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Sunday Times CD of the Week accolade for music student’s band

One third year music student at Bangor University has had a great beginning to his musical new year- as his band Y Niwl’s album of the same name receives the accolade of The Sunday Times’ Culture Section Rock & Pop CD of the Week (2.1.11).

Gruff ab Arwel, who is studying Music and Welsh at Bangor University, is the band’s organ / guitar player.

This review is bound to bring the Welsh group to the attention of a far wider audience.  Added to this, Gruff, who previously performed in Eitha Tal Ffranco, and fellow band members are going to be busy over the coming months as they are also supporting Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys in the UK in February and Japan in April.

Their particular niche brand of retro ‘post-surf pop’ is receiving critical acclaim and attracting the attention of reviewers elsewhere, including both The Independent and The Guardian as well as BBC Radio Wales’ Adam Walton.

Gruff said that he’s been enjoying the surprise of each piece of positive attention that the band is receiving and is eager to see just how far they can go, ‘riding the surf’ of their current success.

“The band and University fortunately follow different timescales, so I’m managing both at the moment, and my tutors have been great in helping me to fit it all in. I’m still working out how the tour will work but it should be ok,” said Gruff.

“The Music part of my degree has really helped me to place the band’s music in its wider context and has helped with the creative side as well,” he added.

Dr. Craig Owen Jones, lecturer at Bangor’s School of Music where Gruff is studying Music and Welsh, a researcher in popular music studies, and Gruff’s personal tutor, said:

‘I was a fan of Gruff’s work as one half of Eitha Tal Ffranco even before he began his studies at the School of Music.  His work on the Beatles and punk rock has been consistently excellent – it’s easy to see why!

“Gruff is the latest in a steady stream of undergraduates from Bangor’s School of Music to enjoy success in the popular music industry.  I have no doubt that he, and Y Niwl, will go far.”


Listen to Y Niwl on their Myspace page here.

Publication date: 6 January 2011