Singing with Memories of a Welsh Childhood

1 Dec 2009

A captivating memoir of childhood in the 1920s by Alun Trevor,  The Songbird is Singing  (Parthian)  is Welsh Book of the Month for December.

It tells the story of two boys growing up on a small farm at Pen-Y-Wern with their mother, while their father, Jabez Trevor, a miner but also a prize winning singer at the eisteddfod has joined the Welsh Imperial Singers and is touring North America. The Welsh Imperial Singers were the Men Aloud of their day and enjoyed a huge following in the United States and Canada.  They were accorded civic receptions in Chicago, New York and Montreal while enjoyed enormous publicity and filled prestigous concert halls such as the Carnegie Hall in New York. The author's father, Jabez Trevor was their lead soloist. He sends postcards, letters and even a  78 record back to his boys Arthur and Alun, who imagine the American world of the 1920s. The boys dream of airships, prohibition, Al Capone, talkies, gramophones, the Empire State Building while dealing with the practicalities of their own farm at Pen-y-Wern, milking, fetching water from the spring and playing football on the cefn field.

The book has been described by Studs Terkel, the late Chicago writer and journalist as ‘moving and endearing’ and by the historian Dai Smith as 'entrancing and quite magical'. It is certain to stir many memories.

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