By Angharad Evans, Y Tir Welsh Editor
Baler twine, flat cap, rigger boots and a moustache - a fairly common image of Welsh farmers over the decades, but thanks to one man from Cwmfelin Mynach, the image is now quite an iconic one. This is the image of the Welsh Whisperer, who is busy making a name for himself as a performer, radio presenter and popular television personality.
The Welsh Whisperer songs have been belting out through our house for months now thanks to the Little Lady of the household, so the natural step was to hear the man himself singing live recently. So out came the baler twine and the check shirt, to enjoy a night of singing about Loris Mansel Davies, Bois y JCB, Bois y Loris, Farmers Guardian's Classifieds and Ni’n Belo Nawr, but where does the inspiration behind the unique songs come from? Cornel Clecs recently had an exclusive interview in order to get to know the Welsh Whisperer a little better...
1.Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?
"It all began when I started writing songs for a countryside audience after realising there was a need to represent the countryside of Wales, especially the West, and also the need to create fun and humour in our rural communities that can, good or bad, be very unique! Some normal day-to-day events are a clear enough inspiration for me to write a song like being stuck behind a Mansel Davies lorry, but other ideas come from meeting colourful characters around the country and hearing a saying.
2. Are there messages in each of your songs?
“I do not always aim to convey any specific message in each song but one thing that runs clearly through everything I do (hopefully) is the pride of being a Welshman. Max Boyce was the first person I thought that represented Wales and the Welsh at such a prominent and unique level. I wanted to create something similar, someone who was so Welsh, there would be no doubt whatsoever which country and what nation he represented, and here I am, the Welsh Whisperer! In a sell-out performance, I love it when someone comes up to me at the end and says: ‘I did not understand a word but we’ve had a great night.’ Providing entertainment for Welsh speakers and those who do not speak the language is very important to me too. The aim is to always show that the entertainment of the Welsh countryside can be more than just reciting and eating bara brith at the end (but full respect for that part of our culture). I am also keen to pass the pride on to children who like the songs, so that they can not only enjoy a different style of music and entertainment but also to show that they don’t need to be related to someone to do well in the entertainment industry in Wales. We need to celebrate this way of life, and less worrying! I’m hopeful that more people will try to entertain the Welsh countryside which is, of course, another reason to keep people here. At the end of the day, if the singing work dries up there’s enough work filling potholes!
3. Do you see yourself as an ambassador for the agricultural industry?
I've become a kind of familiar face within a number of agricultural communities because of the songs, thanks to the baler cold and flat cap no doubt! I'm sure there are many more people in a better position than me to be an agricultural ambassador for the country but I feel responsible for producing more and more entertainment for the Welsh countryside for all ages. The close relationship between language and land in Wales shows clearly enough that an industry remains in a family and that a language is also passed on, so if I can contribute in any way to keep both things, then my work is done! The entertainment business takes me everywhere in Wales and sometimes it has to be admitted that it’s easy to feel like a kind of Welsh-language Justin Bieber, but the heavy rigger boots keep me grounded though. During a gig in Llanfynydd, Carmarthenshire recently I said ‘I would stop singing when I’ve been to every village in Wales’ and soon after that Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr approached me and said ‘You have the gift of the gab, you should go into politics.’ And what was my answer?’ I’ll see you at Westminster.”
One thing is certain, the Welsh Whisperer attracts the attention of all ages, but most importantly, the younger generation. That’s exactly what is needed at the moment, in the midst of Brexit’s daily uncertainty, the countryside needs to be attractive and the Welsh Whisperer meets that need, and I’m sure he will go on to sing in every village in Wales thanks to his growing popularity.
The future looks full of baler cord, flat caps, rigger boots and moustaches! Gwd thing!