Cerys Matthews

The singer-songwriter and broadcaster shares her views on singing skateboarders, musical ferries and clog dancers…

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 2 May 2013
  • min read
Singing skateboarders, musical ferries, steel pans and clog dancers were among the entries singer-songwriter and broadcaster Cerys Matthews had to consider when judging the UK’s first ever New Music Biennial last month.

Along with a panel including percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, composer Max Richter and composer/saxophonist Jason Yarde, Cerys whittled down an eclectic list of 130 composers and commissioning organisations to just 20.

Among those selected to take part in the PRS for Music Foundation initiative were Matthew Herbert, composer and broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy and Shingai Shoniwa from the Noisettes. For a full list of participating composers, please click here.

As a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Cerys has worked with the likes of Arun Ghosh, Tunde Jegede, Attab Haddad, Tom Jones, Frank Moon, the London Bulgarian Choir and Ballet Cymru.

In her roles as author and broadcaster she has written and presented documentaries on subjects as diverse as Mahalia Jackson, Memphis Minnie, Hidegard Von Bingen, Blue Horizon (the iconic British blues label) and Sacred Harp singing. Previously, Cerys was lead singer and songwriter for multi-million selling band Catatonia during the nineties and now records and releases solo material.

She hosts a Sunday morning music show on BBC 6Music, makes documentaries for television as well as BBC Radio 2 and 4 and is a regular writer and presenter for the Culture Show and the One Show.

Here Cerys talks to M and PRS for Music Foundation about the New Music Biennial judging process and the general state of commissioning in the UK at the moment.

New Music Biennial is a PRS for Music Foundation initiative in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the British Council. It is presented in collaboration with BBC Radio 3, NMC Recordings, Southbank Centre and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music.