Photo by Dan Kendall
The release of Public Service Broadcasting’s Every Valley on July 7th was greeted with the same critical acclaim as their previous albums. The London-based band combine instrumental music, archival footage and sampled recordings to create a unique, cross-genre sound. Having supported the Manic Street Preachers and now regularly touring the globe, the group’s popularity and acclaim continues to grow.
The concept for their newest album, far removed from the 2015’s The Race for Space, is industrial communities. In a recent interview with The Independent, frontman J. Willgoose Esq explains: “This album is about mining in one way, but it’s also about community and loss and dealing with the vanishing of something that previously defined you”. Willgose contacted the South Wales Miners’ Library in order to source potential material for this new concept and was directed towards our extensive oral history collection. He visited on several occasions, poring through transcripts and recordings in order to find the most relevant snippets.
Material from SWML’s oral history collection features in three songs – They Gave me a Lamp, Mother of the Village and All Out. They Gave me a Lamp highlights the crucial role that women played during the miners’ strike by quoting several oral history interviewees about their experiences. They discuss political awakenings, challenging stereotypes and battling intimidation to musical accompaniment from the band and Haiku Salut. The music video features footage from Smiling and Splendid Women, a documentary filmed during the strike that focused exclusively on women’s groups in South Wales.
The band showcased the singles, among others from the new album, at two sold-out shows at the Ebbw Vale Institute in June before heading off on an international tour. The tour starts its UK leg at Cardiff Great Hall on Friday, 13th of October. South Wales Miners’ Librarian Sian Williams has been interviewed about the library’s working relationship with the band in The Independent and on BBC Radio Wales. For further information, visit https://www.publicservicebroadcasting.net, http://www.swansea.ac.uk/iss/swml or view photos of our Public Service Broadcasting exhibition on our Twitter page @swminerslibrary.