The rock n' roll secret of Cardiff's first black mayor

Cardiff’s first black Lord Mayor will be inaugurated in a ceremony at Cardiff City Hall which promises to be a little more rock n’ roll than those that have gone before.

Historically the inauguration of a Lord Mayor might include music from a local orchestra or a school choir, but Councillor Dan De’Ath, who represents Plasnewydd ward, intends to make his year as Lord Mayor that little bit different – his big night will be sound-tracked by musician James P. Davies, lead singer of local band Shop Girls, whose forthcoming EP has been produced by ex-Super Furry Animal drummer, Dafydd Ieuan at Strangetown Studios.

Cllr De’Ath has an association with music that stretches all the way back to his school days, when he sang in a band with renowned musician Pete Doherty.

Doherty shot to fame in the early 2000s as a singer and guitarist with rock band The Libertines, scored a number one album in 2004, and was a regular feature in the news, thanks to his notorious lifestyle and relationship with supermodel Kate Moss.

Cllr De’Ath, who is pictured in Doherty’s biography ‘The Books of Albion’, has also appeared in music magazine, NME.  The May 2009 edition featured ‘40 awesome (and well random) rock facts’ – this is number twenty:

Pre-Libertines, Peter Doherty tried his hand at stand-up, performing in a duo with his schoolmate, the splendidly named Daniel De’Ath

To bring things full circle, James P. Davies once supported Pete Doherty on a UK tour during his time as a member of another band and counts him as a fan of his song writing – the star apparently even keen to use one of his songs – an offer that the Shop Girls singer says he refused.

None of this adds up to your average Lord Mayor – and that’s before you even get to the historic fact that, according to historical records, Cllr De’Ath will be Cardiff’s first black mayor.

Cllr De’Ath said: “I’m a child of the nineties, so Britpop was a big deal for me. But growing up in Warwickshire, if you wanted to see live music, or play a gig, the only way to do it was get on a train to Coventry or Birmingham.  I think that’s why one of the things I really love about living in Cardiff now is its music scene.”

Cllr De’Ath, added:  “I’m immensely proud to be Cardiff’s first black Lord Mayor, it’s a genuine privilege to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Cardiff in this way, but I think it says something for the people of Cardiff that there’s something almost unremarkable about it - people are less surprised that Cardiff has a black mayor, more surprised that it has never happened before.”

One thing that does remain consistent with tradition is that much of Cllr De’Ath’s year in office will be spent raising money for charity.  The name of Cllr De’Ath’s chosen charity will be announced on Thursday evening.

He said: “The charities I’ve chosen do some incredibly important work and I intend to work incredibly hard for them over the course of this year.  Previous Lord Mayor’s have raised remarkable amounts of money for their chosen charities and I hope I can do the same.

“But I do want to do some things differently.  Yes, I’ll have the chains, and the robes, they come with the job, but Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital, it’s diverse, it’s creative and it’s got a real spirit – it would be great if I can help showcase that over the next 12 months. “

The inauguration will take place in City Hall on Thursday, May 23 and parts of the evening will be live streamed on the Council’s website and on its Facebook page.