The Gentle Good is the stage-name of Welsh songwriter Gareth Bonello. Gareth draws on the language, poetry and melodies of his native country to create beautiful modern folk music in both English and Welsh.
Gareth Bonello (GB) has performed songs in Welsh language at SXSW and Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Also has attended WOMEX. He spoke with us (CC:MW) about his international career.
Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales (CC:MW): What reception have you received from audiences when playing abroad at a showcase?
Gareth Bonello (GB): I’ve always had a very positive reception to my music when I perform abroad. It’s easy to forget that audiences abroad may be unfamiliar with your style of music and it’s always exciting to find something new.
CC:MW: Do you work with any managers/labels/agents etc or do you manage yourself?
GB: I manage myself and work in partnership with a Bubblewrap Records, a Cardiff based artist’s collective.
CC:MW: Have any particular opportunities come from playing a showcase?
GB: I have been offered festival slots abroad as a result of attending a showcase event. For example I played Perth International Arts Festival in Australia this year as a result of conversations in Womex 2013.
I have also had international work with organisations such as PRSF and the British Council thanks to relationships that were forged and maintained at events such as these.
Other benefits include radio play in Europe and North America and a closer relationship with the UK media.
CC:MW: Have you received support from organisations in Wales (financial or otherwise) to help you with your international ambitions?
GB: Yes, I received a contribution towards the costs of attending SXSW. I have also received bursaries from WAI to attend WOMEX on two occasions. I received funding from WAI to attend and perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2009 and also in collaboration with the British Council to take part in musical projects in China, India and Australia.
CC:MW: How important was the trade show or networking element of attending an international event?
GB: Very important. It’s easy for bands to ignore this part and just attend the performances but the trade show provides a valuable insight into how the industry is operating. Also, if you manage yourself then you have to make an effort to go out and meet people, otherwise how is anyone going to offer you anything?
CC:MW: What would your advice be to any band thinking of applying to play an international showcase?
GB: Pick the right festival for your style of music. Make sure you have plenty of experience playing live and be confident that you have an entertaining live set. Make sure all your online content is up-to-date and of good quality. The people picking the showcasing bands go through all that stuff to make a decision!
CC:MW: And when they get there? Top tip for playing a showcase?
GB: Enjoy it! Playing is probably the easiest thing about these events as long as you can control the nerves. If you can have a good time playing then that will come across and people will get on your side. Having flyers/cards/CDs to hand out helps you to reach as many people as possible.
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Please note: opinions are those of the artists/representatives only and not necessarily of Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales.