Wales, the land of song, has produced no shortage of famous and talented singers (fame and talent don’t always come as a set, of course), and global singing stars have claimed Welsh roots.The latest to come to my attention is one who’s big on talent, but not as famous as she should be – Esperanza Spalding.
1. In 2011, she caused a stir by beating a certain Justin Bieber to win the Grammy for Best New Artist – the first time a jazz artist has won the award.
2. In 2009 she was chosen by Barack Obama to perform at his Nobel Peace Prize concert.
3. Perhaps most significantly, in 2012, I bought her album Radio Music Society and described it as “very good”.
She may not be a household name like Donny Osmond, Kylie Minogue or Rolf Harris, who have all explored their Welsh ancestry in recent years. But I’d suggest she’s a rather classier act.
I’ve been unable to pin down the precise nature of her Welsh connection, but apparently it may be through a great uncle.
Someone who has interviewed her (I know this is sounding tenuous) tells me she expressed an interest in the Welsh language and in exploring Welsh poetry – something she told The Guardian last year too. Now that would be interesting.