20150412

100890

DIWYDIANFA (the name is a corruption of the Welsh for "Industry", and is taken from a misprint in a Welsh/English dictionary) were a left-wing Welsh Nationalist performance art collective who were responsible for the London Bomb. The name was first applied in 1996 to an aggressive rock band formerly known as Cyfeb (itself a rebranding of an earlier outfit: The Angels of Death).

The Angels of Death were formed in Carmarthen in 1980 as a backing band for Leeds-born guitarist John Craven. The original lineup consisted of former Gong guitarist Steve Hillage and session keyboardist Carl Whittington, plus Petra Corren and Dewi Newbold from legendary Welshpool punks Dirywio. Warren Smith, Adrian Mooney and Chris Holland of Dirywio's old rivals The Seed, had replaced Hillage, Whittington and the erratic Newbold by 1984.

The Seed had been formed in Bangor in 1974, and had established themselves as an important Welsh Punk / New Wave act. Initially raw pub-rock, they progressed to a more mature punk sound before dabbling with electronics on their second album. Their rivalry with Dirywio was largely stage-managed by the Clustcwyr label. The later lineup of The Angels of Death was effectively a takeover by The Seed -- only bassist Iain Calloway was left behind from the old lineup, effectively replaced by Petra Corren.

Corren was unquestionably the leading influence within the group, and the source of their growing militancy. She instigated the name-change to Cyfeb in 1992, and, after a spell of pregnancy and child-rearing, the further metamorphosis into the noisier, hip-hop influenced Diwydianfa

Diwydianfa released one 7" single each year from 1997 to 2002. The rest of their year was spent on political activism. Diwydianfa left the Clustcwyr label following the ACNC takeover in 2002, and subsequent releases were home-made productions.

Corren stood for Plaid Cymru in the 2005 general election but failed to win her seat. In 2008 she gained a place on the Carmarthenshire County Council, only to be expelled from Plaid two years later after an undisclosed incident involving the council's Chief Executive and an otter. In 2012 she retained her seat as an independent candidate.

Corren chose not to stand for re-election in 2016, instead rekindling Diwydianfa as a performance art collective, for the most-part with new (and no-longer strictly musical) personnel: membership of the group appears to have been somewhat fluid, and Corren herself took something of a back seat after the collective's 2017 stint at the Edinburgh Fringe. They embarked upon a tour of the UK, performing their anarchic blend of music, magic and dance in city centres. One part of their show was a disappearing act using a nuclear missile prop (intended as a metaphor for nuclear disarmament). It is not known where they originally got this prop (common speculation has it that Chris Holland bought it in a pub), but concert footage proves it had been on stage with Diwydianfa before their split with Clustcwyr in 2002. The disappearing missile formed part of a televised routine for ATV's "Saturday Night at the Lindrick Palais" variety programme on 5° May 2018. One viewer wrote in to express concern that the missile was a genuine ex-Soviet weapon (or to congratulate the designer on their copy). Four days later, members of the Diwydianfa troupe (subsequently identified as Cam Jones, Ffion DeGroot, Daf Harris, Ed Llewellyn, Rosie Proctor, Clare Swinford, Alan Stevens, Em McLaren, and an otherwise unidentified performer known only as Hyzenflay) were performing in Trafalgar Square when the device exploded. The detonation is assumed to have been accidental.

No comments:

Post a comment