I WILL begin this week by wishing you all a happy Dydd Gwyl Dewi (St David’s Day). A very significant date in the Welsh calendar, March 1 being the date of Saint David’s death in 589AD. According to legend, much of which is now shrouded in the mists of time, he was born in Pembrokeshire, son of Sanctus, King of Ceredigion and a nun called Nonnita (Non) although this has been disputed by historians. He became a monk at a young age and is said to have founded a monastery in the area. This place, of course, is now known as St David’s, in modern times becoming one of the smallest cities in Wales. The picturesque and historic cathedral bearing his name was, supposedly, built on the site of his monastery.

In medieval times people thought he was descended from King Arthur and, since the 12th century, we have honoured his memory with several traditions that have passed into the folklore of Wales.

Many proud Welsh people will wear daffodils (a generis Welsh symbol) or leeks (St David’s personal symbol) or even both and the flag of St David will be seen flying throughout Wales. Popular dishes eaten on the day include cawl (soup), bara brith (tea loaf), lamb and Welsh rarebit. Many towns and cities will stage parades and hold other festivities, including school concerts or eisteddfodau.

Wrexham will stage its own celebrations with a parade led by the Cambria Band.

As well as a pious life our blessed patron saint was also reputed to have had a very long life being, allegedly, 100-years-old when he died. So, however and wherever you celebrate this day, take time to reflect upon the past but, as the great man himself did, always look towards the future.

The music scene this coming week revolves around Thursday (March 7) when that old friend of ours, Murphy, has been laying down his law again with no less than five events being on offer on the same day/evening. Continuing our Welsh theme this week I will give precedence to the gigs on this side of the border and, especially those in Wrexham itself. I know that choices can be difficult to make but, as it happens, the opportunity to attend two gigs in one day has happily presented itself this coming Thursday (March 7) with a lunchtime concert at Ty Pawb (1pm-2pm) followed by a guest night at Wrexham Folk Club in the evening (8pm-11pm).

Our new, state-of-the-art venue of Ty Pawb has certainly been gathering pace over the last few months, with a series of events taking place almost daily. This spring that has continued with Free Lunchtime Concerts showcasing local talent and Thursday (March 7) is no exception.

Their latest local guest is Peter Leslie, a singer and guitarist who will be well- known to those who attend Wrexham Folk Club Singers’ Nights and other open mic nights in the area.

Most weeks Pete can be found playing at open mic nights in the region, including The Nag’s Head, Ridley Wood, (Mondays), Ruthin All Styles Music Club, The Feathers, Ruthin (Thursdays) and Wrexham Folk Club, The Nags Head, Mount Street (Thursdays from October to May) and Saith Seren. In addition, he has appeared at some of the street festivals in the town and on the Maes at the International Eisteddfod, Llangollen. However, he also devotes his time and talents to performing at various charity events and it was whilst playing a regular gig at The Leonard Cheshire Home, Dolywern, Chirk, that the idea for the raising money for the charity through his music was conceived.

Pete subsequently put together several of his live recordings and recorded several more songs on his home studio equipment, the result being Fate, his first album in 2016. They were sold at £5 each with all proceeds going to The Leonard Cheshire Home, Chirk. He has now followed this up with a second album, The Potter’s Wheel, recorded at AMP Studios in Wrexham. This new CD contains 13 of Pete’s own compositions and will be launched at Ty Pawb with some of the songs given an airing at the lunchtime concert, together with covers of some of Pete’s favourite singers. Pete kindly sent me a copy of the CD and I will review it for you in a later column but, in the meantime, go along for 1pm, and support his gig and don’t forget to take some money with you to buy one.

Once again, all proceeds from the sale of the CD will go to The Leonard Cheshire Home, Dolywern, Chirk, Wrexham. The Potter’s Wheel, recorded and released under his stage name of Pete Spesh, can be bought for £10 at any of Pete’s gigs (including Thursday) or you can message Pete on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/petespesh

On the same evening Wrexham Folk and Acoustic Club, The Nag’s Head, Mount Street, Wrexham have a singer songwriter who is making her debut at the club. She is Gerry Ffrench, a Liverpool girl who has a remarkable ability to bring the history, both social and industrial, of her hometown to life through her songs. She won the Folk North West Magazine’s talent showcase at Costa Del Folk Portugal in 2017 and is one of the finest singers, songwriters and musicians working in the North West today. With three studio albums to her credit, the last one, Rivercity Echoes, being a true example of the songwriter’s art, it should make for a great evening. She is always in demand at clubs and concert venues and can often be seen on stage with The Port Sunlight Sea Dogs and Yesterday’s Men. The music starts at 8.15pm with admission, at £6, payable on the door. Briefly, those other Thursday gigs are at Ruthin All Styles Music Club, The Feathers Inn, Ruthin where husband and wife, Garry Edward Jones and Anne Jones (aka Elfin Bow) play a rare duo set at 8pm (admission £8 in advance on 07760 764441 or £10 on the door) and at The Hungry Horse Acoustic, The Whitby Club, Chester Road, Ellesmere Port, where singer songwriter Colin Henderson (of Tom Topping Band fame) is playing the Big Spot at 9pm. This one is Free admission.

Finally, a heads up on next week for those who like to book in advance. On Friday (March 8) the latest Soundbox production at St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester features Nick Harper (who recently played a concert at Ty Pawb, Wrexham) at 7.30pm and, on Sunday (March 10), The Raven Folk Club, Chester have the veteran singer songwriter Clive Gregson as their guest at 8.30pm. Tickets for both gigs (£16.50 and £10 respectively) can be accessed on the web (“Soundbox”) and by phone on 01244 677212/343788 (The Raven).

Whatever you do and wherever you go, enjoy your music.

By D.C.M.