American Interior: Gruff Rhys and Iain Sinclair

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In the summer of 2012, Gruff Rhys, the lead singer and guitarist of Super Furry Animals, made a bizarre pilgrimage across the United States. He was following in the footsteps of his distant relative, the pioneering explorer and cartographer John Evans, who had set off from Snowdonia in 1792 in an attempt to track down the legendary Welsh-speaking Native American tribe, the Madogwys. (This tribe – who were, inevitably, too good to be true – also inspired two long poems, Robert Southey’s Madoc and Paul Muldoon’s Madoc: A Mystery.) Evans did not find the Madogwys, but over the course of his expedition, he created the map which would guide Lewis and Clark, defected to the Spanish (emerging as Don Juan Evans), and annexed North Dakota from the British. American Interior documents Rhys’s retracing of this epic, real-life picaresque. Also existing as an album, a film and a multimedia presentation, it is a project like no other.

Gruff Rhys will be in conversation with Iain Sinclair, whose own American odyssey, American Smoke, is released in paperback by Penguin in July.

Watch the trailer for the American Interior project here.