Why Welsh Language Music will be your new obsession in 2018

I understand that, probably, the vast majority of the British public have never heard a song in the Welsh language before. They are probably unaware of the existence of a ‘Welsh Language Music Scene’, and how one might be able to function. But, I strongly believe that this scene, even though it lives and breathes through the medium of a language that is alien to most of this blog’s readership, might be of definite interest, especially in 2018. If you are willing to allow me to give a brief historical prelude, you might find a gem that will impress  even your indie-est friends…

Since the latter part of the sixties, there has been a constant network of bands, labels, gig venues and publications that align themselves with different forms of the arbitrary term ‘Sîn Roc Gymraeg’ (Welsh Language Music Scene) that basically encompasses all popular music that is sung in Welsh. Being heavily influenced by the sounds of the Anglo-American culture (apart from some folk-crossover bands that owe the Welsh traditional culture as well), it might seem inconceivable for non-Welsh speakers to understand that it has always been considered as a universe of culture within itself.

Treating the scene as a separate ‘universe’ of culture might make it easier to explain the extreme musical changes that it has undergone over those fifty years. Loosely connected to musical trends of the rest of the world, such as the Folk Revival, Punk, Reggae and Hip Hop, many artists over the years have attempted to change our perception of the scene and its image and values.

 And now in 2018 we find a growing sense of confidence in the scene. Over the past few years, a wave of guitar-driven artists, such as Sŵnami, Yr Eira and Yws Gwynedd have created a new musical ‘mainstream’ that has gathered a relatively large following. The latter, for example, has been streamed for over one million minutes on Spotify last year, which, in context, is quite a feat. However, many questions were asked about the lack of diversity in terms of gender, genre and personnel of these bands, and 2017 became the year of a new alternative. Led by the desire of Carmarthen-based label Libertino, that spawned a number of exciting bands from that area, as well as other labels such as JigCal, veterans Cae Gwyn and Neb, 2017 saw the formation of an exciting plurality and variety in the scene that would sonically please music fans from across the world.

This is why I have prepared an easy ‘If You Like this.. Try this’ list for you newbies. With streaming being so easy nowadays, there are no excuses for not dipping your feet in what will become your favourite hipster obsession of the year.


The rifftastic sparkly indie pop of Two Door Cinema Club, Courteeners and The Wombats


Sŵnami, Yws Gwynedd


The cheeky college-boy charm of The Night Café and Peace


Yr Eira, Ffracas


The exciting attitudes of St Vincent, The Big Moon and Peaness


Adwaith, Cadno


The loose slacker-rock rhythms of Mac DeMarco and Carseat Headrest


Los Blancos, Hyll, Papur Wal.


Melodically Intergalactic Space-Pop


Omaloma, Serol Serol, Pys Melyn


The indie disco anthems of The Libertines and The Killers


Y Cledrau


 If you only take one thing from this article… Subscribe to Ffarout’s channel on YouTube, for an amazing variety of some of the most innovative music to come from the Welsh Language music scene from across the decades.

Words by Gethin Griffiths @sonamsinblog.

Photo by Nadine Ballantyne.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. twm owen says:

    If you like hip hop, especially beat boxers, try Mr Phormula


  2. Mike Jenkins says:

    I think there are more interesting Welsh language bands like the iconoclastic Y Ffug and y Plu now they’ve got the amazing Gwilym Bowen Rhys on board. Still wonder if the time will ever come for this scene, which is so exciting.


    1. Letithappen says:

      It’s very exciting. Makes me proud to see a vast amount of talent in Wales, The time will come and people will notice the full potential of Welsh talent. We will be featuring more on the website 🙂


  3. squimple says:

    I’m obviously not typical. Over 25 years I was dancing by myself in front of the stage to Datblygu at the Eisteddfod as I’d heard the band on the John Peel Show. Loved Melys and wished I could understand the Welsh. 2 years ago I finally decided to learn Welsh and have been helped enormously by the musicians and fans of music yn yr Cymraeg. I think I was standing next to the camera person at that Serol Serol gig! Who doesn’t like inter galactic space pop?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Letithappen says:

      I love being Welsh and to see the vast amount of talent especially within the Welsh language scene makes me proud. Definitely will be featuring more on the website so keep an eye out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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