Words and music

Music, poetry and prose can be a match made in heaven, a match we want to celebrate to the rafters at this year’s Monty Lit Fest.

We also like a literary festival first and we’re pretty sure that we’re the first literary festival to offer our very own version of a Cymanfa Ganu – a good old singalong –  complete with the Ponybontfawr Male Voice Choir. 

The inspiration for the session is the new book by M Wynn Thomas: Poems From the Soul: Twelve of the Great Hymns of Wales. The book’s premise is something that we already instinctively know: that hymns are different in Wales. Even as many of us move away from organised religion, the great hymns of our time persist: we turn to them at weddings and funerals, at rugby matches and in pubs.

In conversation with Sioned Webb, Wynn will explore why these hymns are the heart and soul of a people’s poetry and how they played a vital role in the creation of the Welsh people.

But we won’t have to take Wynn’s word for it. The choir will also be leading us in singing some of those hymns ourselves, from the visionary intensity of Montgomeryshire’s Ann Griffiths to the striking biblical imagery of Wales’s unofficial national anthem, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer. Start practicing your best Calon Lân now – and join us in the beautiful surroundings of St Nicholas Church, Montgomery on Sunday 9th June at 5.00pm.

Monty Lit Fest, of course, is nothing if not diverse. We love music and writing about music in all its diverse forms. 

Our Friday night Late Lounge, hosted by Welsh music legend, Rhys Mwyn, has become a Monty Lit Fest institution. This year, we’re going back to the 1990s  when bands like Catatonia, Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics and Super Furry Animals exploded into the charts and showed the world that the Welsh music scene offers so much more than Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones.

This was the decade when Cool Cymru really did rule the charts, the subject of Neil Collins’ brilliant new book, International Velvet. Neil will be talking to Rhys about the book and the decade that put Wales on the musical map in ways that still inspire the vibrant Welsh music scene today.

Come along to Montgomery Town Hall for a pint and the chance to relive the 1990s on Friday 7th June at 8.00pm

Tickets are available online, or in person at The Montgomery Bookshop or Ivy House Café in Montgomery.