Michael Kennedy – Director, Presenter and Producer
Mike has worked in retail and marketing for over 30 years but has always had a passion for music and he played drums in several Swansea bands from the age of twelve until a torn achilles tendon forced his ‘retirement’. Since then he’s written for many music publications and hosted the acclaimed Welsh Connections radio and TV show, as well as founding the SoundBoard magazine and awards.
In 2012 he linked up with his former band-mate, Dave Beynon, and created Welsh Connections with the aim of celebrating the music scene of Wales from the 1960’s onwards. In the last 7 years that hobby has grown into a fully formed project which promotes, celebrates and supports new music from the whole of Wales as well as keeping earlier music on the radar.
Since 2018 Welsh Connections has worked on diverse projects and partnered up with PRS Wales, The National Waterfront Museum, UWTSD, The National Sound Archive, Swansea City Council and Race Council Cymru to promote creativity within Wales and to raise the profile of Welsh culture on the worldwide stage.
In 2019 Welsh Connections constituted as a Community Interest Company, with the support of our partners, and now has offices at Swansea’s Grand Theatre Arts Wing.
Director & Operations Manager
Melanie has a passion for supporting and promoting all things welsh. She has an appreciation for music of all genres. She has worked for 15 years in an industry that helps give disadvantaged people a voice when they are at a vulnerable time in their lives. For more than 2 years Melanie has developed and delivered training to professionals and students showing a great deal of passion for her role. She is dedicated, self-managing and is the one who pulls the group together; she certainly keeps us focused. Melanie often gets involved in charitable events and encourages others to do so. She is a good organiser and works really well as part of this small team.
Melanie says ‘we have lots of exciting things coming up this year. I am looking forward to meeting new people and helping to promote all the fabulous artists that we have been working with. I have my favourites but I will never tell. There is lots of literary and musical talent in Wales so as Welsh Connections we can help give a big shout out for them. I love listening to all the new material some is good and lots are excellent’
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Andy Collins is a singer, songwriter, bass player, producer and educator from Swansea, South Wales, UK. Having honed his chops in the pubs and clubs of South Wales, most notably with local heroes, The Karrots, in 2003 Andy formed The Storys with Rob Thompson, Dai Smith and Steve Balsamo.
Their harmony laden, West-Coast influenced and self produced debut album quickly garnered them friends and fans far and wide. Elton John, having fallen in love with it, publicly declared the album ‘fantastic’ and personally invited the band on tour, opening up for him in stadia around Europe – for three summers!
Tours with Joe Cocker, Katie Melua, Runrig and an invite to a special memorial concert for Jim Capaldi followed, and shows with Santana and Celine Dion to over 60,000 people in Amsterdam saw the band get radio play both in the UK and Europe.
The Storys recorded three albums, signing with Warner Bros for the second album, Town Beyond The Trees. Made with erstwhile Paul McCartney and Kate Bush producer Jon Kelly at Real World Studios, the band got major radio support in the UK, and many sessions followed. The band were even invited to play the BBC’s legendary DJ Bob Harris’ 60th birthday party, where they were joined on stage by Robert Plant and Bernie Marsden for a little midnight jam.
The Storys won a songwriting award for Town beyond the Trees, and several songs were used in TV shows and films. Most notably the US teen drama One Tree Hill, and the Jason Statham heist movie, The Bank Job in which Andy and the boys made a cameo appearance as the wedding band!
When The Storys called it a day, in 2012 Andy released his debut album, Closure, to some great reviews. His second album, Right Here, Right Now was released in October 2017. When not making his own music, Andy loves writing with, producing and nurturing the abundance of up and coming talent in South Wales.
Jeremy Gluck has extensive experience in the arts, digital humanities, mental health research and training, and community voluntary sector project management. He has been a Creative Practitioner for Swansea on the Arts Council of Wales Lead Creative Schools’ Scheme bringing digital arts to primary schools, and formerly a facilitator of numerous Welsh voluntary sector projects for social enterprise Swansea Music Art Digital, including Big Lottery funded community journalism initiative to support young unemployed people, I Am News; Generation You, an Awards for All funded project for young people linking digital art to mental health; and The Love Project, a pioneering holistic self-directive project contracted in 2015 to JobCentre Plus Swansea. Jeremy worked for ten years for the Swansea Council for Voluntary Service, where he collaborated to find funding for and/or facilitated community mental health projects to the value of 500k.
Having completed his Fine Art B.A. at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, he is now undertaking his MArts. Exhibitions include Vinyl Deptford, London, in November 2017; The Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton, London, opened December, 2017; and a major exhibition at Lewisham Arthouse in July 2018. Recently presented his paper on the British artist Gustav Metzger at the 2019 UWTSD Nexus Learning and Teaching Conference.
Experienced as a cult recording artist, songwriter and lead singer and who continues to achieve success as a solo recording and performing artist, Jeremy Gluck ‘s presence on the cult rock’n’roll and underground electronic music spans two centuries. Singer and lyricist with The Barracudas, 1978-date, whose records command an international following. The Barracudas and Jeremy’s solo music is available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud , and many other online and physical outlets.
Dave has been the technical genius, from the start of Welsh Connections, responsible for all the behind the scenes work setting up and maintaining website and design requirements for the team.
He has been working in the education system for a little over 20 years. Most of that time has been spent in secondary education; he has taught several subjects with specialisms in Computer Science, IT and Music. For many years he worked as a volunteer with Air cadets doing his bit to support the youth of his community.
Dave has studied a variety of courses including BA (Hons) Secondary Education, MSc Computer Science, BA (Hons) Classical Music and one day hopes (when his wife allows) to study for a PHD on a topic around education, learning and music.
With all his other commitments he still finds time to enjoy Archery and golf. He even run in the London Marathon and raised a hefty £1500 for Childline. He also will help out at charity events when he can.