Nuria Graham (Catalonia)

The half-Catalan, half-Irish composer Núria Graham published her debut album “First Tracks” in 2015 with only 16 years. In just over two years, she released “Bird Eyes” + “In The Cave” (EP) and almost next her second feature “Does It Ring a Bell?” (2017), an album that positioned her on the national scene as an essential artist to understand homemade folk-pop. But during these last two years Núria has had no rest. After a tour that took her to the stages of the most relevant festivals and venues in the country with incursions into Portugal, Berlin, France and London; and after having won a place as a composer and guitarist for Amaia’s band, Núria Graham finally has new material. Something we were all waiting for.

Teddy Hunter

Teddy Hunter is a Cardiff based musician and songwriter working in alternative music and immersive audio. Her practice takes root in sonic arts, exploring the environment through and sound and installation where the gentle immersive ambience are combined with song writing and traditional instrumentation. Characterised by dreamy loops, gradual builds and synthesized melodies, her performances slowly unfurl fragmented strata of sounds collectively entwining with the ethereal humanity of layered vocals.

Teddy Hunter is Green Man Rising Winner of 2021. Her debut single, Games, was released on Bubblewrap Collective May 2020. Teddy features on the track ‘The Human Touch’, Late Night Final debut release on Pias Records.

Go Go Machine Orchestra (Taiwan)

Go Go Machine Orchestra was established in 2017 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The artists who create the group’s hypnotic collage of music and sound are Ni-Li Tang (piano), Pin-Hsin Wang (synthesizer), Kuan-Yin Chen (guitar) and Ting-Chun Yeh (percussion).

The group takes elements from many different musical styles (minimalism, electronica, slowcore, percussion-based music) and creates a sound that could be compared to a sight seeing tour: much like each stop along the way provides different scenery, each composition provides a completely different aural landscape. By the journey’s end the listener’s senses have been profoundly affected.

Each band member studied and perfected their musical craft at various international locales (LA, New York, Chicago), and after returning to Taiwan formed Go Go Machine Orchestra. They have performed at major music festivals and music industry events all over Taiwan, and now they will embark on their first European tour, with North American and Asian tours to follow. The group is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to share their music with a global audience.

Camera

We’re delighted to be welcoming the long overdue return of Wrexham band Camera to FOCUS Wales 2023. This will be a busy one, so don’t be late!

HMS Morris

HMS Morris are an art-rock group from Wales. They’ve been touring and recording since 2015, and are supported by the Cardiff-based Bubblewrap Collective.

LEMFRECK

LEMFRECK is an artist, producer and writer who excels in unique storytelling through music and self-directed visuals. Named on BBC Introducing’s Ones To Watch, and following showcases with FOCUS Wales at M for Montreal and at Gwyl Cymru in New York, we’re excited to see what awaits this promising artist in 2023.

Prima Queen

Prima Queen are an all-female indie/alternative rock band fronted by songwriting duo and best friends Louise Macphail (Bristol, UK) and Kristin McFadden (Chicago, USA). Combining vulnerable and nostalgic story telling with light-hearted lyrical imagery, their ethereal yet gritty style draws influences from artists such as Julia Jacklin, Nilüfer Yanya and Lucy Dacus.

Shortly after releasing their debut single ‘Milk Teeth’, the band joined The Big Moon on a sold-out UK tour, and have since toured with the likes of Wet Leg, Billy Nomates and Pip Blom. In November 2021, Prima Queen signed to Nice Swan Records and released ‘Chew My Cheeks’, the first track from their debut EP, produced by The Big Moon.

Cerys Hafana

Edyf (an old Welsh word for ‘thread’, pronounced eh-div) is Welsh triple harpist Cerys Hafana’s second album. It is largely based on material found in the Welsh National Library’s online archive, including fragments of Psalm tunes, hymns about doomsday and philosophical musings on the length of eternity, along with some original compositions. The album is primarily performed on the Welsh triple harp, but also features bodhrán, double bass, althorn and the electronically processed sounds of a water bottle being hit.

Cerys Hafana is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who mangles, mutates, and transforms traditional music. She explores the creative possibilities and unique qualities of the triple harp, and is also interested in found sounds, archive materials and electronic processing. She comes from Machynlleth, Wales, where rivers and roads meet on the way to the sea.

Having released her debut album, Cwmwl, in 2020, Cerys has also filmed an episode of the TV show Curadur exploring the stranger side of Welsh folk music, contributed an essay on Welsh music and queer identity to Welsh (Plural), and recently recorded a live session at the BBC Maida Vale studios with Horizons Cymru.

This is not the harp in a school lesson or on stage at an Eisteddfod. This is not a piece in a museum. This is contemporary music which gives the traditional an enormous kick out of any respectable deep-sleep the Enlightened are trying to protect.
Rhys Mwyn, Herald Gymraeg (translated from Welsh)

ISLET

‘unhinged, euphoric, wonderful’ Pitchfork
‘More of a happening than a band’ The Independent
‘A model of how a left-leaning rock band ought to conduct themselves’ NME

Islet are remote Welsh outsiders, studying life via a refracting telescope, adept in the art of conjoining parts that don’t fit. A Powys based band whose free-spirited invention and exuberant intensity flows through experimental pop: hypnotic, exhilarating and defiantly unique.

They began in Cardiff in 2009 when Emma Daman and brothers Mark and John ‘JT’ Thomas resolved to form a band with one rule: that anything was possible. Soon after, they were joined by Alex Williams. The band had no lead singer or set roles, switching instruments from song to song, melding psych rock, ethereal atmospherics and jagged post punk, with most gigs seeing the walls and spectators played as instruments. They were soon surrounded by a buzz of excitement and mystique, cherished locally, then globally. They wrote about their philosophy in their own zine, started a festival, helped other bands; they are stalwarts of the Welsh DIY community.

Two albums (Illuminated People, 2012 – shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize – and Released By The Movement, 2013) and a handful of EPs (Celebrate This Place, 2010; Wimmy, 2010) followed, released on their own label, Shape Records. Their last release was Liquid Half Moon EP 2016 and the band became a trio following the departure of JT in 2018.

Islet “create an ideology that fuels creativity” claims The Quietus (2011) and this feels true when you see them live: joyful abandon, unbridled energy with a fierce urge to challenge, to embrace, communicate, excite and, ultimately, set their audience free. As NME put it, Islet is “More of a happening than a band”.

Some ten years in the making, Islet have signed to Fire Records, home of many an experimental deep thinker and everyday cult icon… and what’s more is that they now have all four original members back together. Now, they are recording new songs and filling a bigger room with caterpillars and clouds, Emma Daman Thomas moving into focus with her unleashed, mesmerizing vocals against a synth-driven sound, unexpected shifts of rhythm, playful inventive lyrics; an exhilarating, electronic purr that provokes thought and feeling and dancing.

Touring history (including Primavera, Eurosonic, SXSW, Radars (Japan): HERE

Discography: HERE

Sophie McKeand

ysbryd | cyborg

Physical manifestation of The MthR Trilogy.

spoken word | field recordings

Edie Bens

Edie Bens is a 21 year old singer songwriter from Wales who grew up on country music and heartbreak. She effortlessly weaves folk and pop to tell universal stories of love and loss you can occasionally dance to.

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