Although her feet are rooted deep in the earth of Eifionydd, Gwyneth’s gaze is always drawn to distant horizons. A poet, singer and playwright, she sees herself as an artist-adventurer who thrives on experimenting with different forms.
A former pupil of Glanaethwy performance school, she read Philosophy and Theology at Jesus College, Oxford, where she was a member of OUDS and the Oxford Revue. While at the University she acquired a taste for performing in theatre productions, as well as singing with the folk / Americana band Coca Rosa and the Dirty Cousins.
Having gained a first-class degree she returned to Wales to follow a career as a writer and singer. She was appointed Wales’ Poet Laureate for Children 2006 – 2007, and has written extensively for theatre and television, including script-writing regularly for the BBC soap opera Pobol y Cwm. Three albums of her work have been released: Wyneb Dros Dro in 2005, Tonau in 2007 and Cainc in 2011.
In 2016 Ghazalaw, her collaboration with the Indian ghazal singer Tauseef Akhtar, received a BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nomination for Best Traditional Track, for the song Moliannwn / Ishq karo. The collaboration weaves Welsh folk tunes and folk verses with ghazal, the Urdu love poetry tradition. The collaboration performed a showcase at WOMEX Cardiff, and also appeared in the opening concert, where they made an impression on singer and broadcaster Cerys Matthews. Ghazalaw’s album was released jointly by Mwldan and Marvels of the Universe – Cerys and Steve Abbott’s label. They toured in Wales and England, and performed in festivals and concerts in India; in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
Gwyneth is drawn as strongly towards the West as to the East. She appeared several times at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington D.C. in 2009, including a special concert at the Kennedy Center, where her songs and poetry were most warmly acclaimed. In 2013 she was invited to return to the Festival, which focused that year on endagered languages. She spent a period composing at the House of Songs in Austin, Texas, and performed at several concerts at the Folk Alliance International in Kansas City.
In 2015 and 2016 she supported Seckou Keita, the kora-player from Senegal on his ‘22 Strings’ tour throughout the British Isles, reaching and enchanting new audiences.
She has collaborated with some of Wales’ most prominent artists – Heather Jones, Catrin Finch, Gareth Bonello, Al Lewis, Georgia Ruth, Bryn Terfel and Rhys Meirion to name but a few. In 2016 she appeared in the special concert ‘Songs of Separation’ in Cardiff, which presented the talents of some of the leading female figures of the folk scene throughout the British Isles. Songs of Separation went on to win the Best Album award at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards 2017.
She recently completed her first opera libretto (an adaptation of Gwenlyn Parry’s play ‘Y Tŵr’) – a co-production between Music Theatre Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, which received favourable reviews, including five stars from The Times. Recently she has also been developing a new piece of dance-theatre with De Oscuro theatre company – ‘Teilchion / Fragments’ – which explores the experiences of women who have lived through the care system, and how that affects their lives and relationships.
In her latest collection of songs, Tro, Gwyneth encompasses all her recent influences and experiences. It is a collection that traces the journey back to her roots – from Cardiff, where she lived for five years, back to her native environment in Eifionydd, North Wales; the heart’s journey back from darkness to light, and the soul’s journey from a distant, foreign desert to the fruitful greenness of the very place where it belongs.
She lives in Cricieth with her six-year-old son, Maelgwn.