Jeni Rizio: Meet the Musician from New York learning Welsh

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Dafydd Jones May 5, 2021

Author: Dafydd Jones

Having developed a keen interest in learning languages, musician Jeni Rizio of Utica, New York, speaks about her experiences learning the Welsh language.

Rizio, who has been learning Welsh for seven months, expressed her enjoyment while taking on the notoriously difficult challenge.

“I enjoy every minute of it,” she insisted. “One of my hobbies is learning languages, it’s very challenging but I find it helps to practice a little bit at a time.

“What I’ve done is use videos on YouTube. I really love the ‘Now You’re Talking’ series. I downloaded them and converted them to audio. and I use my MP3 player to listen to them.

“I practice maybe ten minutes, twice a day. I find that learning a little bit at a time and speaking to others helps a lot.”

Having had experience learning languages like French and German, Rizio explained that there was a sentimental value to learning Welsh, as she may have family from Wales.

“I was told my entire life that I have some family that came over from Wales, I’m not sure if it’s true or not.

“My grandmother and her side of the family I was told, but I haven’t done my DNA yet so I don’t know for sure. My brother did his and the last result just said UK, it didn’t say where.

“I developed an interest back in 2001 when I worked in a museum and they had given a speech talking about some of the Welsh immigrants to our area and when I had first seen the language, I thought it was fascinating, because I always had a love for languages.

“I enjoyed the sounds and just the unique characteristics of different languages. So just last year, I had seen a viral video of a weather person saying Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyndorbwllllantysiliogogogoch and that got my fascinated, I had to learn this language.”

Rizio has been a musician and songwriter for 20 years and has had recent success with a remix of B.P.M’s No End No Limit 2.0.

She expressed that her love for music goes back some time and hopes to use music as a way to bring people together.

“I absolutely love performing, writing and signing music, listening certainly, I have a huge music collection, music is my life. I didn’t go to school for music, but I always enjoyed it.

“I create electronic dance music and I was commissioned to remix a song for an artist in Germany known as B.P.M called No End No Limit 2.0 and I was very thankful to be chosen to remix his song, which came out in January.

“I listen to electronic dance music and I enjoy composing it. I also have a group on Facebook, where I encourage other musicians to reach out to each other. I really wish the music community will come together.”