“Free Your Mind!” Katell’s Top 3 (OK, 4) at FoV

By Katell Keineg, writer and performer, Highway One

TIME Magazine deem her “folksy and hypnotic”, Iggy Pop invited her to sing on American Caesar, and now Brittany-born-Wales-raised musician Katell Keineg is the writer of (and performer in) Highway One, a new co-production by Wales Millennium Centre and August 012, which premieres at Festival of Voice this June.

Here are Katell’s top 3 (well, OK, 4) picks from the rest of this year’s Festival of Voice programme:

 1.Gruff Rhys and BBC National Orchestra of Wales

I’ve been a big fan of Gruff Rhys’ song-writing for nearly 20 years both with Super Furry Animals and as a solo performer. He’s an annoyingly good melodist. I say annoying because then I have to try harder. He’s not only playing at FoV with a great band made up of Kliph Scurlock, Steve Black (aka Sweet Baboo) and Osian Gwynedd, which would be exciting enough in itself but here they are, backed by a big, bloody orchestra! Sorry, that sounds disrespectful – our national orchestra. A treat on all levels.

 2.Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff ) 

I pass that shop every day and I’ve never been in, but I digress. This is Carys Eleri’s musical show about the neuroscience of love and let me tell you, I’ll be going along with a notebook. There’s a wildness and a sweetness about her as an actor and she can sing up a storm and she’s funny and her show apparently has a unicorn in it. That’s enough for me.

 3.The Gentle Good and The Mavron Quartet and Gwenno (Edrica)

Ok, this is actually two gigs, not one, they only gave me three picks.

Gareth Bonello, aka The Gentle Good, has written one of the most earth-shatteringly beautiful and poignant songs of the last few years in the form of “Bound For Lampedusa", a song about migrants crossing the Mediterranean. He’s a supremely good guitar player and accompanied by the Mavron Quartet, his music is a swirl of transcendence that makes it hard not to levitate.

I don’t know anything about what the electronic frontierswoman Gwenno has up her sleeve with her show about the poet and patchwork artist Edrica Huws but I’m very intrigued. You could go to The Rolling Stones or you could go to Gwenno. Start Me Up… yadda, yadda, yadda. Free your mind!


Katell will perform with a live band as part of Highway One, which promises to be a theatre-gig-cinema hybrid, with a working TV studio as the venue.

Other band members include Iwan Huws, Eugene Capper and Gwion Llewelyn (Villagers, Race Horses)

See Highway One from 5 – 10 June at Enfys Studio

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