Caught by the River

A Festival No.6 Primer – Y Niwl

29th August 2012

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running stories about some of the people who’ll be joining us at the inaugural Festival No.6 in Portmeirion next month (September 14th – 16th). Much like at Port Eliot, we’ll be staging three days of talks, readings, live music and good beer – this time in association with our friends at the Faber Social. This time, we’re talking about Welsh surf rock combo Y Niwl. Roy Wilkinson tells us what to expect…

This self-proclaimed “cold-water surf band” from north Wales add new vigour to the age-old realm of twanging and banging. Rather than replicate Hank Marvin’s precision tailoring and bullet-proof reading goggles they look like the kind of sportive youth you might find offering to mind your motor outside Rhyl Sun Centre. The band’s name is pronounced “uh nule” and means “the fog” – suggesting expertise with local tide tables and illegally-caught conger. The band’s decision to go all instrumental is said to stem from a childhood encounter with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart on the set of Doctor Who. Though they were speaking the king’s English, the Brigadier thought the future Y Niwl men were communicating in the proud bardic tongue of the Celtic fringes. Words, decided Y Niwl, could only get in the way.

Welsh rock wildman Gruff Rhys has had something to say about the band: “Y Niwl live in the mountains and they’re the world’s highest altitude post-surf band. They sound like post-rockers gatecrashing a Tarantino soundtrack.” Gruffo is non-delusional – these sounds serve superbly well for dancing, drinking, shouting and erecting a two-hundred-foot statue of Dick Dale in Cardigan Bay.

05 Dauddegpedwar

Click here for more Y Niwl music and information.