This year’s Festival of Voice music programme features Welsh Music Prize winner, The Gentle Good, the stage name of Cardiff based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gareth Bonello.
Best known for his intricate guitar playing and distinctive vocals, Gareth has previously enchanted audiences both as a soloist and with more complex live set-ups. His collaborations with the Mavron Quartet were previewed at The Festival of Voice launch back in March and he will once again be taking to the stage with them at Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio on June 14.
Andy Howells caught up with Gareth after the preview to discuss The Festival of Voice.
How did The Gentle Good come to be?
I started gigging in Cardiff about 10 years ago. I was doing traditional music under my own name Gareth Bonello performing traditional Welsh folk songs. Then I started writing and a friend of mine put on a gig and as it was a one off he said you’ve got to have a stage name and I thought oh I’ll do The Gentle Good and it’s a literal translation of my name Gareth been gentle and the bon bit of Bonello being good. It stuck after that!
Recently you won The Welsh Music Prize?
That was a real surprise, I’d been nominated for the Welsh Music Prize for album of the year in Welsh music. I’d been nominated twice before and thought I didn’t have much of a chance, it maybe wasn’t the right type of music for the award and I won the award in October for the album Ruins, which came out last year.
You collaborated with the Mavron Quartet at the Festival of Voice launch, have you worked with them before?
We’ve been working together for a few years now and we’ve done three records together. Myself, and Seb Goldfinch, a composer who works in Cardiff have worked on string arrangements for the Mavron Quartet with my songs for the last three records and for that reason they are very familiar with me. We used to play together and it was real honor to play with them because we don’t get to do it that often.
What’s it like to be participating in the Festival of Voice?
It’s great! When it happened two years ago I thought it was fantastic. It was amazing to have so many internationally renowned artists coming to Cardiff. I love the collaborative angle and the way they try to commission new work and they get people from different parts of the world to collaborate on performances. For me, as a local artist, it’s something I want to get involved with and it gives you a chance to play in places like Wales Millennium Centre.
What about the future, is there another album in the making?
I’m developing a collaborative project with artists in the Khasi Hills in North east India. Probably next year there will be some musical work based on that and I’m working on some of my own work as well as other collaborations so there will definitely be more music coming soon.
- The Gentle Good performs live with The Mavron Quartet with support from Ivan Moult at Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio on June 14. Visit http://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2018-2019/FestivalofVoice/Gentle/ for booking details.