Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

“Cool, Beautiful, Moving, Toe-tapping, Hand-clapping Music”

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Bardd , Sweet Grassmarket- Grassmarket 2 , August 21, 2019
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Bardd The number of music events at the Fringe runs well into three figures. Music does not bring in the reviewers in the way that theatre does. But critics from Wales were there to like what they heard.

From Critically Speaking:

“This North Walian four-piece is one of only a few pieces that feels like it’s actually of Wales. Describing themselves as a mix of folk and hip hop, Bardd fuse electronic sampling and live instrumentation to create a unique sound.

“But the real calling card are the vocals. The two vocalists, Martin Daws and Mr Phormula, are ridiculously good, singing and rapping bilingually over hip hop beats and soulful trumpeting from Neil Yates. Daws’s other life as a poet comes to the forefront in tracks like River Song, which feels like a love letter to Wales. Another track, about Grenfell Tower in London (not far from where Daws grew up), is short but deeply poignant.

“Henry Horell is excellent on keys and background vocals, his higher pitch complimenting Daws’ baritone spoken word beautifully. However, without a doubt, the star of the show is Mr Phormula. He may be dressed unassumingly in t-shirt, jeans and trilby hat, but Phormula is a genius with the microphone in his hand. Whether it’s rapping, beatboxing or creating a vocal soundscape, the Welsh artist is a captivating presence on stage. He really comes into his own in a soulful cover of How Many Mics by The Fugees, their influence keenly felt on this great foursome.

“Tricky is another artist whose presence can be heard in Bardd’s music, but what makes Bardd so distinctly them is the Welshness. Their music is as much about bringing the Welsh language to the world as it is about entertaining it, and that can only be admired. A great set from a great band.”

From Wales Arts Review

"Drawing from a diverse musical background, Bardd is marketed as a synergy of hip hop and folk influences, although that feels a little too straightforward when confronted with the reality. Maybe the most impressive element of this show is its comfortable lyricism, shifting between English and Welsh as if there’s no real divide at all.

"Even the rhymes of former Young Person’s Laureate of Wales Martin Daws and beatboxer Mr Phormula flow from one to the other, synergising the two in a way rarely, if ever, heard in music. This is a theme that they return to several times, both in their lyrics and in between songs: the coexistence of languages and communities, and the creation of bridges through the destruction of walls.

"Bardd is a genuinely innovative display of Welsh talent."

An audience member left a record::

“This was excellent. The audience was undeservedly small but we felt privileged since we were treated to a tight, talented Welsh band dishing out fabulous HipHop/ Jazz/ Funk/ Folk fusion interwoven with poetic lyricism. Cool, beautiful, moving, toe-tapping, hand-clapping stuff. Get tickets before the word gets out.”

Reviews, cited,with thanks, can be read in full at:

Audience from

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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