To note Welsh Language Music Day on February 9th, 2018, two local music enthusiast have spoken of the support given to the Welsh language music scene by Menter Bro Ogwr.
Rhys Upton, DJ from Blaengarw, started his own business, ‘Adloniant Rhys Upton Entertainment’ following support from Menter Bro Ogwr. By going to the Menter’s clubs he developed skills to use new equipment, gained information on starting a business and enhanced his knowledge of Welsh language music. He says;
“I started volunteering with Menter Bro Ogwr, helpig out at their events. Then I realised that there’s a big ask for bilingual DJs who play Welsh language tunes. The Menter Iaith does a lot of hard work to support the Welsh language scene in the area such as organising gigs around Brindgend like ‘Cerdd yn y Cwrt’. I really enjoy Djing Welsh music at local events and I get to travel all over South Wales with my work. But I still like to help out with the Menter Iaith when I can.”
Another artist who’s appreciated a helping hand by Menter Bro Ogwr is young singer-songwriter Gracie Richards from Maesteg. She says;
“The Menter Iaith has opened many doors for me as a performer by helping me book gigs at places like the Urdd Eisteddfod and Ogi Ogi Ogwr Festival.
I’ve been playing the guitar and writing my own songs for 7 years and have been gigging for 2 years now including those organised by the Menter. They’re great at raising awareness of Welsh music in the area, encouraging young people especialy to join in and volunteer at events.”
Menter Bro Ogwr have also comissioned Gracie to write a song especially for this year’s Ogi Ogi Ogwr festival, a celebration of the Welsh language in Bridgend as part of the Bridgend County Show.
Raising awareness of Welsh music in young people is integral to strengthening the language, according to Menter Bro Ogwr’s Chief Officer, Amanda Evans. She says;
“There’s so much great Welsh language music out there, the same range as in any language. We need to showcase this great plethora to our young people who only sometimes sees the language as something for the classroom instead of as a social language to enjoy. We’re very glad to have helped Rhys and Gracie to develop their art and we encourage anyone who has an interest in any aspect of the Welsh language to get in touch.”