I’r Gresham with Tony ac Aloma
In a new series for S4C, Cwmni Da presents the day to day lives of one of Wales’ most popular duets.
Over the course of four half-hour, ‘fly on the wall’ episodes, Cwmni Da followed the singers Tony and Aloma night and day as they welcome and entertain their guests at the Gresham Hotel in Blackpool, The pair keep Welsh cabaret alive and kicking over the border with regular shows for visiting guests.
The series begins with the launch of Tony ac Aloma: Cofion Gorau, a new book looking back at the life and career of the two singers from their first meeting back in 1964 to today. Both of them now live and work in the famous Gresham Hotel in the heart of Blackpool. Director Eilir Pierce went to live at the Gresham, camera in hand, to dig below the surface of the two entertainers.
“I was raised on Tony and Aloma records and when the chance came to live and work with them it was a brilliant, and surreal, experience”, says Eilir. “I feel like I’ve come to know the voices behind the songs.”
The cameras started rolling in November, filming the duet as they held cabaret nights for coaches full of Welsh people making the trip to Blackpool.
“On some nights everyone in the hotel speaks Welsh”, explains Eilir. “Aloma’s daughters, Emma and Lia run the hotel, and it was nice to see Aloma’s granddaughter Lilly singing Tri Mochyn Bach to an audience even though she’s only two!”
In the series, we get to see two sides of Tony and Aloma: the public faces we know so well, and the less familiar personal side. Eilir has fond memories of the fun he had in their company.
“Every night was a party!” says Eilir. “I remember Tony saying that Alun Gibbard, the co-author of Tony ac Aloma: Cofion Gorau, arrived in the Gresham healthy and a South Walian, and returned to Wales as a tired North Walian! Well, I was a North Walian already, but I can tell you that the late nights in the Gresham have taken its toll on me. Now I realise how much of a bad influence Tony an Aloma were! Nobody leaves the Gresham without having had a good time.”
Tony ac Aloma i’r Gresham. April on S4C