Discover Welsh legends… music

Wales is famous as a land of poets and song, and here in North Wales we’re blessed with world-class choirs, fantastic musical groups, several excellent theatres, inspiring live venues and amazing artists.

Continuing our ‘Legends of Wales’ series, we took a closer look at some famously musical North Walians…

Aled Jones

I never have that stress of thinking: “Gosh, I’ve got to go back to work tomorrow at 9am.” I can remember that dread as a child, when I would have a bath with the Top 40 on the radio, then get my pencil case ready for school on Monday morning.

Because I don’t ever stop, the minute I hit the sack, I’m out like a light. But I enjoy a full day. After all, I’ve been doing this since I was 11 years old.

Aled Jones

Aled Jones is well-known around the country now but, did you know, he was originally ‘discovered’ by a member of the congregation at Bangor Cathedral?

Jones is best known for the cover version of ‘Walking in the Air’ from the animated film The Snowman – Jones’s version reached Number 5 in the UK charts.

By the time Jones reached the ripe old age of 16, he had sold millions of albums and had performed for the likes of the Queen and the Pope!

To this day he is an award-winning recording artist and well-known as a TV presenter on shows including Songs of Praise and Go Back Giving Back. He also hosts regular slots on Classic FM and Radio 3.

Mike Peters

Mike Peters MBE rose to fame as the lead vocalist for The Alarm, a rock band formed in Rhyl in the early 1980s. The Alarm supported U2 and even Bob Dylan during their career.

Peters went on to have a successful solo career, and has performed as part of bands including Coloursound, Dead Men Walking, Big Country and The Mescaleros.

Peters was diagnosed and recovered from lymph cancer in 1996, and was diagnosed with chronic leukaemia in 2005, subsequently going into remission.

In 2007 Peters was part of a group who made a 14-day trek to Mount Everest Base Camp to perform the highest concert ever on land to raise awareness for the fight against cancer. Peters was named in the 2019 New Year Honours list for his services to cancer care.

See Mike for yourself at his next big charity fundraiser Zip World Rocks on the 15 June 2019 at Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda. Held in aid of the Love, Hope, Strength Foundation it will feature local music artists, and food and drink all in the name of a great cause.

Duffy

When my family all got together, I’d always get up and entertain everyone, but it was all a bit of a joke. My first real memory of singing for people was when I was about 11 or 12.

Duffy

Most famous for her catchy earworm Mercy, Duffy was born Aimee Duffy in Bangor and raised in Nefyn, on the Llyn Peninsula. The singer-songwriter found chart-topping success with her debut album Rockferry, which sold millions of copies around the world.

In 2008 Duffy received the MOJO Song of the Year award for Mercy, and was also nominated for Breakthrough Act and Album of the year. The following year, she won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Album and a host of BRIT awards. After taking a hiatus from music, Duffy appeared in the film Legend with Tom Hardy and recorded music for the movie soundtrack.

Rumour has it, she’s working on a new album… so watch this space!

Bryn Terfel

Welsh is my mother tongue, and my children speak it. If you come and live in this community you’ll work out pretty quickly that it’s beneficial to learn the language, because if you’re going to the pub or a cafe you need to be a part of the local life.

Bryn Terfel

Sir Bryn Terfel Jones CBE was born in Caernarfonshire and discovered his musical talent and deep bass-baritone voice singing traditional Welsh folk songs.

Terfel moved to London in the 1980s and has gone on to have international success as a classical singer, both as a solo artist and as an operatic performer.

He’s the recipient of numerous industry accolades and is a Gramophone Award, Classical BRIT and Grammy award winner.

Terfel has sung around the world, and performed the anthem for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Terfel released Dreams & Songs in 2018, a collection of his favourite songs.

The singer is a vocal supporter of the Welsh language and his native North Wales.

With an extremely busy 2019 ahead, Bryn is performing all over the world. You can catch him in London this June as he performs the role of Scarpia in Tosca at the Royal Opera House.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

When Catfish and the Bottlemen won the Brit breakthrough award, singer Van McCann looked like a man who couldn’t quite believe his luck – but it was the right result.

Evening Standard, 2016

Formed in the seaside town of Llandudno, Catfish & the Bottlemen have rocketed to global fame in recent years. The indie band, named after a memory of frontman Van McCann’s travels in Australia, achieved platinum status for their debut album The Balcony in 2016.

After winning the BBC Introducing Award and a BRIT award, the band released second album The Ride to critical and commercial acclaim. Appearances at festivals including Reading & Leeds, T in the Park, Ibiza Rocks and even the New York Governor’s Ball have cemented them as one of the most exciting musical acts in the UK.

The brand new album The Balance is released on 26 April 2019 and the band will be playing the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on their UK album tour! Find out more here.

Visit our blog again soon for the next instalment in our Legends series.

Images courtesy: Aled Jones by Simon Harries, 2009. Mike Peters statue, courtesy of Blazing MInds via Flickr, 2013. Duffy courtesy of José Goulão from Lisbon, Portugal via Creative Commons License. Bryn Terfel by Frankie Fouganthin via Creative Commons License. Catfish and the Bottlemen by Hazza77 via Creative Commons License.