“I’m Cardiff born and Cardiff bred, and when I die, I’ll be Cardiff dead”, so sings the inimitable Frank Hennessy in his strong Ceerdiff accent in one of his best-known songs. One of Wales’ foremost singer-songwriters, with a wicked sense of humour and a colourful turn of phrase, Frank currently presents BBC Radio Wales’ Saturday night folk roots and acoustic music show ‘Celtic Heartbeat’. For many years, he hosted Sunday’s ‘I’ll show you Mine’ with the late Ray Gravell on Radio Wales.
His love of music began at home and when his father gave him a guitar on his 13th birthday he took to it immediately.
In 1966 along with his musical partner Dave Burns he won Cardiff City Council’s “Spotlight on Youth” competition, paving the way for them to turn professional shortly afterwards as the folk group The Henessys, with the late Paul Powell.. They moved to Ireland where they honed their skills on the thriving folk music circuit there.
It was while in Ireland that pressure came for them to sing a song or two in Welsh to prove that they were different from the countless other folk and ballad groups that flourished at that time. They enlisted the help of one of Wales’ finest folk musicologists, Meredydd Evans and so began a long and fruitful friendship which saw the group adding much more Welsh material to their repertoire.
After taking a break from music in the seventies to concentrate on his family, Frank Hennessy was asked to present a radio programme in 1978, and has been a regular broadcaster ever since. As well as presenting his radio shows, Frank still sings regularly with Dave Burns and fiddler Iolo Jones. He released the album ‘Thoughts and memories’ in 1987 and the compilation ‘The early songs of the Hennessys’ in 1993, which includes tracks from their most famous LP, ‘The Road and the Miles’.