The Valleys

The Sounds of The Valleys

Standing on top of a mountain, standing arms aloft after you conquer a mountain trail or merely relaxing after a great day out. So often a tune comes to mind when we feel inspired or content. Since The Valleys is a place of rich musical heritage, Love The Valleys has compiled the first official playlist to be offered to tourists visiting the South Wales Valleys.

Each of the acts is from The Valleys; from Only Boys Aloud, Manic Street Preachers, Racing Cars, Funeral for a Friend and of course Sir Tom Jones. Tracks have been chosen to match mood and activities. It weaves through pop like the Stereophonics and Funeral for a Friend for upbeat, adrenalin fuelled activity like mountain biking or rock climbing. There are soaring vocals courtesy of choir Only Boys Aloud – following in the welsh choir tradition – baritone Geraint Evans and soprano Margaret Price to add the music backdrop for a stunning view, hilltop walk or ambient drive.

It’s a Collaborative Playlist, so Valleys visitors as well as people living in The Valleys can submit their own tracks. The only rules are that the act has to be from The Valleys, and like the destination itself it has to be family friendly. An additional playlist on YouTube includes videos and inspiration, like Bonnie Tyler from Neath who just represented the UK at Eurovision 2013 as well as up and coming acts like Climbing Trees.

The official Love The Valleys Playlist features;

  1. Dakota, Stereophonics. One of the most successful bands ever to come out of The Valleys the rock band is from the Cynon Valley and is regarded as one of the best live acts in the world. High tempo designed for an adrenalin fuelled ride, like those downhill at Cwmbran or Afan Valley.

  2. Mikado, Sir Geraint Evans. The baritone from Cilfyndd is most famous for his Mozart performances. This track from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera is the ideal soundtrack for a beautifully scenic walk through The Valley’s industrial heritage, like The Iron Mountain Trail around the Blorenge Mountain.

  3. This is the Day, Manic Street Preachers. This track makes you feel like you’ve conquered a mountain. Rock Summit UK at a former drift mine close to Merthyr Tydfil is pretty close. There are 180 climbing routes at the site. The Manics are originally from Blackwood and are another iconic act from The Valleys.

  4. The Green, Green Grass of Home, Sir Tom Jones. Sir Tom is The Valleys. This song can match heading to his home in the Lynfi Valley, restoring a little yin and yang by getting closer to the earth with a little foraging and glamping at Cwm Tawel.

  5. Gordons and Lemonade, The Guns. You want something heavy and hardcore as you push yourself to the limits. We’ve mentioned going downhill at Cwmcarn. The Valleys is numero uno for mountain biking. Anyone looking for a high octane activity weekend need look no further. And this track (along with the rest of the album With The Guns) from the boys from Abertillery should be in your ears.

  6. Calon Lân, Only Boys Aloud. Welsh Male Voice Choirs are at the heart and soul of The Valleys’ music tradition. Only Boys Aloud brought a patriotic tear to the eye of many a Welshman when they appeared on Britain’s Got Talent. It is an inspirational track that deserves a stunning vista to go with it. The view from the table mountain of Pen Pych is perfect; it’s a six mile circular hike to the head of the Rhondda Fach.

  7. Mama Told Me Not To Come, Stereophonics and Sir Tom Jones. Two of the finest flavours of The Valleys come together. Which makes us think of another great taste from The Valleys, Penderyn Whisky from the Penderyn Distillery, the first in the principality for 100 years.

  8. Motorcycle Emptiness, Manic Street Preachers. This track matches a rambling pace. One of the wonders of The Valleys is the proximity of countryside to town. A classic example is Dare Valley, just a mile from Aberdare where there are 500 acres of countryside to explore including impressive views, lakes, streams, mature upland woodlands and a network of waymarked footpaths.

  9. Don Giovanni, Stuart Burrows. The former teacher from Bargoed soared to fame as an international tenor singing Don Giovanni. This track is best to have lined up for when you’re driving through The Valleys, you turn the corner and the perfect vista comes into view.

  10. Le Nozze de Figaro, Margaret Price. Another classical voice, this time the soprano from Blackwood. Head to the town for a candle making workshop at Gelligroes Mill with David Constable, who has a Royal Warrant to make candles for the Prince of Wales and has also lit of film sets like Pirates of the Caribbean. The Mill was also the home of Archie Moore. The first to hear the Titanic’s distress call onshore. Price is the perfect soundtrack to your visit.

  11. History, Funeral for a Friend. Historic villages are found throughout The Valleys. Two of the finest are Llantrisant and Llangynwyd both set in beautiful countryside. Use this track from Bridgend’s finest Funeral for a Friend to match the mood.

  12. Superman, Stereophonics. The Valleys is somewhere where you can feel like Superman. You can be at the top of a mountain or at the bottom, having just zoomed down on the back of your bike. You could have climbed a wall or foraged your own supper. Whatever you’ve done, this is the tune to match.

  13. They Shoot Horses Don’t They? Racing Cars. A slightly sombre seventies hit to match the journey home. Reminisce over a great 48 hours in The Valleys with this track from the band who hail from Rhondda.

Subscribe to The Valleys Playlist and add your own suggestions. Search for Love The Valleys on Spotify.