"To be born Welsh is to be born privileged, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but music in your blood and poetry in your soul''

The Land of Song

is one of the descriptors that Wales can be justly proud of. Whether it is singing lustily at the Cardiff Arms Park/Millenium Stadium, joining in perfect harmony in a male voice choir, hearing Bryn Terfel in the Welsh Opera, being a `would-be' Tom Jones belting out Delilah at the working men's club or the feeling of the roof being lifted at the local Gymanfa Ganu (Hymn singing festival) ---- the Welsh love their singing.

But not just singing either, all kinds of music. The harp of course is the National instrument and held in great esteem still. Plus there are Folk groups, Country and Western and Rock bands a plenty.

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WELSH CHOIRS

THERE ARE MANY WELSH CHOIRS THAT YOU CAN GO TO LISTEN TO OR EVEN JOIN:

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MALE VOICE CHOIRS:
Cantorion Cymreig - Victoria Welsh Choir - prospective choristers are welcome to join the choir (Rehearse at Blackburn S, Melbourne). Check their website for performances.
Melbourne Welsh Choir - Rehearse at Ringwood, Melbourne. Check this web address for performances: http://www.melbournewelshchoir.com.au/concerts.html
Australian Welsh Male Choir - Rehearse  at Frankston, Mornington Peninsular, Victoria. Check their website for more information.
Cantorion Sydney is a 50-strong male voice choir which practices each Wednesday at the Welsh Church - St Peter’s Presbyterian - at Blues Point Road, North Sydney. Llogo
FEMALE VOICE CHOIRS:
Geelong Ladies Welsh Choir - prospective choristers are welcome to join the choir (Rehearses at Geelong). Contact Libby Rouse for more details:  email
Web site: geelongwelshlc.com.au

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MIXED VOICE CHOIRS:
Sydney Welsh Choir - with more than 70 men and women from all parts of the Sydney area, puts the Wales into New South Wales.

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A lovely story of achieving one's dream - Paul Pots from Port Talbot, S Wales.

 

This was Paul's start in the `Britain's Got Talent' competition. Watch the judges' expressions as they look and listen!

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Another festival with Welsh origins you will come across in Australia is the `Eisteddfod'.

Popular now with Australian youngsters in the form of the `Rock Eisteddfod' the word comes from `eistedd' meaning to sit and `fod' meaning `to be', put them together and you get `to be sitting', a place where people come to sit together and to listen and watch. The plural of Eisteddfod is Eisteddfodau.

Have a look at the `What's on' page for links to the Welsh National Eisteddfod to see it's roots and for the ones in Australia see below:

The Association of Eisteddfod Societies of Australia Inc

Australian National Eisteddfod

Famous Welsh Australians:

Kylie Minogue

  Half Welsh, half Irish, the Minogues lived in Cymer near Maesteg, S Wales, before they  emigrated to Australia in the 1950

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Cliciwch yma/Click here

Pendragon Dreaming

Melbourne based
Welsh Language Folk Group


Pendragon Dreaming Facebook


Cantorion Cymreig /Victoria Welsh Choir

   perform throughout the year including organising and performing at a Grand St David's Day Event each year.

The Welsh Gymanfa Ganu - what is it?

Well cymanfa means an assembly or  congregation and canu means to sing. As cymanfa is a feminine word in Cymraeg (Welsh) the term becomes gymanfa ganu and it describes a singing congregation or `hymn-fest'.

If you enjoy music and have never been to one try and get along, it is a very special thing. You don't have to be religious or even Welsh. A gymanfa ganu is an excuse to get together and sing lustily and to your heart's content amongst friends. The hymns are specially chosen to suit the occasion; they are generally great favourites and lend themselves to singing with passion or `hwyl' as the Cymry (Welsh) call it.

There are many such `hymn-fests' in Australia. Check the `Whats on' and `Culture' pages for info and links.

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Listen to the Welsh National Anthem; Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

aWhere sport, music, culture and even religion come together! 

Humour Spot: A prominent Welsh minister travelling home one night was greatly annoyed when a young man much the worse for drink came and sat next to him on the bus. "Young man," he declared, "do you not realise you are on the road to perdition?" "Oh, Hell," replied the drunkard, "I could have sworn this bus went to Llanelli."

aInteresting Welsh Music

Julian David Edwards  is a lovely tenor from Wales, who tours with `Celtic Woman'.

Listen to his debut CD `Celtic Electricity` -  his details are on his website at  www.myspace.com/juliandavidedwards


From Tom Jones and Shaky, through Catatonia and Feeder to Charlotte Church, Goldie Lookin' Chain and Duffy, Wales has given the pop world a number of stars. But do they have anything in common?

Find out here

Young songstress Siobhan Owen was born in North Wales to a Welsh father and an Irish mother. She is a classically trained singer who has been a soloist since she was 9 years old.

Check out where Siobhan will be performing in 2010 

www.siobhanowen.com

www.myspace.com/siobhanowen  


AUSTRALIA'S ONLY WELSH LANGUAGE RADIO PROGRAM??

Zina  Thompson's program is called “Window on Wales”...Ffenestr ar Gymru, and she broadcasts in both English and Welsh. It is currently aired on Highland FM 107.1

www.highlandfm.org.au

Zina's program is currently broadcast in NSW but soon to broadcast throughout Australia.


   

WELSH AND CELTIC DANCE; MELBOURNE:

Ceffyl Gwyn Dance Group - Ian Kendall.

tel: Melbourne 9878 2414 

email ian.kendall1@bigpond.com

The group meets once a month (generally the 3rd Sunday but contact Ian for details) at the Church of Christ Hall, 1 The Avenue, Surrey Hills (Melway 46 H11)


  CANBERRA

Welsh Cornish Folk Dancing - more info

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Read what the BBC has to say about Cwm Rhondda; the alternative Welsh National Anthem

Click here/ Cliciwch yma

Composer Karl Jenkins 

aKarl is Britain's biggest-selling living classical composer. He is best known for his Adiemus project which is performed by choirs throughout the world.

 

His work The Armed Man: a Work for Peace was recently voted 8th most popular classical piece ever by listeners to Britain's radio station Classical FM, putting him next to Elgar and only a few places below Mozart and Rachmaninov.




Music among the Celts in Pre-Christian Times

'They have poets whom they call bards, who sing songs of eulogy and of satire, accompanying themselves on instruments very like the lyre. They also have philosophers and theologians whom they hold in extreme honour, and name Druids. They possess prophets too who are much revered. . . . Friend and foe submit to the song of the bard. Often when two armies meet, and swords are drawn, and lances set, the bards throw themselves between the contending parties, and pacify them, as one by magic subdues the wild beast. And thus, even among the most savage non-Greeks, frenzy yields to wisdom, and Mars respects the Muses.' Ref: Diodorus Siculus.

Also they `possess uncouth trumpets (The Carnyx) of peculiar formation which emit a hoarse and warlike sound to inspire terror'. These instruments, it would appear, were part of the equipment of the soldier rather than of the poet-musician, for they are mentioned between descriptions of shields and helmets, and swords, lances and javelins. `The spoils stained with blood they hand to their retainers to carry, and chant the hymn of victory.'

`The Bards composed and sung odes; the Uates attended to the sacrifices and studied nature; while the Druids studied nature and moral philosophy.' Ref: Strabo.

There is also preserved a fragment written in the fourth century BC by an unknown Greek author who says, as translated by W. Dinan as follows: 

The Celts practise the customs of the Greeks, being on the most friendly terms with Greece

through the exchange of 'guest-friendship': they conduct their public assemblies to the accompaniment of music,

zealously practising it for its softening effects.

These quotations may not give one much detailed information concerning the state of music among the Celts of Gaul and Britain in pre-Christian times, but they certainly help one to realize something of the deep-rooted effect of music and poetry upon the Celtic race.

 

Bard with harp

 

Carnyx

Dude! - the Welsh Rock Scene is healthy with Supergroup Welsh bands Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Stereophonics and  the Super Furries rocking on!
MWNG (MANE in English) by Super Furry Animals (The band that parks their (real) military tank outside their gigs) is the most successful Welsh language album of all time. Costing a mere 6000 the album is mostly acoustic and entirely in Welsh and reached number 11 in the charts.





Super Furry Animals' seventh and latest (released in 2005) album is: Love Kraft (Sony BMG 5205016). It's immense in scope, with more than half of its twelve tracks featuring swooning string arrangements and the occasional Welsh choir. 

 

Music in Wales Under the Native Rulers

From early times the Welsh tribesmen had beyond a doubt their skilled poets and musicians, whose flights of song were independent of literary aid, for the leading terms connected with these two arts, such as "bardd" (poet), prydydd (maker), cerddor (musician [artist]), crwth (crowd), "telyn" (harp), "cathl" (song), "tant" (string), are of' purely Celtic origin, being, for the most part, common to Brythons (Welsh) and Goidels (Irish). 

The harp and the crwth/ Y telyn a'r crwth - We know from the Welsh Laws codified by Howel the Good/ Hywel Dda (died, 949 or 950) that it was the telyn which was the royal and bardic instrument in the tenth century and earlier. It may be that the crwth was associated at this time with the singers of the ancient British Church, with whom the Italian most probably came chiefly in contact and hence why the crwth was given so much prominence.

From the beginning of the sixth century, perhaps from a somewhat earlier date, it would seem, according to Dr. H. D. M. Spence Jones, that the British Church in Wales developed great strength, owing chiefly to the ever flowing stream of Christian fugitives flying from the desolating conquests of Roman Britain by the pagan Angles, Saxons and Jutes. 

Dewi, Padarn, Teilo, Cadog, Illtud and Cybi founded Monasteries in different parts of Wales and, we are told `in the secluded valleys and hills of wild Wales laid the foundation of that great Irish Celtic Church which for some 200 years aroused the admiration, the wonder and the emulation of the Christian world of the west.


 

Modern day bard

 

Crwth