A window into the lives and achievements of Welsh people in New York.
Hosted by Gideon Jensen and Richard Swain, each episode features a different guest and their unique story. Often funny, sometimes sad, but always honest and inspirational.
Mewnwelediad i fywydau a chyflawniadau y Cymry yn Efrog Newydd.
Wedi ei chyflwyno gan Gideon Jensen a Richard Swain, mae pob pennod yn taro sylw ar westeion gwahanol a’u hanes unigryw.
Yn aml yn ddoniol, weithiau’n drist, ond bob amser yn onest ac yn ysbrydoledig.
Episode 30: Independent Spirit - Rebecca Hurn
Rebecca Hurn is an independent singer-songwriter from Porthcawl, in South Wales. Before writing and releasing her own music, Rebecca built up a fan following by recording acoustic cover songs and sharing them online.
In September 2015 Rebecca released her debut EP ‘Lions’ which reached no. 5 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts. With the release of her second EP ‘Waves’ in April 2018, Rebecca became a BBC Radio Wales 'A list recording Artist’ and, in June 2019, she won ‘Best Singer-Songwriter’ in the Folk Song category at the International Independent Music Awards held in New York City.
Most recently, Rebecca was awarded the New York Songwriters Circle annual grant, performing at their live virtual showcase. The grant will go towards the production of her debut album, scheduled to be released summer 2021.
Gideon and Richard caught up with Rebecca over Zoom from her home in Porthcawl. They discussed the pros and cons of being an independent artist, her ongoing love affair with New York, and the time she staged a concert from her driveway to boost morale during lockdown.
Episode 29: Photojournalism On The Front Line - Claire Thomas
Claire Thomas is a photographer and photojournalist from Penygroes in South Wales. Her work on issues relating to global political and military conflicts, human rights, and humanitarian and environmental crises has earned her recognition at the 2017 British Journalism Awards, the 2018 UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards, and the 2018 Amnesty International UK Media Awards.
From within the camps that emerged from the refugee crisis in Europe to the war against ISIS in Iraq, Claire has covered a range of stories in various countries, contributing images and photo essays to leading newspapers, magazines and news agencies worldwide. Her editorial clients include The Sunday Times, The Guardian, National Geographic, Greenpeace and Al Jazeera, to name just a few. She also works regularly with United Nations agencies and international NGOs, including Amnesty International, OXFAM and Save the Children.
On this episode, Gideon and Richard chat with Claire about her path in photojournalism to the front line in Iraq, her coverage of the torched oil fields in Qayyarah and her experiences at a makeshift field clinic in Mosul - the location of one of the deadliest urban battles since World War II. They discuss the role of a photojournalist in a humanitarian crisis as well as some of the more unique psychological aspects of her job, including what it’s like returning back to Wales after being in a war zone.
Episode 28: The First Virtual North American Festival of Wales - Dr Megan Williams
On this episode, Gideon and Richard chat with Dr Megan Williams from the Welsh North American Association about the upcoming annual North American Festival of Wales, a weekend long event that includes performances, poetry, literature, singing, dancing, seminars, a marketplace and an Eisteddfod. Sadly, due to the ongoing coronavirus threat, this year's entire event will be virtual, the first time in the festival's 91 year history. The good news is that anyone can now attend for free online when proceedings kick off on Sept 4th, or screen it at their own leisure through Sept 30 via their event page. During their conversation, Gideon and Richard speak with Megan about the importance of the festival to the Welsh North American community, the challenges of adapting to a virtual format and the history of the event and Welsh heritage in North America.
Episode 27: The Road to Fun City - Rod Thomas (Bright Light Bright Light)
Rod Thomas (stage name Bright Light Bright Light) is an independent singer-songwriter from the outskirts of Neath in South Wales. His music is a combination of nu-disco, 80s synthpop, dance and house music. Over the past decade he has collaborated with Elton John, Jake Shears, Andy Bell of Erasure, and toured with Cher. Two of his albums have reached the Top 20 on the UK Independent Albums Chart and his upcoming, fourth album, ‘Fun City’, will be released this September. He is also the founder of Yskwn, a record label and creative company set up to support LGBTQ+ and immigrant talent in NYC. On this episode, Gideon and Richard discuss Rod’s musical career, his latest single, ‘I Used To Be Cool’, as well as the ongoing fight for equal representation of LGBTQ+ artists in music and popular culture.
Episode 26: 90 Minutes of Freedom - Jamie Grundy
Jamie Grundy is a former football coach and writer with a special focus on criminal justice, sport and rehabilitation. He is the author of 90 Minutes of Freedom, which follows HMP Prescoed FC, the only prisoner football team in Wales, through a single season in Gwent Central Division 2. The book was written with the support of 'National Sporting Heritage' as an exploration of how sport can assist in the rehabilitation efforts of prisoners.
On this episode Gideon and Richard discuss the origins of the project and Jamie's research process, which included witnessing locker room confrontations and even lacing up to play himself, as well as some of the unique aspects of playing football in prison and the special bonds that are formed as a result.
Episode 25: Going 'West' for Wales Week - Gwenllian Higginson and Gareth John Bale
Gwenllian Higginson is an actor and writer from North Pembrokeshire. Gareth John Bale is an actor and director from Ynysmeudwy in the Swansea Valleys. On this episode, Gideon and Richard discuss ‘West’, the play written by Owen Thomas that Gwenllian and Gareth came to New York to perform as part of Wales Week. They cover Gwenllian’s previous run of performances in New York, starring as Jackie in ‘The Good Earth’, as well as Gareth’s sensational one man play, ‘Grav’, depicting the life of rugby legend and broadcaster Ray Gravell.
New York hosts more 3.3 million foreign born immigrants from over 150 countries. This podcast provides an inspiring perspective on one of these micro-communities that make New York the best city in the world. Highly recommended for all New Yorkers, Welsh and anyone looking for a good story.
As an American, it's so interesting to hear the stories/backgrounds of Welsh poeple emigrating to NYC and the unique POV/culture they bring. Highly recommended!
Amazing to hear stories of real people brought to this great city and to learn & be exposure to being Welsh in NYC.