Neil White – Music Worker

I was born and brought up in the Rhondda Valley. At 18 I did my Foundation in Art at Cardiff going on to do a Diploma in Art & Design at Newport Art College where I did mainly film. I then applied for a place at the “National Film School” and although I was short listed ultimately I didn’t get in…

It was at this time that my life took on a new direction. Since my early teens I’d taught myself to play guitar and had dabbled with other would-be musicians throughout my college years. It was the late 70’s and “Punk Rock” was about to hit. Some friends and I formed a band and for the following five or so years played gigs across every square inch of the UK an much of Europe…….. Twice, maybe three times. It was a very random and seemingly directionless time in my life, but very character building and I wouldn’t swap a minute ( well maybe that weekend in Tralee in 84′) During this time I got to play on the bill with acts like…. The Adverts, Siouxsie and the Banshees , The Buzzcocks , Sham 69′ ,Patti Smith , XTC , ACDC, Dr Feelgood and many more…

During this period I also formed strong associations with musicians working in the Welsh language although I myself am not a welsh-speaker, Between 1988 – 1995, I worked as Musical Director on various programmes produced for S4C  working with young bands performing in the welsh language ( Bigleaves, Gorkys,Super Furries and Catatonia to name a few ).  As a band member, I also produced a number of albums for Geraint Jarman a’r Cynganeddwyr, released on the Ankst record label. Throughout this period to the present day I have also worked as a freelance composer commissioned to write music for a number of television productions mainly for S4C, HTV and the BBC. This work I find to be financially very rewarding but creatively very frustrating.

In 1995 I found myself volunteering as a music worker to help out on a Multi Arts Summer School working with a group of  people with learning difficulties alongside various other musicians an artists.( I was the only one who could get the Soundbeam to work) I absolutely loved everything about it , I began working on more community-based projects, mainly developed through Community Music Wales, as well as Cardiff Social Services, Torfaen C.B.C., Swansea University, MIND and the Y.M.C.A. working with various groups within a wide range of community settings, for example: social services (mental health, learning difficulty, physical disability); community education work; schools and youth projects.

Since early 2007  I have worked  on numerous film making projects in collaboration with Media Education Wales and also of late more especially with the fantastic Valley and Vale Community Arts delivering music workshops to various groups in the community. The more I work with Valley and Vale the more I am reminded of why I made the move into this kind of work in the first place. I continue to value the experience of working with people in the community using a very wide range of musical styles and techniques under Valley and Vale’s very broad, supportive and very brightly coloured Umbrella ella ella ella ella.

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