Pimp My Uke Artist Profile – Chris Jones

Community Music Wales have challenged leading Welsh artists to design and paint a ukulele in their own unique style. A number of exciting and diverse artists have accepted the challenge, and progress on the ukuleles has already begun.

The next artist we would like to introduce you to is Chris Jones of Physical Graffiti Tattoos in Cardiff. 

How would you describe your art style?

I mostly do colour realism but I have done some digital art as well. 

Who are your main artistic influences? 

Drew Sturzan who has done the film posters for a lot of my favourite films. Pretty much everyone at Marvel Comics. I guess I like all artists, and I try to get inspiration from as many different places/people as possible so it's hard to narrow it down!

What's the weirdest thing you've ever painted?

I think the weirdest thing to date has to be a bowling pin!

How does it compare to painting a ukulele? 

A lot harder as a uke can be laid down flat! Don't need to worry about it rolling around on fresh paint.

What was your first idea when we asked you to paint a ukulele?

Can I get away with painting it black and writing Star Wars on it?! 9 out of 10 times Star Wars is my go to for inspiration. 

We're looking forward to seeing the work that Chris does on his ukulele - stay tuned for updates coming soon! 

Join Community Music Wales for an evening of fun, quirky and eclectic participatory music.

A 25th Birthday party like no other!

Community Music Wales is 25! Please send us a short happy birthday video…

To celebrate 25 years of inspiring musicians and changing lives, we will be hosting a musical Gala event, Live at 25, in the Tramshed, Cardiff on the 9th November. The event will showcase community music groups from across Wales as well as some named performers.


Throughout the night we would like to play videos of our work, interspersed with birthday wishes from well-known faces , so we wondered whether you might be able to send a short birthday wish video? It doesn’t need to be complicated, just a “Happy Birthday” wish to Community Music Wales or a “Congratulations on turning 25” or whatever you would like to say!


Over the past 25 years, we have inspired and helped over 50,000 people, we are proud of what we have achieved and would be very grateful of your birthday wishes to help us celebrate our achievements.


For more details on what we do or about our 25 and Live event, please visit: www.communitymusicwales.co.uk

If you are able to record a quick ‘happy birthday CMW’ message, please either upload it to our Community Music Wales Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CommunityMusicWales/  tweet: @CMW_CGC   or sent via email or We Transfer to [email protected]

Thank you in advance for considering this ask, we look forward to hearing from you soon!


Pimp My Uke Artist Profile: Chris Harrendence

Community Music Wales have challenged leading Welsh artists to design and paint a ukulele in their own unique style. A number of exciting and diverse artists have accepted the challenge, and progress on the ukuleles has already begun.

The first artist we would like to introduce you to is Chris Harrendence

"I am Chris Harrendence, a freelance illustrator who lives in a red house on a high hill in the Neath valley.
As an illustrator, I endeavor to capture the oddness and absurd of the everyday. A passing comment or a fleeting gesture is picked up on and quickly scribbled down in my ever-present sketchbook.
My work is often whimsical with an underlying touch of darkness and melancholy. My artistic influences range from artists such as Edward Gorey, Shaun Tan and Ericailcane. Also being brought up on a diet of Sci-fi movies, comics and Monty Python has no doubt been a contributing factor in my work.
I’m always looking at new ways to challenge myself as an artist and illustrator. So it is not unusual for me to produce illustrations as sculptural pieces of work. This has resulted in painting on clocks, cups or bits of random driftwood. However this is the first time I have painted a musical instrument. I have always had the desire to paint some artwork on a piano though. One-day maybe.
I love music but alas not able to play any instruments. Music is really important to how I work though. I seldom work in silence. Whether it’s Bowie, Arcade Fire or Radiohead, there is always music filling the spaces of my studio. The constant presence of music always, if not obviously, influences the mood and direction of my work. With my love for music and love of sci-fi it seemed inevitable that the two should fuse. Machine becomes musician."

Join Community Music Wales for an evening of fun, quirky and eclectic participatory music.

A 25th Birthday party like no other!

Pimp My Uke

In the lead up to our 25th anniversary event 25 and Live we will be carrying out a whole host of exciting activities to celebrate this milestone achievement and to raise funds for our continued activity. 

Today we would like to introduce you to the first of these activities, "Pimp My Uke". 

Community Music Wales have challenged leading Welsh artists to design and paint a ukulele in their own unique style. A number of exciting and diverse artists have accepted the challenge, and progress on the ukuleles has already begun. From steampunk to impressionism, we hope to have an extremely varied selection of painted ukuleles that will be unlike any ukulele that you've seen before! 

Once the project is completed, we will be displaying the artworks in a gallery for everyone to come and see. Later on in the year we will hold an online auction, where the highest bidder will become the owner of a one of a kind piece of (playable) art. 

We are incredibly excited to see the work the artists produce, and we think you will be too! So keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more information on the artists and the ukuleles they are painting. 

Join Community Music Wales for an evening of fun, quirky and eclectic participatory music.

A 25th Birthday party like no other!

Biophony – Exciting Free Course for Musicians


‘Biophony’ was launched by Community Music Wales in the days leading up to Wales Nature Week.

This exciting participatory project brings together ecology issues, biodiversity awareness and music composition.

‘Biophony’ will create new pieces of music by working with residents local in distinct topographical areas across Wales including: rivers, sea & coast, meadows & woodlands.

The second stage of ‘Biophony’ will take place in Cardigan Bay, home to the UK’s biggest pod of dolphins. The main species in Cardigan Bay species include: Bottlenose dolphins, Harbour porpoises and Atlantic grey seals.

The project will consist of a talk by Seawatch Foundation & field trip in the New Quay area. This will be followed by music composition workshops & masterclasses in Cardigan.

You will work towards writing new music based on data collection and inspiration from the local environment. The final day will culminate in a performance and/or recording.

Funded by Arts Council Wales, ‘Biophony’, follow’s on from last year’s research & development.

Community Music Wales receives four years of funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Community Music Wales (CMW) are happy to announce that they have been successful in gaining four years funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation under their ‘Access and Participation’ program.

The funding will be instrumental in delivering a training initiative that will support community music practitioners at key parts of their careers.

CMW will deliver an annual Wales-wide training program aiming to provide accredited training for early-career musicians as well as supporting the continued professional development of current community arts practitioners. The program is comprised of three different areas which reflect this.

The first of which is a practitioner training course which will be delivered in three areas each year for early-career musicians. The 'Certificate in Community Music' is a diverse mix of practical and theoretical training aimed at skilled musicians who want to convert their skills to a credible work opportunity. The training will be based partly on self-assessment as trainees assess their own strengths and weaknesses.

The second area will focus on delivering practical Apprenticeships whereby mid-career artists can have three months practical experience in various community settings, shadowing experienced Community Music Wales practitioners who will mentor them through the process.

Finally, CMW will deliver training modules throughout Wales each year for mid-career practitioners. These modules are designed to reflect the job of a community music tutor. Modules were selected based on consultation which highlighted areas from Health and safety to ice breaking sessions, group work and business training. This will include peer-to-peer sharing events to encourage the sharing of best-practice, building of networks and self-reflection.

Throughout this training program Community Music Wales are aiming to improve the diversity of trained practitioners across Wales and therefore will be particularly targeting musicians who speak minority languages across Wales, musicians from various ethnic backgrounds and musicians with specific disciplines and disabilities. The aim of this is to encourage a rich and vibrant community music network across the country. CMW will also be appointing a part time officer to oversee the whole project.

If you are a musician interested in hearing about our training, please contact Community Music Wales on:

02920 838060

[email protected]


Tell CMW Your Story

Have you ever been involved with a CMW project? Have you been a participant, tutor, partner or part of Complete Control Music or Ciwdod? Perhaps you were there in the beginning, when CMW was but a twinkle in the collective minds of Cardiff’s community musicians in 1991. We want to hear from you.

As you may be aware 2017 marks the 25th year of CMW’s continuing activity, and we’ve decided to wax nostalgic about each one of those amazing years. But we need your help to remember. Have you got a favourite memory of CMW? Has CMW helped you with your career path or professional development? Maybe you took part in a project and would like to submit yourself as a case study? Or maybe you were part of one of the bands involved with Complete Control Music or Ciwdod.

Whatever your involvement, every memory matters to us and we would like to hear about it.

If you’d like to share your experiences or memories with CMW you can email [email protected] or phone us on 02920 838060 for a chat.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Garfield Weston Announcement

Community Music Wales (CMW) are happy to announce that they have been successful in their application to Garfield Weston Foundation for one year of core funding of £30,000. This will enable the development and implementation of three projects that will have a large impact on deprived communities across the whole of Wales.


CMW have identified three key areas they would like to focus on and use the opportunity to monitor the impact this work has on individuals and communities:
  • Refugee and Asylum Seekers.
  • Young people who are NEET.
  • People suffering from mental health issues.


With cuts to the arts and creative industries, it has become even more vital to demonstrate the long and short term impact this type of intervention can have, particularly on the well-being of our communities. CMW will use this grant to gather vital data and develop case studies and impact reports, supporting the work of the Arts Council of Wales to ensure the future of creative intervention for the most vulnerable in society.

We are hugely grateful to Garfield Weston Foundation and the support they have shown us and look forward to working with them in the future.

Biophony Research and Development Project

Community Music Wales were very lucky and excited to receive a Research and Development grant from Arts Council of Wales.

In 2013 CMW trialled a project called “Stats in Sound” which aimed to take everyday objects that have the ability to generate data and use it to create music and soundscapes. As an initial project it worked very well and we learned a lot about using sensors to capture data and ended up making plants sing and household goods compose. Using the grant we received from Arts Council of Wales, we wanted to further the techniques we developed on this project to make music using environmental data and we were delighted by the beautiful results of this experimental project in the end!
Our project manager Chris Dawson started by carrying out research into different types of ecology. He attended a course with Sea Watch Foundation to see what types of ecological data was being collected. This included audio, visual, and seeing what wildlife was in British waters. The data provided by Sea watch Foundation formed the majority of the data for the artists to work with.
He then met with ecologist Chris Hatch who explored wider ecological data including Woodlands and Rivers. In addition to this, he explored the huge amount of data collection and various methods of translating and manipulating data. 
We then used the collected data and met with musicians Arts Active musicians James Williams and Helen Woods and Musician Neil White to start by planning the project. James, the composer set about setting the sounds recorded into a score which could be performed by an ensemble. Helen used Sea Watch Foundation statistical data of bottlenose dolphins from 2011 – 2015 to map the music tempo. She then presented the data to Arts Active Gamelan group, who she worked with to compose a piece of music. The number of dolphin sightings, locations and their markings all determined the structure of the piece.
Finally, our song writer Neil used the data from Sea Watch Foundation which showed the migratory patterns of all Cetacean creatures including whales, dolphins and porpoises. He translated the data including numbers of sightings, locations of sightings (Longitude and Latitude) in various different ways including feeding the data into Cubase on the computer to create a score. Each species had its own piece of music, peppered with actual audio recordings of the animals themselves. He also created a score and graphic score to create new music.
Overall these methods produced beautiful, unique music which were engaging and of excellent quality. But most importantly, we discovered that these methods could all be used as a large scale participation project with different groups. 
As a result of the success of this project we decided to use the findings to develop into a full participatory project working with three or more community groups across Wales using the methods we trialled as part of this R&D phase. Therefore, we built the findings into our larger Arts Council of Wales 'Taking Part' project to work with community groups in three parts of Wales with the remit of gathering their own data as well as working with.