Huw Stephens: 'There are no limits to where Welsh language music can go'


The Welsh language is beautiful, alive and spoken. It may not be used by everyone, but there are well over 500,000 people who speak it in Wales. Our music, meanwhile, is an important way to remind people around the world that it exists.

I decided to make a road-trip around Wales to document this scene. Three years ago, director Gruff Davies and I set out, with no funding, to take a snapshot of musicians on Wales’s artistic fringes. Our documentary, Anorac, is a celebration of the language and of the work people have done to maintain its relevance. You have lifers, like John Peel favourites Meic Stevensand Datblygu, who have only ever sung in Welsh. Anorac is a testament to the fact that they’re still here, and a tribute to the people making music now, such as Gwenno and the Bajan-Welsh singer Kizzy Crawford.

It’s intriguing that there is a language in Britain that is spoken by so many but that most people won’t understand. There used to be a snobbery about it. When Super Furry Animals released the album Mwng, in 2000 – which is still the best-selling Welsh-language album – puritans were angry that they had also released songs in English. But those days are well and truly over. There are stories of people who learned to speak Welsh because of Mwng, but you don’t need to speak Welsh to enjoy these songs.

Read the interview in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 07/11/18]