|Carwyn Jones AC|
|David Melding AC|
|Delyth Jewell AC|
|John Griffiths AC|
|Kirsty Williams AC|
|Mick Antoniw AC|
|Bethan Jenkins||Ysgol Lewis Pengam|
|Lewis School Pengam|
|Melanie Godfrey||Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Ywain Myfyr||Ty Siamas and Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau|
|Ty Siamas and Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau|
|Angharad Roche||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Martha Da Gama Howells||Clerc|
|1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau||1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest|
|2. Astudiaeth Ddichonoldeb Addysg Cerddoriaeth||2. Music Feasibility Study|
|3. Ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw: Hybu Cerddoriaeth||3. Inquiry into live music: Music Promotion|
|4. Ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw||4. Inquiry into live music|
|5. Ymchwiliad i gerddoriaeth fyw: Cerddoriaeth mewn addysg||5. Inquiry into live music: Music Education|
|6. Papurau i’w nodi||6. Paper(s) to note|
|7. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod ar gyfer y busnes a ganlyn||7. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for the following business|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.
The meeting began at 09:30.
Good morning everyone, and welcome to the meeting of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. I will be acting as temporary Chair this morning, in accordance with last week's motion and Bethan's absence this morning. Do any Members have a declaration of interest?
Okay. We move, then, to item 2, which is the music feasibility study, and I'm delighted to welcome the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, and Melanie Godfrey, who is the deputy director of education business and governance. So, welcome, Minister. Now, of course, you commissioned a feasibility study into music services, and this followed on one of the recommendations that was made in a committee report about 18 months, or two years ago, from this committee. So, we're naturally pleased that one of our major recommendations was taken up, and this morning, we'll have a chance to talk to you about that feasibility study, which has recently been published.
But, before we move to questions, do you want to make a general statement, or shall we just move—
I'm happy to move to questions from Members, Chair.
Okay. So, given that report, and obviously, our earlier report, what's your current assessment of the viability of music services in Wales?
Well, I think, David, what the feasibility report does is really enforce the evidence that the committee had taken previously, in the 'Hitting the Right Note' report, and our own assessment as a Government around the complexity of music services, and how there is a patchwork of provision across Wales. That, quite rightly, leads to concerns about the principle of equity in the system and ensuring that all of Wales's children have an equal opportunity to be exposed to music and to participate in music. The report also then does raise some questions about excellence. And equity and excellence, as I said when I appeared before the committee previously to talk about music services, are the two fundamental principles that I'm concerned about—how do we give everybody an equal chance, and how do we ensure that that provision is of really, really good quality?
So, the report talks about some of the vulnerabilities around workforce issues and staffing issues. But, what the report doesn't do, unfortunately, and that's not the fault of the authors; it is the nature of the system that they have been asked to report back on, is that there are no simple answers to solving this issue, nor is there one single way in which we could develop music services into the future. The report is very clear about the need to continue to develop policy in this area in the spirit of co-construction, specifically with the stakeholder group that was established. And my intention now is to go back to that stakeholder group, as suggested by the report, to look at the various options, and to work with them on next steps.
And if I may use this opportunity, I'd like to extend an invitation to you, as temporary Chair of the committee, to be a part of that stakeholder group when it next meets, because I'd be very grateful to have that ongoing committee involvement, given the interest on this subject. So, if you, as the Chair, or a Member—
—or a member of the committee wanted to be a part of that stakeholder group, I'd like to extend that invitation.
Well, I'm sure I speak for everyone that that's very much welcome, and I'm sure that the committee will take up that opportunity. You described—. The current situation is a very complicated one—I think the report uses the phrase 'mixed economy'—so, there are lots of ways in which music services are provided, you know, a core service or a charitable co-operative, whatever. Is that part of the problem, or do you think that that's the system that has now emerged in the last 20 years or so, and we need to work with that and to make it better? Or is the problem it's a mixed economy?
Well, I think you're quite right, it is a highly complex system, but that's not to say that it is broken in that regard, although there are improvements that can be made. And there's nothing intrinsically wrong with different approaches in different localities to providing a service to children. What I'm interested in is not so much the mechanics and the gubbins, but the output of that particular system in terms of the experience and the opportunity for children.
First of all, I think it's important for me to say and for the committee to recognise that, despite all the challenges, there is excellent practice out there, and I think we'd all agree on that point. There's no one system that is intrinsically better at providing that service than others. So, we have traditional services run by individual local authorities that are providing a good service, but we'd have some of the alternative models that have arisen out of cuts to traditional local authority services, which are providing excellent opportunities. I took the time to visit the co-operative model in Denbighshire. Now, the feedback from professionals and from schools on my visit to that project was that, actually, that co-operative model was providing more music education to more schools on a more consistent basis in a very cost-effective way for schools. And when we look at the issue of staff, that co-opertive model, as it says in the feasibility study, is providing high levels of job satisfaction for those people who are employed, because it's owned and run by the musicians themselves.
It's highly complex in the sense that we have cross-border working, so some schools don't use the music service in their own local authority; they actually drive that service in from a different local authority. So, I think what the report says is that there isn't a single model that they could recommend to us as the way forward, but clearly, we will all continue to have concerns about potential inequity in the system and different approaches. So, trying to bring some uniformity, or some confidence that that is happening is important to me. And perhaps music services on its own isn't the way to solve that. So, as we approach the introduction of our new curriculum, the expectations that that new curriculum will have may address some of these issues around equity because, of course, of the important part that expressive arts will play in that curriculum going forward. So, I don't think we can see music services outside a wider piece of education reform, whether that be initial teacher education, professional development, or indeed, the curriculum.
I think that's very helpful, and I'm sure the committee would be in agreement that what has to be achieved is access for all children to good or excellent music services. One idea that came out of our earlier report—and, indeed, is echoed in the feasibility study—is to ensure there is that equity of provision, in terms of the outputs, and that there is a national body responsible for overseeing the whole mixed economy, if you're going to call it that. I'm sure Members will want to look at this in more detail, but is that an idea that you find attractive?
If we look back to the report, they do not finally settle on that being the solution to this issue. And I'm happy to have ongoing discussions with the stakeholders over that. I have to say, my concern about creating an all-Wales body is that we'll end up spending precious resources on an all-Wales body, when my priority is using the resources that we do have for music education actually in our schools. So, that's my concern.
My other concern would be, we already have quite a crowded field in the middle tier in the Welsh education system, and we're working really, really hard to ensure there is coherence in that middle tier in Welsh education. Adding an additional body into that middle tier again has, potentially, disadvantages.
But my concern is we'll spend our money—what little money we have—on another body, when really my priority, and I'm sure the priority of everybody here in the committee, is to spend that money in schools, on a service, rather than on an organisation. But we will take that back to stakeholders.
It's very helpful to have an idea of how you're thinking on these issues, and this sort of candour and directness is helpful, I think, in the scrutiny of policy, whether you agree with it or not. Another idea perhaps to bring greater co-ordination and ensure that there is equal provision around the country is to have a national plan for music education. Mick will now take us into this area.
I just wanted to start with a couple of points from what you've already said. You talked about going forward. Of course, going forward, you have to know where we are at the moment and where we've come from. Reading this feasibility study, in general, do you think it's not unreasonable to take the view that music provision in education is in crisis?
It is certainly under a lot of pressure, and there's a lot of challenge in the system. That arises from a number of factors. I think it would be correct to say that the biggest influence on that has been a period of extreme challenge in public expenditure. It's a non-statutory service for local authorities. We know that, despite efforts around local authority budgets, they have been really challenged, and local authorities, understandably, have focused on their responsibilities for statutory services. I think we would all understand that and we would all agree with that. So, that's part of the issue that this report tells us. So, public expenditure certainly has driven some of the decisions around local authorities'—because remember, it is they that have this responsibility, not us as a Welsh Government—around some of the decisions that they have made.
There is also, and the report touches on this—. I'm not saying it's the main factor, but we do know that demand for those services is variable, as schools make different decisions about how they spend their money. So, not only do we have pressure on local authority budgets, we have pressure in schools' budgets. We also know that, in some parts of our school system, especially as children get older, there is—understandably, again—a big focus on core subjects, which has led to, in some ways, a shrinking of creative subjects within the curriculum, as teachers concentrate on maths, English, Welsh, science. That's being driven, in many ways, by policy from the centre as we drive things forward.
So, there are a whole number of reasons why people are making these decisions. But, 'crisis'? I would not describe it as a 'crisis'. Under pressure, yes, but as I said, we should recognise that there is excellent practice out there, and many schools are doing amazing things. I was at Penyrheol Primary School in Gorseinon on Monday. I interrupted their music lesson. They have a music teacher that comes to the school once a week to provide music tuition to children. They played for me, on their acoustic and electric guitars and drums, 'Stuck in the middle with you'. Story of my life, Mick: stuck in the middle. They used their budget to provide that opportunity for their children. Interestingly, they also have an artist that comes in once a week to provide specialist provision around art.
So, there is good practice out there, but clearly there is more that we can do—nationally, as individual local authorities, and those with an interest. For instance, we are in discussion with the royal college; as an institution here in Wales, I believe that they have a responsibility, as part of their civic mission, to support work in this area. Bangor University is doing work within their arts centre, in Pontio, with local schools. So, there is a collective responsibility to drive this agenda forward, so that we can have that confidence, as I said, in both equity and excellence.
Okay. Look, I don't deny that there's excellence around the country, but the report highlights—. Well, it makes grim reading: five local authorities with no music head; poorer students have a lower take-up, particularly those on free school meals, a point made regularly by the Musicians' Union; terms and conditions have deteriorated or been eroded; increasing use of unqualified staff; music services are not formally inspected by Estyn. Do you agree that all those factors really lead to the way that there is a desperate need for a national music education plan?
I think there is definitely the scope for a national plan, but that cannot be separate to the work that we're doing on the national curriculum and the new curriculum, and I'm a bit worried about how those two would interact. So, I'm not saying we shouldn't have a plan; I'm saying that plan really needs to arise out of the reforms to the curriculum that we're making. We need to do some more work, as the feasibility study says, with schools in particular to feed into that plan, and that plan would have to be co-constructed. Now, there's definitely potentially a role for Government in helping develop that plan, but it has to be done with key stakeholders. It can't be something that can be imposed from the top down, and it can't be something that is seen as completely distinct from the requirements of our new curriculum.
And, again, if I may, we had a very useful discussion and debate yesterday, didn't we, about the place of history in the new curriculum? I don't think we can just see music services as a stand-alone lesson. It has the ability to really develop linkages right across the AoLEs, whether that's maths, humanities, language and communication. So, again, I think we need to look at it, not just as a single separate subject, but as a wider piece of work across the curriculum linking into the curriculum plan and to our Creative Learning through the Arts programme.
I think you're certainly right in terms of music, not only in terms of self-esteem, but in terms of the mathematical, the literate elements—all those things that it actually contributes to. But the fact of the matter is we are in a situation where basically, to put it bluntly, the poorer you are the less likely you are to get music, and that's a very worrying concern. Do you think there is a real problem though in terms of—? You talked a little bit about what Government can do. There was a report out by UK Music today, that basically sums up what the Musicians' Union again are reporting, that the industry contributes £5.2 billion to the UK economy. It is obviously a very significant economic—. And actually has a commercial, as well as an academic—and all the other things that are wonderful about music. Do you think that, to some extent, the problem is that music has become sidelined within education provision? It's not recognised properly for what it is in terms of its contribution to education, but also its contribution to the broader economic and commercial aspects of music.
I think there is definitely anecdotal evidence that would suggest, especially in the secondary phase of education, that expressive subjects, creative subjects, have been pushed to the margins. And that's why the curriculum will be so important in this regard, because expressive arts, as one of the areas of learning and experience—all of them have equal status.
It is my intention, when the Bill is published, that we will be very clear in our expectation that all schools will be required to deliver all areas of learning and experience, right the way through to the age of 16, to provide children with those opportunities, even if those children are not taking a formal qualification in that particular subject, so that we avoid the narrowing of curriculum and choices for children and we keep that education as broad and wide as we possibly can.
Because I think you're right: there has been a diminution and a narrowing of some of those expressive subjects. And when you speak to children—. I always ask them, 'What would you like to do more of? What do you get too much of and what would you like to do more of?', very often, children talk to me about wanting to have more time in the curriculum for expressive subjects, whether that be music or art. They want more of that.
Just one follow-on point, I'm sure others will have many questions. It is absolutely a fundamental part of our equality agenda that wealth and affluence and background, et cetera, should not be the determinants of whether you have the advantages of music and the educational aspects and everything else that goes with that. But quite clearly, it is the case at the moment that basically, to put it bluntly, working class kids have less opportunity in terms of music, have less access, less participation than the more affluent, for a whole variety of reasons that I know have been explored. What specifically do you think needs to happen to rectify that?
Mick, in the new financial year, this Government will spend over £100 million on the pupil development grant to address the problem that you have just highlighted. I have spent time outside of this Government and all of my time within this Government on tackling—or a determination to tackle—that very point that you made: that no child's educational opportunities and educational destiny should be dictated to by the socio-economic background from which they come. And that's why, as I said, we will invest record amounts of investment in those children's education in this year, not just in terms of the traditional PDG grant, but we will be extending the PDG access grant. Whilst people, quite understandably, associate that only with uniform, that grant is available for parents to be able to purchase kit and equipment to allow their children to make the most of their educational opportunities. And that PDG is a sign of this Government's absolute determination to close that attainment gap and to give those children a fair chance and an equal chance. And many of our schools, we know, use their PDG resources to ensure that their children have these musical opportunities.
As soon as you mentioned expressive arts, I could see interest from other Members immediately. Carwyn, did you just want to come in on that?
Just one question at this stage, Chair. Good morning, both. I was interested in what the Minister had to say about weaving—if I can use that word—music throughout the curriculum, rather than it being seen purely as an academic subject. We've had this debate with Welsh, of course, where there are two ways in which people might want to learn or study Welsh. One is to acquire it as a skill. And for others—a smaller number—they wish to study it as an academic subject and study its literature. But that doesn't apply to everybody who wants to learn the language or speak it fluently. The same with music. One of the issues we have explored here is whether—. We've done it indirectly—but the relationship between music as a GCSE and A-level subject, and music as a skill that people want because they enjoy it. You've rightly mentioned that we shouldn't simply look at music as a qualification and that's the be-all and end-all of it. You rightly said that music should be more broadly available throughout the curriculum. So, the question really is: have you any ideas as to how that might be done?
Yes, and, actually, using music as a key to unlock areas of the curriculum. So, son of the Amman valley, as you are—
John Cale. And John Cale is of the Amman valley and most famously associated with the Velvet Underground, but actually has written music across entire genres. His most famous album is Paris 1919, inspired by the peace talks in 1919. Now, what a way of unlocking in our new curriculum—. So, you could be studying the musicality and the music of John Cale, but that opens you up into history and what happened in the peace talks in 1919, Lloyd George, the role of that Welsh statesman. So, it's an opportunity, I think, for music to be able to unlock other aspects of the curriculum. So, for children perhaps who don't feel that they're interested in history, the fact that they may be very interested in John Cale, actually is a way into some of those other subjects.
Think about Joseph Parry and the work that you could do and the principle of 'cynefin'—teaching children about Joseph Parry, his journey to America, how he comes home, his writing of Myfanwy, that quintessential Welsh piece of music, how that then influenced the South African national anthem. What a way to unlock other aspects of the curriculum by focusing on the musicality of Joseph Parry and the writing of Joseph Parry.
If you're in the Gwent valleys, the Manic Street Preachers—how you can use study of the music of the Manic Street Preachers and This is My Truth Tell Me Yours, and then you're talking about Nye Bevan, and then you're talking about the contribution of Wales to the development of the national health service.
So, you see, Mick, we've marginalised, in our current curriculum, music over here. But, actually, we can grab music—we can grab music and we can work alongside practitioners in other areas of learning and experience. And for that child who I said who might think that history is really boring, and history isn't the subject for them, you can get them into those subjects by looking at the Manic Street Preachers, or John Cale. And that's my vision for the new curriculum and how we can use music as a conduit for teaching and learning and inspiring children.
It's deeply related; this is not in any way irrelevant, but, just briefly, Carwyn.
No, I just feel obliged to point out that John Cale was in fact from Garnant, which is in the Amman valley, but this week, of course, the UK No. 1 in the iTunes charts is somebody from Brynamman. I feel obliged to point that out, given that that's my mother and father's home village.
I think Dafydd Iwan was mentioned yesterday in the debate on Welsh history as well, and we have Grace Williams from Barry and the place of women composers, for instance. These are really interesting concepts, and the talent that we've had in Wales is astonishing. Anyway, Delyth.
Please don't apologise; this is fascinating, and this, I hope, links the two elements in. I'm interested in and I agree with the fact that you were saying, Minister, that music can't be viewed as a standalone subject, it is so integrated into the other arts, into literature, with mathematics. Do you think that there is a fundamental disconnect between that principle and the way in which music services are delivered in a patchy way? It seems to me that one of the—. We were talking about expressive arts and how music is one of those. One of the things that music can provide children and young people with is joy. So, quite apart from—. It's very difficult to quantify—possibly impossible to quantify—but it is that sense of finally something that they can actually—. Just, like you say, just through pure expression, it's the element of joy.
Now, I have anecdotal evidence of certain headteachers or certain schools just deciding that they will not continue with music services, of course because there's pressure on budgets, but it also can sometimes anecdotally come down to whether or not the headteacher or the head of governors, whoever is making that decision, whether or not they feel that music is a priority as well—obviously, under lots of different budgetary pressures. Do you think there's anything that can be done with that? Do you think that there's anything that should be—I don't know—provided or encouraged in headteachers and in governor boards to appreciate the importance of music, particularly in some schools and areas where there are going to be so many demands on the budgets? The danger is that it will just be seen as a 'nice to have' rather than something that is so engrained and interconnected into all the other elements we've been talking about.
Well, I agree with you, Delyth, that we need to create the opportunities within the curriculum and music services. So, for children for whom they can just get joy, it is useful for their sense of well-being, through to those children who have a talent, an innate talent, and who actually want to study music as an academic discipline and see their future in music-making. So, we need to be able to create the environment that meets the needs of all of those children.
You're right: budgetary pressures, I think, underpin a lot of this within local authorities, but, with the curriculum, because expressive arts and music is a named element of the expressive arts AoLE, because there will be a statutory requirement to deliver all of those, and all are given equal status and weighting, headteachers and governing bodies, when they're designing their curriculum, will have to have due cognisance of the expressive arts. And what good teachers know is that music not only is a conduit into, as I said, some interesting stuff about history and the geography and cultural identity in Wales—. One of the ways in which we develop oracy in our children—and, of course, oracy is absolutely crucial, the first building block of children being able to read—is singing: nursery rhymes and singing. For some dyslexic children, for instance, collective singing is one way in which we can help, in a safe environment, to develop their oracy skills. So, that's a really important language acquisition tool as well. We know that there are strong linkages between music and maths. So, actually, music isn't an add-on or a 'nice to have'; it can be a conduit for developing very important literacy and numeracy skills in our children. But that can't be addressed by music services alone. This has to be about our expectations of the curriculum and what schools will be required to deliver under that.
Thank you for that. Turning back to the national plan for music education, do you agree with what the feasibility report suggests in terms of what the contents of the plan should be or do you think there's anything that's missing or that shouldn't be there?
No. I think the elements that they've identified are the right elements and allow us to pick that up as part of our wider education reform journey. So, yes, as I said, very happy to continue to discuss with the stakeholder group the desirability of a plan, but what they're saying about initial teacher education, what they're saying about professional learning, can feed into reform programmes that we're already doing. So, this report is a useful addition to that. So, when we're thinking about our professional learning offer, we can have discussions about the need to ensure that this particular group of professionals could be a part of that. I think, for me, the overriding message for this is: (1) we need to do a bit more work, especially with schools, to understand some of the behaviours and the drivers for those behaviours in the schools, and to go back to the stakeholder group to say, 'Okay, this is what the feasibility report has said to us. What do we think are the next steps?'
Okay, thank you. And, on funding, the report says that there may need to be dedicated Government funding as part of this. Do you agree that the Government should meet some of that funding, or do you think that the Government won't be in a position to be able to do that?
The first thing to say is: at the moment, the responsibility for these services is not a function of the Welsh Government. It is a function for local government, and, I have to say, in the discussions that I have had with the Welsh Local Government Association, there doesn't seem to be an appetite from them to have these responsibilities taken away from them. So, I'm not sure of the views around this committee table, but local government absolutely see themselves as having a continuing role in this area.
With regard to resources, we have, during the past in this Parliament, been able to make some investment available, which flowed through the WLGA into our schools system, primarily for the purchase of instruments, and to subsidise some tuition in some local authorities' cases. As always, in identifying money to be spent on new things, that requires me to identify where we are going to disinvest from, and, whilst people are always very happy to give me a long list of things that they want money spent on, people seem to be remarkably reluctant to tell me what we need to stop spending money on, and we will continue to review budgets as and when those budgets are made available to us as a Welsh Government.
Thank you, Chair. I had three questions originally. Two of them you've answered. One was: if there is a national plan, what role do schools have? You've addressed that. And the other was the interaction between any plan and the curriculum, and you've addressed that too.
From my perspective, it's a question now of 'What next?' You've mentioned the fact that—well, you've not mentioned it specifically, but it's obvious there is no consistency of provision across local authorities, or indeed, across schools, and perhaps, if local authorities aren't able to deliver, then other models will have to be looked at in order to ensure that a proper music service is available across Wales.
So, really, my question is this: what's the plan? You've mentioned that you're open to a plan. You're concerned—rightly so, I think—that it shouldn't interfere with the rollout of the curriculum, but, in terms of a timetable of action, what are your thoughts?
Well, the next stakeholder group will meet to discuss the feasibility study on 29 January, because the stakeholder group have not had a formal opportunity to discuss the feasibility report, and we will be guided by the outcomes of that meeting. We would want to move as swiftly as possible, but, again, if I'm being blunt—and there's no point being anything other than—we are constrained by the capacity within Government and the capacity of outside the Government organisations to be able to move forward, but I detect a determination on behalf of everybody involved to want to make progress in a timely fashion. But I'm very happy to come back to the committee post 29 January—well, hopefully, a committee member will be there—to be able to provide further details of a timetable of actions, subsequent to that meeting, if that is acceptable.
—direction on the next questions, but you may want to probe her approach.
Yes. I think I'm in a similar position to Carwyn, but—. I think I'd like to start off as others have, Minister, by saying that this is an important part of equality of opportunity, isn't it? And we want to see all our young people in Wales having the opportunity to discover their talents and interests and develop their talents and abilities, and it's really powerful, actually, when you speak to adults sometimes, and I have recently, where they've actually mentioned music as something that they very much regret not having had the opportunity to experience adequately and explore their interests and talents and develop them when they were in school. We're in a position now where, actually, the situation might be worse now in Wales than it was 20, 30 years ago, and it's very concerning that we may be moving backwards rather than forwards on an important aspect of equality of opportunity, because people feel that so powerfully as adults that they missed their opportunity, as it were, to a large extent. So, I do think, as others have said, and you have said, that this is really important; that we do get back on the front foot, as it were, and start making progress, given recent experience.
So, you said there, Minister, that having had the feasibility study, you're not particularly inclined towards a national model or a national solution, necessarily, although there's further work to do. So, given that you, in your opening remarks, identified this patchwork of provision and this need to move to equity and excellence, which I think we'd all sign up to, are there models out there, then, that could be spread around Wales? You mentioned the co-operative approach in Denbighshire, for example. Is there anything unique there or do the conditions that allow that to flourish and deliver effectively in that part of Wales exist right across the country?
The Denbighshire example is one that was driven by a crisis. So, the local authority there gave notice on their decision to close music services, and the tutors themselves responded to that with the creation of the co-operative. And as I said, having visited the project, spoken to headteachers, tutors and amazing children who avail themselves of that opportunity, it did seemed like a solution that was fit for that particular area. Subsequent to that, Wrexham County Borough Council have decided to adopt a similar model.
I'm a great believer in solutions that fit a sense of place, and that isn't necessarily going to mean a uniform solution. But what we are interested in, as you said, is that equality of opportunity. So, the mechanisms by which we develop that, I think, potentially could be different. You don't have to have the same replicated everywhere as long as the outcomes that are being achieved by that are ones that we're confident provide that equality of opportunity. So, I do think we have to recognise that some local authorities have maintained their service because they see that's the best solution for them, and I wouldn't want to impose, from the centre, a single one-size-fits-all 'You have to have this' or 'You have to do it that way.' I believe in subsidiarity, John, as a principle, and I'd rather local communities find solutions that fit for them rather than a national Government, as long as, as I said, we focus on outcomes.
I think what's clear to me and what, perhaps, all of us would have hoped the feasibility study would do would say, 'This is how it needs to be done', and I don't think, in all honesty—and I don't think it's just my view—I don't think, in all honesty, we can say that the feasibility study makes an overwhelming compelling case for a national organisation. It doesn't say, and if it had, then I would take that on board. But it does not say that a single overarching Welsh organisation is the way to solve these particular challenges. It is much more complex than that, and there is further work to be done, I think, with stakeholders to understand what is the optimum model for delivery.
I think the plan, and setting national expectations that arise out of the curriculum reform, is something that perhaps does give us an opportunity to at least provide that overarching national picture, with a focus, then, on local delivery and local delivery models that best meet the needs of those schools. Because that's what we've got to think back to all the time: the method for interaction is our schools. If we want this to work, we have to talk more deeply than we have done in this part with schools about what is a system that is going to work for them and is going to create the demand within that school for these services, and is operated in a way that makes it easy for schools to engage rather than difficult because of all the things we ask schools to do. And I think that's the bit that's really missing in here, and the report identifies it, the need to work with more engagement with our schools sector to understand what is a system that will work best for them.
But what the report does say is that terms and conditions have deteriorated, and if the people who are delivering, who are doing the teaching, are demoralised and their terms are going down and down, et cetera, clearly, that must be a concern to Government in terms of a plan, that there should be some consistency of decent terms and conditions for those delivering, otherwise, one of the key cogs in the whole process is causing it to implode to some extent.
The data is anonymised in the plan, isn't it, in terms of turnover of staff and whether recruitment and retention of staff is poor, or whether it is good? Again, that shows you that there isn't a single model that says, 'That's the way in which you have high levels of recruitment and retention.' So, some of our local authority models report good recruitment and retention, the co-operative models report good—. So, again, there is no consistency there.
But, clearly, how we treat people in their work and make it an attractive career is something that is really important. That sometimes is around terms and conditions, but it is also about access to professional learning opportunities, and it is about knowing that you're part of a service that is valued by schools and there is a demand for you in that. So, you're right, we do need to look at how we treat people, but, again, the report doesn't necessarily say, 'There is a direct correlation between the model that is employed and then the outcomes for recruitment and retention of staff.'
In terms of the outcomes, then, Minister, and the minimum standards that we might expect, is there a role for legislation, do you think, in establishing those and making sure that they are adhered to?
I'm going to be absolutely blunt with you, John, there is neither the time nor the capacity in this particular Assembly term for me to look at the issue of legislation. There's no point me pretending anything else. The department has two substantive Bills that we need to get through the parliamentary process in the remaining, what, 15 or 16 months of this administration. We also have not insignificant amounts of subordinate legislation. So, the department simply isn't in a position at this moment to think about legislation. That's not to say that future administrations might not want to look at that, but there's no point in me telling you something when we're not in a position to do that at the moment.
No, I haven't. I understand absolutely the desire to fix things by legislation, but there are ways in which Governments can achieve real shifts in policy without the need for legislation. It doesn't always have to be the default action, and, sometimes, quite understandably, as a new organisation, a new institution that has these new powers, we always want to use them and to legislate, because that gives us a sense of certainty, but there are other ways in which we can ensure that some of the policy issues—real policy issues, which I'm not ducking away from—can be achieved without legislation. I wouldn't want us to think, because we can't legislate in this Assembly term, that means nothing can be done. That's not the case. There are things that can be done without that.
Let me take you on to something that might, therefore, follow, because you're not going to make music services statutory, and they've never been statutory, but in recent years some education authorities have withdrawn from providing the service and have left it to schools to either provide them internally as best they can or to contract with some other in this mixed economy model. This has resulted in a certain patchiness around Wales. Our report said that this ought to be looked at, and the alternative forms of delivering these services need to be examined and supported, so music teachers that might form a co-operative, for instance. Now, the feasibility study seems completely silent on this. Is this an area you think we ought to be looking at and the Welsh Government might be in a position to be giving advice and some modest assistance then to groups of people or charities that might get involved in this type of provision?
I think that's possible. Certainly, for instance, Welsh Government is very supportive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, which is there to provide advice around co-operative models and co-operative businesses. I don't know, Mel, if there are any other mechanisms available to support innovative, alternatively provided solutions.
There's the example, isn't there, in the survey of the charity provision in Gwynedd? So, that's another alternative delivery model that's happening out there that we can learn from, and there are aspects, as the Minister said, about joining up. One example is that under the reform programme, for example, the ways of working in schools is changing. So, schools don't work necessarily so much on their own; they work on a cluster basis, and that cluster basis can be primary schools together but also with secondary schools. So, there's an element here as well of join-up by the schools themselves, and working together and sharing resources as well. That's yet to be played out as we roll out the reform.
But that's certainly something that we can look at, about what mechanisms could be made available, signposting and practical support to support people who wanted to develop an alternative form.
It's obviously not your responsibility to deliver the service, but are you aware of and concerned about certain parts of Wales where music services seem quite deficient to you?
Obviously, that is of concern to us and we have ongoing dialogue with the WLGA on this agenda, given that it was primarily their responsibility. Again, if I can be just blunt about it, I think the pressure on local government budgets has meant that this is not seen as a priority for them. But we will continue to engage with the WLGA and local authorities on this area. The discussions that we have had—. Because the previous report, the task and finish group that was chaired by Karl Napieralla, did say that there needed to be greater co-ordination between local authorities to ensure consistency of coverage, and we will continue to have that dialogue with the WLGA. But I think we have to recognise the significant pressure our colleagues have been under, and that has led undoubtedly to some of the decisions that they have made.
We're an interactive committee and we have had some Twitter contact, so I'm now going to put a question from someone who is following these proceedings, possibly a professional musician, I don't know—I'll leave it to others to speculate. We've concentrated very much on music as an experience; it's an important experience that's available to children and students. But you can also look at this as some will be so proficient that they will acquire a real skill that will allow them to play a musical instrument to a great level of proficiency, even opening the doors possibly to a professional career, or certainly performance in our rich cultural environment at all sorts of levels—talented amateurs, and all the rest of it. We've not really talked much about this: that right to test your own abilities, and some will have this gift.
I heard a piece on the BBC recently about how, in France, they've traditionally looked at our system as something of a gold standard because we do try to provide musical services, whereas there if you were a professional musician, you've very often come from an upper middle-class family because they do not have a tradition of teaching music in this manner in schools and giving students the access to musical instruments and tuition, and so forth.
So, music as a skill: is this a key area for us in terms of our national life and opening to our citizens the full range of things that will enable them to flourish then because, presumably, if these services are not doing so well, there'll be people going into adult life never knowing that they had this gift, and that's a real sadness, isn't it?
Yes, you're quite right, David. As I said in answer to Delyth, we need to create the opportunity for those children for whom it is going to be a pleasurable experience, but also not create a system that cuts off the natural innate talent of some individuals to be professional musicians, somebody that, hopefully, through an early introduction to music in school finds that love, but also has that talent identified and therefore nurtured—within the school environment, outside of the school environment, and a pipeline through to local ensembles, local youth orchestras, right the way through to our national organisations for music. So, you're quite right, we need to be able to create a system that identifies that talent, and nurture and support it. That's why we did put some money into local authorities for the purchase of musical instruments. We organised—at the suggestion of Mick Antoniw—a musical instrument amnesty here in the National Assembly, and Assembly Members were very generous in bringing in musical instruments that were in attics, or perhaps under stairs, in cupboards—
And we worked with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to have those instruments refurbished and sent out. So, you're right, we need to create the conditions of that system, to allow a pipeline of able and talented individuals. You'll have seen from the survey report that there is, again, a mixed approach—some schools and local authorities providing significant subsidy to instrumental lessons, to provide that level playing field; in other local authorities, I think the figure is £260 a term. And for many families, that would be prohibitive, wouldn't it? Again, I'm aware of some very innovative practice in some of our local schools, to ensure that some of the barriers to participation are broken down, so, for instance, a school that gives out its facilities for free for the local county-wide organisation to practice in their school. And they do that for free, because they said, 'If they're in our school, our children can get there.'
And the barrier to being able to travel to that provision—. I know a school that uses some of its PDG grant to purchase season tickets on public transport, so that that transport barrier—that you can't get to that practice—. Or perhaps the annual membership of a county-wide organisation, which could be above and beyond the means of a family to pay for annual membership of that county-wide organisation—the school uses the PDG to ensure that that child, who has that talent to play at a county level, can participate in that. So, schools are cognisant of this, and are taking very practical steps to break down those barriers.
And I think we'd all agree that mastering a musical instrument is a great skill. It's not one I have. I would dearly—in retrospect, perhaps, I realise the loss that I didn't take fully that opportunity. It's reliant on the music tutor workforce immensely, isn't it? I think that translation into a general interest and appreciation of music, to really being able to master it—these tutors are essential. And there is some evidence that our current system is not sustaining this workforce adequately. Are you fearful that we do need a more formalised system or we're going to lose this capacity?
You're absolutely right. There is a skill, isn't there, to doing whole-class work, to that pedagogical principle of providing one-to-one expert tuition? What is clear to me is that we will need to consider, as part of our overall workforce development plan, the needs of this specific group of tutors. And I think, in the past, we've concentrated—understandably—on the main body of our school workforce, but that does not mean we should not be thinking about the specific needs of this group of professionals, as part of our overall human resource plan for the teaching profession, including access to professional learning. And that's been one of the useful pieces of evidence that has come out of the feasibility study—of us needing to pick that up in our workforce plans.
Right. We've reached a crescendo, I think. I've got Mick, then Delyth, then John. Mick.
Just firstly to say that I think there still are issues with regard to the availability and access to instruments—I'll leave it there. Because I just think it's one of those things that needs to have ongoing assessment, and I'm not quite sure whether that data is available. But quite a lot of money, indirectly or directly, from Welsh Government into things like the Cory Band, into Welsh National Opera and so on, and various orchestras has taken place. Now, Cory had a very interesting exercise: they were given funding, I think, from the Arts Council of Wales, part of which required them to go into schools, and that was very, very successful. But then, of course, that comes to an end, and that comes to a stop. But, of course, the response was, I think, that there were many—certainly, the initial responses were that many people were beginning to take up brass instruments as a result of that. Do we do enough, in terms of the funding that does go out in terms of music and orchestras, to ensure that there is a social legacy—a greater input into our education service? Some of the things that we have going on at a very professional level are very inspirational, but it does seem to me that there's almost a gap in terms of access. Is that something that you think needs to be addressed?
Well, the first thing I should say is that that is outside my ministerial responsibility, and I wouldn't want to park my tanks on my colleague's lawn. But, clearly, that kind of interaction is really important. We are coming to the end of a very successful Creative Learning through the Arts programme, which was match-funded by the arts council and the education department. We're coming to the end of that programme, and I will be announcing in further weeks what a continuation of that programme will look like, focusing very heavily on professional learning for our teaching staff, to be able to give some sustainability, so that when an individual project comes to an end, those skills are still retained in the school within that particular professional.
You'll also be aware that the Government, because there were manifesto commitments from parties to establish our music endowment fund, Anthem—. Now, initially, it was education money that helped to provide the seed funding for that particular project because the other department didn't have the money to do it at that time. We didn't want to wait. We had access to some resource. So, we are trying to work on a cross-Government basis. You're absolutely right: we all have to put our shoulders to the wheel here. It cannot be left simply to the Welsh Government, local government or individual schools. We are blessed in Wales with, as you said, amazing, amazing choirs, bands, musical experts, and we need to be able to harness those talents.
Within my own department, we are saying to our universities, especially the royal college here in Cardiff, 'What is your sense of civic mission? What can you bring to the table in terms of providing these opportunities?' So, you know, we're working with the higher education sector to be able to bring expertise and open up the opportunities there. And I must say that I'm very grateful to the universities and the higher education sector in Wales, who very much see themselves as having a responsibility in this area. But I'm sure that my colleagues will be able to send a note on what the arts council and that part of the Government could do to help support this agenda.
I'd like to return to something that you had been saying to David, in terms of professional development and the role that your department might have in helping the music teachers with their professional development. It's just a plea, really, with any plans for teacher development generally, just again so that music teachers are not seen as a 'nice to have' and that service is not seen as a 'nice to have'. I have experience, when I was learning a musical instrument in school, of some teachers refusing to let me go out to lessons because they saw it as a 'nice to have'. So, again, it's more of a plea for you to consider, in teacher training generally, for teachers to be aware that music services, even though they might be brought in, are not something that are an optional extra, but are central to the curriculum.
Sure, and that's part of our initial teacher education programme. That needs to be considered in our professional learning programme for existing staff. But what you've just described there, as teachers being reluctant to release children out of lessons to go and do instrumental tuition—that is part of a system of accountability that we have created that puts pressure on schools to feel that way. That's why, of course, as well as developing a new curriculum, we are developing new assessment and accountability arrangements for our schools so that we don't drive those kinds of behaviours.
Yes. Minister, you mentioned schools with good facilities sharing those facilities with other schools, and being part of a more general effort to provide music tuition and opportunities. Did the private schools in Wales, then, engage in your experience in their more general mission to improve educational standards in Wales in that way, in co-operating with state schools and making available their facilities and the services that they provide, as far as music is concerned?
I have to say, John, on a nationwide basis I am not familiar with the detail of that. So, there could be things that are happening that I am not familiar with. So, I wouldn't want to say 'yes' or 'no' either way. On a purely anecdotal basis, from a constituency perspective—obviously there is a well-known private school in my own constituency—I do know that that school does look to provide some of its facilities for wider community usage outside of the usage of their own pupils. For instance, the theatre spaces that Christ College Brecon has—I do know that they are let out to community organisations for their usage, but I would not be able to give you a definitive answer. I'm quite happy to go away and see what information we do have in the department to be able to write a note. But I'm not in a position to give you a full answer at the moment.
Well, obviously, we don't have any statutory responsibility for the private sector above and beyond Estyn. Obviously, we have a role in evaluating performance of those schools and, as Minister, I have to sign off applications for new private providers, as to whether they are good enough to go onto the official list of private schools. But, obviously, those schools often have charitable status, and I'm sure that the management of those schools are cognisant of that when they're making decisions about how they see themselves as part of a wider community.
School-to-school working, in its widest possible form, we know is one of the most effective ways—. The private sector in Wales is very, very, very small compared to what it is across the border in England in particular. So, I don't know whether that really is a mechanism by which we can achieve what I think we all want in this committee to achieve. I think it is working with the vast majority of schools where most of our children are, which is in the public sector—that's where we can have the biggest bang for our buck. But, as I said, I'm quite happy to provide a note to the committee around any discussions that we've had with the private sector on this agenda. But it's a very small—very, very small—sector. The vast majority of our children are in our state school system and it is collaboration and action there that will address the needs of this committee and our aspirations.
Well, thank you, Minister. That brings us to the end of this session. I think I speak for everyone that that was very useful and I appreciate your candour, and it was a model on how to answer questions, I would say, rather than—. Some of your colleagues occasionally frustrate us—
—in not necessarily giving us the information we're after or direct responses for which they're then accountable. So, I do appreciate the effort you've put into this session. We will get back to you on who will represent us on the stakeholder group.
We will contact the secretariat with the exact details. It's 29 January, and whoever the committee feels is appropriate or somebody that's available—we'd be very glad to have that continued connection between the work of the stakeholder group and the committee. It might be easier than continually writing back and forth.
Yes. Thank you very much.
We'll just break until 10.40 a.m., so we can get ready for the next set of witnesses. But can we be pretty sharp about it, okay? Thanks again.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:34 a 10:40.
The meeting adjourned between 10:34 and 10:40.
Welcome back, everyone. We now move to our inquiry into live music, and this session particularly, music promotion. And I'm delighted to welcome Dafydd Roberts, chief executive of Sain, Gwenan Gibbard, Sain and Danny KilBride, director of Trac—you're very, very welcome. I just remind all Members that, obviously, these sessions are conducted in Welsh and English, and, when Welsh is spoken, there's a translation on channel 1.
So, I would just—well, thank you, first of all, for helping us with this inquiry. We'll have very specific questions, and I'll go around and ask Members to put those to you, to help us gather evidence. But, on the general health of the sector, do you have anything that you want to say by way of introduction—all of you, or one of you, whatever, however you want to conduct this session?
Ydym ni yma i drafod cerddoriaeth un genre yn arbennig, neu ar gyfer unrhyw genre yn gyffredinol, ie? Ac nid jest am gerddoriaeth fyw dŷn ni'n sôn, ond dŷch chi'n sôn am y diwydiant cerddoriaeth yn gyffredinol.
Are we here to discuss a particular genre of music, or are we covering genres more generally? And we're not just talking about live music, you're talking about the music industry more generally, am I right?
I think, certainly, all genres, and the main focus of our inquiry is the viability of the live music sector. But you can't divorce that from recorded music either. So there's a great relevance to the crossover, so that's fine.
O'm safbwynt i—a dwi'n meddwl fy mod i wedi ei roi o yn yr hyn dwi wedi ei roi fel tystiolaeth i'r ymgynghoriad—mae'n anodd iawn trafod un rhan o'r diwydiant, fel cerddoriaeth fyw; mae eisiau trafod y sector yn ei gyfanrwydd. Mae hynny mor bwysig, achos mae o i gyd mor ynghlwm â'i gilydd. Mae'r diwydiant recordio yn creu y cynnyrch; mae'r cynnyrch yn helpu i hyrwyddo'r sector fyw mewn cyfweliadau ar draws y wlad, cyn bod yna daith, ac yn y blaen; a hefyd, os nad oes yna gynnyrch wedi cael ei greu, does yna ddim byd i'w ddosbarthu. Yn naturiol, mae'n rhaid cael y creu yn y dechrau.
Mae'n ymddangos, buaswn i'n ei ddweud yn y dechrau, ei fod o'n ffynnu, bod yna nifer fawr o gynnyrch yn cael ei ryddhau, yn rheolaidd, a nifer o fandiau yn teithio. Ond y gwir amdani ydy, dydy o ddim yn ddiwydiant; dydy o ddim yn waith proffesiynol, dydy pobl ddim yn ennill bywoliaeth yn ei wneud o. Mae o'n fwy amatur nag ydy o yn broffesiynol, yn ystyr y term enillion yn hytrach na safon y chwarae. A dyna ydy'r broblem i ni, dwi'n meddwl. Fel rhywun—Gwenan a minnau—yn ennill ein bywoliaeth o'r sector preifat, o ran Sain. Faint o bobl sy'n medru ennill bywoliaeth ohono fo yn y sector preifat, heb arian cyhoeddus? A buaswn i'n dweud mai ond llond llaw o bobl sy'n ennill cyflog yn llawn amser o'r diwydiant. Mae'r rhan fwyaf o'r rhai dŷn ni'n glywed amdanynt sy'n cael llwyddiant, yn aml iawn, maen nhw mewn addysg llawn amser, yn dal mewn colegau. Beth sy'n digwydd wedyn, ar ôl iddyn nhw adael coleg, ar ôl iddyn nhw adael yr ysgol—beth sy'n digwydd wedyn? Ydyn nhw'n medru parhau i fodoli a gweithio yn y diwydiant? A hwnnw sy'n anodd, dwi'n meddwl.
From my perspective—and I think I included this in my written evidence to the consultation—it's very difficult to discuss one part of the industry, such as live music; we need to look at the sector in its entirety. It is so important, because it's all so interwoven. The recording industry creates the content; the content helps to promote the live sector, and there are interviews, and then there are tours. And if there is nothing produced, then there's nothing to distribute. So you need that creation at the very outset.
And it appears to me, at the outset, that it is prospering, that there's a great deal of music being released regulalry, and a number of bands are touring. But the fact of the matter is that it is not an industry; it's not a profession, people can't make a living. It's more amateur than it is professional in terms of earnings, rather than the quality of the produce. And I think that's the problem for us, for people like Gwenan and myself, making a living in the private sector, within Sain. Well, how many people can actually make a living in the private sector, without public funding? And I would say that only a handful of people make a full-time living through the industry. Most of those we hear about who achieve success are in full-time education often, they're still in colleges. But then what happens when they've left college, when they've left school—what happens? Can they continue to work in the industry, and maintain and sustain themselves? That's what's difficult, I think.
Ie, dwi'n cytuno. Dwi yma, mewn ffordd, o safbwynt gweithio yn y sector preifat, efo label recordio fel Sain, ond dwi hefyd ar yr ochr arall, mewn ffordd, achos mod i'n berfformiwr ac yn gerddor hefyd. A dwi'n cytuno'n llwyr efo beth mae Dafydd yn ei ddweud. Mae strategaeth y diwydiant cerddoriaeth, mewn ffordd, yn bwydo mewn i'r maes cerddoriaeth fyw, yn tydi? Ar yr ochr perfformio, mi allaf i ddweud fy mod i wedi elwa o gael ambell grant gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, ac yn y blaen, i ymchwilio ac i ddatblygu fel perfformiwr. Ond heb y gefnogaeth a'r sylfaen yna, gan label recordio, mae'n anodd iawn cynnal eich gyrfa, mewn ffordd, a chynnal bywoliaeth hefyd yn y maes. Dwi'n teimlo hefyd, o ran—dwi'n arbenigo yn fy ngwaith yn Sain fel rhywun sy'n gweithio efo cyhoeddi cerddoriaeth. Dwi hefyd yn gweithio efo cwmni cyhoeddi Gwynn, sy'n cyhoeddi cerddoriaeth brintiedig, o bob math, ac mae hynny, eto, yn bwydo mewn i'r sector cerddoriaeth fyw.
Dwi'n teimlo, fel cyhoeddwr, os ydych chi'n cyhoeddi unrhyw fath o lenyddiaeth neu lyfr o fath arall, felly, mae yna gyfleoedd i chi ymgeisio am grantiau i gyhoeddi. O ran cerddoriaeth brintiedig, dydy hynny ddim yn bod, mewn ffordd, ac mae hynny'n rhywbeth eithaf pwysig i gynnal cerddoriaeth fyw. Os ydych chi'n cyhoeddi cerddoriaeth, yna mae yna gerddoriaeth o'r newydd i bobl i allu ei berfformio, boed hynny'n gerddoriaeth gorawl, gerddoriaeth glasurol, neu'n gerddoriaeth boblogaidd, yn drefniannau ar gyfer corau ac yn y blaen.
Yes, I agree. I'm here coming from the perspective of working in the private sector, with a label such as Sain, but I also know about the other side, because I am a performer and a musician. And I entirely agree with what Dafydd is saying. The music industry strategy does feed into the live music side. On the performing side, I can say that I have benefited from receiving a few grants from the Arts Council of Wales, to research and to develop as a performer. But without that support and that foundation that I get from a recording label, it's very difficult to be able to sustain your career, and to carry on earning a living in this area. I also feel that—because I specialise in my work at Sain as someone who works with publishing music; I also work with Gwynn publishing company, which publishes printed music of all types, now, that, again, feeds into the live music sector.
I feel, as a publisher, if you publish any kind of literature, or a book of any other type, then you are encouraged to seek grants for publication. But in terms of print music, that isn't in existence, and that is something that I think is quite important to sustain live music. If you publish music, then there is new music that people can perform, whether that is choral music, classical music, or popular music, and arrangements for choirs and so forth.
Yes. Firstly, I have to say that my experience backs up everything that Dafydd and Gwenan have said, and for those of you who don't know, I've been performing since I was nine years old and I'm now 57. One of the things that does strike me that backs this up is that, although as a musician, one has to have a relationship with some form of recorded music; one has to have a relationship with publishers and stuff at a level in your career that you would never have done many, many years ago, the bald fact is that wages, as a musician, haven't raised since my grandmother was complaining about miners earning £5,000 a year. And the number of places that you can perform in where you can get paid for it, due to things such as developers hollowing out city centres in order to create shopping centres or blocks of flats, has gone down, so whilst those of us who survive in the music industry are more resilient and more robust and more imaginative than perhaps we would have been 30 or 40 years ago, there are, as Dafydd said, fewer of us making a living at it. There are still only 1,200 members of the Musicians' Union in Wales and that hasn't changed since I was on the branch committee in 1996.
On the one hand, those of us who do perform live music are more imaginative and more creative because we have to be, but the world that we do it in is poorer in terms of measurable numbers and opportunities. And even now, I'm off to New Orleans next week for the Folk Alliance International to sell the idea of traditional music from Wales, and to support VRï and Rusty Shackle, bands from Cardiff and Newport who are out there. We are doing it in a vacuum of strategic support, and I think that I'd echo Dafydd's sentiment that it's very difficult to tear away the live music scene from the recorded music scene, and audience development, the funded sector, and the way we work. However, we do what we can, so—. I've been thinking an awful lot about this, and the statements that Dafydd's made and that Trac wrote and others who contributed to this: show a world where we're not desperate, but we're not as happy as we were 20 years ago.
Is this vulnerability then reflected in the venues that are available, especially the range, then, and where are the gaps? The Welsh Government has commissioned a study on particularly the grassroots venues, were any of you involved in that? What's your view? Interestingly, you said there weren't as many venues that could pay, basically, as there were when you started out, so I think your views on that would help us as well—all the witnesses, but perhaps we'll start with you, Mr KilBride.
Well, one simple example that I think illustrates the sector: the Uplands Tavern, which is round the corner from where I live, where I'd done my first performance, in Swansea, was able to have live bands four nights a week and pay not fantastic but respectable amounts of money. But as soon as their brewery insisted that they get a Sky Sports package, that hollowed out £30,000 out of their entertainment budget, and the first people who didn't get used were musicians, because they were investing all that money in sports tv.
So there are ways that we can look at this about how we can help independent businesses and supported cultural and third sector organisations make choices about how we invest in outcomes. But I have to say that if we leave it to the broad free market to do, given that we have this dreadful tendency of imitating Tesco and sort of squashing all thinking of—thinking of alternative provision as opposition, rather than an enrichment, it's difficult to do the right thing when the pressure's upon you to make returns on investment or to insure yourselves, to a prohibitively expensive point, to put on a music festival or a concert in your church hall. We are living in an environment that is less enabling.
Do you want to add anything to that? I thought that example was very instructive, the availability of sports broadcasting now and how that's squeezed out some of the sector. So, that's helpful evidence.
Os gaf i bigo i fyny ar hynna, ie, mae'n bosibl bod y lleoliadau byw, y lleihad ohonyn nhw, yn rhywbeth sy'n digwydd mwy mewn trefi, yng Nghaerdydd a Wrecsam, er enghraifft. Rydym ni'n gwybod am enghreifftiau fel The Point a Gwdihŵ, ac yn y blaen. Dwi ddim yn meddwl ei fod cweit yr un fath yn y cefn gwlad; mae neuaddau pentref yn dal yna, ac mae lot o bobl yn perfformio mewn neuaddau llawer llai.
Ond i fynd yn ôl at rywbeth y dywedodd Danny, a hefyd o ran y pwynt yma o leoliadau byw, i mi, wrth edrych ar leoliadau byw, rydym ni'n rhoi'r cart o flaen y ceffyl. Dŷn ni ar gam 4, lle dydyn ni ddim wedi datrys cam 1 eto. Sef, os ydym ni'n gwneud ymchwil i leoliadau byw, beth sy'n digwydd i'r ymchwil? Lle mae'n ffitio mewn i strategaeth gyflawn ar gyfer y diwydiant cerddoriaeth? Does gennym ni ddim hyd yn oed strategaeth. Does gennym ni ddim corff sydd yn edrych ar y diwydiant yn ei gyfanrwydd. Mae gan y cyfryngau eraill gyrff—y cyngor llyfrau, ffilm, opera. Does gan gerddoriaeth ddim un corff fel oedd y Sefydliad Cerddoriaeth Gymreig yn arfer bod ers talwm. Ers hynny, mae yna wagle, vaccum, wedi bod, ers i hwnnw gael ei ddiddymu.
Felly, dwi'n meddwl bod eisiau cychwyn efo corff, wedyn rôl y corff ydy creu strategaeth—sut dŷn ni'n datblygu'r diwydiant? Wedyn, rhan o'r strategaeth yna buasai edrych ar leoliadau byw. So, cam 3 ydy hwn ar hyn o bryd. Fel oedd Danny yn ei ddweud, mae o'n mynd i America ddydd Llun; mae North America Folk Alliance yn rhywle sydd yn werthfawr iawn i gerddorion gwerin er mwyn cael traed i mewn a theithio yng ngogledd America. Mae VRï yn mynd yna rŵan, ac mae VRï wedi cael eithaf llwyddiant, ac mae un o aelodau VRï hefyd yn aelod o Calan—maen nhw'n gorfod chwarae mewn sawl band i drio ennill bywoliaeth. Ond beth sy'n digwydd wedyn? Pwy sy'n eu cynnal nhw? Pwy sydd yno'n siarad ar eu rhan nhw? Oes asiant? Oes rheolwr? Pwy sy'n mynd i gael yr asiant? Pwy sy'n mynd i'w recordio nhw? Pwy sy'n mynd i gynnal eu teithiau nhw? Mae angen strategaeth—pwy dŷn ni'n datblygu?
Yr enghraifft gorau medraf i roi i chi ydy'r Ffindir. Mae'r Ffindir ers blynyddoedd efo strategaeth arbennig o dda. Mae Music Finland yn dewis chwe artist bob blwyddyn y maen nhw'n mynd i ddatblygu, ac maen nhw'n eu gyrru nhw allan i'r holl lefydd ar draws y byd—yr holl ffeiriau a'r holl wyliau—ac wedyn, maen nhw'n helpu i ddatblygu eu gyrfaoedd nhw, ac yn gwybod wedyn eu bod nhw'n mynd i'w hallforio nhw, ac wrth eu hallforio nhw, maen nhw'n denu diddordeb yn y gerddoriaeth ac yn y wlad, ac maen nhw'n gwybod bod hwnna, wedyn, yn dod nôl i economi'r Ffindir. Mae hwnnw'n gweithio achos eu bod nhw'n buddsoddi ac mae ganddyn nhw strategaeth gyflawn ar gyfer eu diwydiant, boed o'n heavy metal neu Sibelius, dydy o ddim yn gwneud gwahaniaeth—maen nhw'n cefnogi eu cerddoriaeth nhw.
If I could pick up on that, it's possible that the reduction in the number of live venues is something that happens more in towns and cities, in Cardiff and Wrexham, for example. We know of The Point and Gwdihŵ, and so on and so forth. I'm not sure it's quite the same in rural areas; the village halls are still there, and many people do perform in those smaller halls and venues.
But to return to something that Danny said, and also in terms of this point of live venues, for me, in looking at live venues we're putting the cart before the horse. We're at stage 4 when we haven't resolved stage 1 as of yet. If we carry out research into live venues, what happens to that? Where does it fit in to a holistic strategy for the music industry? We don't even have a strategy. We have no body that is looking at the industry in its entirety. The other media do have such things—the books council, film, opera, but the Welsh Music Foundation doesn't exist anymore, and there's been a vacuum since it was abolished.
So, I think we need to start with a body and then to create a strategy for how we develop the industry, and then part of that strategy would be to look at venues. So, that is the third step, and as Danny said, he'll be going to America on Monday, and North America Folk Alliance is something that's very valuable for folk musicians to get a foot under the table, and to travel in north America. VRï are going there now; they've had some success, and one member of VRï is also a member of Calan—they had to play in a number of bands in order to make a living. But what happens then? Who's supporting them? Who's there speaking on their behalf? Is there an agent? Is there a manager? Who's going to be recording them? Who's going to be managing their tours? We need a strategy—who are we developing?
The best example I can give you is Finland. Finland for many years have had an excellent strategy in place. Music Finland chooses six artists per annum that they will develop. They send them out across the world—to the music fairs and festivals—and then, they help to develop their careers, and they will know that they are going to be exported, and in exporting them, they attract interest in their music and in their nation, and they know that that will benefit the Finnish economy. That works because they are investing and they have a comprehensive strategy for their industry, be it heavy metal or Sibelius, it doesn't matter—they support their music.
Jest i fynd yn ôl at leoliadau, mae perfformiadau byw yn fy ardal i yn y gogledd-orllewin, fel oedd Dafydd yn dweud, lleoliadau llai—neuaddau pentref a festrioedd capel oedden nhw'n aml iawn. Mae yna lawer iawn o gymunedau bach yn ceisio trefnu digwyddiadau byw a chynnal cerddoriaeth yn eu cymunedau yng nghefn gwlad. Felly, un peth, dwi'n meddwl, i nodi—jest rhywbeth positif—ydy cynllun Noson Allan Fach Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. Mae'n rhywbeth gwerthfawr y tu hwnt. Dwi'n meddwl ei fod o'n fodd i gynnal cerddorion, lle, efallai y buasech chi'n cael gwahoddiad i fynd i ganu, yn rhyw bentref bach ym Mhen Llŷn, efallai, ac yn methu mynd oherwydd bod ganddyn nhw ddim modd i roi ffi i chi, ac wedyn mae'n beth anodd i'w gynnal. Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna'n strwythur hynod o werthfawr i gynnal cerddorion, a hefyd i gynnal cerddoriaeth o bob math mewn cymunedau llai.
Ond i fynd yn ôl hefyd at beth oedd Dafydd yn ei ddweud, fel perfformiwr hefyd, dwi'n meddwl bod yna ddiffyg yn y maes—pobl sy'n gweithio fel asiant i gerddorion a rheolwyr. Dwi'n meddwl bod yna ddiffyg yn hynny, yn bendant. Dwi'n siarad efo llawer iawn o gerddorion sydd yn yr un maes â fi, sydd yn gweithio allan yn yr Alban, yn Iwerddon, ble bynnag, ac mae yna strwythur yna sydd yn eu cefnogi nhw ac yn eu hybu nhw i ffeindio lleoliadau perfformio, i ffeindio gwaith, ac yn y blaen. Os oes yna ryw fodd o geisio datblygu hynny yma yng Nghymru, dwi'n meddwl y byddai hynny'n beth gwerthfawr iawn.
I just wanted to go back to venues. For live performances in my region of north-west Wales, as Dafydd was saying, there are smaller venues—village halls and chapel vestries, very often. There are many small communities that try to arrange live events and to sustain music in their communities in rural Wales. I think that one thing that needs to be noted—and this is something positive—is the Night Out plan from the Arts Council of Wales. That is something extremely valuable. It's a means of supporting musicians, where, you might be invited to go and sing in a small village in Pen Llŷn and perhaps you wouldn't be able to go because they have no way of offering you a fee, so it would be very difficult to maintain. I think that that is an extremely valuable structure to support musicians, and also to support music of all types in smaller communities.
But I'd also like to return to what Dafydd said—as a performer, I think there is a lack of people working as agents for musicians, and as managers. There is a lack of such people. I speak to many musicians who are in the same field as me, perhaps in Scotland or Ireland, or wherever it may be, and there's a structure in place to support them, helping them to find venues to perform in, to find work, and so forth. So if there's any way of developing that in Wales, I think that that would be extremely valuable.
And, finally from me, by way of introduction, because we will follow up these questions in more detail: the health of the festival sector—does that help or hinder? Does it take attention away from what really is necessary in the viability of the general structure, or is it complementary and helpful? I don't know who might want to start, if anyone wants to engage on that.
Ydy, mae o'n ddefnyddiol. Mae yna nifer o wyliau yng Nghymru ar hyn o bryd, ac, wrth gwrs, maen nhw o fudd i artistiaid. Maen nhw'n tueddu i ddigwydd yn yr haf, neu am gyfnod byr. Beth sy'n fy mhoeni i ydy beth sy'n digwydd am weddill misoedd y flwyddyn. Ond maen nhw'n llefydd da er mwyn i fandiau gael cyhoeddusrwydd, ydyn, i gael sylw. Ond eto, rhan fach ohono fo ydy o o ran y diwydiant. Dwi'n gwybod bod nifer ohonyn nhw'n cael trafferth hefyd i fodoli, yn dibynnu ar y nawdd maen nhw'n ei gael, ond rydym ni'n croesawu'r gwyliau—maen nhw o fudd mawr i artistiaid.
Yes, it is helpful. There are a number of festivals in Wales at the moment and, of course, they do benefit artists. They do tend to happen in the summer, over a brief period. What concerns me is what happens for the rest of the year. But they are good places for bands to get publicity and attention. But, again, that's a small part of the picture in terms of the industry as a whole. I know that many of them are having difficulties and are reliant on sponsorship, but we do welcome the festivals—they are very beneficial to artists.
Dwi'n meddwl bod yna nifer fawr o wyliau bach a mawr, ac mae'n bwysig cynnal a datblygu'r rheini, wrth gwrs. Dwi ddim yn gwybod os ydym ni'n mynd i sôn mwy am wyliau tramor a chyswllt Cymru efo'r rheini, ond dwi'n gwybod, fel perfformiwr, dwi wedi cael y cyfle i fynd i nifer fawr o wyliau Celtaidd, yn arbennig felly yn Glasgow—Celtic Connections yn Glasgow—a Celtic Colours. Mae'r label Celtaidd yma, a dwi'n teimlo bod yna ryw ddiffyg, efallai, ar ein rhan ni. Yn aml iawn mae rhywun yn mynd i'r gwyliau yma, a does yna ddim llawer o ymwybyddiaeth o Gymru nag unrhyw fath o gerddoriaeth, dweud y gwir, o Gymru. Roeddwn i yng Ngwlad yr Iâ yn ddiweddar, rhywle mae eu pobl nhw yn falch iawn o'u diwylliant Celtaidd—maen nhw'n teimlo bod ganddyn nhw gyswllt, yn arbennig efo'r gwledydd Celtaidd. Ond, a bod yn onest, doedden nhw ddim yn gwybod llawer iawn am Gymru. Felly, os oes modd o gwbl inni bresenoli ein hunain fwyfwy yn y gwyliau Celtaidd yma lle dylem ni fod yn rhan ohonyn nhw—dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n rhywbeth pwysig iawn.
In terms of the small and large festivals, I think it's important to continue to support them. I don't know if we are going to talk a little bit more about overseas festivals and Wales's link with those, but I do know that, as a performer, I've had the opportunity to go to many Celtic festivals, particularly in Glasgow—Celtic Connections there—and Celtic Colours. This Celtic label is there, and I feel perhaps there's a lack on our side. When one goes to these festivals, there isn't very much awareness of Wales and of any type of music, really, from Wales. I was in Iceland recently, where Icelanders are very proud of their Celtic culture—because they feel that they have a close link with the Celtic nations. But, to be honest, they didn't know very much about Wales. So, is there any way for us to expand our presence in these Celtic festivals where we should be playing our part? I think that that is something that's important.
A hefyd, hwyrach, rhywbeth a oedd yn cael ei sôn amdano lot yn ôl, sef cultural tourism—roedd yn rhywbeth a oedd yn cael ei anelu ato fo. Mae nifer o bobl yn dod i'r gwyliau yng Nghymru yn chwilio am y math yna o wyliau i'r wŷl, felly—sef holidays to a festival teip o beth—ac mae hyn yn rhywbeth dwi'n meddwl sydd angen ei ddatblygu yn llawer mwy: y ffaith ein bod ni'n allforio ein cerddoriaeth er mwyn denu'r bobl yma sydd eisiau dod i deithio a gadael iddyn nhw wybod lle mae'r pethau'n digwydd, y digwyddiadau celfyddydol.
Mae gennych chi system IAMIC. Mae'n siŵr eich bod chi'n gyfarwydd ag IAMIC, sef yr International Association of Music Information Centres. Ac mae gan bob gwlad fel arfer un o'r rhain, ac rydych chi'n mynd i wefan IAMIC a gwnewch chi weld lle i glicio ar wefan rhyw wlad yn arbennig. Ac, os ydych chi'n clicio ar y wlad, rydych chi'n cael manylion am gerddoriaeth y wlad yna a beth sydd ymlaen. Ond, yn anffodus, aelod Cymru o IAMIC—Tŷ Cerdd ydy'r aelod, a dim ond cerddoriaeth glasurol sydd yno. Dydy o'n sôn dim byd am unrhyw gerddoriaeth arall. Cerwch i wefannau IAMIC gwledydd eraill—eto dwi'n sôn am y Ffindir—mae'n werth i chi gymharu, hwyrach, y ddau: os ewch chi i wefan y Ffindir o'r music information centre, mi wnewch chi weld pob dim sy'n digwydd yn y Ffindir, ar draws pob genre, a lle mae'r pethau yma i gyd yn digwydd. Ac mae hynny'n help i ddenu diddordeb, dwi'n meddwl, i mewn i'n cerddoriaeth ni, ac i'n gwlad ni.
And also, something that was talked about some time ago, was cultural tourism. Many people do come to festivals in Wales looking for that kind of cultural tourism—it's holidays to a festival type of thing—and I think this is something that does need to be developed far more comprehensively: the fact that we are exporting our music in order to attract these people who do want to visit Wales, and we need to inform them of what's happening within the arts.
You have the IAMIC system. I'm sure you're aware of IAMIC, the International Association of Music Information Centres. And every country has one of these, usually, and you go to the IAMIC website and you will see where to click on any given nation. And then, once you click on that nation, you get information about the music of the nation and what's going on. But, unfortunately, the Welsh member of IAMIC is Tŷ Cerdd, and they only cover classical music. They don't mention any other genres. If you go to the IAMIC sites of other countries—again, I'm talking about Finland—it's worth comparing the two: if you go to the Finnish website of the music information centre, you'll see everything that's happens in Finland across all genres and where these things are happening. And that attracts interest for our music, and for our nation more generally.
Mae gan Gyngor Gwynedd—. Roeddwn i'n darllen ar Twitter heddiw eu bod nhw'n trefnu taith i ambell wlad yn Ewrop lle maen nhw'n mynd â pherfformwyr o Gymru sy'n perfformio—cerddoriaeth draddodiadol, dwi'n meddwl, oedd yr enghraifft yma—er mwyn codi ymwybyddiaeth o Gymru a diwylliant Cymru'n gyffredinol, a dwi'n meddwl bod rhywbeth fel yna'n syniad arbennig o dda. Unrhyw beth sy'n clymu ein cerddoriaeth ni efo twristiaeth—dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n rhywbeth y dylem ni—.
Gwynedd Council, I was reading on Twitter today, is arranging a tour to some countries in Europe where they're going to be taking performers from Wales who perform—I believe traditional music, in this example—in order to raise awareness of Wales and Welsh culture more generally, and I think that something like that is an excellent idea. Anything that ties our music with tourism is something that we should be thinking of.
Okay, we'd better move on to our specific questions, because we've got—. Unless—. Did you want to add anything?
No, no, no. I've nothing to add—it's already been covered.
Okay, I have a few questions I want to ask about support and advice, but perhaps, just to start with, there's a report out or there's a news report out today from the Musicians' Union about the music industry generally. It talks about £5.2 billion to the UK economy—the figure's revealed, and it says that the report reveals
'firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world.'
Now, where does Wales fit within that economic environment, because it seems to me this very much misrepresents what is actually happening in Wales, and probably parts of the UK as well?
If I may, the only figures that come to mind are the ones that I wrote down. The measurable creative industries in the UK are about £92 billion and the measurable creative industries in Wales are £825 million, which does not reflect the ratio of our populations, and, even if we generously take away half of that for London, as an international capital, we're still approximately £1.5 billion short of parity. We—. I believe I can speak confidently for us and most of the music industry—it's very difficult to find any figures for the Welsh music industry. You can't go to the Office for National Statistics and find them. It's very difficult to find them countably and easily, and what I have that allows me to speak comfortably about that is very nearly 50 years of working within the music industry, and my gut instinct says that we're not as well represented within that £5 billion as perhaps we might be, but I don't know whether there are, in fact, statistics that we could call upon. Daf, Gwenan, do you—?
Does gennym ni ddim ystadegau, nac oes. Does gennym ni ddim ystadegau, ond beth fuaswn i'n ddychmygu sy'n digwydd yn y fan yma ydy, ydy, mae Prydain yn llwyddiannus iawn mewn cerddoriaeth achos y genre Anglo-Americanaidd. Dyna sydd yn creu yr incwm ac, mewn ffordd, mae Cymru yn dioddef achos ein bod ni nesaf at wlad mor gryf yn gerddorol o ran y genre yna—y prif-ffrwd Eingl-Americanaidd. Mae'n llawer haws inni fel gwlad allforio cerddoriaeth byd, os liciwch chi—cerddoriaeth werin, cerddoriaeth sydd efo rhyw elfen o'n diwylliant ni yn y gerddoriaeth. Mae'n llawer haws inni allforio hynny nag ydy o inni allforio grwpiau indie pop-roc sydd yn efelychu'r genre Eingl-Americanaidd. Ac felly dyna pam hwyrach dydyn ni ddim wedi llwyddo gymaint yn hynny, achos rydym ni drws nesaf i wlad mor gryf a Llundain ydy'r canolbwynt i'r incwm yna, mi fuaswn i'n dychmygu.
We don't have statistics, but what I would imagine is happening here is that, yes, Britain is very successful in music because of the Anglo-American genre. That's what creates the income and, in a way, Wales suffers because we are a neighbour of such a musically-strong neighbour in terms of that mainstream Anglo-American genre. It's much easier for us as a nation to export world music, if you like—folk music, music that has some element of our own culture. It's much easier to export that than it is to export indie, pop or rock groups that emulate the Anglo-American genre. So, that's perhaps why we haven't been that successful, because we are next door to such a dominant country and London is the heart of that income stream, I would have thought.
You did refer earlier to a vacuum of strategic support, and that seems to be one of the things that emanates from what you're saying. There is massive growth, et cetera, but it's not clear precisely whether it's related to that sort of industry and what the impact is within Wales. Would you say that it is a major area of concern in terms of the economic strategy in terms of the Welsh music industry that is of concern to you?
Ie, yn bendant. Ar ôl i'r WMF fynd, roeddech chi wedi colli'r corff oedd yn edrych ar hyn i gyd, oedd yn gwneud yr ymchwil, oedd yn cynnal cyrsiau—music management courses, er enghraifft—cyrsiau o ran hawlfreintiau, cyrsiau oedd yn hybu cerddorion ac artistiaid i fynd allan i wyliau. Roedd hefyd yn rhedeg y cyrsiau er mwyn trio cael asiantaethau a rheolwyr yng Nghymru; dyna sy'n brinder mawr yng Nghymru—does gennym ni neb fedrwn ni droi atyn nhw yng Nghymru sydd yn asiant, er enghraifft, neu sy'n rheolwr i fedru dweud wrth y bandiau ifanc, 'Cerwch at y person yma', sut i ddatblygu'r bandiau ifanc. Roedden nhw'n cynnal nifer o gyrsiau yn ymwneud hyd yn oed â cyfansoddi—pob rhan o'r diwydiant—a hefyd, wrth gwrs, yn casglu gwybodaeth. Roedd o'n rhywle lle roedd o'n gweithio ddwy ffordd. Roedden nhw'n bwydo gwybodaeth i'r Llywodraeth, ac roedden nhw hefyd yn bwydo gwybodaeth o'r Llywodraeth i'r diwydiant, felly roedd o'n gweithio ddwy ffordd. I fod yn onest, dwi jest ddim yn deall pam maen nhw wedi stopio ariannu'r WMF.
Yes, certainly. After the WMF went, we'd lost the body that looked at all these things, that carried out the research, would hold music management courses and such courses, courses in terms of rights, courses that would promote artists to go out to festivals. It also held courses in order to try to get agents and managers in Wales, which there's a great lack of. There's nobody we can turn to in Wales who's an agent or who is a manager, for example, so that we can tell young bands, 'You can turn to this person', how to develop young bands. They held a great many courses, even on composing—so, all parts of the industry were involved—and then they'd collect data. It was a two-way system. They would feed information to the Government and then they would feed the information from the Government to the industry, so it worked both ways. To be honest, I just don't understand why they stopped funding the WMF.
That was a £160,000 fund at the time and it was abolished in 2014. Is it clear to you that there's been no replacement for that, or no-one has stepped in to fulfil that? Is that a fair reflection?
I think it's true to say many individuals have tried to fill bits of the gap through their own work. My work has the advantage in the traditional music of Wales that I work with professional musicians, and I use what we can to support them. When we developed all our professional training strategies back in 2012, they were all designed to help the artists be the best artists they could be, because there were other people, such as the Welsh Music Foundation, working to develop the music industry so that the artists would have agents, managers, promoters and music professionals, marketers, to work with so that, between them, they could both do that. It's very difficult to do that on your own, and I'm not sure that money in and of itself is the important thing. The important thing is people, is focus; it's people being paid 35 hours a week to think about this and develop strategies and develop relationships and be there. The money is what helps and enables it, but, really, the biggest loss in the Welsh Music Foundation was a team of four or five full-time and six or seven part-time people who were passionate about developing opportunities for Wales-based music, because one of the things that Dafydd referred to is that we have an international music capital several hours' drive away. And so Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Dave Edmunds, all my musical heroes of the 1970s, moved to London and ceased, effectively, to be Wales-based businesses, and so we have two things to address when we talk about a Welsh music industry: one is generating talent that can do well for Welsh musicians, and the second part of it is retaining a core element of that within Wales in the same way that France retains, and Brittany retains, as much business as it can within the geographical territory of the cultural group.
Canada works very, very hard—certainly, the province of Quebec, the maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton work very, very hard—to retain the musicians' home base, no matter how far they travel around the world. One of them, my friend, is married to an Australian woman, and they spend six months of the year on literally the other side of the globe with each other, but Cody's base is Prince Edward Island. His income, his cultural identity, the music industry, his management team, his main agent, industry support, the label, the studios that he records in—they are based on a tiny island with a population smaller than the city of Newport.
And this is typical of many other cultures. Many other countries' approach to the music industry is not just to create great music, but also to retain the production within the geographical territory of that culture, because that's what enriches and creates a thriving home musical culture, and a thriving international business is a symptom of a healthy culture at home—not the other way round. We don't create a Welsh music industry in Wales by selling our songs to Canada, or America or to Disney. We create a thriving Welsh industry at home by having a thriving Welsh music sector and a thriving amateur sector, and buildings to support it, and businesses that support it, and music that happens at funerals, live music that happens at weddings, funerals, churches, in kitchens, in schools, in every possible part of a musical nation, and some of that is professional, and some of that professional work is very profitable internationally.
That, I feel, is how we should be focusing ourselves, so it's back to Dafydd's thing of step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4, and trying not to do step 4 or 5 before we've done step 1 or 2, or even decided what the journey is.
Just in terms of that, I'll combine just a couple of small points I wanted to specifically ask about, particularly for the record as well. Of course, Arts Council England have set up a capital fund for grass-roots venues. Taking a pure consequential formula, I think it would only amount to about £75,000 for Wales, but, nevertheless, I'd like your comments on that. And then, one other comment that actually came from the Musicians' Union during an evidence session, and that is the concern about the availability of rehearsal and recording spaces within Wales. I wonder if you could perhaps just address those two things: (1) should there be an equivalent fund—would that be of benefit within Wales, if there were, even if it's not an enormous sum—and, secondly, the issue of availability of rehearsal and recording spaces.
Os caf i gychwyn efo'r nawdd, unwaith eto, os oes yna nawdd, buaswn i'n licio gweld bod y nawdd yn rhan o strategaeth. Dyna ydy'r broblem: mae o'n dameidiog iawn ar hyn o bryd. Mae yna nawdd ar hyn o bryd, ond mae o i gyd ym mhob man. Mae yna nawdd gan gyngor y celfyddydau, ond, yn aml iawn, dydy'r nawdd yna ddim yn addas i'r diwydiant, er enghraifft. Mae rhaid ffitio rhyw criteria gwahanol. Rhaid iddo fod yn broject newydd sydd ddim yn broject mae'r cwmni'n ei wneud yn barod. Ond, hwyrach, beth mae'r cwmni angen ydy rhywbeth mae o'n ei wneud yn rheolaidd. Dydy polisïau nawr y cyngor celfyddydau ddim yn addas i ddiwydiant masnachol. Mae'n iawn i'r artist, lle maen nhw'n gyrru artist allan i berfformio dramor, ac yn gwneud y bartneriaeth efo rhywun arall, ond dydy o ddim yn gweithio yn aml iawn i'r sector fasnachol felly. Ac mae yna nawdd arall. Mae yna nawdd yn dod trwy'r cynllun Gorwelion efo'r BBC, ond, eto, beth sy'n dilyn wedyn? Maen nhw'n gyrru bandiau allan i rywle; maen nhw'n chwarae mewn gwyliau, ond beth sy'n digwydd wedyn? Beth sydd wedi digwydd i fandiau y llynedd, dwy flynedd yn ôl? Does yna ddim fel bod yna strategaeth i ddatblygu hyn. Mae yna arian mewn llawer pot, felly, ond does yna neb yn edrych ar y darlun cyflawn. Maen nhw i gyd yn ddarnau bach o jig-sô, ond does yna neb yn edrych ar y darlun. Dyna ydy'r broblem efo jest creu nawdd, a pot o nawdd i rywbeth arall. Oes nad oes yna strategaeth cyflawn, yna dydy o ddim yn cyfrannu. Dydy rhywun ddim yn cael gwerth o hynny.
Ac o ran stafelloedd ymarfer, roedd hwn yn rhywbeth gwnaeth yr WMF gychwyn, a nhw wnaeth gychwyn ar y system yma o rolio ystafelloedd ymarfer, ac wedyn mi wnaeth Lloegr a chelfyddydau Lloegr ddilyn yr un peth. Felly, oes, mae angen pethau fel hyn, ond rhywbeth sydd angen ei ddatblygu efo'r stafelloedd yma ydy rhywbeth fel sy'n digwydd rŵan efo'r young promoters network. Dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna'n lwyddiant enfawr, sydd yn Forté, dwi'n meddwl, erbyn hyn, ond dyw e ddim ond yn digwydd mewn rhyw bump bwrdeistref, dwi'n meddwl, ar draws de Cymru. Dyna'r math o beth, dwi'n credu, sydd eisiau ei rolio allan ar draws Cymru, a bod o ddim jest yn yr iaith Saesneg; bod o'n Gymraeg a Saesneg, a bod iaith ddim yn mynd yn elfen o'r peth, felly; bod rhywun yn medru manteisio ar system lle mae pobl ifanc yn trefnu digwyddiadau eu hunain, ac yn hyrwyddo digwyddiadau, ac yn dysgu sgiliau technegol a pherfformio, dysgu sgiliau hyrwyddo a marchnata, a llwyfannu. Ac, wedyn, mae hynny'n creu cynulleidfa i ddod i'r llefydd yma. Bydd angen yr ystafelloedd ymarfer wedyn ar gyfer hyn, a bydd o'n rhan o'r peth, os dŷch chi'n medru cael cynllun fel hyn ar draws Cymru.
A byddai cynllun felly hefyd yn medru bwydo mewn i'r fagloriaeth Gymreig, achos mae her y gymuned yn y fagloriaeth Gymreig yn rhywbeth mae pobl ifanc chweched dosbarth yn gorfod gwneud, ac felly, pam nad ydyn nhw yn trefnu pethau yn eu cymunedau sydd yn debyg i'r young promoters network? Felly, dŷch chi'n gwella sgiliau pobl ifanc, denu'u diddordeb nhw hefyd yn yr iaith Gymraeg, ond ddim jest yr iaith Gymraeg; maen nhw'n dysgu sut i hyrwyddo a chreu a pherfformio, sy'n denu cynulleidfa achos eu cyfoedion nhw sydd wedi'i drefnu fo.
If I could start with sponsorship, again, if there is sponsorship or funding, I would like to see it being part of a strategy. That's the problem: it's very patchy at the moment. There is support available, but it's all over the shop. There is support from the arts council, but, very often, that isn't appropriate for the industry. You do have to fit particular criteria. It has to be a new project, not a project that a company's involved in already. But what the company needs, perhaps, is support for something it's already doing regularly. So the sponsorship policies of the arts council aren't appropriate for a commercial company. It's fine for an artist, where they send an artist out to perform abroad, and form a partnership with someone else, but it doesn't often work for the commercial sector. And there are other sources of funding. There's funding through the Horizons programme through the BBC, for example, but then what happens? They send bands out; yes, they play in festivals, but what happens then? What's happened to last year's bands or those from two years ago? There's no strategy in place to develop this, it would seem. So, there's funding available in a number of different pots, but nobody's looking at the holistic picture. They're all pieces of the jigsaw, but nobody's putting them together. That's the problem with just creating one pot here and another pot there. If you don't have a strategy, a comprehensive strategy, then it doesn't contribute, and you don't get value for money.
In terms of rehearsal spaces, this was something that the WMF started, and they started rolling this out, and then England, and the arts council in England, followed. And we need these things, yes, but something that needs to be developed with the rehearsal spaces is something like what's happening with the young promoters network. I think that's a huge success, it's Forté now, but it's only happening in around five boroughs, I think, across south Wales. That's the kind of thing that needs to be rolled out across Wales, and isn't just through the medium of English; that it's in English and Welsh, and that language shouldn't be an element of it in any way; so that one can take advantage of a system where young people arrange their own events and promote those events, and learn technical skills, performance skills, marketing and promotion, and staging skills. And then, that creates an audience to come to these venues. You will need those rehearsal spaces then, if you can get such a plan in place across Wales.
Such a plan could feed into the Welsh baccalaureate too, because there's a community challenge as part of the Welsh bac that sixth formers have to undertake, so why don't they arrange things in their own communities, similar to the young promoters network? So, you are improving young people's skills; you are garnering their interest in the Welsh language, but not just the Welsh language; they learn how to create, promote and perform, and they attract an audience because it's their peers that have organised it.
Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn i chi rai cwestiynau am Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru. Gwenan, dŷch chi wedi cyfeirio'n barod at y cynllun Noson Allan. Beth yw eich profiadau chi o weithio gyda'r cyngor celfyddydau, o ran y cymorth sydd ar gael ganddyn nhw, o ran sut maen nhw'n dosbarthu cyllid i leoliadau gwahanol? Dŷn ni wedi sôn hefyd, mae Dafydd wedi bod yn sôn am genres gwahanol mewn cerddoriaeth Gymraeg. Ydych chi'n meddwl bod y cymorth mae cyngor y celfyddydau yn rhoi yn adlewyrchu'r genres gwahanol? So, cwestiwn eithaf mawr, agored.
I wanted to ask you some questions about the Arts Council of Wales. Gwenan, you've already referred to the Night Out scheme. What has been your experience of working with the arts council, in terms of the support that is available from them, and in terms of how they allocate funding to different venues? Now, Dafydd has been talking about different genres of Welsh music. Do you think that the support that the arts council provides is equitable, or reflects those different genres? So, I know it's a broad, open question, but there it is.
Fedra i ddim deud am waith y cyngor celfyddydau yn gyffredinol, ond, o brofiad personol, dwi wedi cael cymorth arbennig, a dweud y gwir. Dwi wedi bod yn gallu cyfarfod efo'r cynrychiolydd yn y swyddfa i fyny yng ngogledd Cymru, ac roedden nhw'n amlinellu beth buaswn i'n gallu gwneud o ran datblygu fy ngyrfa, a pha grantiau fuasai rhywun yn gallu camu o un i'r llall iddyn nhw. Felly, mae gen i brofiad, o safbwynt perfformiwr, profiad braf iawn o gydweithio efo'r cyngor celfyddydau. Ond, dwi ddim yn gwybod, efallai buasai Danny yn gallu dweud o'r ochr arall, o ran y cyllido.
Well, I don't know if I can speak about the arts council's work in general, but from personal experience, I've had excellent support. I've met with the representative in their office in north Wales, and they outlined what I could do in terms of career development, and what grants one could gain and move from one to another. So, as a performer, I've had a very positive experience in working with the arts council. But, perhaps Danny could talk about the other side in terms of funding.
Working, as I do, for a portfolio organisation of the Arts Council of Wales, with an investment review coming up this summer, I can be indiscreetly candid. I believe that there are passionate, excellent experts within the Arts Council of Wales team, and within the client base, that do excellent work. One national development agency for the folk music of Wales being a perfect example, I would advocate. However, what they do is not enough. What they do is based around a whole load of historical things that, perhaps, we in Wales, at a wider or higher level in public life, need to address.
For example, they have approximately £32 million a year to spend, of which about £1 million is operational in terms of running the buildings and the staff, and out of that £30 million, they historically distribute about £5 million, I think, maybe a bit more, to music. And one chunk of that goes to the friends of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and one, bigger chunk of that goes to Welsh National Opera, which means that then there's a remaining couple of hundred thousand pounds going to more supportive organisations like Trac, Community Music Wales, and Tŷ Cerdd have some basic revenue support and they have some delegated funding to distribute towards stimulating the classical music scene in Wales. Once you've taken all of that out, there's not very much left to spend on music, and they are, within our experience, as generous as they can be. VRï, who are going out, and Rusty Shackle, to New Orleans next week are being helped by the international opportunities fund, which is part of the Arts Council of Wales and other arts councils of Britain, a joint fund with the Performing Right Society, and that's great, but as Dafydd says, it doesn't then automatically guarantee that once you've got all of that and you've got some leads in Canada, the United States or Mexico, and you want to go out there and you want to do a couple of tours to develop your market, you then can't go back to them and say, 'But this £4,000 that you've given us to pay for our flights and our hotels and a daily allowance of £30 a day to live in a giant American, hugely expensive convention hotel is backed up by another £12,000-worth of tour support and development that allows us to develop these opportunities, go back to deepen the relationship and keep doing business.'
So, I'd say that there is a problem with the Arts Council of Wales. I don't think it's of their making; I think it's of their historical remit and I believe that in the specific reference to music and live music, we possibly need to do as Dafydd has been recommending and we've been recommending, that you go back to a strategy for, 'What is the music industry of Wales good for?', and, 'What is the participatory music sector in Wales good for?', 'How can we enable this?', and then, 'What becomes the Arts Council of Wales' role in supporting that?'. Is it a role in supporting industry through their music industry development fund, or is that better placed within Creative Wales? Is their role the development and stimulation of the creation of great art at a professional level or is their role to create a culture of participation in art and music, in which case, they should be, perhaps, investing a lot more in choirs, amateur music-making groups, folk clubs and whatever other—?
So, at that level, once as a nation we've answered that, then I think we'll have a much better chance of having a clear vision of what we ask the Arts Council of Wales to do; what we ask the music industry of Wales to contribute to within an arts and well-being or an arts and health policy; how that fits within the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015; and how—. Points 1 of an internationally responsible Wales, a thriving culture and language, a resilient Wales—. All of these things are—. The Arts Council of Wales, like Dafydd said to Mick Antoniw's question about funding for rehearsal spaces, on its own, it's not really very helpful to take away the problem when there's a big hole in the side of the Titanic and we need to have not driven into an iceberg in the first place.
So, to summarise as best I can, I think there's great work that is done. I don't think it goes far enough. I think the reason that it doesn't go far enough is, one, the Arts Council of Wales doesn't have 10-year funding, so it can't make 10-year plans; two, I think the responsibility of, perhaps, the Government of Wales might be to look at the arts council in its longer term investment in benefits as, perhaps, it does with the national health service and with our education system. My wife works for an arts and education network, which is a five-year project training teachers to look at the new curriculum that's going to be coming in in another two or three years' time. That level of long-scale planning, even medium-scale planning, doesn't exist. So, I think it's useless to ask a carthorse to sprint.
Hefyd, fel mae Danny yn ei ddweud, maen nhw'n gwneud beth maen nhw'n gallu ei wneud, ond o fewn y cyfyngiadau sydd ganddyn nhw o ran polisi dosbarthu cyngor y celfyddydau. Fel roeddwn i'n ei ddweud o'r blaen, hwyrach bod hwnnw ddim yn addas i'r diwydiant, felly. Os caf i ddweud un enghraifft, rydym ni wedi cael, fel Sain, rydym ni wedi bod yn ffodus i fedru cael nawdd bach ar gyfer y daith, ond wedyn un o'r criteria ydy,
'Rhaid i’ch prosiect fod yn ychwanegol at eich rhaglen weithgarwch arferol. Rhaid iddo beidio â bod yn rhan o’ch gweithgarwch craidd'.
Felly, dŷch chi'n gorfod trio meddwl am ryw brosiect gwahanol drwy'r adeg, hwyrach, sydd ddim yn addas, jest er mwyn cael y nawdd. Dyna pam dydy o ddim yn gweithio i'r diwydiant sydd, hwyrach, yn gwneud yr un peth drosodd a throsodd ac yn llwyddo wrth wneud hynny, felly.
Maen nhw wedi cael eu gorfodi i'r sefyllfa dwi'n meddwl, braidd, achos, er enghraifft, Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales oedd y corff gafodd ei ffurfio rhwng y WMF a chyngor y celfyddydau a Wales Arts International. Roedd hi'n bartneriaeth rhwng y diwydiant a'r celfyddydau, achos mae WMF wedi cael ei greu gan weithwyr proffesiynol yn y diwydiant, rhanddeiliaid i gyd, y bwrdd i gyd—roedden nhw i gyd yn gweithio yn y diwydiant. Felly, wrth ddod â'r ddau gorff at ei gilydd i greu Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales mi wnaeth o lwyddo a denu Womex i Gaerdydd, oedd yn llwyddiant enfawr. Yn dilyn hynny, y flwyddyn wedyn, doedd dim rhaid egluro am gerddoriaeth Gymraeg yn Womex yn Santiago, ond doedd yna ddim WMF ddim mwy i fedru parhau â'r gwaith gafodd ei wneud. Felly, mae WAI wedi cymryd drosodd y gwaith yna, achos doedd yna neb arall i'w wneud o, a nhw sy'n trio rhoi cymorth rŵan i bobl fynd dramor, i fynd i'r ffeiriau. Ond eto, ffeiriau masnach ydyn nhw. Ond eto cyngor y celfyddydau sydd yn trio mynd â phobl allan i ffeiriau masnach. Mae yna ryw—. Dydy'r balans ddim yn iawn. Dydy'r ffit ddim yn iawn, dwi ddim yn credu.
Also, as Danny said, they do what they can do, but it's within the limitations they have in terms of the distribution policy of the Arts Council of Wales. As I was saying earlier, it may not be suitable for the industry, therefore. If I may give one example, as Sain, we've been fortunate enough to receive a small amount of support for touring, but one of the criteria is that
'Your project must be additional to your usual programme of activity. This means it should not be part of your core activity'.
So, you're always having to think about something additional, a new project, that may not be appropriate, just in order to get that funding. That's why it doesn't work for the industry that, possibly, does the same thing iteratively and succeeds as a result of doing so.
They've been forced into this situation I think, to some extent, because, for example, Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales was the body that was formed between the WMF and the arts council and Wales Arts International. It was a partnership between the industry and the arts, because WMF has been created by professional workers in the industry, all the stakeholders, all the board—they all worked within the industry. So, bringing the two organisations together to create Cerdd Cymru : Music Wales succeeded and it attracted Womex to Cardiff, which was a great success. Following that, the next year, there was no need to explain what Welsh music was at Womex in Santiago, but there was no longer a WMF in place to continue the work that had been undertaken. So, the WAI has taken over that work, because there was no one else to do it, and they're trying to offer support now for people to go abroad, to go to these fairs. But, they're commercial fairs. But it's the arts council that is now trying to send people out to commercial fairs. There is some—. So, the balance isn't quite right there. The fit doesn't quite work, I don't think.
Dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni'n cymryd pethau ychydig bach yn ganiataol, mae'n siŵr, yma yng Nghymru hefyd. Mae'r ddwy brif gymdeithas sydd gennym ni sy'n gwarchod cerddoriaeth draddodiadol—Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant Cymru, Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru—wedi bod yn bodoli am flynyddoedd heb unrhyw gymorth allanol, felly.
Hefyd, roedd Danny yn crybwyll y traddodiad amatur sydd gennym ni yma, wrth gwrs. Dwi'n ymwneud llawer efo corau ac yn y blaen—rhywbeth sydd yn frith ar hyd a lled Cymru—ac mae pobl ifanc yn ymwneud llawer iawn efo nhw, felly, a dwi'n meddwl bod o'n bwysig iawn ein bod ni'n buddsoddi yn y math yna o weithgarwch, rhywbeth sy'n digwydd o'r gwaelod i fyny mewn ffordd ar lawr gwlad, onid e? Boed hynny yn gorau gwerin neu glasurol neu'n fandiau pres, ond y math o weithgarwch cymunedol yna, achos dwi'n gwybod weithiau, yn aml iawn, os ydy côr eisiau mynd i rywle i deithio, p'un ai i gystadlu, jest yng Nghymru, hyd yn oed, heb sôn am fynd dramor, mae'n rhaid eich bod chi'n gallu talu cannoedd o bunnoedd jest i gael bws i fynd o un lle i'r llall, a dwi'n meddwl ei fod yn bwysig iawn buddsoddi yn y math yna o weithgarwch cerddorol.
I think there are things that we take for granted here in Wales. The two main associations that we have that are safeguarding traditional music—Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant Cymru and Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru—have been in existence for many years without any external support.
Also, Danny mentioned the amateur tradition that we have here, of course. I'm very much involved with choirs and so on—something that's active all over Wales—and young people are very active in that, and I think it's important that we invest in that kind of activity, something that happens from the bottom up on the ground. Be they classical choirs, brass bands, folk choirs, but it's that kind of community activity, because I know, very often, if a choir wants to tour, or to compete, even within Wales, never mind going abroad, you do have to be able to pay hundreds of pounds to pay for a bus to take you from one place to another, and I think it's very important to invest in that kind of activity too.
Mae gan gyngor celfyddydau Canada system dda iawn, achos maen nhw wedi hollti'n ddau. Mae gennych chi un ochr, sef y celfyddydol pur. Maen nhw'n noddi prosiectau celfyddydol pur. Ac mae'r ochr arall yn fasnachol, lle maen nhw'n rhoi arian i ddatblygu prosiectau. Dyna sut wnaeth Cirque du Soleil ddechrau. Ac o'r arian maen nhw wedi rhoi allan maen nhw wedi cael miliynau yn ôl. Buddsoddiad ydy o, buddsoddiad masnachol ariannol, benthyciad. Maen nhw'n disgwyl cael arian yn ôl, felly maen nhw'n buddsoddi yn yr artistiaid maen nhw'n credu—neu'r projects—sydd yn debygol o lwyddo ac mae'n dod ag arian yn ôl iddyn nhw.
The arts council in Canada has a very good system, because they've been split into two. On one side, it's purely cultural art. They sponsor pure cultural projects. And the other side is commercial, so they provide funding to develop projects. That's how Cirque du Soleil began. And then out of the money that they've given out they've received millions back. It's an investment, it's a commercial financial investment, a loan. They expect a return on it, so they invest in the artists or the projects that they believe are likely to succeed and that does bring money back in to them.
And, furthermore, the Canadian model is very interesting, because it's deeper than just the big names stuff. I don't know of a single Canadian musician who would call themselves an independent professional musician who does not rely on the Canadian Government and the Canadian provinces, through the Canada Council for the Arts and the provincial arts investment teams, for help with flights, for loans to help them attract instruments and all the rest. There's an investment in Canada in the arts because they believe, one, it keeps people working; two, it makes Canada a better place to live; and, three, the longer term returns of keeping someone whose only talent is making music out of teaching in a school very badly makes for a better world for the kids as well as the musicians. It's a level of investment that they have and recognise that we perhaps might learn from.
If you talk to Dr Shain Shapiro, who advised Cardiff on its music strategy, when he was working for Canada Council for the Arts he memorably said every industry is subsidised, every industry is subsidised, and music should be no different.
Diolch i chi gyd am hwnna. Roedd hwnna'n ddiddorol iawn. Mae lot i ni edrych arno fe fel pwyllgor. Efallai bod hyn yn dod â ni, mewn ffordd daclus, at fy nghwestiwn olaf, sef: a ydych chi wedi bod yn rhan o gynlluniau'r Llywodraeth ar gyfer Cymru Greadigol? Ac a oes yna fwy dŷch chi'n meddwl y dylai'r Llywodraeth—? Oes yna fwy o rôl dylai'r Llywodraeth fod yn cymryd er mwyn hybu a chefnogi cerddoriaeth yng Nghymru?
Thank you very much for that. That's very interesting and there's a great deal for us as a committee to look at. Now, perhaps this brings us to my final question, which is: have you been part of the Welsh Government's plans for Creative Wales? And is there more or should the Government be playing more of a role in order to promote and support music in Wales?
Fe fuon ni'n rhan o'r ymgynghoriad neu'r adroddiad neu'r ymchwil a wnaeth Dai Davies yn ôl yn 2016-17, dwi'n meddwl, pan oedd o'n cyhoeddi adeg hynny fod Cymru Greadigol yn mynd i gael ei lansio yn y Pasg 2017.
We were part of the consultation or the report or the research by Dai Davies back in 2016-17, I believe it was, when it was published then that Creative Wales was going to be launched in Easter 2017.
Mae ar fin cael ei lansio, dwi'n meddwl, ar ddiwedd y mis yma—o'r diwedd.
It's about to be launched at the end of this month, I believe—at last.
Y pryder sydd gen i efo hwnnw ydy—. Hefyd, o beth ro'n i'n ei weld o'r strategaeth ryngwladol newydd sydd newydd gael ei chyhoeddi—. Ro'n i'n edrych ar y strategaeth yr oedd y Gweinidog Eluned Morgan wedi'i chyhoeddi—y strategaeth ryngwladol i Gymru i godi proffil Cymru yn rhyngwladol—a'r unig sôn am gerddoriaeth sydd ynddi yw'r gerddorfa genedlaethol Gymreig a'r opera. Mae hynny'n dipyn bach o bryder, a dweud y gwir, achos os ydych chi eisiau codi proffil unrhyw wlad, buaswn i'n meddwl mai cerddoriaeth yw'r ffordd gyntaf un, bron, i fynd allan. Dyna sut rydych chi'n denu diddordeb, ac mae'r Iwerddon a'r Alban yn ei wneud o'n llwyddiannus iawn. Felly, mae hynny'n bach o bryder os mai honno ydy strategaeth ryngwladol Cymru.
Fel arall, o ran Creu Cymru, roeddwn i'n gweld mai beth oedd ganddyn nhw yn y fan yna ydy'r diwydiannau creadigol—jest yn sôn am deledu a ffilm. Y perygl yna ydy y buasai cerddoriaeth yn cael ei llyncu, ac unrhyw gyllid yn cael ei lyncu gan deledu a ffilm, sydd yn bartneriaid llawer mwy nag ydy cerddoriaeth. Felly, mae peryg. Felly, buaswn i'n hoffi bod yna gorff, yn gyntaf, sy'n cynrychioli'r diwydiant cerdd, sy'n creu'r strategaeth. Medrai'r corff yna wedyn fwydo i mewn i Cymru Greadigol, fel corff sy'n cynrychioli cerddoriaeth yn unig.
The concern that I have with that is—. Also, based on what I've seen of the new international strategy that's been published—. I looked at the strategy that the Minister Eluned Morgan has published—the international strategy for Wales to raise its profile internationally—and the only mention of music in it is the national Welsh orchestra and opera. That is a bit of a cause for concern, to be honest, because if you want to raise the profile of any country, I would have thought that music would be the first point of contact. That would be how you would attract attention, and Ireland and Scotland do that very successfully. So, it is a concern not to see that in the international strategy.
Also, in terms of Creu Cymru, I saw that what they talked about there was the creative industries—just talking about tv and film. The risk there is that music would be subsumed, and any funding would be swallowed up by tv and film, which are much larger partners than music is. So, there's a risk there. I would like there to be an organisation, first and foremost, that represents the music industry, that creates the strategy. Then, that body could feed into Creative Wales, as a body that represents music solely.
Dwi'n cytuno. Dwi'n teimlo, mewn unrhyw strategaeth, fod angen i gerddoriaeth gynhenid Cymru fod yn ganolog. Dwi wedi bod yn Hong Kong yn siarad am gerdd dant, ac maen nhw'n llawn diddordeb achos mae o'n rhywbeth gwahanol. Beth y maen nhw'n ei ofyn ydy—. Maen nhw'n gwybod ein bod ni'n rhan o'r corff yma o wledydd Celtaidd, ac maen nhw'n gofyn yn aml, 'Beth sy'n eich gwneud chi'n wahanol i Iwerddon a'r Alban?' Dwi'n meddwl efallai bod eisiau i ni adeiladu ar hynny.
I agree. I think that, in any strategy, the indigenous music of Wales needs to be central to it. I've been in Hong Kong, talking about cerdd dant, and they are really interested because it's different. What they're asking is—. They know that we're part of the Celtic nations, but they ask me, 'What makes you different to Ireland and Scotland?' I think that we need to build on that.
I've spent several years working with the creative industries team on the research and consultation into Creative Wales, and I'm very, very pleased that it's finally going to happen. Is there more that you could take in and do? There's always more—there's always more. I think the main thing we do is we use Creative Wales as an educative process to develop the music strategy. I don't think we can develop a strategy for music in Wales, or anything in Wales, in a vacuum and then deliver it in a crystal ball to a bunch of civil servants, and then say, 'There you are. Go on, then', especially with something as fluid as music.
I'm a professional musician. I'm also an amateur musician. I'm also the chief executive of a national development organisation. I also play in a couple of pub bands and, occasionally, we get together and we play in kitchens and in bunkhouses and places all over the world for the fun of it. Making music is a fluid process.
Gwenan is another perfect example of an internationally renowned excellent traditional musician and classical musician, and an exponent of cerdd dant, and at the same time you also work with community groups and with choirs, and you work with a record company and you're working with intellectual property, and we've had Gwenan teaching basic folk songs to eight and 12-year-old kids, and working with our professional development programme.
Music is fluid. Rock music is equally fluid, we just don't see that. Rock musicians, as I said in my testimony, endure penury quite quietly, and then they make £20 million. We all live in this fluid world. Creative Wales, as an organisation, and the Government that looks after it and sponsors it, could do well to recognise that developing a music strategy is a fluid process.
We can all see the changes, and Dafydd especially, in producing vinyl as the main validation of a musician's professional thing, which then brings an income stream. We now have a production process where crowd funding and marketing and selling the idea of the album is the entire process. The minute the CD comes out or the streaming goes live, the project is dead.
Music making as an industrial process has changed so much that Creative Wales should, I think, maintain a fluid, flexible attitude towards what is good for Wales, what is good for the people of Wales, what is good for the people who make music in Wales, what is good for the audiences of Wales, and how do we manage that interface between making money and the cultural and social capital that we create and distribute. I think that's what we can do.
Thank you, Chair.
Gaf i droi, felly, i'r pwnc o ddatblygu talent? Mae hwn yn gwestiwn dwi wedi gofyn i sawl tyst yn ystod yr ymchwiliad hyn. Ynglŷn â'r ffrwd dalent, oes yna unrhyw broblemau dŷch chi'n gweld ar hyn o bryd? Hefyd, beth arall allai gael ei wneud er mwyn sicrhau bod y ffrwd yn dal i lifo?
Can I turn, therefore, to the issue of talent development? It's a question I've been asking of many witnesses during this inquiry. As to the talent pipeline, are there any problems arising there? Also, can you tell us what else can be done in order to ensure that that pipeline still flows?
Mewn ffordd, mae'n rywbeth tebyg i beth wnes i sôn am gynnau, pethau fel Young Promoters Network a Forté. Lle mae'r talent yn cychwyn? Dwi'n meddwl eich bod chi wedi cael sesiwn bore yma o ran addysg a'r problemau sy'n codi o ran diffyg gwersi cerddoriaeth ac yn y blaen, a chyllido'r rheini, ac addysg offerynnol, ac yn y blaen. Mae'n rhaid cael hynny yn y dechrau. Mae'n rhaid cael y safon yna.
Ond beth dwi wedi ffeindio erbyn hyn ydy bod grwpiau'n dechrau datblygu rŵan, ac yn perfformio, oed chweched dosbarth, felly ôl-16, neu hyd yn oed 16 ei hun. Rai blynyddoedd yn ôl, roedden nhw'n tueddi i fod yn fandiau a oedd yn cael eu creu mewn colegau neu addysg bellach. Erbyn hyn, mae'r sifft wedi mynd i lawr a rydych chi'n gweld y grwpiau yma'n cychwyn oed ysgol. Felly, iawn, maen nhw'n cael y sylw ac maen nhw'n perfformio, maen nhw'n mynd i'r gŵyliau, maen nhw, o bosib, rhai ohonyn nhw, yn recordio. Mae yna rai yn mynd i golegau a maen nhw'n chwalu; mae yna rai yn aros yn y colegau. Ond beth sy'n digwydd wedyn ydy'r peth i mi. Sut mae modd sicrhau bod nhw'n parhau i berfformio yn y diwydiant?
Mi fedrwn ni eu hannog nhw efo nifer o bethau, fel y prosiect yma gan Trac, penwythnos Gwerin Gwallgo. Dwi'n siŵr wnaiff Danny a Gwenan sôn mwy am hynny, achos maen nhw'n ymwneud â hynny. Ond dyna sy'n arwain at ddatblygu'r talent. Mae yna grŵp ifanc o'r enw TANT—genod sydd wedi dod o'r penwythnos yna, Gwerin Gwallgo—sydd wedi cael eu henwebu a wedi bod yn perfformio yn y Radio 2 folk awards llynedd fel grŵp ifanc, ac roedden nhw'n perfformio ym Manceinion. Ond maen nhw ar hyn o bryd yn dal yn yr ysgol. Lle mae eu dyfodol nhw? Lle mae'r strategaeth i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n eu datblygu nhw i recordio, i deithio, i fod yn fwy proffesiynol ac yn y blaen? Dyna ydy'r broblem i mi.
Mae yna dalent enfawr yn dod o'r rhai ifanc, o beth fedraf i ei weld, ym mhob maes. Ac mae nifer ohonyn nhw—. Achos eu bod nhw'n dod o ardaloedd weithiau lle mae yna bethau fel bandiau pres ac yn y blaen, felly mae gwersi offerynnol yn naturiol mewn rhai llefydd, neu llefydd fel Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias sy'n cael arian o'r cyngor celfyddydau, mae'r rheini'n rhoi gwersi offerynnol a chanu—a'r rheini sy'n arwain, hwyrach, at y talent yma.
Well, it's similar to the thing I mentioned earlier, things such as the Young Promoters Network and Forté. Where does talent start? I think you had a session this morning on music education and the problems arising because of the shortage of music lessons and the funding of those, and instrumental education. You need that initially. You need that standard in place.
But what I'm finding now is that groups are starting to perform at sixth-form age, that's post-16, or at 16 perhaps. Now, some years ago, they tended to be bands that started up in colleges. By now, the shift has gone down and you see these groups starting whilst still at school. And, yes, they perform, they go to festivals, some of them may record material. Some go to college and then they disband; some stay together. But what happens then? How can we ensure that they continue to perform and work within the industry?
We can encourage them in a number of different ways, such as the Trac project, the Gwerin Gwallgo weekend. I'm sure Danny and Gwenan will talk more about that, because they're involved. But that's what leads to talent development. There's a young group called TANT—young women who were involved with the Gwerin Gwallgo event—and they were nominated and performed at the Radio 2 folk awards last year, and they performed in Manchester. They're a young group and they're still in school. So, where does their future lie? Where's the strategy in place to ensure that we develop them, that we record them, that they can tour and become more professional? That's the problem for me.
There is huge talent emerging amongst young people in all areas, from what I can see, Many of them—. Because they come from areas where there are traditions of brass bands, so music education is traditionally in place in certain areas, and places like Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias, which is funded by the arts council, which provides musical education and singing training—that's what leads the talent development.
Dwi'n cytuno. Gorau po gyntaf mae pobl ifanc a phlant yn cael y cyfle i amsugno pob math o gerddoriaeth. Mae'n rhaid dweud, mae'r gwaith arbennig y mae Trac yn ei wneud yn darparu cyfleoedd i bobl ifanc—. Dwi'n meddwl yn ôl i pan oeddwn i yn fy arddegau, doedd proffil cerddoriaeth draddodiadol ddim yn uchel iawn adeg hynny, a doedd yna ddim cyfleoedd chwaith i brofi'r math yna o beth. Ond drwy bartneru—bydd Danny'n gallu ymhelaethu ar hyn—efo'r Urdd, dwi'n meddwl bod hynny'n fodd i roi cyfleoedd i bobl ifanc i fagu hyder ac i agor eu llygaid nhw ac i agor y drws iddyn nhw i faes hollol wahanol o gerddoriaeth. Mae rhywun yn gweld y cynnydd, mewn ffordd, yn y ffordd y mae proffil cerddoriaeth draddodiadol ymysg pobl ifanc wedi'i godi trwy gyrsiau fel mae Trac yn gwneud, a dwi'n meddwl bod hwnna'n rhywbeth aruthrol o bwysig.
I would agree. The sooner the better children and young people have an opportunity to absorb all kinds of music. I have to say, the wonderful work that Trac are doing in providing opportunities for young people—. I'm thinking back to when I was a teenager, the profile of traditional music wasn't very high at that time, and there were no opportunities either to experience that type of thing. But by partnering—and Danny can expand on this—with the Urdd, I think that is a way of offering opportunities for young people to become more confident, to open their eyes and to open a door to them to an entirely different field of music. And one can see the progress, in a way, in the way that the profile of traditional music has grown among young people through courses such as those Trac hold, and I think that's extremely important.
Thank you. We set up the course, Gwerin Gwallgo, for 12 to 18-year-olds, and it's now grown. We've added Gwerin Iau, which is, of course, for eight to 12-year-olds. And we now have a national youth ensemble that comes out of it, which works for 18 to 25-year-olds, which has been offered its very first ever £1,200 gig at a festival in Wales this summer, for which I'm extremely proud and extremely glad. But it's not just me, it's a lot of other people investing their time and talent in bringing on the talent of young people, as you suggested.
All human beings have talent. We know this. Talent is everywhere. Something like one in five of us could be able to play an instrument; one in four of us can sing. This is a universal, human thing. The problem is creating systems that spot it, that recognise it, that enable it, that are evolved enough to, for example, have a music teacher in a comprehensive school who can see a kid who's got a talent for the trumpet and make sure that they can find a way of getting hold of some support for their family to be able to lease or buy a trumpet and then put some extra hours in.
There's a friend of mine who now spends most of his life playing French horn in Miss Saigon around the world as an extremely talented brass player. But for every Aled, there's going to be 300 or 400 kids who don't turn out to be pit musicians in the West End. We have to recognise that all of those people need to be recognised, need to be encouraged, need to be able to make the choice that perhaps following the life of a professional musician is not for them. Or if they can't cut it as a bass player or a drummer, to run PA systems, work as music managers, run festivals, work in the support industries of music. The support industries of music is mostly made up of people who no longer want to be musicians or can either deal with the heartache of not being good enough or they could never get a gig.
The talent, though—. To get to that point, we almost certainly have to revisit how our education system works. Because we have children for at least 10 to 12 years, six or seven hours a day, in the presence of educators, in systems that are designed to educate our young people. So, we need, I think, very definitely, to concentrate an awful lot on spending more time investing in the capacity of our formal education system to spot, nurture, and train our young people as an equally valid part of their education experience.
It's no good having my daughter go to Career Choices four years ago, when she's 14, and being told by a teacher that the arts are a soft option. I am quite comfortable performing to 20,000 to 30,000 people around the world, my wife has spent her entire life managing arts projects, and her genetic father has been a professional storyteller his entire life. The arts are not a soft option; the arts, as a profession, are very often a very difficult option, in which we earn significantly less than we could if we concentrated on many other things.
I believe it's our role as a society to use our education systems to look at how that can work within the third sector, within youth clubs, and within engagement systems, to ensure that the people who are working with our young people have the ability to recognise musical talent and the ability to either train them themselves or to pass them on to people who know.
So, is there a problem? Yes, there's one major problem, which is GCSEs. As I said in my testimony, I did eight O-levels, and that was considered a lot back in the 1970s, and it was only given to people who were likely to go to university. My daughter, who wasn't, was made to take 11 GCSEs and had her arm twisted to take another two because they were trying out something in the school. And that meant that her schooldays, from her fourteenth birthday, which was in early September, were taken up with 12 hours of schoolwork. Now, how are you going to be a talented step dancer or folk singer or guitar player or composer or brass player, either at an amateur or professional—? How are you going to develop that talent if you're too tired to breathe properly, if you're too tired to dance? If don't have time to play a guitar, how are you going to do it?
Our problem—we have a problem with our school system—is that we've so over valued some of the trappings of science, technology, engineering and mathematics that we haven't necessarily recognised that, without cultural importance, our education systems are pretty much meaningless. If you can't read poetry, you can't write; sorry. So, our talent problem is there's a block there, at 14, in schools. That's something that you guys can think about and do. There are other problems in terms of youth services, which work with a lot of the kids who don't spend time in formal education. When the clubs disappear, the spaces where kids can perform their first gig, play their first guitar—they disappear. Those are two areas, I think, that the Government can look at and see if it can't make a difference.
Beth dwi’n meddwl sy’n bryder mawr hefyd ydy cymaint o ysgolion, erbyn hyn, sydd ddim, wrth gwrs, yn cynnig—mae yna broblemau mewnol o fewn ysgolion sydd ddim yn cynnig lefel A cerddoriaeth, ond erbyn hyn, cymaint o ysgolion sydd ddim yn cynnig TGAU cerddoriaeth, a dwi’n meddwl bod y pwyslais canolog yna ar gerddoriaeth yn cael ei golli’n llwyr. Mae hwnna’n bryder mawr, dwi’n meddwl. Os ydy plant yn gorfod teithio hyn a hyn o filltiroedd i wneud cerddoriaeth mewn rhyw ysgol arall, y peryg ydy eu bod nhw ddim yn mynd i ddewis y pwnc o gwbl, ac mae hwnna’n bryder.
What I think is also a great concern is how many schools now don't offer—there are internal problems in schools so they don't offer music as an A-level, but by now, there are so many schools that don't even offer music GCSE, and I think that the central emphasis on music is being lost entirely. That's a cause of great concern, I think. Because if children have to travel so many miles to study music in some other school, the risk is that they won't choose the subject at all, and that does cause me concern.
Well, thank you very much. The clock has beaten us, I'm afraid. There were a couple of other areas that we would have touched on a bit more, about schools and GCSEs, and also some of the plumbing issues like planning licensing and business rates. We'll write to you just in case you want to give us any views on those things. But I think the range of evidence you gave this morning was very rich; it's given us a lot of insight. So, really, thank you for your contribution this morning. Diolch yn fawr.
Thank you very much for the invitation.
Ie. Diolch am y cyfle.
Yes. Thank you for the opportunity.
I'd suggest to Members if you want a comfort break, you just leave and come back as soon as possible. But I'm going to try to start the next session immediately, okay? But if you do need just to excuse yourselves temporarily.
So, we move on, and I'm pleased to welcome Ywain Myfyr from BBC Radio Cymru, and Andrew Walton, an artist who goes under the title the Welsh Whisperer. I hope I've got that right. So, gentlemen, you're very welcome, and I think you've already participated a bit in our Wrexham event, so it's absolutely splendid to see you in Cardiff, helping us further with our inquiry into the live music scene in Wales. So, without—
Mr Cadeirydd, gaf i jest eich cywiro chi? Dydw i ddim byd i'w wneud efo Radio Cymru.
Chair, could I just correct you? I am nothing to do with Radio Cymru.
Jest i adael i'r panel wybod, dwi wedi bod yn ymwneud â'r sîn gerddoriaeth ers y 1970au fel aelod o fand, grwpiau gwerin fel arfer, ond bellach yn drefnydd gŵyl Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau, ac hefyd yn ymwneud â Tŷ Siamas, y ganolfan werin yn Nolgellau. Diolch yn fawr i chi.
Just to inform you as a committee, I have been involved with the music scene since the 1970s as a band member, usually folk groups, but I'm now the organiser of the Sesiwn Fawr Dolgellau festival, and also involved with Tŷ Siamas, which is a folk centre in Dolgellau. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr for that correct introduction. I slightly misled the committee.
The first questions will be fairly general, so rather than invite you to make introductory remarks, I think perhaps if we go into the questions and then you can add to them if there are areas you don't think we've covered that are of particular interest to you. So, I'm going to ask John Griffiths to start.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Bore da.
I wonder if we could begin with your overview, really, as to the health of the live music sector in Wales and the UK.
Dwi'n siarad o safbwynt rhywun sydd yn perfformio lot o gwmpas Cymru, achos os dydych chi ddim yn gwybod, yr act dwi'n wneud, Welsh Whisperer, mae e'n rhyw fath o adloniant cefn gwlad, adloniant canu gwlad, a dwi'n chwarae mewn lot o leoedd eithaf bach, efallai, i rai canolig, so venues sy'n dal efallai hyd at 100 o bobl, weithiau 200, rhywbeth fel yna. Dwi'n brysur iawn felly mae hwnna'n beth da i mi. Mae'r byd dwi ynddo yn eithaf iach ond mae'n amaturaidd iawn yn y ffordd—. Pan dwi'n troi fyny i lefydd a does yna ddim byd yna—yn aml, dwi'n dod â phopeth fy hun. Felly, er bod yna alw am adloniant Cymraeg, yn enwedig i fi yng nghefn gwlad, dwi'n meddwl bod yna'n bendant angen cymorth ar y byd adloniant Cymreig.
I'm talking now from the point of view of someone who performs a great deal around Wales, because if you don't know, the act that I do, the Welsh Whisperer, is a kind of rural folk music entertainment, and I perform in many small venues, going up to middle-sized venues, so these venues hold up to 100 or sometimes up to 200 people. I'm very busy so that's a good thing for me. My world is a very healthy one but it's very amateur in terms of when I turn up to a venue, there's nothing there—I have to bring everything myself. So, although there's a call for Welsh-medium entertainment, particularly for me out in rural Wales, I certainly think that the world of Welsh entertainment needs some support.
Dwi'n meddwl bod o'n eithaf clir bellach fod y talent sydd yn bodoli yn y sîn ar hyn o bryd yn well na fuodd o erioed. Dwi'n meddwl bod y safonau sy'n cael eu gosod gan y grwpiau mewn sawl genre yn well nag a fuodd o erioed, ond dydy hynny ddim efallai yn adlewyrchu sîn sydd yn hollol iach ym mhob ystyr. Fel mae Andrew wedi dweud, mae yna lot o sefyllfaoedd eithaf amaturaidd yn dal i fodoli, ac mae angen creu gwedd fwy proffesiynol mewn sawl ystyr ar y sîn.
Fel rydych chi'n gweld a fel dwi wedi dweud yn barod, mae gen i ymwybyddiaeth reit dda o'r sîn yng Nghymru trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg—dwi yn pwysleisio hynny—ers nifer fawr o flynyddoedd, a dwi wedi gweld newid mawr yn y sefyllfa. Pan oeddem ni yn cychwyn chwarae mewn bandiau ar ddiwedd y 1970au, dechrau'r 1980au, mi oedd rhywun yn chwarae yn gyson, yn cynnal gigs efallai tair gwaith yr wythnos. Erbyn heddiw, er bod y talent yma'n bodoli, dwi'n meddwl bod bandiau y dyddiau yma yn lwcus os ydyn nhw'n chwarae unwaith, dwywaith y mis trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg—dwi yn pwysleisio hynny.
Ac mae hynny oherwydd sawl rheswm, ond yn bennaf dwi'n meddwl y gallwn ni feio'r dirwasgiad, bod pobl wedi mynd allan o'r arfer o fynd allan i gyngherddau, a dydy'r gefnogaeth i gerddoriaeth fyw ddim yna. Mae'n haws troi'r teledu ymlaen a gwylio Strictly Come Dancing neu beth bynnag rydych chi eisiau ei wylio, ond dyna'r gwirionedd, yn anffodus: mae pobl wedi mynd allan o'r arfer ac, yn anffodus, dydy'r cyfleoedd ddim yna. Er bod y talent yma yn well nag a fuodd o erioed, dydy'r cyfleoedd i ddatblygu'r talent yma ddim yna, dwi ddim yn teimlo, ar hyn o bryd.
Mae'r un peth yn wir o safbwynt yr ochr dechnegol. Dwi'n meddwl y gallem ni ddatblygu llawer iawn mwy ar yr ochr dechnegol o safbwynt lleoliadau i gynnal gigs, ac mae lleoliadau yn mynd yn brinnach ac yn brinnach yn flynyddol, yn rhannol oherwydd efallai diffyg cefnogaeth, ond mae wedi mynd yn risg i unrhyw un gynnal adloniant byw bellach. Mae adloniant byw yn golygu talu ac mae yna risg, wrth reswm, ac mae yna lawer iawn o ddigwyddiadau, o leoliadau wedi gorfod cau oherwydd bod yna broblemau ariannol wedi dilyn. Felly, ydy, mae'r talent yno, ond dydw i ddim yn meddwl, yn gyffredinol, fod y sîn mewn lle gwych.
I think it is now quite clear that the talent in the scene is better than it's ever been. I think the standards set by groups in a number of genres is better than it's ever been, but perhaps that doesn't reflect a scene that is entirely healthy in all senses. As Andrew has said, there are a number of quite amateur scenarios that are still in existence, and we do need to professionalise the scene in many different senses.
As you can see and as I've already said, I have quite a strong awareness of the scene in Wales through the medium of Welsh. It's the Welsh-language scene that I've been involved with over very many years—I emphasise that—and I have seen huge changes. When we started out playing in bands at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, one regularly played, you were gigging maybe three times a week. Now today, although the talent is there, I think bands these days are lucky to play once or twice a month—that's in the Welsh-language scene; I'm emphasising that point.
That's because of a number of reasons, but mainly I think that we can blame the recession, people have got out of the habit of going to concerts and gigs, and the support for live music isn't there. It's easier to turn the television on and watch Strictly Come Dancing or whatever else you may want to watch, but that's the reality of the situation, unfortunately: people have got out of the habit and, unfortunately, the opportunities aren't there. Although the talent is better than it's ever been, the opportunities to develop that talent don't necessarily exist at the moment.
The same is true from the technical side of things. I do think that we could develop a lot more on the technical side in terms of venues for gigs, and venues are becoming scarcer and scarcer on annual basis, partly perhaps because of a lack of support, but it has become a risk for anyone to put on live entertainment. Live entertainment does mean that you would have to pay and there are risks attached, and there are many events and many venues that have had to close because of financial problems. So, yes, the talent's there, but I don't necessarily think, generally speaking, that the scene is in a great place necessarily.
Ie, dwi'n cytuno, a jest i ychwanegu at hwnna hefyd, mae lot o leoliadau mwy traddodiadol, fel neuaddau pentref, er enghraifft, lle dwi'n dueddol o chwarae, ac mae yna lot o gigs yn yr iaith Gymraeg yn digwydd yn y llefydd yma, ond yn aml ti'n troi i fyny a dyw'r set-up ddim yn grêt, ac mae hyn i gyd yn effeithio ar safon y noson. Wedyn, yn y pen draw, dwi'n meddwl bod pobl yn mynd i fod yn llai bodlon i dalu £8, £10, £15, i fynd i rywbeth sydd yn y bôn yn rhywbeth eithaf amaturaidd. Mae'r safon adloniant yna, ond mae'r set-up i gyd yn fwy amaturaidd.
Yes, I agree, and I'd just like to add that many of the more traditional venues such as village halls, for example, where I tend to play, and there are many Welsh language gigs in such venues, but you'll often turn up and the set-up isn't great, and this all has an impact on the standard of the night. And then, ultimately, people are going to be less willing to pay £8, £10, £15, to go to something that is essentially quite amateurish. The standard of the entertainment is there, but the set-up is more amateur.
Realiti'r sefyllfa ydy wrth i'r bandiau wella a mynd yn fwy proffesiynol eu naws, mae eu gofynion technegol nhw yn cynyddu. Felly dydy band ddim jest yn gallu troi i fyny efallai efo cwpwl o speakers, ac ymlaen. Hynny yw, mae rhaid llogi PA, sydd yn cynyddu'r costau. Band arall, efallai, fel support, sydd yn cynyddu'r costau, sydd yn cynyddu'r risg bob tro. Felly, ie.
The reality of the situation is that as bands improve and become more professional, their technical requirements also increase. So a band can't simply turn up with a couple of speakers and get on the stage. You have to hire a PA, which increases the costs. You might need a support band, which again increases costs and increases the risk level every time. So, yes.
Just to follow up on venues, in terms of venues across Wales, and the size of venues, would you point to any particular gaps across Wales—the length and breadth of Wales?
Wel, dwi'n siarad o'm gwybodaeth o Wynedd yn gyffredinol, de Gwynedd, ac mae lleoliadau perfformio yn ne Gwynedd yn brin iawn. Hynny yw, mae yna rai tafarndai, efallai, yn rhoi adloniant. Mae yna rai neuaddau pentref sydd yn rhoi adloniant, yn gyffredinol, ac mae gennym ni ambell ganolfan fel Tŷ Siamas dwi wedi nodi. Ond canolfanau sydd yn bennaf efo un gorchwyl o gynnal cerddoriaeth yn ne Gwynedd, dydyn nhw ddim yn bodoli. Mae yna ambell un fwy i'r gogledd, on'd oes, Andrew?
Well, speaking from my knowledge of Gwynedd generally, south Gwynedd, the venues in south Gwynedd are very scarce. There are some pubs that will put on entertainment and some village halls that put on entertainment more generally, and we do have a few centres such as Tŷ Siamas, which I've mentioned. But centres or venues that have as a main aim the holding of musical events in south Gwynedd just aren't in place. There are a few more further north, aren't there, Andrew?
Oes. Mae yna, dwi'n meddwl, efallai gap rhwng y neuaddau pentref yma a'r theatrau mawr. Mae yna gap ar gyfer pethau fel yna, ond dwi ddim yn meddwl ein bod ni'n sôn am eisiau adeiladu neu agor mwy o ganolfannau, ond buddsoddi yn yr hyn sydd gennym ni, dwi'n meddwl, yw'r ffordd ymlaen. So mae neuadd bentref, er enghraifft, fel arfer yn cael ei rhedeg gan lond llaw o bobl leol—weithiau pobl ychydig bach yn hŷn—ac wedyn efallai nad ydynt yn gwybod llawer am y gofynion golau, sain ac hyrwyddo, hyd yn oed pethau lawr i greu poster. Dwi'n gwneud tipyn o nosweithiau lle mae wedi cael ei wneud ar Word, ac mae clip art yn dal i fynd rownd, a ti'n meddwl, 'Dyw e ddim yn really mynd i ddenu, yn enwedig pobl ifanc.' Mae e jest yn edrych bach yn hen ffasiwn, a dweud y gwir. So dwi'n meddwl byddai cymorth i helpu pobol jest i wneud pethau i edrych bach yn fwy slic—mae e'n symud pobol yn y cyfeiriad, 'Ocê, mi wnaf i dalu £5 neu £10 am hwn, ac mi wnaf i droi i fyny.' Y gorau yw'r noson, y mwyaf o hyder mae'n rhoi i'r artist, ac wedyn y mwyaf maen nhw'n mynd i feddwl, 'Ti'n gwybod beth? Dwi eisiau gwneud hwn eto.' Achos pan mae'n mynd yn grêt, mae'n mynd yn grêt, on'd yw e? Ond pan dyw e ddim, dyw e ddim.
Well, yes. I think there may be a gap between the village halls and the larger theatres. There is a gap there, but I don't think that we are necessarily talking about building or opening more centres. I think we need to invest in what we already have. That's the way forward. A village hall is usually run by a handful of people who live locally—often a little older—and they don't necessarily know about lighting, sound, or promotion activities, even down to how to create a poster. I do a number of evenings where the poster has been done on Word and they've used clip art, and it's not really going to attract people, particularly young people. It just looks old-fashioned, if truth be told. So I do think that support to assist people, just to make things look a little more slick and professional will move people in that direction where they're willing to pay £5 or £10 and they're willing to turn up. The better the night, the more confidence it gives the artist, and the more they're going to think, 'Well, yeah, I want to do this again.' Because when it goes brilliantly, it goes brilliantly, but when it doesn't, it doesn't.
Dydy'r neuaddau yma a'r lleoliadau yma ddim yn gwybod lle i droi yn aml iawn am yr arbenigedd chwaith. Mae'n hawdd cael yr ateb. Mae'n hawdd prynu'r adnoddau i mewn, ac os ydych chi'n cynnal cyfres o nosweithiau, yna rydych chi'n talu'n sylweddol, ac yn y pen draw, mae'n bosib iawn y byddai wedi bod yn haws iddyn nhw fanteisio ar wariant sylfaenol i gael yr offer yma i mewn, fel bod yna ddim taliad ychwanegol.
Ond, ie, dwi'n meddwl bod yna fodelau gwych allan yna, a dweud y gwir—mewn llefydd fel Ffrainc, er enghraifft. Mae Ffrainc yn dysgu technegwyr sain. Os ydych chi eisiau bod yn dechnegydd sain yn Ffrainc, rydych chi'n cael yr hyfforddiant. Ac ewch chi i unrhyw neuadd bentref, tafarn, rhywle yno, mae'r safon yn arbennig. Ac mae'r un peth yn wir am berfformwyr hefyd yn Ffrainc. Mae yno gymorth ariannol yno iddyn nhw gael cychwyn ar eu gyrfa, lle mae'n anodd iawn cychwyn fel arfer.
These halls and these venues don't know where to turn, very often. The expertise isn't there. It's easy to find the answer. You can buy in resources, perhaps, and of course if you do hold a series of nights, you will be paying quite substantial sums, and quite possibly it would have been easier for them to take advantage of the basic funding of getting that equipment in, so they wouldn't have had to be making these extra payments.
But I think there are excellent models out there in places such as France, for example, where they teach sound technicians. If you want to be a sound technician in France, you get that training. And if you go to any village hall or pub, wherever you go, the standard is excellent. And the same is true of performers in France, also. There is financial support available for them at the beginning of their career, when it is quite difficult to start otherwise.
The Welsh Government has carried out a mapping exercise on grass-roots venues across Wales. Were you involved in that?
I've made inquiries.
Dwi wedi gwneud ymholiadau ynglŷn â hyn, a dydw i ddim yn bersonol wedi cael y wybodaeth, achos mi ges i wybod am y mapio yma yn y cyfarfod yn Wrecsam. Dwi wedi gwneud ymholiad, ac hyd y gwn i, nid ydy Tŷ Siamas ddim wedi cael cyswllt. Hyd y gwn i ar hyn o bryd.
I have made inquiries about this. I personally haven't received any information on this, because I was made aware of this mapping in the Wrexham meeting, and I have made inquiries and as far as I know, Tŷ Siamas hasn't been contacted. As far as I know at the moment, at least.
Oce, na, ond clywais i am hwnna am y tro cyntaf yn Wrecsam hefyd, a doeddwn i ddim yn gwybod am hwnna.
No, I heard about it for the first time in Wrexham, also. I hadn't heard of it before.
Ond mi fyddai fo'n rhywbeth y byddwn ni'n dymuno bod yn rhan o, yn sicr.
But it would be something we'd want to be part of, certainly.
Yes, okay. Could you tell the committee as well about your view of the health of the festival sector in Wales?
Gwnaf i gymryd hon, ie?
Shall I take this?
Ie, well i ti, mêt, ie.
Yes, you'd better had.
Wel, dwi’n meddwl bod o’n rhywbeth sydd yn wahanol lle bynnag ewch chi, a dweud y gwir. Hynny yw, dwi’n meddwl bod rhai gwyliau wedi goroesi ac wedi parhau—mae hynny’n wir am y Sesiwn Fawr yn ein hanes ni. Mi gychwynnon ni yn 1992, gan dyfu'n sydyn fel gŵyl rhad ac am ddim i’r cyhoedd, ac mi oedden ni wedi taro ar rywbeth oedd yn llwyddiannus. Gorfodwyd i ni, yn ystod y cyfnod traed a'r genau os dwi’n cofio’n iawn, symud o’r lleoliad am amrywiol resymau, ac mi ddaru’r ŵyl droi’n ŵyl lle oedden ni’n medru codi tocyn am y tro cyntaf—codi pris. Eto, mi fuom ni’n llwyddiannus am gyfnod, i fyny ac i lawr, ond mi ddaru ni hefyd gwneud colledion mawr a gorfod peidio bodoli am ryw flwyddyn neu ddwy. Wedyn, mi ddaru ni ailddarganfod ein hunain ac ailsefydlu’n hunain fel gŵyl mwy cymunedol, a bellach, dŷn ni’n bod efo'r model yma ers bron i ddeng mlynedd, ac wedi bod yn bur lwyddiannus ac yn mynd o nerth i nerth. A dwi’n meddwl bod hynny’n rhywbeth sy'n adlewyrchu nifer o wyliau. Yn sicr, yn y sector Gymraeg, mae yna wyliau mawr llwyddiannus wedi darfod a gorffen dros nos, ac fel arfer, am reswm ariannol ydy o. A dwi’n meddwl mai'r yna wers dŷn ni wedi’i dysgu yn sicr ydy nad ydy mawr bob tro yn golygu da.
Achos yn sicr, pan mae rhywun yn mynd tros y trothwy i fod yn ŵyl fawr iawn, yna mae’r profit and loss margin yn gallu bod yn anferthol. Ac mi ydyn ni bellach wedi dyfeisio model sydd yn gweithio i ni mewn ardal sydd ddim efo poblogaeth fawr. Rydyn ni’n medru denu cynulleidfaoedd ar draws Cymru a thu hwnt, ac mae gennym ni, dwi’n gobeithio, enw da am gynnig adloniant o safon uchel, ond dydy hynny ddim—. Hynny yw, dŷn ni wedi gallu goroesi, efallai, am nad oes creaduriaid digon gwirion yr un fath â fi sydd yn fodlon ymlafnio i wneud yn siŵr bod y peth yn goroesi. Mi fyddai fo wedi bod yn hawdd i ninnau gerdded i ffwrdd a dweud, 'Digon yw digon'.
Yn gyffredinol, dwi’n meddwl bod yna lai o wyliau yng Nghymru rŵan nag a fu rai blynyddoedd yn ôl. Yn sicr, yn y Gymru Gymraeg, felly, y patrwm ydy ein bod ni’n gweld gwyliau’n mynd, efallai, am ryw dair, bedair blynedd, ac wedyn yn gorffen, am amrywiol resymau. Weithiau, mae yna resymau iechyd a diogelwch; wrth i’r ŵyl fynd yn fwy, mae’r gofynion yn mynd yn fwy, ac wrth reswm, mae’r costau yn mynd yn fwy yn sgil hynny. Ond fel rheol, rhesymau ariannol sydd yn gorfodi’r gwyliau yma i ailfeddwl neu newid patrwm neu roi’r gorau iddi.
Well, I do think it's something that's different wherever you may be. I think there are some festivals that have survived—that is true of Sesiwn Fawr. In our case, we started in 1992, and we grew very quickly as a free festival. And we'd hit upon something that was very successful. Now, during the foot-and-mouth crisis, we had to move location for a number of reasons, and the festival became a festival where we could charge for entry for the first time. Again, we were successful for a period; there were ups and downs, but we also made large losses, and we ceased to exist for a few years. And then, we rediscovered ourselves and re-established ourselves as a more community-based festival, and now, we've been working with this model for almost 10 years, and have been successful and going from strength to strength. And I do think that that is something that is true of many festivals, particularly in the Welsh-medium sector. There are major successful festivals that have ceased to exist overnight, and usually, it's a financial reason that's led to that, and I think that there is a lesson that we have learned, and that is that scale doesn't necessarily mean quality.
Because when it gets over a certain level and becomes a very large festival, then the profit and loss margin can be huge. And we have now come up with a model that works for us in an area that doesn't have a large population. We can attract audiences from across Wales and outside Wales, and I hope we have a good reputation for providing entertainment of the very highest quality. But we have been able to survive because there are people who are dumb enough, such as me, who are willing to put this effort in. It would have been very easy for us to walk away and say, 'No, enough is enough'.
Generally speaking, I think there are fewer festivals in Wales now than there were some years ago. Certainly, in the Welsh language sector, the pattern is that we see festivals running for three or four years, and then coming to an end, for various reasons. Occasionally, they are health and safety reasons; as festivals grow, then the requirements become greater and the costs increase as a result of that, but generally speaking, it's financial reasons that force these festivals to rethink or to change, or to give up entirely.
Ac maen nhw'n dibynnu lot ar wirfoddolwyr.
And they depend a lot on volunteers.
Yn llwyr ar wirfoddolwyr—yn llwyr ar wirfoddolwyr.
Mae gennym ni un person yn gweithio i ni un diwrnod yr wythnos, mewn gŵyl gymharol fawr yn y Gymry Gymraeg. Mae’r gweddill ohonom ni, gryn 20 ohonom ni, yn wirfoddolwyr sydd yn rhoi o’n hamser trwy’r flwyddyn i wneud yn siŵr bod y peth yn gweithio.
Well, yes, entirely on volunteers.
There is great dependence. We have one person who works for us one day a week, in quite a large festival in the Welsh language sector. And the rest of us, some 20 of us, are volunteers, who offer our time throughout the year to ensure that it works.
Just a few questions about some of the support and advice available. You've already commented, actually, that there needs to be more support, more advice. There used to be a Welsh Music Foundation fund—not enormous amounts. Particularly to you, Ywain, did you ever have contact with that, or any access to it? Did it offer any benefits?
Gwnes i erioed gael arian yn benodol, ond mi oeddwn i wedi bod yn rhan ohono fo. Mi fues i mewn ambell i gyfarfod, os dwi’n cofio’n iawn, ac mewn ambell i seminar, ond gwnes i erioed gael budd ariannol allan ohono fo. Hyd y gwn i, dwi ddim yn meddwl bod y Sesiwn Fawr chwaith wedi, yn sicr fel clwb, chwaith—naddo. Ond, efallai bod hynny'n fai arnom ni, cofiwch; dwi ddim yn beio’r sefydliad am funud. Dydw i ddim yn cofio’r amgylchiadau’n iawn, ond dwi yn cofio bod mewn ambell gyfarfod, yn sicr.
I never received funding specifically, but I had been involved with it. I did attend a few meetings and a few seminars, but I never benefited financially from it and as far as I know, I don't think Sesiwn Fawr benefited from it, either, but that was perhaps our fault; I'm not blaming the foundation for that. I don't remember the circumstances, but I do remember attending a few meetings, certainly.
On funding for locations and so on, venues for live music, there is a capital fund that's been set up in England. Can you, perhaps, just outline what some of the funding problems are in terms of live venues that you've experienced? What sort of funding help would actually benefit you in terms of the work and the performances that you do? What are the sort of things that might give assistance to you if we had such a fund in Wales?
Dwi'n meddwl, yn bendant, offer proffesiynol—pethau fel offer sain, goleuo a hefyd hyrwyddo. Mae hyrwyddo yn rhywbeth pwysig iawn, achos mae lot o bobl yn rhoi lot o waith i mewn i nosweithiau ac wedyn pan fydd rhywun yn troi i fyny a does dim llawer o bobl yna, mae e'n golled i'r bobl sy'n trefnu ac, wrth gwrs, dyw e ddim yn dda i'r artistiaid na'r gymuned chwaith. Mae pawb yn colli allan, felly.
Dwi jest yn cymharu hwn gyda'r byd llyfrau, achos dwy flynedd yn ôl gwnaeth gwasg Y Lolfa ofyn i fi ysgrifennu llyfr bach, a gwnes i wneud. Reit o'r cychwyn, fe ges i gymorth: 'Reit, beth yw cynnwys y llyfr yma? Sut fath o glawr ydyn ni'n mynd i wneud?' Ces i help i olygu'r llyfr a reit trwy'r broses, ac wedyn, pan oedd y llyfr yn barod, roedd hysbyseb ar y teledu amser Nadolig, roedd pamffled bach yn y papurau bro i gyd ac yng nghylchgrawn Golwg. Dwi jest yn dychmygu os oedd hwnna'r un peth gyda fy CD diweddaraf, dwi'n siŵr y byddwn i wedi gwerthu lot mwy ohonyn nhw. So, mae e'n gymorth amhrisiadwy, rili. Mae lot o bethau yn erbyn artistiaid, ac mae'n eu gwneud nhw'n fwy tebygol o jest feddwl 'Dwi ddim yn mynd i wneud hwn; mae e jest yn mynd i fod yn hobi bach ar yr ochr.' Ond yn bendant, dwi'n meddwl offer, goleuni ac arbenigedd hyrwyddo.
I think that, certainly, professional equipment would be one thing—things such as sound and lighting equipment and also promotion. Promotion is something that is very important, because a great deal of people put a lot of work into these nights, and then, when someone turns up and there aren't many people there, that's a loss to the people who are organising and it's not good for the artists or the community, either—everyone loses out.
I'm just comparing this with the world of books, because two years ago, Y Lolfa asked me to write a small book, and I did so. Right from the outset, I was offered support from talking about what the content would be to what the cover would look like. I was assisted in editing the book, I was helped throughout the process, and then, when the book was ready to go, there was an advert on the at tv at Christmas time, there was a small leaflet in all the papurau bro and in Golwg magazine. Just imagine if that were the same for my latest CD, I'm sure I'd have sold a great deal more of them. So, that kind of support is so very valuable. There are so many things that battle against artists, which makes it more likely for them to think, 'Oh, I'm not going to do this seriously; it's just going to be a hobby on the side for me.' But, certainly, I think that equipment, lights and and expertise in promotion would be helpful.
Ar ben hynny, mae angen yr hyfforddiant hefyd i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n cael y gorau allan o'r offer yma. Os oes yna unrhyw fuddsoddiad yn cael ei roi, mae angen gwneud yn siŵr ei fod o'n cael ei ddefnyddio'n iawn hefyd, felly.
Roeddech chi'n sôn am y gronfa yma'n Lloegr, a dwi'n meddwl bod yn rhaid i rywun feddwl, fel mae Andrew wedi dweud, yn wahanol. Dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni'n dau yn dod o'r un un lle, sef rydyn ni'n rhan o'r sîn yng Nghymru trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg sydd, i raddau helaeth, yn wahanol. Ac mae yna wahaniaethau mawr rhwng y sîn sy'n gweithredu trwy gyfrwng y Saesneg, felly.
Hynny yw, mae gan y Cynulliad yr uchelgais clodwiw o gyrraedd miliwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg—dwi'n hollol gefnogol i hwnnw—ac mae cerddoriaeth yn ffordd o ddenu'r ieuenctid tuag ar yr iaith, felly. Bron iawn y buaswn i'n dweud mai'r ffodd orau o ddenu. Fedrwn ni wedyn ddim cymharu dau fyd a dweud eu bod nhw'n gyfartal, achos mae gennym ni beiriannau mawr dros y ffin yn gyrru adloniant rhyngwladol, sydd wedi cael blynyddoedd o brofiad, ac rydym ni'n sôn, fel rydyn ni eisoes wedi'i ddweud, am bobl hynod o broffesiynol a thalentog sydd hefo problemau mawr i gyrraedd oherwydd bod yna risgiau.
Felly, dwi'n meddwl bod yr hyfforddiant—sori, y gefnogaeth yn ddeublyg. Mae ishio yn sicr yr offer yn y canolfannau er mwyn cynnal gigs, felly, ond hefyd, rywsut, mae'n rhaid cynnal neu ffeindio ffordd o'i gwneud hi'n haws i drefnwyr, i hyrwyddwyr gynnal gigs, achos yn aml iawn, y costau ydy'r bwgan. Os gallwn ni rywsut neu'i gilydd dynnu'r costau i lawr, boed hynny trwy gymorthdal i fandiau, fel eu bod nhw'n gallu tynnu eu ffis i lawr, neu i ganolfannau er mwyn helpu hefo'r costau—dwi ddim yn gwybod.
Mae cynlluniau fel Noson Allan ac yn y blaen, sydd yn bur lwyddiannus. Ond dwi'n meddwl bod angen ei adolygu fo, yn sicr, achos yn aml iawn, dydy o ddim yn rhoi'r ysgogiad i'r canolfannau i wneud yn siŵr bod yna ddigon o bobl yn y perfformiad achos mae nhw'n sicr, 'O, wnawn ni ddim colled ar hwn, rydyn ni'n ocê.' Mae ishio efallai edrych a 'tweak-io'. Dwi ddim yn beirniadu Noson Allan am funud, ond dwi'n meddwl efallai bod yna le i 'tweak-o' yma ac acw.
In addition to that, you need the training to ensure that we make the most of this equipment. If there is any investment provided, then we do need to ensure that it's properly used, too.
You mentioned this fund in England, and I do think that one, as Andrew has said, has to think differently. I think we're both coming from the same place, we are part of the scene in Wales working through the medium of Welsh, which, to a great extent, is different. And there are major differences between the Welsh language scene and the English language scene.
The Assembly does have the laudable ambition of reaching a million Welsh speakers—I'm entirely supportive of that—and music is a way of attracting young people towards the Welsh language. I would almost say that it's the best way of attracting young people. We can't then compare different worlds and say that they're equal, because we have huge machines over the border, driving international entertainment, which have had years of experience, and, as we've already mentioned, we're talking about very professional and talented people who have major problems to overcome, because they face risks.
So, I do think that training—or support, rather, is twofold. You certainly need the equipment in order to stage gigs at venues, but also, somehow, we have to find a way of making it easier for promoters and organisers to stage gigs, because very often costs are the major problem. If we can somehow reduce costs, be that through subsidies for bands so that they can bring their fees down, or by providing support for venues in order to help with costs—I don't know.
There are plans such as Night Out in place, which have been quite successful. I do think we need to review that, certainly, because, very often, it doesn't provide that encouragement to the venues to ensure that there are plenty of people in the audience, because they know they won't make a loss; that they're okay. So, perhaps we need to look at that and tweak that little. I'm not criticising Night Out for a moment, but I do think that there are some tweaks that could be made here and there.
Yn dilyn ymlaen yn syth o hynny, rwy'n mynd i ofyn ychydig o gwestiynau am Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru a'ch profiad chi gyda hwnnw. Rwy'n gwybod—wel, dŷn ni wedi clywed yn barod yn gynharach heddiw am y cynllun Noson Allan. Efallai bod rhai pethau y byddech chi eisiau gweld yn newid o ran hynny ond, yn gyffredinol, ydych chi'n meddwl bod y cymorth mae'r cyngor celfyddydau yn ei roi yn ddigonol? Andrew, dŷch chi wedi awgrymu efallai dydy'r un cymorth ddim ar gael ar gyfer cerddoriaeth ag sydd ar gyfer llenyddiaeth. O fewn y byd cerddorol, ydych chi'n meddwl bod y cymorth yn gyfartal ar gyfer y genres gwahanol, ar gyfer yr iaith Gymraeg, ar gyfer sut mae cyllid yn cael ei benderfynu?
Following on immediately from that, I wanted to ask a few questions about the Arts Council of Wales and what your experience has been of it. I know—we've already heard earlier today about the Night Out scheme. There may be some things that you would like to see changed there but, generally speaking, do you believe that the support that the arts council offers is sufficient? Andrew, you've said suggested that the same support is not available for music as it is for literature. Within the musical world, do you think that the support is equitable between different genres, for the Welsh language, in terms of how funding is decided?
O ran y cyngor celfyddydau, dwi wedi delio efo nhw ychydig bach. Dwi wedi gwneud cwpwl o bethau lle dwi wedi cael fy nhalu ganddyn nhw. Ond dwi'n meddwl beth sy'n bwysig fan hyn yw nid yn unig i edrych ar, 'Reit, o le dŷn ni'n gallu cael y geiniog nesaf?', a jest mewn ffordd, taflu arian at wahanol bethau; dwi ddim yn meddwl bod hynny'n mynd i weithio o gwbl. Beth sy'n bwysicach yw cael strategaeth a strwythur lle mae pobl yn gallu cael cymorth hefyd, dim jest cymorth ariannol ond cymorth gyda, 'Reit, lle dwi'n mynd i fynd nesaf yn fy ngyrfa?', achos, er enghraifft, dwi nawr allan 60, 70 gwaith y flwyddyn, weithiau mewn llefydd rili bach, weithiau mewn llefydd bach yn fwy, ac mae'n iawn. Ocê, dwi'n gwneud hynny, ond os dwi eisiau mynd i'r cam nesaf dwi'n meddwl, 'Reit, mae galw am y gerddoriaeth yma yn Iwerddon a'r Alban'. Os dwi eisiau gwneud taith o'r Alban, lle dwi'n mynd i fynd? Sut dwi'n mynd i'w wneud e? Heblaw am trio ffonio pobl i fyny fy hun, dyw'r rhan fwyaf o asiantau neu hyrwyddwyr mawr ddim yn siarad efo pobl—[Torri ar draws.]
In terms of the arts council, I've had a few dealings with them. I've done a few things where I've been paid by them. But I think what's important here is not only looking at, 'Okay, where can we get the next few pounds?', and throwing money at something; I don't think that will work. What's more important is to have a strategy and a structure in place where people can get support, not just financial support but support in terms of career development, because I now am out 60 or 70 times a year, sometimes in very small venues and sometimes in slightly larger venues, and that's fine. But if I wanted to take the next step I'd say, 'Fine, there's demand for this music in Ireland and in Scotland'. If I want to tour Scotland, where am I going to go? How am I going to do it? Other than just phoning people up myself, most agencies and promoters don't—[Interruption.]
Dwi'n synnu nad yw e'n Dafydd Iwan ac Yma o Hyd. [Chwerthin.]
I'm surprised it's not Dafydd Iwan singing Yma o Hyd. [Laughter.]
Record deal oedd hwnna.
Dwi'n synnu nad ydyn nhw'n siarad efo unigolion fel arfer, so mae eisiau rhyw fath o, dwi ddim yn gwybod, bwrdd neu gyngor, neu rywbeth lle mae pobl brofiadol sy'n deall Cymru, deall y byd Cymraeg, achos mae e'n wahanol, ac mae'n bwynt bwysig rwyt ti wedi ei wneud fanna—bod y byd adloniant iaith Gymraeg tipyn bach yn wahanol i'r byd adloniant Saesneg yng Nghymru, yn enwedig efallai'r byd gwerin a'r byd dwi ynddo lle dwi'n gwneud lot o berfformiadau eithaf amgen, mewn sioeau amaethyddol ac weithiau mewn cau neu mewn sied, sydd ddim yn arferol i bob un. Ond mae'n bwysig bod gennym ni rywle i fynd a rhywun i holi.
That might have been a record deal coming through.
But I am surprised that people don't deal with individuals usually, so I do think we need some sort of board or some advice where experienced people who understand Wales and understand the scene in Wales, because it is different, and it's an important point that you make that the Welsh language entertainment scene is slightly different to the English language entertainment scene in Wales, particularly perhaps in terms of the folk scene and my particular genre, where I do quite alternative performances in agricultural shows or in barns, which aren't normal for everyone. But it is important, I think, that we have somewhere to go and somewhere to seek support.
Dwi'n meddwl mai'r nod gan unrhyw wŷl, unrhyw ganolfan, unrhyw grŵp, unrhyw fand ydy bod yn hunan-gynhaliol yn y pen draw. Os nad ydy rhywun yn mynd i mewn efo'r ewyllys yna, dwi ddim yn siŵr iawn beth ydy'r pwynt. Dwi yn meddwl bod y rôl mae'r cyngor celfyddydau yn chwarae ar y ffordd i hynny'n bwysig iawn, ac mae'n rhaid i mi ddweud nad oes gen i ddim ond canmoliaeth i gyngor y celfyddydau yn fy ymwneud i â nhw fel trefnydd gŵyl ac fel perfformiwr. Mae cyngor y celfyddydau wedi bod yn bartner pwysig iawn i ni fel Sesiwn Fawr dros y blynyddoedd, ac wedi dangos hyder ynom ni pan aethom ni i gyfnod digon tywyll i ddod allan ohono fo, a dwi'n meddwl bod hynny yn beth pwysig iawn, eu bod nhw yn coelio yn ein gweledigaeth ni. Roedd o'n rhywbeth roeddem ni'n ei groesawu ac yn ei gefnogi.
Dwi'n meddwl eu bod nhw hefyd, trwy bartneriaethau fel Gorwelion ac yn y blaen, â rôl bwysig—. Hynny yw, dydw i ddim yn dweud nad ydy hynny'n berffaith—mae'n siŵr bod yna le i 'tweak-io' ar bob un o'r cynlluniau yma—ond dwi'n meddwl bod o'n rhywbeth pwysig iawn maen nhw yn ei wneud. Dwi'n gwybod hefyd bod gan gyngor y celfyddydau ran bwysig iawn yn y gefnogaeth i Trac, sydd yn bwysig iawn. Dwi'n dod o'r ochr draddodiadol werin o bethau, ac mae'r cyfraniad mae Trac wedi'i wneud dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf wedi bod yn hollbwysig yng Nghymru.
Noson Allan, fel dwi wedi sôn eisoes, mae'n bwysig ond dwi'n meddwl efallai bod eisiau 'tweak-io' fo yma ac acw, ac edrych arno fo. Dwi'n gwybod bod y Cynulliad a chyngor y celfyddydau yn cefnogi artistiaid sydd yn mynd i'r wŷl ryngwladol yn Lorient, y Festival Interceltique de Lorient, sydd yn bwysig tu hwnt. Dyma'r wŷl Geltaidd fwyaf yn y byd o bell ffordd. Mae hi'n denu 0.75 miliwn, ac mae o'n lwyfan anhygoel i Gymru ac i artistiaid Cymraeg, ac mae'n hollbwysig bod y gwaith yna o gefnogi artisitiaid—. Dwi'n meddwl bod yna le, mewn gwirionedd, i'w ddatblygu fo hefyd. Yn anffodus, mae o yr un pryd â'r Eisteddfod bob blwyddyn, sydd ddim yn ddelfrydol yng Nghymru, ond yn sicr, dwi'n meddwl bod yna le i ddatblygu llais Cymru yn yr ŵyl yna. Dwi’n meddwl bod rôl cyngor y celfyddydau yn bwysig; maen nhw’n cefnogi pob genre. Dydyn nhw ddim yn plesio pawb, a dydyn nhw ddim yn mynd i blesio pawb, nac ydyn? Mae hynny’n syml—mae pawb eisiau mwy i’w genre fo ei hun, felly. Ond at ei gilydd, dwi’n meddwl bod ganddyn nhw rôl bwysig i’w chwarae, ac mae gen i gefnogaeth fawr i gyngor y celfyddydau.
I think that the aim for any festival, any centre, any group or band is to be self-sufficient ultimately. If someone doesn't go in with that drive, I'm not sure what the point is. I think that the role that the arts council plays on the way to that point is very important, and I have to say that I have nothing but praise for the arts council in my dealings with them as a festival organiser and as a performer. The arts council have been a very important partner for us in the Sesiwn Fawr over the years, and they showed confidence in us when we were in quite a dark period that we would come out of that, and I think that that is something that is very important, that they did have belief in our vision. It was something that we welcomed and appreciated.
I also think that, through partnerships such as Horizons and the important role they have to play—. Now, I'm not saying that's perfect—I'm sure there is something that could be tweaked in all of these schemes—but I do think that it's very important that that takes place. I also know that the arts council has an important part to play in its support for Trac, which is very important. I come from the traditional folk side of things, and the contribution that Trac has made over the past few years has been crucial to Wales.
Night Out, as I've already mentioned, is important but I think that there are tweaks that could be made, and it should be looked at. I know that the Assembly and the arts council support artists that want to attend the international festival in Lorient, the Celtic festival, which is extremely important. It's the biggest festival in the Celtic world by far. It attracts 0.75 million and it's an incredible platform for Wales and for Welsh artists, and it's vital that that work of supporting artists continues. I think that there is development that could take place there. Unfortunately, it takes place at the same time as the Eisteddfod annually, which is not ideal in Wales, but I think that there is room to to develop Wales's voice and position in that festival. I think the role of the arts council is important; they support all kinds of genres. They don't please everyone; they are not going to please everyone, are they, quite simply? Because everyone wants more for their own particular genre. But taken together, I think that they have an important role to play, and I support them very much.
Diolch. Ydych chi wedi cael unrhyw rôl o ran gweithio gyda Llywodraeth Cymru gyda’u cynlluniau nhw ar gyfer Cymru Greadigol?
Thank you. Have you had any role in working with the Welsh Government on their plans for Creative Wales?
Na. Roeddwn i’n cymryd ddim, ond roeddwn i jest eisiau gofyn. Ocê, diolch yn fawr.
I assumed not, but I just wanted to ask the question. Okay, thank you.
Diolch. Roeddech chi’n siarad am y ffrwd o dalent, yn dweud bod y safon yn uchel ond bod y sector ddim yn iach. Roedd e’n swnio i fi fel bod yna broblemau ynglŷn â sicrhau bod digon o bobl broffesiynol yn gweithio yn y maes cynhyrchu, efallai. Mae costau, wrth gwrs, i fandiau, rydych chi wedi dweud hwnna’n iawn. Oes yna broblem fanna ynglŷn â phrinder talent ynglŷn â'r rheina sydd yn cefnogi bandiau, sef rheina sydd â sgiliau cynhyrchu mewn unrhyw fath o ddigwyddiad?
Thank you. You've talked about the talent pipeline, saying that the standard is high but that the sector is not necessarily healthy. It sounded to me as if there are problems in terms of ensuring that there are enough numbers of professionals working on the production side, perhaps. Now, there are costs for bands, I know, as you've said, but is there a problem there in terms of a lack of talent among those who support bands? So, those who have skills in production or organising some event.
Dwi’n meddwl bod Andrew wedi cyffwrdd ar hyn. At ei gilydd, mae’r sin roc yng Nghymru a’r sin gyffredinol yng Nghymru yn do it yourself. Hynny yw, mae’r bandiau yn recordio, at ei gilydd, eu hunain. Mae yna gwmnïau, wrth gwrs, ond yn aml iawn, maen nhw wedi mynd trwy’r broses recordio eu hunain hefyd, felly, ynghlwm â chwmni. Wedyn, maen nhw’n mynd allan i chwarae. Dydy’r hyrwyddwyr ddim yna, dydy’r trefnwyr ddim yna, na'r asiantau, os liciwch chi—yr asiantaethau fel sydd gennych chi dros y ffin, felly. Dydy’r rheolwyr ddim yna ar y grwpiau yma i roi cyfeiriad iddyn nhw, ac i raddau, mae o’n digwydd ad hoc. Fuaset ti’n cytuno?
Well, Andrew's touched upon this already, I think. Generally speaking, the rock scene in Wales and the scene more generally in Wales is 'do it yourself'. The bands, generally speaking, record themselves. There are companies, of course, but very often they will have gone through the recording process themselves. And then, they get out and perform. But the promoters aren't there, the organisers aren't there, or the agents, if you like—those agencies such as those that you have over the border. The managers aren't there for these groups in order to provide them with direction, and, to a certain extent, it's an ad hoc process. Would you agree?
Ydy, ar y cyfan, ac yn bendant o ran pobl sy’n cefnogi ar y noson—peirianwyr sain a phethau fel yna. Dwi’n siŵr bod yna lot o beirianwyr sain o gwmpas, ond dyw scale y peth ddim yn caniatáu cael un mewn, mewn ffordd, achos dyweda bod gan rywun—wel, does ganddyn nhw ddim budgets, na? Maen nhw jest yn trio talu cyn lleied ag y maen nhw’n gallu achos mae e fel arfer i ryw elusen—digon teg—ac wedyn, pan wyt ti’n dweud wrthyn nhw, 'O, reit, wel, byddai’n well gennyf i pe buasech chi’n talu rhywun £200 neu £150, neu beth bynnag, i ddod ar y noson i’w wneud e', wel, maen nhw’n dweud, 'Oes angen?' Maen nhw’n trio—. Dyw proffesiynoli’r sin ddim yn bwysig i lot o’r trefnwyr achos dyw e ddim yn broffesiynol. Maen nhw’n trio gwneud ychydig bach o arian i ryw elusen neu rywbeth. So, mae angen, yn bendant, mwy o, efallai—rhyw ffordd o ganiatáu nosweithiau i edrych a swnio’n well.
Yes, on the whole, and certainly in terms of the support services on the night in terms of sound technicians and so on. I'm sure there are a lot of sound technicians around, but the scale of these events don't allow them to come in because they just don't have the budgets for it. So, they're trying to pay as little as possible because it's usually for a charity, which is fair enough, but then when you tell them, 'Well, I would prefer it if you would pay someone £200 or £150 to come on the night and do it', well, they say, 'Do we really need to?' Because they don't want—. Professionalising the scene is not important for a lot of organisers because it's not professional. They're trying to raise money for some charity or something like that. So, there's certainly a need for some way of allowing these nights to look and sound better.
Mae asiantaeth PYST wedi cael ei sefydlu yn ddiweddar, ac o beth welaf i, mae honno’n dechrau rhoi siâp ar bethau o safbwynt ei bod yn asiantaeth i nifer o fandiau, felly, sydd â gwedd broffesiynol. Mae’n haws i ni fel gŵyl, er enghraifft, fynd at asiantaeth sydd yn rheoli, efallai, hanner dwsin o fandiau—'Ie, cymerwn ni hwnna, hwnna a hwnna’, yn hytrach na gorfod mynd yn uniongyrchol at aelodau sydd efallai ddim mor sydyn yn fy ateb i yn ôl a fyddai asiantaeth. Felly, ydy, mae pethau’n symud, ond yn raddol.
Mae’r busnes yma o hyrwyddo hefyd yn rhywbeth sydd angen ei ddatblygu yng Nghymru, yr un fath ag y mae Andrew eisoes wedi crybwyll, o safbwynt y deunydd. Roeddech chi’n sôn am gynhyrchu’r deunydd, y CD; mae’r ochr ddigidol wedi effeithio ar hwn, ond yn sicr mae yna dal werthiant mewn cyngherddau i grynoddisgiau ar hyn o bryd. Dydw i ddim yn gwybod am faint barith o, felly. Hynny yw, dydy’r dosbarthu, dydy’r peiriant dosbarthu, ddim yn ddigon effeithiol i fynd â'r rheini i bob rhan o Gymru, dwi ddim yn teimlo, ar y funud.
The PYST agency has been recently established, and from what I see, that is starting to knock things into shape because it's an agency covering a number of bands, and it's professional. It's easy for us as a festival to approach an agency that manages half a dozen bands and say, 'Yes, we'll take that one, that one, and that one', rather than going directly to band members who perhaps won't answer your messages as quickly as an agency would. So, yes, things are moving, but very gradually.
And this business of promotion is also something that needs to be developed in Wales, as Andrew's already mentioned, in terms of producing material. In terms of CDs and so on, well, the digital scene has affected this, but there are still sales of CDs at concerts at the moment, and who knows how long that will last. That is, the distribution mechanisms aren't effective enough to take that material to all parts of Wales, in my view.
So, mae’r cig yna ond mae eisiau'r sgerbwd er mwyn cael y corff yn iawn.
So, the meat is there but you don't have the skeleton to form a healthy body, then.
Dwi’n deall hynny. Mae yna gorff, wrth gwrs, o'r enw 'hyrwyddwyr ifanc' yn y de. Dwi ddim yn gwybod os ydych chi’n gyfarwydd â hwnnw o gwbl. Wel, efallai bydd hwnna’n rhywbeth sy'n werth—
I understand that. Now, of course, there is the young promoters network in south Wales. I don't know whether you're familiar with that, and perhaps that might be—
Beth oedd yr enw yna, sori?
What's it called, sorry?
Hyrwyddwyr ifanc—cynllun newydd yn y de er mwyn cefnogi hyrwyddwyr ifanc i ddod mewn i’r proffesiwn. Af fi ddim lawr y llwybr yna, felly, os nad ydych chi'n gwybod amdano. Ac mae'n amlwg bod yna broblem ac mae'n amlwg bod yna un model o leiaf all gael ei ledu ar draws Cymru.
Un cwestiwn gen i jest i orffen: rŷch chi wedi dweud bod y safon yn uchel a bod dim problem gyda'r ffrwd o dalent—rŷn ni’n siarad am y problemau eraill—oes yna ddigon o led daearyddol ynglŷn â’r talent? Mae Gwynedd yn enjin sydd yn creu cerdd yn Gymraeg, ac rŷn ni’n gweld hynny, wrth gwrs, ond oes yna ddigon o dalent yn dod trwyddo o fannau eraill o Gymru? Er enghraifft, os edrychwn ni ar y 1960au a’r 1970au, yn y de roedd Edward H. Dafis, roedd Neil Rosser, roedd Ryan Davies, roedd Mary Hopkin. Dŷn nhw ddim yna ddim rhagor, a dwi ddim yn gweld y talent yn dod mewn rhannau eraill o Gymru, sydd yn creu gwendid wedyn, wrth gwrs, ynglŷn â phobl ifanc yn mwynhau yn eu hiaith eu hunain. Ydy hynny’n wir? Rwy’n gwybod ei bod hi’n wir fod Gwynedd yn frwdfrydig ynglŷn â chreu cerdd yn Gymraeg, ond oes yna fwy i’w wneud ynglŷn â hybu’r iaith Gymraeg yn y byd cerdd mewn rhannau eraill o Gymru, yn enwedig rhannau traddodiadol Cymraeg tu fas i Wynedd?
The young promoters network. It's a scheme in south Wales in order to support young promoters to get them to enter the profession. I won't go down that route because you didn't know about it. And it's obvious that there is a problem, and it's also obvious that there's at least one model that can be spread throughout Wales.
But I just have one question to conclude: you said that the standard is high, and that there's no problem with the talent pipeline—we're talking about the other problems—is there, therefore, enough geographical spread in terms of that talent? Because Gwynedd is an engine that creates Welsh-language music, and we see that, but then, is there enough talent coming through from other parts of Wales? For example, if I look back at the 1960s and 1970s, in south Wales, there was Edward H. Dafis, there was Ryan Davies, Mary Hopkin, and Neil Rosser. They're no longer there, and I don't see the talent coming from other parts of Wales, which then leads to a weakness in terms of young people enjoying themselves in their own language. Is that true? I know that Gwynedd is enthusiastic about creating music in Welsh, but is there more that we can do in terms of promoting the Welsh language through music in other parts of Wales, particularly in the Welsh heartlands outside of Gwynedd?
Dwi'n meddwl bod yna enghreifftiau o fandiau ar draws Cymru yn llwyddo mewn gwahanol ffyrdd, ond mae e i gyd yn dod lawr i scale y diwydiant, onid yw e? So, pan mae yna lai o gyfleoedd, yn y bôn, mae yna lai o artistiaid yn mynd i fynd ymhellach, ac mae mwy a mwy o fandiau, efallai, yn cyrraedd pwynt lle maen nhw'n cael gwahoddiad gan yr Eisteddfod i chwarae, ac mae hwnna'n grêt—maen nhw'n cael chwarae ar lwyfan proffesiynol mawr, neu ambell gig arall rownd y lle—ond wedyn maen nhw'n sylweddoli yn glou, 'Ocê, mae hwnna'n rhoi tua phump sioe dda i ni bob blwyddyn, a dyw hwnna ddim yn ddim byd, nac ydy?'
So, mae e ychydig bach yn anodd, ond efallai ei fod e'n amrywio o le mae'r talent yn dod, o bob man, ond dwi'n meddwl ei fod e'n bwysig sylweddoli bod cerddoriaeth fyw, y gig—hwnna yw'r final finished product, mewn ffordd. Mae hwnna jest yn un rhan o'r diwydiant yma. Mae'r broses o'r dechrau, pan wyt ti yna'n cyfansoddi cân, reit at y pwynt lle mae gen ti CD neu gân ar Spotify, neu beth bynnag—mae yna sawl gwahanol gam fanna. Ac mae lot o fandiau, yn enwedig bandiau ifanc—does dim syniad gyda nhw lle i fynd, a beth i wneud nesaf, so dyw'r cymorth—
I think there are examples of bands from across Wales succeeding in different ways, but it all comes down to the scale of the industry, doesn't it? So, when there are fewer opportunities, then, generally, there will be fewer artists, and more and more bands do reach a point where they are invited to play at the Eisteddfod, and that's great, and they can play on a large professional stage or do a few other gigs, but then they quickly realise, 'Well, that gives us five good shows a year, and that's not enough, is it?'
So, it is difficult and maybe it does vary in terms of where the talent does develop, but I think it's important to realise that live music, the gig—that is the finished product, in a way. But that's just one part of the industry. The process, from the outset, when you're composing a song, right to the point where you have a CD or a song on Spotify, or whatever else it may be—there are a number of stages to that, and there are a number of bands, particularly young bands, that have no idea where to go, or what to do next. The support isn't there.
Ydyn nhw yna i ddechrau? Oes yna ddigon o fandiau? Wel, efallai taw'r ateb yw, 'Na, does byth digon o fandiau.' Ond ydy bandiau yn dod trwyddo, a thalent yn dod trwyddo, o Geredigion, o sir Gâr ac efallai Morgannwg, fel y dylai ddod?
Are they there to begin with? Are there enough bands? Well, you could say that there are never ever enough bands. But are there bands coming through, is there talent coming through, from Ceredigion, from Carmarthenshire, from Glamorgan, as there should be?
Mae yna lai.
There are fewer.
O ran nifer, buaswn i'n cytuno, mae yna sicr yn llai, ond o ran safon—dŷn ni newydd gael Adwaith, o Gaerfyrddin, yn cael albym y flwyddyn yn ddiweddar, rŵan. Felly, maen nhw'n bodoli yn sicr, ac mae'r safon yna, ond yn sicr o ran nifer, buaswn i'n cytuno—mae llai ohonyn nhw.
In terms of numbers, I would certainly agree that there are fewer, but in terms of the standard—we've just had Adwaith, from Carmarthen, getting the album of the year recently. So, they do exist, certainly, and the standard is there, but in terms of the numbers, I would agree—there are fewer of them.
Ond mae'r diffyg cyfleoedd yn cyfrannu at hynny, onid yw e? Mae'n anodd, os nad os rhyw circuit o lefydd i chwarae neu ddiwylliant o bobl yn dod i weld gigs yn yr ardal—mae'n anodd gweld pam fyddai rhywun ddim yn jest symud i ffwrdd a thrio gwneud e'n rhywle arall.
But the lack of opportunities contribute to that, of course. It's difficult, if you don't have a circuit of places where you can play, or a culture of people coming to gigs in a particular area—it's difficult to see why somebody wouldn't just move away, and try and do it elsewhere.
Mae yna elfen, a dwi'n meddwl bod o'n wir—yn sicr mae o'n wir i raddau—fod y sin roc yng Nghymru yn rhyw hobi mae rhywun yn gwneud tra mae o'n y coleg, ac efallai rhyw ychydig o flynyddoedd wedyn, achos mae rhyw ymwybyddiaeth tu cefn fan hyn: 'Fedra i ddim gwneud bywoliaeth efo hwn, so mi wnaf i o tra dwi'n ei fwynhau o. Mi wnaf i drio ei wneud o.' A dwi'n meddwl mai i fanna dŷn ni eisiau mynd. Dŷn ni eisiau mynd o'r feddylfryd yna i feddwl, 'Na, mi allaf i wneud bywoliaeth efo hwn. Mae fy ngherddoriaeth i'n ddigon da i sefyll yn erbyn unrhyw gerddoriaeth yn y byd, ac mi fedraf i fynd â fo allan yna.' Ond mae mynd y cam yna, achos mae o'n tueddu i fod yn hobi mae rhywun yn gwneud yn ystod coleg am ychydig o flynyddoedd—diwedd ysgol, coleg, ac am ychydig o flynyddoedd wedyn—'Gwell imi gael job.'
There is an element, and I think it's true—it certainly is true to an extent—that the rock scene in Wales is a kind of hobby that one carries out when they're in college, and then for a few years after that, because there's some sort of awareness in the back of your mind: 'Oh, I can't make my living from this, so I'll do it whilst I'm enjoying it, or I'll try to do it.' And I think we need to do something about that mindset, to get them to think, 'No, I can make a living from this. My music is good enough to stand against any other music in the world, and I can take it out.' But it's about taking that step, because it tends to be a hobby that someone does whilst they're in college, then for a couple of years, perhaps when they've left school. It just lasts a few years, and then they think, 'I'd better get a job.'
Mae'r rhieni yn dweud, 'Dyna fe. Ti wedi cael dy sbri. Mae eisiau iti cael jobyn nawr.'
They say, 'Okay, there you are, you've had your fun. You need to get on and get a job now.'
Mae e'n dod i strwythur, wrth gwrs, ond yw e—bod pobol yn ei gymryd e o ddifri fel gyrfa, yn hytrach na rhywbeth sydd jest yn hobi, rhywbeth mae nhw'n gwneud—
Well, it's a matter of structure, isn't it, that people take it seriously as a career, rather than just something that's a hobby that they do—
Os ydyn ni'n cymharu hwnna wedyn efo'r sin di-Gymraeg, lle mae bandiau'n gorfod gweithio a gweithio a gweithio a chwarae bob nos mewn unrhyw le fedran nhw gael, er mwyn cael unrhyw fath o sylw, y tueddiad efallai ydy—dydy hwn ddim yn rhedeg y sefyllfa lawr—fod bandiau'n gallu cael sylw'n eithaf hawdd yng Nghymru trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
Yes, and if we compare that with the English-language scene, where bands have to work and work and work, and they have to play every night, anywhere they can get a gig, just to get any attention, the tendency, perhaps—and this is not to do down the situation—is that bands can get quite a lot of attention quite easily in Wales through the medium of Welsh.
Ond eto, mae yna cap, i ryw raddau, ar lle maen nhw'n gallu mynd.
But once again, there is a cap as to how far they can go.
Ond dyw e ddim yn gorfod bod fel yna, achos mae ieithoedd lleiafrifol eraill yn gallu mynd dros y byd, so mae'r ffordd rŷn ni'n gwerthu'n hunain a phwshio'n hunain allan y tu allan i Gymru yn bwysig hefyd.
But it doesn't have to be that way, because other minority languages can work across the world, so the way that we sell ourselves and promote ourselves outside Wales is also important.
Beth yw'r Rhif 1 ar iTunes ar hyn o bryd?
Well, we're No. 1 on iTunes at the moment.
Wel, yn union, ie.
Yes. There's been a reduction in pupils taking music GCSEs in Wales. Are you aware of that? Have you noticed effects from that?
Mae fy nghefndir i yn y byd addysg, a dwi'n meddwl bod hynny wedi digwydd, i raddau helaeth, oherwydd bod cymaint o bwyslais ar wyddoniaeth a mathemateg dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf. Dwi'n deall pam, ond mae hynny wedi digwydd ar draul y celfyddydau, yn anffodus, ac mae yna lawer o ysgolion uwchradd bellach sydd ddim yn gallu cynnal adrannau cerddoriaeth, sydd yn beth trist ofnadwy, a dweud y gwir. Dwi'n falch iawn fod y celfyddydau yn rhan bwysig o'r cwricwlwm newydd, a dwi'n gobeithio y bydd hynny'n datblygu i'w ailsefydlu fo yn yr ysgolion uwchradd maes o law, achos mae cerddoriaeth a chelfyddyd yn gyffredinol yn rhywbeth pwysig iawn, iawn, iawn o safbwynt gollyngdod, o safbwynt iechyd meddwl, o safbwynt cymaint o agweddau, ac, yn sicr, fel dŷn ni eisoes wedi sôn, o safbwynt denu'r filiwn o siaradwyr yma trwy gyfrwng cerddoriaeth.
My background is in the field of education, and I think that that has happened, to a large extent, because there's been so much emphasis on the STEM subjects over the past few years. And I do understand why, but that has meant that the arts and humanities have suffered, and there are many secondary schools that can now no longer maintain music departments, which is an extremely sad state of affairs. I am very glad that the arts and humanities is going to be a central part of the new curriculum, and I hope that that will develop, and that will mean that there will be a reestablishment of music in secondary schools, because music and arts in general are extremely important in terms of mental health and well-being, and many other aspects, and, certainly, as we've already mentioned, in terms of reaching this million of speakers through the medium of music.
Ie, ac rwyt ti wedi gweithio ym myd addysg o'r blaen, a dwi wedi bod yn athro ysgol gynradd o'r blaen, ac mae'n wir i ddweud bod pynciau fel cerddoriaeth wedi cael eu gwthio i'r ochr, mewn gwirionedd, achos mae athrawon yn stryglan i wneud popeth, a'r holl ofynion yn y pynciau craidd. Mae'n wir i ddweud bod pynciau fel cerddoriaeth wedi cael eu rhoi i'r ochr, ond fel rwyt ti'n dweud, gobeithio y gwneith hwnna droi e rownd.
Yes, and you've worked in the education field before, and I was a primary school teacher as well, and it's true to say that subjects such as music have been sidelined, because teachers are struggling to do everything, and there are so many requirements in terms of the core subjects. So, it is true to say that subjects such as music have been sidelined, but as you said, we hope that that will turn it around.
Okay. And one other question from me just on rehearsal space. To what extent is that a problem, the availability of rehearsal space?
Efallai dy fod ti—. Achos dwi ar ben fy hun, felly mae hwnna'n fwy perthnasol i ti mewn band, onid yw e?
Perhaps you can say something, as I'm a solo act. That's more relevant to for you as a member of a band, isn't it?
Dŷn ni'n ffodus yn Nolgellau: mae gennym ni Tŷ Siamas, ac mae yna stafelloedd ymarfer, ac mae yna grwpiau fel Candelas, Sŵnami ac yn y blaen, ac yn y blaen, wedi cychwyn yno, yn ymarfer. Hynny yw, mae nhw wedi mynd ymlaen i bethau llawer iawn mwy na Tŷ Siamas. Ond fedra i ddim siarad yn gyffredinol am lefydd. Mi ydan ni'n gallu—. Os oes yna fand—mae yna gwpwl o fandiau ifanc rŵan—wel, Lewis ydy'r un diwethaf oedd yn eu defnyddio, sydd eto wedyn yn mynd ymlaen i greu enw iddo fo'i hun ar y sin, ac sydd yn hogyn lleol. Os ydyn nhw'n dod atom ni, dŷn ni'n gallu cynnig y cyfle iddyn nhw i ddefnyddio'r gofod. Yn gyffredinol, mewn rhannau eraill o'r wlad, dydw i ddim yn siŵr, a dweud y gwir, beth ydy'r sefyllfa.
We're fortunate in Dolgellau that we have Tŷ Siamas, and there are practice rooms, rehearsal rooms, and groups such as Candelas, Sŵnami and so forth, and so forth, have started there, rehearsing. And they have gone on to much bigger things than Tŷ Siamas. But I can't speak in general about places. If there is a band—there are a few young bands now; Lewis is the last one that used the facilities and has gone on to create a name for himself, and he's a local lad. If they come to us, we can offer the opportunity to use the space. In general, in other areas of the country, I'm not sure, really, what the situation is.
Ydyn nhw'n talu am hwnna, neu ydyn nhw'n—?
Do they pay for that?
Fel arfer, dŷn ni'n gwneud rhyw drefniant efo nhw, ac os byddwn ni angen eu gwasanaeth mewn rhyw gyngerdd neu rywbeth, byddwn ni'n dod i delerau efo nhw.
Well, normally, we have some sort of arrangement with them, and if we need their services, perhaps in a concert, we do come to terms.
Achos mae pobl—. Dwi wedi clywed pobl yn cwyno am hwnna hefyd, eu bod nhw yn stryglan i ffeindio rhywle i ymarfer. Mae e fel rhyw fath o seicl onid yw e? Os nad ydyn nhw'n cael llawer o gigs, dŷn nhw ddim yn cael llawer o arian, ac wedyn mae'r arian yn brin, ac mae'r buddsoddiad maen nhw'n gwneud mewn offer a phethau hefyd yn gallu bod yn ddrud, yn enwedig pan mae'r gofynion technegol yn mynd i fyny, ac mae'r offer i gyd yn ddrud.
Ond mae'n dibynnu lle rŷch chi'n byw, onid yw e? Dwi'n siŵr yn y ddinas mae yna lawer mwy o lefydd, dwi'n cymryd, i ymarfer; mewn rhai dinasoedd beth bynnag. Ond allan yn y wlad, dwi ddim yn siŵr. Ond eto, mae pobl yn defnyddio—dwi wedi defnyddio neuaddau pentref a phethau am gostau eithaf isel: £10 neu rywbeth fel yna am gwpwl o oriau.
I've heard people complain about that as well, that they are struggling to find places to rehearse. It is some sort of cycle, isn't it? If they don't have many gigs, they don't have much money, and then the money is scarce, and the investment they make in equipment and so forth can be expensive, particularly when the technical requirements go up, and the equipment is all very expensive.
It depends where you live, doesn't it? I'm sure in the city there are many more places, I take it, to rehearse; in some cites anyway. But out in rural areas, I'm not sure. But yet, people have used—I've used village halls and places like that for low costs: £10, for example, for a couple of hours.
Hynny yw, beth dŷn ni'n gallu ei gynnig ydy gofod ymarfer hefo adnoddau sain hefyd, sydd yn eithaf pwysig, a dweud y gwir. Hynny yw, dwi'n siŵr bod y gofod allan yna, ond fel rheol, mae pobl yn gorfod mynd â'u hoffer eu hunain i mewn yna. Mae'r gofod sydd yn barod ar gyfer bandiau i setio fyny a chwarae a chlywed eu hunain yr un pryd—
That is, what we can offer is a rehearsal space with sound resources, which is quite important. That is, yes, you may have these locations, but as a rule, people have to take their own equipment to them. Having these spaces that are set up for bands, so that they can play and they can hear themselves at the same time—
Byddai hwnna'n clymu mewn i sefyllfa lle mae neuaddau yn cael cefnogaeth i citio eu hunain allan. Byddai hwnna'n clymu mewn i hwnna, eu bod nhw'n gallu cael eu defnyddio fel gofod ymarfer, a hyd yn oed, o bosib, recordio demos a phethau.
That would tie into a situation where halls have support to kit themselves out. That would tie into that, that they can be used as rehearsal spaces, and even, possibly, to record demos and so forth.
Dwi jest yn meddwl ar fy nhraed yn fan hyn rŵan, a dweud y gwir. Hynny yw, os dŷch chi’n citio neuaddau allan, hynny yw dydy o ddim yn ymarferol i gael un person yn gyfrifol am yr adnoddau ar gyfer un neuadd, ond os oes gennych chi gylch o neuaddau, efallai, mi fyddai o'n ymarferol i gael un person efallai yn gyfrifol am adnoddau sain i 10 neuadd, neu rywbeth felly. Medraf i ragweld y byddai hwnnw yn gweithio, felly.
I'm just thinking out loud here now. So, if you kit halls out—that is, it's not practical to have one person being responsible for a hall, but if you had a group of halls together, it would be practical then to have an individual who was responsible for the sound facilities for 10 halls, or something like that. Now, I could see that that would be something that would work.
Yes, it would.
The final questions we want to put to you you may or may not want to answer, but it's basically about the role of local government. And the first one is very much on the technical side of all this—licensing, business rates and planning issues. Do you have any views of how they affect the viability of local venues?
Dydy o ddim wedi cael cymaint â hynny o effaith arnom ni yng Ngwynedd ac yn Nhŷ Siamas, beth bynnag, yn benodol, felly. Mi ydym ni yn y Sesiwn Fawr yn cynnal adloniant mewn sawl canolfan, mewn sawl lle—rhai ohonyn nhw, efallai, yn yr ardd gefn, hynny yw, rhyw pop-ups, mewn ffordd, felly. Ac mae'r ffaith ein bod ni'n gallu cael temporary event notice yn rhywbeth rydym ni'n ei groesawu. A dwi'n meddwl bod llawer iawn o wyliau, llawer iawn o gymdeithasau, ac yn y blaen, wedi gwneud defnydd da o'r rhain, a dwi'n meddwl eu bod nhw'n bethau pwysig iawn, felly. O safbwynt y trethi busnes, does gen i ddim i'w ddweud yn fanna, a dweud y gwir. Ond dydw i ddim yn gweld bod y trwyddedi, fel arall, wedi cael effaith mawr.
It hasn't had that much of an impact on us in Gwynedd and Tŷ Siamas specifically. In the Sesiwn Fawr, we stage entertainment in a number of centres—some of them in back gardens, some pop-ups, for example. And the fact that we can have a temporary event notice is something that we welcome. And I think that many festivals, many societies and so on have made good use of these, and I think they're very important things. In terms of the business rates, I don't have anything to say there, really. But I don't see that the licensing has had an impact.
Na, dyw e ddim wedi effeithio arnaf fi bron o gwbl. Dim ond i atgyfnerthu beth roeddet ti'n ei ddweud yn fanna; dwi'n gwneud sawl digwyddiad lle mae temporary event notices yn cael eu defnyddio, ac mae hwnna'n beth da. Mae e jest yn gyfle arall i gynnig adloniant.
No, it has barely affected me. I'd just like to echo what you said; I stage many events where temporary event notices are used, and that's a good thing, because they're just another opportunity for us to offer entertainment.
And the final question builds on this. Obviously, local government can provide quite a role here, especially if we have an active strategy, like Cardiff council is developing a music strategy for the whole authority. I just wonder—the idea of regional music boards, where people in the industry come together to give advice to councils. Do you think that might be useful, or does the thought of going to a meeting strike—? Well, I don't think it strikes you with terror, given your performance this morning. But is that something you'd invest your time in, that sort of board, or do you think, at least for the stakeholders, for you to join together and nominate people onto such boards might be helpful?
Fuaswn i ddim yn gweld ei fod o'n syniad drwg o gwbl, mae'n rhaid cyfaddef. Hynny yw, mae cynghorau wedi, ar un cyfnod, edrych ar ddigwyddiadau a phethau fel gwyliau ac yn y blaen. Erbyn hyn, mae'r digwyddiadau yna wedi mynd yn ail beth, ac mae rasys beics, a rasys mynydd, ac yn y blaen—dwi'n deall hynny, wrth gwrs, felly. Ond dwi'n meddwl bod yna le i siarad, yn sicr, fel bod pawb yn dod yn ymwybodol o'r problemau mae hyrwyddwyr yn eu cael, ac mae ei eisiau fo ar draws y sector, mewn gwirionedd. Mi fyddem ni'n gallu cael pobl sydd yn trefnu digwyddiadau mawr, ond mae eisiau artistiaid, mae eisiau rhywun sydd yn cynnal neuadd leol, achos mae pawb â'i broblem.
I wouldn't say it's a bad idea, I must admit. Councils have, at one time, been looking at events and things such as festivals and so on. Now, those events have become secondary, and bike races and mountain races are more prominent—and I understand that, of course. But I think there is room to talk, certainly, so that people become aware of the problems that we have, and it's required across the sector, so that we can have people who arrange large events, and there's a need for artists, for people who are supporting a local hall, because everybody has a problem.
Ie, yn bendant pobl â phrofiad yn y byd yna, ac mae hwnna'n gallu bod yn bobl sy'n gweithio i labeli bach, annibynnol, neu artistiaid—fel rwyt ti'n ei ddweud—pobl sy'n trefnu gwyliau, artistiaid, bandiau, pob un sy'n rhan o'r cylch yna, fel bod pobl yn gwybod beth sy'n mynd ymlaen o'r gwaelod i fyny.
Yes, especially people with experience in that area, and it can be people who are working for small independent labels, also artists, people who organise festivals, bands—everyone involved in that world, so that everyone knows what's going on from the bottom up.
Diolch yn fawr. We've finished our questions. I would give you the opportunity, if there's something that you wanted to say—that you've come here and you were just waiting for the question to be asked and it hasn't. Now's your opportunity. But please don't fill the space just because you feel you have to. But if you want to add anything we've not covered that you think's important, I'd give you that opportunity now.
Yr unig beth buaswn i'n hoffi ei ategu—. Dwi'n ddiolchgar iawn am y cyfle i ddod yma, yn y lle cyntaf. Mae'r ffaith ein bod ni yma yn golygu eich bod chi fel Llywodraeth yn cymryd cerddoriaeth o ddifrif, ac mae hynny i'w groesawu, yn sicr. Mae Andrew wedi crybwyll y peth—dwi'n meddwl fy mod i wedi dweud rhyw ambell air amdano fo hefyd: rydym ni'n edrych ar y sefyllfa cyhoeddi llyfrau a chyhoeddi cerddoriaeth. Hynny yw, mae yna gefnogaeth o safbwynt y llyfrau yr holl ffordd, o'r awdur i'r llyfr gorffenedig yn y siop, a'r dosbarthu, yr hyrwyddo, ac yn y blaen. Yr un ydy'r broses, mewn gwirionedd, o safbwynt cerddoriaeth—o greu'r gerddoriaeth i'r CD neu'r lawrlwytho, beth bynnag rydym ni'n ei wneud, i'r deunydd gorffenedig, felly. Ac mae'n rhaid edrych arno—. Mae'r farchnad yn hollol wahanol yn y Gymru Gymraeg i'r hyn sy'n rhyngwladol. Mae yna gystadleuaeth anferthol y tu allan yna, o safbwynt yr iaith fwyaf. Felly, rydw i'n credu bod rhaid inni edrych ar gerddoriaeth hefyd—rhywbeth yn debyg i'r cyngor llyfrau, teip o beth, onid e—
The only thing that I'd like to reiterate—. I am very grateful for the opportunity to come here in the first place. Because the fact that we are here means that you as a Government are taking music seriously, and that is something to be welcomed, certainly. Andrew has mentioned this—and I think that I may have said a few things about it also: we look at the situation of book publishing and then of publishing music. There is support in terms of books all the way through the process, from the author to the finished book in the shop, and the distribution, the promotion, and so forth. The process is the same in terms of music as well—from creating that music to the CD or the download, or whatever you may produce, to that finished product. And we have to look at it—. The market is entirely different in the Welsh language world than it is globally speaking, and there's huge competition outside, in terms of the majority language. But I think that we do have to look at music as well in a similar light, a similar set up to the Welsh Books Council—
—fel bod yna ymwybyddiaeth bod yn rhaid—. Dydy hwn ddim yn mynd i allu gwneud y llwyddiant heb fod yna rhyw ychydig o gymorth ar hyd y ffordd, felly, mewn sawl ffordd, ac rydym ni eisoes wedi trafod sawl ffordd y gallwn ni roi cymorth i'r diwydiant.
—so that there is an awareness that—. This is not going to be able to attain success without there being some level of support along the way, in many ways, and we've already discussed many ways that support could be offered for the industry.
Ie. Y prif bethau roeddwn i eisiau eu dweud heddiw oedd jest i wneud yn siŵr ein bod ni'n gwneud yn glir bod y diwydiant cerddoriaeth yn sawl peth, nid yn unig troi i fyny ar y nos Sadwrn—mae'r holl broses yn eithaf hir—a hefyd bod angen cefnogaeth yr holl ffordd, reit o'r cychwyn, reit i'r diwedd. Hefyd, mae yna bethau cymhleth iawn yn y byd cerddoriaeth, yr ochr weinyddol fel hawlfraint a chofrestru caneuon er mwyn cael breindal. Mae'r rhain i gyd yn bethau—. Ocê, pan ydych chi'n mynd yn hŷn, efallai eu bod nhw'n haws i'w deall, ond mae dal yn eithaf cymhleth, onid yw hi? Ond plant sy'n dechrau allan yn yr ysgol uwchradd—dydw i ddim yn disgwyl iddyn nhw i ddeall y byd yna, ond, yn anffodus, os nad ydyn nhw'n ei ddeall ef, mae pobl yn gallu manteisio arnyn nhw a chymryd ychydig o'r arian sydd allan yna o'r breindal radio a theledu, a dydyn nhw ddim yn cael dim cymorth. Ond pe bai nhw'n cael ychydig mwy o gymorth reit o'r cychwyn, dwi'n meddwl mae e'n mynd i'w rhoi nhw mewn cyfeiriad tuag at allu aros yn y diwydiant am hirach.
Yes. The main things I wanted to say were just to make sure that we make it clear that the music industry is number of things, not just turning up on a Saturday night—the whole process is quite lengthy—and also that there is a need for support right along the way, from the beginning to the end. Also to say that there are some very complex things in the music world, such as copyright and registering songs to get royalties, and these are all things that are easier to understand as you get older, perhaps, but they're still complex. But children who are starting out in secondary school, I don't expect them to understand that world. But, unfortunately, if they don't understand it, people can take advantage and take a bit of that money that's out there in terms of royalties from radio and tv, and they don't have any support. But, if they had a little bit more support right from the beginning, I think it would take them in the direction of being able to stay in the industry for longer.
Dwi'n meddwl, os ydym ni'n edrych ar ein cefndryd Celtaidd yn yr Alban ac Iwerddon, mae'r sin yno drwy gyfrwng yr ieithoedd brodorol wedi datblygu'n wahanol. Hynny yw, maen nhw bron iawn yn gyfan gwbl yn yr Alban ac yn Iwerddon, i raddau, yn ymwneud â cherddoriaeth draddodiadol a cherddoriaeth werin, tra, yng Nghymru, mae ganddom ni'r rheini ac mae ganddom ni gerddoriaeth reggae ac mae ganddom ni gerddoriaeth roc a blues a jazz a chanu gwlad drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
I think that, if we look at our Celtic brethren in Scotland and Ireland, the scene there through the medium of the indigenous languages has developed very differently. Now, they're almost entirely, in Scotland and Ireland, in relation to traditional folk music. Whereas, in Wales, we have that, but we also have reggae music and we have rock music and blues and jazz, and country and western singing through the medium of Welsh.
Ac, actually, jest un peth arall, sori—. Jest un peth arall—[Chwerthin.] Roeddwn i'n siarad â rhywun sy'n gweithio yn y diwydiant teledu ac i gwmni cynhyrchu ac roedden nhw wedi bod draw i siarad gyda phobl TG Ceathair, sef y sianel Gwyddeleg yn Iwerddon, ac roedden nhw'n genfigennus iawn pan oedden nhw'n gweld clipiau o'r Eisteddfod a phethau fel hynny, achos mae ganddom nhw eu byd cerddoriaeth nhw eu hunain, ond, fel rwyt ti'n ei ddweud, mae'r rhan fwyaf yn gerddoriaeth gwerin draddodiadol. Ond mae bandiau pop, roc, canu gwlad, beth bynnag—electroneg—yn y wlad yma'n denu cynulleidfa fwy, ac wedyn mae hwnna'n rhywbeth i fod yn falch ohoni ac i warchod yn hytrach na bod pobl yn dod yma a jest trio taflu ychydig bach o arian at rywbeth sydd efallai ddim yn mynd i weithio. Mae yna'n barod, ond mae angen ei gefnogi a'i warchod. Diolch yn fawr.
And, actually, just one other thing—. Just one other thing—[Laughter.] I was talking to somebody who works in the tv industry for a production company, and they'd been over to speak to TG Ceathair, the Irish channel in Ireland, and they were very jealous when they saw clips from the Eisteddfod and so forth, because they have their own world of music, but usually it's folk and traditional music. But pop and rock bands and country and western, electronic—they attract a bigger audience in this country, and that's something to be proud of and to safeguard, rather than people coming here and just trying to throw a little bit of money towards something that's perhaps not going to work. It is there already, but it needs to be supported and safeguarded. Thank you very much.
Wel, diolch yn fawr unwaith eto.
Thank you very much once again.
I think I speak for everyone that that was an excellent evidence session and a lot of valuable insights that will be of great practical help with our inquiry. We're particularly grateful, given the fact you've had to travel so far to get here as well. So, thank you for the time you've taken this morning. Diolch yn fawr.
Thank you. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Diolch yn fawr.
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 12:33 a 12:35.
The meeting adjourned between 12:33 and 12:35.
I'm delighted to welcome our final witness to give evidence this morning to our inquiry into live music and music education, or to look at music education, rather, in this session, and to welcome Bethan Jenkins from Lewis School Pengam. I think we're in, in my experience anyway, the unique situation where we heard such good practice in evidence about Lewis School Pengam that we felt it would be really useful to hear directly from the person who was quoted to us as responsible, and that's Bethan. So, a great welcome to you this morning. Thank you so much for taking an interest in our work and coming in to speak to us.
So, a general question to start, before I ask my colleagues perhaps to look at slightly more detailed issues: what's the formula at Lewis School that's perhaps a little different to common practice elsewhere that has given you this reputation of excellence?
That's quite a hard question, actually, to start. We're an all boys school, I don't know whether you're aware of that, and I think the nature of an all boys school—they're very competitive, initially. As a result of that competitive nature and making the kids actually believe in themselves, I think that's probably the ground, base level. From there on in, I just think giving them high aspirations and making them actually believe that they can actually get careers in the music industry and then promoting that, and then bringing good practitioners in to support that network, is probably what's happened in Pengam, but it's been going on for probably about 10 years now.
So, you kind of start from that position that—depending, obviously, on the talents that the students have—ultimately, it could be a profession for them—
Yes, very much so.
Yes, but, over the years, I think, because we've managed to prove that to the boys in school—and the girls who are in the sixth form, obviously, but the boys in the school—because they actually believe that it's a valid profession and they can achieve in it and it's as good as going and getting a degree in university, I think that has very much created a little bit of a rollercoaster, a domino effect, so when we got one involved, then—. I'm going back—
Yes, but I think, going back, I heard Trac speak a minute ago, and they talked about the Lorient festival, and one of the first bands that we had in school was Ofelia and the kids would do a lot of performances in school. And a lot of kids see kids perform, even in just classroom situations, so the sixth form might be in a practice rooms and you'll grab a sixth former and say, 'Right, perform to a class', and they're seeing that on a constant, daily basis. So, I think, because they're used to seeing that, and then those sixth formers will then go out and gig and then they hear about it online and then the kids will see that this is a valid profession, really, to go into.
One of the areas we've looked at, of course, is the availability of resources and funding, and from reports and evidence that we've had in it's clear that this is a very significant feature, that's there's probably been a running down or a decline in provision for resources available to music. It's become perhaps a poor sister within the education system. Is that a fair comment, a fair assessment? What are your views? To what extent does it impact on what you're doing and trying to achieve?
Holistically, probably throughout Wales. But I go out specifically to find funding to put more into the system. In Pengam—that's how I refer to it, Lewis School Pengam. In Pengam, we're a PFI school anyway. So, as a result of us being a PFI school, we've got a good resource base there from the start. So, that's one area of our funding. Because we've got a recording studio within the school, we've got 30 plus Macs in school that allow the kids to access all the music software that they need to be able to do the music industry work that we do. So, that's our equipment.
And then we've got the funding on a peripatetic level. So, our peripatetic staff come in, and that's through Caerphilly music service and through other providers. So, we've got that stream of funding coming in. And then I will go out and source—and thank goodness for David Chamberlain from Caerphilly arts, who's helped fund the scholarship scheme that you've probably heard bits about. I don't know if you know much about it.
So, our scholarship scheme started in 2012 with me approaching our then head of music service, who was Keith Errington, saying, 'Is there anything that we can do for the cultural Olympiad?' because it was the Olympic year. 'Is there anything happening in Caerphilly at the time?' 'No, there isn't, but I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll put you on to Dave Chamberlain and see if there's anything happening in Caerphilly.' There wasn't at the time, but David Chamberlain then said, 'But we can put a programme in place in school. I tell you what, I'll give you some money. What are the kids good at?' I said, 'Songwriting.' As a result of that, he said, 'I'll go and find a songwriter for you.' And then, ironically, Amy Wadge came on board. She'd just had her two children. I don't know whether you know who Amy is, but she is Grammy-award-winning now. And as a result, she ended up putting in place a scholarship scheme.
As a result of her coming in and doing week-long workshops where we wrote, recorded and produced an EP of five tracks, and we performed it over in Newbridge Memo, kids were identified and put onto the scholarship scheme. Amy then became a peripatetic member of staff—it's unbelievable, the story couldn't be written—and she came in every week and then mentored those kids who were identified. And then one of the kids—at the time, he was in year 9—Alex Stacey, is now working in the industry and he's writing. He's been signed by APG and has written for OneRepublic and had things on The X Factor, and he's doing particularly well.
That scholarship scheme just then kept on going. Amy went off and won her Grammy and is writing at a very high level in the industry, but is still very supportive. And then we get producers back into school, and we give them the opportunities of going off and writing and doing sessions with different people, as a result of Dave's funding.
So, I know that's a roundabout way of covering the funding angle, but I certainly think there are three strands that make it work. But as far as the music industry bit, it's thanks to Dave and Caerphilly county borough. I hope that's—
Yes. Welcome. I hope we're not that intimidating. We are all men, though, I notice, on this committee; that's not the best look. [Laughter.] You mentioned earlier on about the music software that you have access to and the fact that some of the students were using the software as part of the work they were doing with the music industry. I just wanted to expand on that a little bit and ask what sort of contacts do you have with the industry, not just in terms of performance but also in terms of production? You already started to intimate that with what you said earlier on. So, what do those links look like?
The first link, really, would be Amy—she came in and did all her songwriting and her writing. So, in my head, how it works with the music industry in school is you've got a writing strand, a production strand, and then a performance strand to it.
Some kids will be particularly good at writing songs. It's called toplining—I don't know whether you're aware of that. And then some kids would be very, very good at production and arranging a track. So, they could just hear it from an acoustic guitar, and then somebody else could hear the whole track in their head, and then put it on to the computer.
As far as the songwriting strand is concerned, there's a lot of support in Pengam as a result of that, just because of the people that we bring in. They're very much songwriters and topliners. They tend to be our ex-pupils who come in. I've got my colleague Steven Butts, who's a very good songwriter himself. So, we've got that support network there.
Production-wise, it's very hard to get a good producer into schools. They're very thin on the ground. But we do have support within that. We've got [Inaudible.], he goes by his name—Daniel Evans, his name is. He comes in and does some production for us with the kids. But that's the only real music industry connection we have. I won't talk about the performance thing, because it was specifically about production.
Okay. Well, from the performance angle, what sort of links you have with industry from that perspective?
Just, really, our ex-pupils, who are gigging on a regular basis, and pupils currently in school as well. So, Owain Felstead, who's in year 13—I don't know whether you've heard of him—he's just come off the Forté scheme. His influence on others, because he's still in school, is fantastic. Because he was on the Forté scheme, they were able to give him some tips on performance, and he was able to perform with people who are older than him in the industry. That had its problems, though. I've got some pupil-voice things, if you're interested, saying about what's happened gig-wise.
But the kids seeing other kids perform, and the boys actually doing it themselves—it's working within the school system—and then ex-pupils coming back into the system and performing for others. I don't think it's specifically, 'Oh, yes, we're going to get this band in from so-and-so or go and watch them.' I think it's very much the boys helping the boys. And I suppose that goes back to your first question, really, doesn't it? How has it worked? I think it's very much a tight-knit community of everybody helping one another.
Yes, we've got higher numbers.
But, presumably, those who don't take music for GCSE, still, some of them will be involved in some of these activities.
Yes, some of them will be.
There's not many, because we've got such a high percentage of our cohort doing GCSE. We've got two courses. They choose their GCSEs at the end of year 8, so you've got them in year 9, 10 and 11. So, we run two courses: BTEC music technology and GCSE music. In both those cohorts, in all year groups, we've got on average 25 pupils studying for GCSE music or the BTEC course. So, we're picking up roughly 50 to 55 pupils across our cohorts. Our overall cohort is only 120, so we're looking at nearly 50 per cent of our cohort actually studying music in school, which bucks a massive trend, doesn't it? I know that. And then they obviously go on to—because we then run two courses in years 12 and 13: there's BTEC music and AS music, and A2 music as well on top of that.
We've heard from some witnesses that there's a problem, with some schools, anyway—indeed, many schools, I think, is what some of the witnesses said—that the practical side of music GCSE tends to be quite traditional, so it's string quartets or orchestral chamber music, that sort of approach, up to, indeed, the production they're supposed to put on, and that the contemporary side is much weaker. Now, obviously, what you've described is the reverse. I'm sure you still do the Radio 3 stuff, but from your observations of other schools and the state of GCSE music, is its relevance sometimes a problem? Because obviously what gets your quota up so high is that the students think it's relevant and interesting and fun.
Yes, it's just really difficult, isn't it? In Pengam, it's very much to do with the genre that we promote within the school. Because we've also got a DJ, beat box and rap teacher within school as well. People have said it's progressive. I sometimes quote this at some people, but if you go back to Mozart, he was writing for the clarinet; the clarinet was a new instrument at that time. He wanted to write for the current new trend, didn't he? What do the kids want to do? They want to write what's now and what's current. It's a spark in your head, isn't it? If you want to pick up the guitar, it's hard then to learn about all the string quartets. Yes, it is relevant; we have to know about it. But it's that spark. Once you get that spark and you've got them onside, it's easy then to go into all the other—
Just one point. You've got, obviously, a large number of people who are doing it. One of the results of the Government's feasibility study is that, increasingly, students from poor backgrounds are not taking up music. There is a very distinct linkage in between affluence and non-affluence, and so on. Do you see that within your school, and how do you try and overcome it?
We support our free school meal kids. You have to pay for peripatetic lessons at school, £50 a term, but the FSM kids don't have to pay for that. As a result, there are quite a number of FSM kids who are having peripatetic lessons in school. I think, once we've identified those and then the talent is there—