Aberystwyth trumpeter Tomos Williams tours to Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Powys for the third and final iteration of his extraordinary 'Cwmwl Tystion' project.

Following on from performances in 2019 (Cwmwl Tystion / Witness in the Great Hall) and 2021 (Cwmwl Tystion II / Riot!), Tomos has once again assembled an incredible band of Welsh and international talent for Cwmwl Tystion III / Empathy. Mared Williams and Eadyth Crawford are two of Wales' most in-demand Welsh language vocalists.

Mared recently played the lead in ‘Branwen:Dadeni’, and Eadyth has been creating unique, soulful Welsh r'n'b for years. Mark O'Connor is on drums and there are creative live visuals from Simon Proffitt.

Tomos will also be joined by Nguyên Lê, an internationally-renowned electric guitarist from France via Vietnam, and Melvin Gibbs from Brooklyn, a giant on the electric bass.

Cwmwl Tystion III Empathy band
Cwmwl Tystion III Empathy band (Pictures supplied)

The band will perform original music (composed by Tomos and commissioned by Tŷ Cerdd) incorporating elements of jazz, heavy rock, and Welsh folk music. The name 'Cwmwl Tystion' (Cloud of witnesses) is derived from a poem by the great Welsh poet Waldo Williams and the music will deal with events and issues in Welsh history like the Welsh Not, the Miners' Strike and the Aberfan disaster. Cwmwl Tystion III / Empathy promises to be a land-mark event in the Welsh musical calendar.

Tomos said: “I first saw Melvin Gibbs perform at the legendary Tonic in New York's Lower East Side in 2001, so to have Melvin agree to come to Wales and participate in this tour is incredible and a real privilege. No-one else plays the electric bass quite like him. While I've also followed Nguyên Lê's career for decades, having seen him perform numerous times at Brecon Jazz Festival and in London. He'll bring his fusion chops and world-jazz aesthetic to the music. Interestingly, Melvin and Nguyên have never performed together, so this will be a world first on Welsh soil”.

“Mared and Eadyth are also two of the leading lights in a new generation of Welsh vocalists, who are fearless creators. Eadyth was a member of the 'Cwmwl Tystion II / Riot!' band while Mark O'Connor on drums and Simon Proffitt on live visuals have been involved in all three Cwmwl Tystion bands.”

The tour is made possible by financial support from The Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd.

Cwmwl Tystion III / Empathy comes to Gwynedd’s Pontio in Bangor on Thursday, 30 May, at 7.30pm, and there will be a Q and A after the performance. From there, the show tours to Wrexham, but it arrives in Ceredigion on Saturday, 1 June for a performance at Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Theatr y Werin (7.30pm).

A few days later, it’s Powys’ turn to receive the show. Cwmwl Tystion III / Empathy is at Lost ARC, Rhayader on Wednesday, 5 June, also at 7.30pm.