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The case of a multilingual rock band

Watch this interview with Guto Pryce of the Super Furry Animals talking about the role of English and Welsh for his and the band’s music.
Yes it’s a very serious business keeping the Welsh language alive, but it also needs to be challenged I think and with its especially its relationship with England and the UK and Europe. I suppose it goes back to what you were saying about always having moved between two languages and so being forced into one was not what you wanted. Yes exactly. I think we’ve grown up in a culture of Englishness, that we embraced a lot English bands that have influenced us. So we couldn’t dismiss that you know, we’re proud of our Welsh heritage but we certainly didn’t want to be anti-English. So you were also translating some of those influences into Welsh?
Yeah I mean rock music is you know it’s all quite genetic wherever you are in the world if you can play rock music in in that style. I don’t think there is anything particular Welsh about the sound but lyrics and that’s a different matter but, you know electric guitars and drum kits and synthesizers sound the same everywhere. So do you feel that it’s important though to make the point that that rock music or for that matter pop music or whatever it is it’s not only Anglophone that it doesn’t have to be only in English? Having just said that you didn’t want to also be forced necessarily only into Wales Welsh.
Yeah it’s great I love German bands and yeah it certainly doesn’t have to be only in English. And songs in English especially done by people not necessarily from English language if you watch Eurovision it’s just cliché after cliché and you know , just wonder what, where’s the the poetry in that? where? At least when they’re singing in their own language at least I don’t hear the cliché, may be cliché in that language but. Yeah yeah is but it’s what other people are comfortable with. There are no rules that’s the Golden Rule

Listen to this interview with Guto Pryce, member of Welsh band Super Furry Animals.

He talks about the role of English and Welsh for his and the band’s music, and about the different power exercised by each of the two languages in the world of rock music.

Multilingual artists and groups are increasingly common. Sometimes they reflect the complexity of the linguistic landscape of a particular location, and sometimes they are the product of the artists’ own mobility: their travels and their collaborations with people from all over the world.

An example of how diverse these connections may be, and of how they can draw on different kinds of local and global links, as well as distinct traditions and cultural heritages, is the Namibian singer Shishani. She has Namibian and Belgian roots and collaborates with a range of artists, from European musicians to women from the nomadic San communities.

You can find her biography here.

And if you want to listen to her, here is a link to one of her recordings.

Now select another bilingual or multilingual band. They should work in at least one language you know.

  • How and where do they use their different languages?
  • Do they keep them separate, or mix them?
  • Do they make any use of translation in their music or in the way they present themselves, for instance on social media?
  • Are there political implications in their choice of using multiple languages?

Post a short description of your chosen group, pointing out the key points of interest in their work from a translation point of view.

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Working with Translation: Theory and Practice

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