Charlotte Church, Super Furry Animals’ Cian Ciarán and Gruff Rhys, Gwenno, Astroid Boys and Welsh Music Prize-winners, Boy Azooga are among an alliance of Welsh musicians gathering to stimulate new debate for an independent Wales and advocate for 'Yes' in a referendum on exiting the United Kingdom.
Under the banner ‘Yes Is More!’, a growing bill of artists are planning a performance at The Tramshed, Cardiff in February next year, to launch a series of creative events targeting what they see as the “sustained threat of a reckless Westminster government to long-term interests of Wales’ embattled communities”.
Super Furry Animals’ keyboard player, Ciarán, is one of the driving forces behind the first concert and is a known supporter of the Welsh independence movement. Having previously shared a stage supporting the Peoples Assembly in the run up to the 2016 general election, members of the Furries will be joined again by Charlotte Church.
Also on the billing is Cardiff grime/punk band, Astroid Boys, performing tracks from their 2018 debut, ‘Broke’. A band that's currently re-defining Welsh pop music - Los Blancos - will kick off the night.
With tickets going on sale today, Ciarán says: “There comes a time where opinion on something like support for Welsh independence breaks out from the ones you’d expect to be involved in the debate, the politicians, activists, the commentariat, and just becomes common sense. ‘Yes Is More!’ wants to showcase some of that."
With more support for the campaign yet to be announced – including endorsement from award-winning actors, filmmakers and visual artists – some reports show the number of people considering Welsh sovereignty is on the rise.
For Ciarán, that’s no surprise. “There is a proud tradition here in Wales for standing up for what’s right, we have produced pioneers and visionaries,” he explains.
“From the Chartists and Merched Beca to, more recently, the 70 year old NHS and the Welsh Comprehensive educated whistleblower Chelsea Manning. As was the case during the Merthyr riots and the birth of the red flag these were hard fought battles and we need to show that creative spirit once again. We can use the tools at our disposal be that music or the visual arts. What better way to communicate and broaden the debate than to diversify and to be inclusive?”
Gwenno, who released her politically-charged Welsh language LP, 'Y Dydd Olaf' in 2015 - including the aptly titled track 'Chwyldro' (“revolution” in Welsh) - says this is a chance to rethink how a nation can operate. "What if there are other ways of co-existing? What if we can organise ourselves differently? There is an innate anarchy to art and an absolute potential in utilising it for the good whilst imagining better futures,” she reflects.
“We want to continue a conversation about an inclusive self-determination by drawing on our past, embracing our neighbours across the U and the world with open arms, whilst also making sure that we're singing along to the best possible tune."
Poignantly, the first event will coincide with the countdown to Brexit, taking place a matter of just weeks ahead of exit from the European Union that – according to the campaigners – could be a “potentially disastrous” move for the people of Wales.
The ‘Yes Is More!’ performance will take place Friday 15th February 2019, 6pm at Tramshed, Cardiff.
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