoter Neal Thompson, explained how this cultural connection was initiated: "It comes from European Centre for Training and Regional Co-operation (ECTARC) in Llangollen, the body that administers the Leonardo and Archimedes educational cultural exchange programmes for the European Union. This has fostered a relationship between colleges in Catalonia and Glyndwr University in Wrexham.
"Our personal experience was doing a show at the Guild Bar in Glyndwr for the summer school students, who are mainly Catalan. They study sound and radio broadcast. We were invited to Catalonia on the strength of the gig by one of the students at the summer school, David, who subsequently became our good friend. He set up our first mini tour there."
How does the music scene in Catalonia differ from Wrexham and what are the similarities?
"Firstly, the audiences were very appreciative (I don't know if you agree but British audiences can be a little austere). We played lots of places all over the state, there are loads of bands, all producing their own CDs to a very high standard."
What are the wider cultural similarities or differences between the areas?
"We share some similarities with Catalonia, they have their own language and sense of independence, but are part of a larger country that governs and sets their laws. Welsh and Catalan share some similar words but are inherently different languages. The lifestyle there is typically Mediterranean."
There's a joint release planned between the bands from the different areas, and I believe that Mother Of Six will be singing in Catalan. Does that have more resonance for you as a Welsh speaker, Neal?
"We're doing that firstly for the fun of it and also because the people there will really appreciate it! A point worth mentioning here is all of the bands we played with while we were there sing in Catalan, not English. We recognise the language is very important to them."
So, there's a couple of gigs this weekend, can you tell us about the band who are over here from Catalonia and where people will be able to catch you both?
"The band are called Goliat, a very new two-piece band, with a guitarist who sings and a drummer. We're playing two shows with them: Friday 8 October at the Guild Bar, Glyndwr University which is a free gig and the next night (Saturday 9 October) we're playing a secret gig on top of a mountain. Get in touch with us through MySpace or Facebook to find out about it."
Guerrilla gigs featuring a Catalonian band on top of a Welsh mountain. Who said there are no surprises left in rock 'n' roll?