Folk Alliance Project -The Gentle Good - photo by Blanche Rowen

Bonello, Gareth

Residency at the House of Songs & showcase at Folk Alliance International

I was offered an official showcase slot at Folk Alliance International (FAI) 2016 in Kansas City, the largest folk music conference in the world. As a result of this I was invited to take part in a residency at the House of Songs in Austin the week prior to FAI.

The residency at the House of Songs was extremely worthwhile and helped me to develop as a songwriter. I spent a week co-writing songs with musicians from Denmark, Canada, the USA and Sweden. The project gave me a valuable insight into my own songwriting processes and helped me to grow as a writer. I am confident that I will continue to work with some of the songwriters and the House of Songs itself and have made both personal friendships and professional contacts that will last a lifetime.

Attending FAI was also a valuable experience and one that I am confident will lead to further work in North America, Europe and the UK. I believe my time at FAI will further my standing as an artist ready for more international touring, particularly in North America. I also feel it was very beneficial to meet and perform in the Horizons suite with the other UK artists and the team from EFDSS and British Underground and I hope that the links I made will lead to greater collaboration within the UK in the near future.

In addition to attending seminars, the trade fair, music workshops and official showcases I also took an active part in the unofficial evening music sessions that take over three floors of the conference hotel. I performed in rooms several times per night and invited bookers, DJs and other musicians to attend these showcases as well as my official one. I feel that the showcases went well, particularly the official one.

I am working with several of the musicians with whom I collaborated at the House of Songs. I am in contact with these musicians and it is likely that we will collaborate online initially before meeting up to record studio versions of our work. I see these collaborations yielding new material that will go towards making new records and touring opportunities. I am also in touch with the organisers of the House of Songs and intend to carry on working with them on projects in both the US and in the UK.

I am very grateful to WAI for organising the trip to the House of Songs for me. It was a truly transformative experience and one I am sure will open many doors for me for years to come. It was a fantastic head start for Folk Alliance and I feel that this opportunity should be offered to Welsh songwriters for years to come.

I have written two blogs about my experiences in the US:.

The House of Songs Blog

http://www.thegentlegood.com/the-house-of-songs/

A programme was also made for US channel PBS aired in October 2016. View the trailer below:

Folk Alliance International Blog

http://www.thegentlegood.com/usa-part-ii-folk-alliance-international/

Original track ‘Mor Vise’ co-written at the House of Songs with Ida Wenoe from Denmark.

http://www.thegentlegood.com

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