anhrefn

Anhrefn

Formed: Cymru (or "Wales" if you insist in speaking a real language), UK

The Welsh Clash, apparently, although the Sex Pistols is an equally viable comparison. And very good they were, too. Not for them the mindless thrashings of hardcore, these guys wrote proper songs, with tunes. The only thing that stopped them getting big was presumably their dedication to singing in their own language.

This bio is taken from the BBC Wales website:

"Along with bands such as Datblygu and Llwybr Laethog, Bangor-based punk band Anhrefn (Disorder) played an important part in the promotion of Welsh language music in the 1980s and beyond. Indeed, they are often cited as a major catalyst for the upsurge in popular music in Wales in the 1980s and 90s. Unwilling to compromise, and initially refusing to sing in English, Anhrefn were first Welsh language band to receive any kind of mainstream attention. They set up their own label, Recordiau Anhrefn, in 1984, which helped promote a number of talented acts in Wales.

Here was a forward-thinking record company that actively encouraged the reach of Welsh music beyond its country of origin. John Peel championed them on Radio 1, and through the label Welsh bands began to receive recognition and encouragement beyond Wales. By the mid 80s, Recordiau Anhrefn was releasing music by exciting new bands including Y Cyrff, Fflaps, Datblygu and Llwybr Llaethog. Gigging prolifically in the UK and abroad, Anhrefn were known to play up to 300 shows a year. Their first two albums, Defaid Skateboard A Wellies and Bwrw Cwrw, were released on the small Workers Playtime label. A number of further releases followed, in addition to three Peel sessions between 1987 and 1993.

With a constantly evolving line up, Anhrefn had more than a dozen members over the years. Sex Pistols sleeve designer Jamie Reid did their artwork, and they played with Joe Strummer on the 1988 Rock Against The Rich tour. They even recorded a cover of the Cole Porter standard Anything Goes with actress and TV presenter Margi Clarke - for which they made a rare concession and recorded a song in English. Rhys Mwyn went on to head up the Crai label, Sain Records' imprint for new bands. In November 2000 he launched a new band, Mangre, with Sion Sebon.

In early 2007 it was announced that on 10 March Anhrefn would play an acoustic set at the Galeri, Caernarfon, in aid of the town's Ysgol Pendalar school for children with severe learning disabilities. Rhys Mwyn has also indicated an intention to resurrect Recordiau Anhrefn.

ANHREFN

Far from the first Welsh punk band (that honour goes to the Tax Exiles), Anhrefn were the first to sing exclusively in their own language and almost certainly the first rock band to promote that language outside Wales. They began their recording career in 1984 with the hopelessly rare Dim Heddwch single, the first release on Recordiau Anhrefn. Three compilation album appearances followed, the best-known of these being Mindless Slaughter, a benefit album for the ALF. As the band gained popularity, John Peel invited them to do their first session, in August 1986, which led to a deal with Workers Playtime, for whom they released two albums, Defaid Skates A Wellies (1987) and Bwrw Cwrw (1988). 1988 saw them partake of Class War's 'Rock Against The Rich' tour with Joe Strummer, while 1989 had them record a second Peel Session and continue their relentless gigging around Europe.

Housed in a great Jamie Reid sleeve (St George being mauled by a dragon) and produced by Dave Goodman with a Pistolsian emphasis on multi-layered guitars and whomping drums, Dragons Revenge (1989) is their magnum opus. The band carried on until 1994, releasing singles and albums, and recording a third Peel Session (in 1993) before giving up the ghost.

Anhrefn - Dragons Revenge - Dial DdraigAnhrefn - Be Nesa 89

ABOVE: Dragons Revenge LP and a single from 1989, Be Nesa 89.

Sion and Rhys subsequently released an album under the name Hen Wlad Fy Mamau, Land Of My Mothers (Crai Records) - a worldbeat collection of remixed Welsh folk songs, and from what I've heard a million miles away from Anhrefn's punky racket. It appears to have been reissued (in 2001) with a new cover and the sub-title "Anhrefn Post-Punk Post-House Post-Welsh".

By singing in their mother tongue and running the Recordiau Anhrefn label (specialists in Welsh-language bands) Anhrefn attracted the unwelcome support of the Sons of Glendower, a kind of Welsh equivalent of the National Front, who advocated burning holiday homes belonging to rich foreigners in Wales, and of kicking English people out of the country altogether. Like Sham's "relationship" with the NF, Anhrefn shared a sense of national pride with the Sons of Glendower, but absolutely did not agree with their violent stance or racist viewpoints.

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Yr Anhrefn - Dim Heddwch        
Dim Heddwch
(7", 1984)
       

Various Artists

Cam O'r Rywyllwch UK LP 1985 (Recordiau Anhrefn): Rhywle Yn Moscow / Action Man / Dagrau yn Eu Llygaid

Gadael Yr Ugeinfed Ganrif UK LP 1986 (Recordiau Anhrefn): Nefoedd Un Uffern Llall / Dyfodol Disglair

The First Cut Is The Deepest UK 7" 1987 (Words Of Warning): Action Man

God Save Us From The USA UK LP 1987 (Happy MIke): Nefoedd Un, Uffern Llall

Labour Of Love (Volume One) UK 7"-flexi 1990 (Released Emotions): Rhywle Yn Moscow

Flops Of The Pops Germany LP 1991 (Incognito): Rhedeg I Paris

Punk - Past, Present And Future ... The Released Emotions Compilation (1988-1993) UK CD 1993 (Released Emotions): Rhywle Yn Moscow

Kids On The Street France LP 1993 (Bird): Weli Di Gymru

Links

RHYS MYWN - homepage for the bassist

 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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