Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Welsh Wednesday #32

#32: Crafwr by Anhrefn

Anhrefn (trans: Disorder) formed in Bangor, North Wales, in 1982 and became hugely influential in the Welsh language rock scene. I first became aware of Anhrefn when I saw their name on gig posters around my Devon hometown back in the 80s. They were part of an underground punk scene that saw bands tour relentlessly, release records and occasionally get a Peel session while all the while being ignored by the media and public save for the punk devotees who continued to follow the genre long after it had become uncool and no longer a threat to so-called decent society.

Musically, they sounded like a lot of other bands of their ilk at the time - the Skids, the Ruts, etc - but singing in Welsh made them stand out. Passionate about their language and fervently outspoken against their nation's music industry, Anhrefn became one of Wales' best-known non-chart acts despite their lack of exposure on TV and radio.

Following half a dozen studio albums - and collaborations with Pauline Murray and Margi Clarke - the band split in 1995. Bassist Rhys Mwyn went on to manage Catatonia and set up Crai Records which released some of their early singles. Anhrefn reformed in 2008 without Mwyn. Crafwr (trans: Scraper) appeared on Anhrefn's second album 'Bwrw Cwrw' (trans: Serving beer, or something. It's pronounced a bit like 'booroo kooroo', but with rolled R's) from 1989.

Factoid: There was a Welsh kids TV show from around 10 years ago or so called 'Crafwr'. It was a short game show that clearly took inspiration from Tiswas; kids had to earn their freedom from a school headed by a sarcastic headteacher by answering questions and gaining progress across the studio on motorised desks. The losers got gunged. Sounds like a lot of fun, actually. Pretty certain no member of Anhrefn was anything to do with it however.....

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