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Craig Charles brings his ‘Funk and Soul Club’ to Swansea’s Patti Pavilion

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Promising a cracking start to the Easter Bank Holiday, Craig Charles will be coming to Swansea to deliver a set of his finest funk’n’soul tunes this Good Friday.

An iconic actor, host, broadcaster, and now one most beloved DJ’s in the country, Craig’s ‘Funk & Soul Club Night’ will see him open-up his “trunk of funk” at Swansea’s legendary Patti Pavilion venue on Friday 15 April 2022.

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From Robot Wars to Red Dwarf, Craig has now grounded himself as a Funk & Soul icon after nearly 20 years of broadcasting on BBC 6 Music with a primetime Saturday night show. As of Autumn 2021, Craig has also settled into a mid-afternoon slot on the station which has already proven a massive hit with listeners nationwide.

“When BBC 6Music asked me to do a Saturday radio show I only had one condition, it has to be a funk & soul show” says Craig, when he was first approached by the station. And so, the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show was born in 2002.

Live every Saturday night since, it features an assortment of classic gems and emerging artists and has seen Craig garner global support as one of the UK’s foremost Funk and Soul commentators, DJ’s and promoters of new music. The show has also become a European benchmark for artists who want to connect directly with their fans.

“Since its inception I have been interested in all varieties of soul and funk music, without imposing any barriers and I am just as enthusiastic about fresh new talent as I am about the classic artists from the golden age of the 60s and 70s”.

The list of guests that have been on The Funk and Soul Show speaks for itself: Gil-Scott Heron, James Brown, Roy Ayers, Cymande, Marlena Shaw, Paul Weller, Primal Scream, Terry Callier, Candi Staton, Marva Whitney.

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Hip Hop legends, The Roots and the Jungle Brothers, as well as the leading players of the new school Kokolo, Cut Chemist, Sharon Jones, Osaka Monaurail, Amp Fiddler, Amy Winehouse, The New Mastersounds, Smoove and Turrell, Quantic, The Apples, The Grits, JTQ, and The Fusion Experience.

Mr. Charles and his trunk of funk DJs, every weekend throughout the UK – stopping regularly at Band on The Wall in Manchester for his monthly residency. A night of soul-hitting funk, ‘can you dig it’ attitude and dance-floor jivin’.

The monthly stop off is currently one of the most anticipated nights in Manchester’s scene, with an array of guests from the funky depths such as, Maceo Parker, The BlackByrds, Smoove & Turrell, New Mastersounds, The Perceptions, Speedometer, Lack of Afro and Funkshone.

Craig Charles has captivated crowds throughout the UK – the Maestro of funk has played at numerous festivals such as, Love Box, Park Life, Festival no 6, Wychwood Festival, Common People, Mostly Jazz funk and soul festival to name but a few. Highlighting 2016, Craig recently played to over 10,000 people at the world famous Arcadia and Shangri-La stage in Glastonbury.

With a jammed packed year in the making, the funk and soul train keeps movin’ along without a stop in sight – in the words of the soulful don himself, ‘No Sleep till Bed time’.

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Craig plays the Patti Pavilion on Friday 15 April. Tickets are priced at £20.00 (plus. Booking fee) and are available through SeeTickets.

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Music

Blue plaques sing the praises of Calon Lan composers

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The composers of one of the greatest Welsh rugby anthems have had their contribution to the country’s culture immortalised with blue plaques in their home city of Swansea.

Calon Lan (Welsh for ‘A Pure Heart’) was published in 1892 written by Daniel James in the 1890s and set to the music of John Hughes, both of whom lived in Swansea.

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Now two local chapels associated with the pair have had blue plaques placed on them to commemorate a hymn that regularly rings out around at Wales rugby internationals as well as in churches, schools and other locations around the country.

More recently it’s been adopted as an anthem by supporters of the Wales football team, who are due to play for a place in the World Cup early next month.

The first unveiling took place at the Caersalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel, Treboeth, to commemorate its connection with John Hughes, who is buried in the graveyard there. The second blue plaque was placed on the former Mynyddbach Chapel, now the Calon Lan Centre, to commemorate Daniel James, who is buried in the nearby graveyard.

Following the second unveiling, children from nearby Gwyrosydd Primary School sang Calon Lan at the Calon Lan centre in hour of the event.

Swansea Councillor, Robert Francis Davies, carried out the unveilings and said it was a tremendous honour.

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He said: “Calon Lan is one of the great Welsh hymns and anthems, recognised around the world wherever you find Welsh people. Arguably, only the national anthem is better known.

“It’s a work of genius and when we sing it, it’s one of those anthems that binds us together as a nation. So it’s only right that the two Swansea people who created it should be commemorated with blue plaques close to their final resting places.”

John Hughes, born 150 years ago in 1872, worked his entire career for Dyffryn Steel Works in Morriston, starting as an office boy and rising through the ranks to become marketing manager. He travelled internationally in the course of his work, teaching himself six languages in addition to his native Welsh.

Hughes, who died of a brain haemorrhage in 1914, also served as an organist at Caersalem Newydd Welsh Baptist Chapel.

Daniel James, born in 1848, worked at both Morriston’s ironworks and Landore’s tinplate works.

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Swansea Council’s blue plaque scheme celebrates the political, sporting, cultural and scientific heritage of the City and County of Swansea by placing plaques on buildings associated with the lives of prominent deceased citizens.

Both men are now part of a select Swansea blue plaque club that already also includes anti-slavery campaigner Jessie Donaldson, painter Ceri Richards, rock singer Pete Ham, suffragette Emily Phipps, missionary Griffith John, gothic novelist Ann of Swansea, poet Vernon Watkins, radar pioneer Edward Bowen, and polar explorer Edgar Evans.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Music

Biggest names in 90s pop are coming to Swansea Arena

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The best and biggest 90s pop names will be performing their greatest hits at Swansea Arena on Friday 30 September.

Acts including Atomic Kitten, boy bands Five and 911, Pop Idol Gareth Gates, Liberty X and S Club Allstars will all be playing Swansea’s newest venue.

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90s Baby Pop describes itself as a rare chance to see your childhood sweethearts and heartthrobs perform their nineties’ nostalgia anthems.

Tickets on sale 10am, FRIDAY MAY 27th, from www.swansea-arena.co.uk

ABOUT THE PERFORMERS

Atomic Kitten formed in 1997 with songs Whole Again and The Tide Is High which always get everyone waving in the air. Two original members, Liz and Natasha will be performing these classics and more.

Also formed in 1997, British Boy Band Five released Keep On Movin’, followed by Everyone Get Up. Their hip-hop and dance tunes are not to be missed.

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20 years ago, Liberty X came onto the scene, and in just a few years went on to become UK superstars. They released ten consecutive UK top 20 singles such as Just A Little and Got To Have Your Love.

Starting his career on Pop Idol, Gareth Gates went onto achieve immense success in the early 2000s and is best known for his songs What My Heart Wants and Go Your Own Way.

S Club Allstars include original band members Tina, Brad and Stacey who will be performing some of S Club’s most iconic tracks such as S Club 7’s You’re My Number One which reached number 2 in the UK charts.

British boy band Damage, had eleven hit singles in the 90s, including Forever – Lady of Soul, Wonderful Tonight and the legendary Ghetto Romance.

Also performing live will be 911, the iconic English 90s boy band who have had international success, selling 15 million singles and albums worldwide.

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Female British group The 411 captured an era with their song Dumb with its smooth R&B vocals and catchy lyrics.

London’s hip-hop group Big Brovaz known for Booty Luv, promise to deliver nostalgic 90s vibes.

British R&B girl group, Honeyz skyrocketed across the UK charts with their tunes Finally Found in 1998 and Won’t Take It Lying Down in 2000. They’re one not to miss.

Following their successful launch programme, Swansea Arena say they’re excited to be moving into a routine of bringing a varied and exciting programme of performers to their landmark new venue in the heart of Swansea’s £135m Copr Bay development.

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Education

Funding for music education trebled to the tune of £13.5m

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Every child will have the opportunity to benefit from music education the Welsh Government have announced as part of plans for a national music service.

As the National Plan for Music Education is published, the Minister for Education has confirmed funding will be trebled, with £13.5m being invested over the next three years.

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The Government say the plan will make access to music education fairer and more consistent across Wales, with a particular focus on learners from low-income households and those with Additional Learning Needs.

Support will be available for children and young people to access and progress with music tuition, with learners from disadvantaged and under-represented groups supported to join music ensembles.

The plan includes a review on music tutors’ terms and conditions, to ensure they are treated equitably and are recognised properly.

It also includes a ‘First Experiences’ programme to offer children in primary schools a minimum of half a term of musical instrument taster sessions, delivered by trained and skilled music practitioners.

A ‘Making Music with Others’ initiative forms part of the plan, including opportunities for children and young people in secondary schools to gain industry experience through working alongside musicians and creative industries

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The will also be a new national instrument and equipment library to support access to a resource bank to be shared across Wales.

The Welsh Government say these programmes will be rolled out from September 2022, supporting schools and settings to give all children and young people from the ages of 3 to 16 the opportunity to learn to play an instrument as well as singing and making music in our schools and our communities.

Plans mean the National Music Service will operate as a ‘hub’, with the Welsh Local Government Association co-ordinating the Music Service’s programmes with a wide range of organisations. It will help schools and settings in their delivery of the Curriculum for Wales and provide more diverse opportunities for children and young people to experience music outside schools and settings.

First Minister Mark Drakeford and Education Minister Jeremy Miles visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea for the launch of the National Music Service (Image: Mike Hall)
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Education Minister Jeremy Miles visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea for the launch of the National Music Service (Image: Mike Hall)
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Education Minister Jeremy Miles visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea for the launch of the National Music Service (Image: Mike Hall)

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford and the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, visited St Joseph’s Cathedral Primary School in Swansea to see a cluster of primary school children taking part in a ‘Play Along’ session led by Swansea Music Service.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The establishment of a National Music Service for Wales is an important commitment in our Programme for Government and I’m delighted that we are delivering on this pledge.

“Learning an instrument was a formative part of my upbringing and a lack of money should not be a barrier to any young person who wants to learn to play music. We are fortunate in Wales to have a strong tradition of school, county and national ensembles, and we want to make sure that our children and young people are able to play a full part in these. This funding will support music services in schools and within the community to help nurture our young musical talent.”

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The Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said: “Our vision is for all children and young people across Wales, regardless of background, to have the chance to learn to play an instrument.

“I remember how important it was to me to be able to have music tuition when I was in school and to learn the baritone and to play in brass ensembles. I want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to access music tuition – the chance to learn an instrument and develop musical skills is too often limited by cost and affordability nowadays, so we’re making this significant investment to deliver a range of activities for our children and young people, so that they can learn and experience the joy of music.

“The development of the National Music Service will ensure that we nurture our next generation and continue to produce new talent and showcase Wales to the world.”

WLGA Chief Executive Chris Llewelyn said: “We are proud to work with the Welsh Government on delivering this vital service to children across Wales. Many families in Wales can’t afford an instrument, and this funding will go a long way to opening doors to children across Wales to have the opportunity of learning an instrument.

“Playing an instrument and reading music is a very important skill for a child, and music brings enormous joy to children. Local authorities believe that children across Wales will have better access to instruments, and this plan will develop many future talented musicians, and support pupils to develop their musical skills.”

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(Lead image: Mike Hall)

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