Pupils inspired by hottest Welsh music acts performing at their school

The music scene in Cardiff is vibrant, with the city the location for exciting festivals and scores of venues, recording studios and rehearsal rooms catering to every musical style – from classical to jazz, hip-hop and electronica.

Cardiff Council is supporting the scene through the Cardiff Music Strategy, which puts music at the heart of the city, championing and promoting music as a tool for growth, rather than a by-product of it.

Key to this is encouraging young people to embrace music, in line with the Welsh Government’s National Plan for Music Education, and today the Council officially launched Little Gigs – a programme that brings music and musicians right into the heart of schools.

Llanishen High School was the venue for today’s official launch of this exciting new project and it hosted performances from two of the hottest Welsh acts on the scene – Chroma (pictured) and Maditronique, who performed short sets in front of pupils.

In the audience for the hour-long ‘little gig’ were more than 100 pupils, all of whom had expressed an interest in learning more about the music business, including being part of a band, writing for the music press or being part of the behind-the-scenes technicians who look after lighting and sound.

“Although today was the official launch, a number of high schools have housed their own Little Gigs over the autumn term already. These gigs are just the catalyst; inspired learners will now be encouraged to sign up to the Little Gigs programme of mentorships, training and support from industry partners,” said Rhian Boyce, lead teacher for the project for Cardiff Council’s Curriculum team.

“The gigs have been so incredibly inspiring, from youngsters at Ty Gwyn Special School wanting to start their own compositions to a literal stage-storming performance by rapper DFlexx at his own former high school, Cardiff West.

“I can’t wait to see how our partners at CF Music, Anthem, Sound Progression and the music scene at large support the young people to find their own voices on the music scene.”

Cllr Sarah Merry, the Council’s deputy leader and the Cabinet Member for Education, was among those enjoying the performances at Llanishen High today. “It was wonderful to see the young people enjoying live music – some for the first time, I think.

“Little Gigs are a direct result of the Sound Diplomacy report we commissioned into Cardiff’s music ‘eco-system’ which recommended building partnerships with professionals in delivering music education in the city. To that end, we have joined with organisations including Clwb Ifor Bach, Music Box Studios and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to make that happen.”

Her colleague, Cllr Jennifer Burke, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, said: “These Little Gigs will help nurture a whole new generation of music lovers but, going beyond that, the workshops and mentoring opportunities linked to the gigs will also play a key role in providing the pipeline of talent – both on-stage and behind the scenes – that is needed to ensure Cardiff’s music sector continues to thrive in the future.”

After the hour-long gig, both Maddie Jones, alias Maditronique, and Chroma lead singer Katie Hall, said they were thrilled to have been given the chance to entertain and inspire their young audience. “If I’d had something like this when I was at school it would have been amazing,” said Katie, whose band is lined up to support the Foo Fighters this year.

One of those inspired was Eleanor Maizey, a Year 12 music technology student. “I absolutely loved it. Bands like Chroma are right down my alley and it made me want to pick up my bass guitar again and start writing stuff.”

Llanishen High’s head of music, Matt Grimstead, said: “For us, the benefit of Little Gigs is twofold – it gives pupils who wouldn’t normally get the chance to go to a concert the chance to see live music up close, and the potential for mentoring and workshops will give great support for our music students.”