Rheinallt H. Rowlands
Rheinallt H Rowlands was a band from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch operating between 1991 and 2001. It was the brain-child of Ectogram's Alan Holmes and consisted of Oz Wright and Dewi Evans. The band was originally formed to contribute to the spoof compilation album Hen Wlad y Lladd-dai (Land of the Slaughterhouses), an album of songs performed by imaginary singers and groups. Evans and Wright performed under the name Rheinallt H. Rowlands and the following back-story was created:
"On May the 17th 1980, the quarry where Rheinallt H. Rowlands had been working for the previous thirteen years was forced to close, making all the workers redundant. Despondent almost to the point of suicide, Rheinallt walked the thirteen miles back to his isolated cottage for the final time and sat in his old wooden chair with a bowl of broth. Finding the silence unbearable, he turned on his old valve radio and, fumbling to tune it to the Home Service, he inadvertently came across the John Peel programme on BBC Radio 1. Rheinallt would not normally have paused for more than one second on such new-fangled nonsense, but on this occasion the voice that came from the crackly speaker was so deeply mournful it seemed to have a special resonance with his current state of mind. When the record finished, Rheinallt heard that the voice was that of Ian Curtis of the then popular group Joy Division and that he had committed suicide that very day. Far from deepening Rheinallt’s depression, this news brought a profound inspiration to him and he decided that moment that he would forge a new career as a popular singer."
Upon hearing their contribution to the album, BBC Radio Cymru DJ Nia Melville invited them to record a session for her show Heno Bydd yr Adar yn Canu. Following the success of this recording, Evans and Wright decided to continue performing as Rheinallt H. Rowlands.
Their first album, Hendaid Brân a Straeon Eraill (Great-Grandfather Crow and Other Tales), was given a cassette-only release in 1993 on Central Slate records (it was re-released by ankstmusik on CD in 1998).
This was followed by Bukowski in 1996, which received significant press attention, drawing comparisons with Scott Walker, Ennio Morricone, and The Divine Comedy. It was named as one of the albums of the year by The Independent.
The final Rowlands album, Rheinallt III, was released in 2001 and featured a re-recording of their Welsh-language cover of Joy Division's New Dawn Fades, Gwawr Newydd Yn Cilio.
A few months after the release of Rheinallt III, Evans and Wright decided they had taken the band as far as they could and disbanded. Evans concentrating on his work as a composer and Wright starting a carpentry business.
They began working on new material in 2005, along with former Topper and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci drummer Peter Richardson. However, Oz Wright was killed in a road accident on 23 December 2005.