The Welsh American Acoustic Project & The Trans Celtic Gala
John Good is well known throughout the West, South, Midwest and in his native Wales as a multi-instrumentalist, Welsh piper, singer/songwriter, storyteller, composer and poet. A veteran of many Celtic festivals and concerts, including Estes Park, Chicago Celtic Fest, Sea Shanty Festival San Diego and Highland Games Denver, he brings the subtly different flavor of traditional Welsh music to the contemporary stage.
John was born in 1949 in Cwmafan, South Wales, UK., into a house where the Welsh Language was spoken. Educated in Sandfields Comprehensive School, Hull then Cardiff Universities, where he studied with renowned Welsh composer Alan Hodinott. Taught in the London school system for several years. Immigrated to the USA in 1975, living and performing in San Francisco and Los Angeles, then moving to Phoenix in 1989.
His goal is to strengthen a fledgling, Welsh and Celtic cultural presence in the Southwest and North America, by creating regional focal points, where American and Welsh/Celtic-born people with an interest in their heritage, culture and language would come to reconnect with their own living history.
For stories of John's childhood and life, visit the Short Stories archive.
A Blast from
1969, on the streets of Hull Yorkshire, where I surprisingly graduated in music, 5 or so years before the three month American trip that, so far, has lasted over 40 years. Most college learning, if any, was acquired outside the lecture hall.
|Explore John's imagination in the Poetry archive.
|Album Release Interview with John Good
Ceri Shaw of AmeriCymru interviewer, April 2013
Can you tell us a little about your new album 'Chwarae Teg'?
JP and I formed a traditional band named Afan about 15 years ago in the Phoenix area, but he had to move out of town to take care of an ailing family member and we lost touch. In January of this year a Welsh and music student of mine was singing in Welsh at a wine bar when John Piggott came up and said; "You should meet John Good." She replied: "He's my teacher!" We hooked up again and soon we were working towards a few gigs, with a recent trip to play for Berwyn Jones, Barb and Don Bennett and Laurie McAlister in the Lincoln Nebraska area suggesting we should hit the red button and immortalize our present musical condition.
The album is credited to the 'Welsh American Acoustic Project'. How does this relate to Tramor?
Tramor (Overseas) has been a variable-member ensemble for a number of years; ranging from one person to five players, 12 dancers and a pipe band ... sort of a there's-an- interesting-gig-in-the-wind-would-you-like-to-play/dance/pipe/story-tell kind of Celtic music hall menagerie. The 'Welsh American Acoustic Project' started off life as a sub-title, but JP, being an x-preppy, computer nerdish, robot-war-fest announcer likes it so much that we have to put it on every bloody thing. It's actually a pretty accurate description of what we are developing ... transatlantic, stylistic mayhem using wooden tools, no offense intended.
There is a unique version of 'Ar Lan Y Mor' on the album. Care to tell us how this evolved?
We both knew the song already and I have been toying for years with the idea of starting out with some music and/or a lyric and spinning stories from the mood, narrative or provenance of the piece. The verse about the cow has always intrigued me, so I hooked it up with an old story about a cobbler and an angry giant from Wales. Another live piece is based on an Arthurian tale told by Iolo Morganwg a couple of hundred years ago.
Care to tell us how the River Severn got its name?
No. Buy the album... just kidding! Hafren was the love child of Locrinus, who's real wife Gwendolin threw in a river out of spite and commanded everyone to remember this infamy by naming the river Hafren, that was consequently Latinized as Sabrin, then Saxonized as Severn, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth (who was about as reliable as old Iolo.)
How did the 'Wrekin' get its name?
A Welsh giant of that name unloaded a shovelful of earth where the hill now stands according to legend, but I think the fairies did it!
Where can people go online to buy 'Chwarae Teg'?
It's on the website, but if you can't wait -- and you shouldn't -- you can write to me at email@example.com ($15, including postage). It'll also be in the bookshop at AmeriCymru.
What's next for John Good and Tramor?
I intend to win the lottery tonight but in case this plan fails, we'll be out and about in Arizona, the South and Northwest, or waiting for the telephone to ring and the man with the astrakhan overcoat, beaver skin top hat and Rolls Royce to cross my palm with silver. We intend to increase our repertoire and stylistic diversity so as to keep our blossoming fan base confused but strangely happy.
Any final message for our readers?
Please don't call the mind police. I don't really think I'm Owain Glyndwr and that incident with the parrot and the pirate ... that was an accident.
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