On Saturday, 22 June, a new exhibition - ‘Record: Folk, Protest and Pop’ will open at The National Library of Wales. The exhibition explores the musical tradition of Wales throughout the centuries - from the crwth to Catatonia - using various items from The Welsh Music Archive and Screen and Sound Archive located at The National Library.
‘Record’ will explore why Wales is often described as the country of song, where our musical tradition began and how it developed.
The exhibition looks at the early folk music traditions in Wales through the medium of manuscripts such as Melus-seiniau Cymru, one of the most important collections of Welsh folk songs, collected by Ifor Ceri. The influence of individuals such as Meredydd Evans and his wife Phyllis Kinney in the field of folk music and light entertainment is acknowledged, through newly acquired items from their archive. Highlights from their collection include a previously unseen letter from Richard Burton to Merêd discussing Welsh folk melodies.
‘Record’ also explores how independent labels and Welsh groups have worked to produce revolutionary protest and pop music in recent decades. Bringing the story to life are various archives, including material relating to Y Blew and Super Furry Animals. Early pop magazines such as Asbri and Sŵn, an extensive collection of gig posters from the 1960s to the 1990s and Malcolm Gwyon’s pop art portraits of a few stars of the scene are also on display in the exhibition.
Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian of the National Library of Wales said:
“Record: Folk, Protest and Pop is a colorful and diverse celebration of the musical tradition in Wales. It is a pleasure to present it at the National Library as a means of demonstrating the richness of our collections which represent the development of the tradition across the centuries, using a combination of the collections of The Welsh Music Archive, the Screen and Sound Archive; and items from our visual collections. There is something for everyone in this exhibition, from the early to the present, and it is sure to stimulate memories among its visitors.”
Mari Elin Jones, Curator of ‘Record: Folk, Protest and Pop’ added:
“Curating this exhibition has been a lot of fun, and it’s been great to be able to put the collections of the Welsh Music Archive and Screen and Sound Archive, which are so varied and fascinating, centre stage. I hope ‘Record’ will inspire visitors to explore the Library’s music collections further, as well as go to their local record shop to pick up a Welsh vinyl or two!”
Nia Mai Daniel, The Welsh Music Archive, said:
“The exhibition is a taste of the folk and pop music collections held at the Library, and is an opportunity to celebrate some of our recent donations, such as the Merêd and Phyllis Kinney archive and the Super Furry Animals scrapbooks. If anyone has further material to donate, such as posters, photographs, or letters, then please get in touch. Our work continues to ensure that our collections reflect the history of Welsh music from its roots to the present day.”
At the centre of the exhibition is a neon-lit ‘Listening Room’ enticing visitors to lose themselves in Wales’ best and most iconic tracks, including Maes B (Y Blew) and Chwyldro (Gwenno).
To coincide with the exhibition, a 'Listening Bench', connected with the ‘Unlocking our Sound Heritage’ project, will be in front of the Library building, where visitors can immerse themselves in audio clips from the ‘sesiynau coll Radio Cymru’ collection whilst taking in the fabulous summer views of Cardigan Bay.
A special playlist has also been created to accompany the ‘Record’ exhibition which can be accessed on Spotify.
Elen Haf Jones
01970 632 534