Dwi’n hoff iawn o gerddoriaeth Gymraeg!*

So Happy (late) Welsh Language Music Day!

Ddydd Miwsyg Cymru Hapus! Happy Welsh Music Day to everyone! With it actually being celebrated last Friday, I was a sad to see minimal party coverage. Whilst it might seem somewhat trivial, niche and irrelevant to the ‘powers that be’ inside our Westminster HQ, or ‘too unimportant’ to those leading our party in Wales itself; it is, in fact, the opposite.

Welsh Music isn’t ‘just’ another genre; it’s symbolic of culture, emotion and political change. We as a grassroots party should be appreciating it, not forgetting it.  So why is Welsh Language Music so important? Historically, early music was used in Mari Lwyd traditions, marking the darkest days of the year.

Whilst this is probably the oldest known usage of Welsh music, it is by far the last – often being used to mark occasions. One of my favourite examples being on Shrove Tuesday, where children sang ‘pancake songs.’

Even though Welsh Language Music has strong traditional ties to the country, whilst important, that isn’t the only reason why we should focus on it. It’s also due to it supressed for decades, with the Act of Union promoting the English Language; and the rise of religion, which frowned upon folk music. Welsh Language Music, whilst a cultural tradition, has faced huge adversity in order to survive.

Now, what’s even more remarkable, is that Welsh Language Music in recent times is being used as a symbol of hope, for political change. The power of Welsh Music is still visible today, with ‘Yma O Hyd’ reaching number one on the iTunes singles chart last month. The song itself, originally released in 1983, is symbolic of the struggles that Welsh Language and culture has had to face. It’s main takeaway message, “Ry’n ni yma o hyd, er gwaetha pawb a phopeth”, translating to “We’re still here, in spite of everyone and everything.”

Not only a symbol of hope and culture, it’s also much more accessible to everyone – becoming a way for Wales to express itself on the world stage. Modern day Welsh-pop is about everything, whether it’s about an unconventional but modern relationship like Meinir Gwilym’s ‘Cymru, Usa,’ or about being in love with the moment as in Yws Gwynedd’s ‘Sebona Fi.’ The history of Welsh Language Music means that it’s a tradition that should be celebrated.

However, Welsh Language Music is not ‘just’ Welsh History, instead being a living and breathing part of Wales today. As a federalist party, we should be celebrating all cultural diversity across our isles. Last month, I was sitting in one of Ceredigion’s Welsh-language pubs and singing to Welsh Music on the radio.

Every so often, I chat to Leena Farhat, one of our party’s Senedd candidates, about the latest songs that I’ve listened to. Welsh Music has made me who I am today, and I’d like to thank the inclusive community.

We, as a party, need to be celebrating everyone’s voices, even if they’re in a different language. I hope that the party can follow me in enjoying it sometime.

*I love Welsh music!

* Jasneet Samrai is the current Equalities Spokesperson for Centre Think Tank and the Vice-Chair of Liberals For EFTA. She is also a Former Member of the South East Regional Executive

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6 Comments

  • BBC radio 2 Saturday 9pm. A history of Welsh folk music .Yes we should as a party be taking more interest in the the nations history . It cannot be used by Nationalists to build their strength up as akin the whole of the UK , is one. We should be celebrating all music of the parts of the UK and our diversity.

  • It’s worth remembering that the most recent Liberal prime minister, David Lloyd George, actually spoke English as a second language (the only British prime minister to do so). Our strength should be in celebrating the cultural differences. This is an interested article and glad to see welsh get a reference: it would surprise me if Jane Dodds as a fluent Welsh speaker would view this as unimportant, given her response yng nghymraeg i Boris Johnson when he asserted there are ‘parts of Britain that don’t speak English as a first language’ (!)

  • Gwyn Williams 12th Feb '20 - 2:19pm

    Diolch, diolch, diolch

  • Kevin Maher 12th Feb '20 - 2:42pm

    Mike, that most famous Welsh prime minister was born in Manchester, but left before he could speak hence his first language was Welsh. Always a good pub quiz question.

  • I think given the poor electoral performance of the Lib Dems recently, that there are literally a million other things I would prefer HQ to be focusing on than a celebration of music sung in Welsh.

    Furthermore since the Lib Dems are apparently internationalist, surely HQ should also be focusing on the celebration of Tajik, Twi and Tamil music. And why stop at music, what about focusing on the celebration of Fula, Fijian and Flemish art? And how about a celebration of costumes, poetry and scupturing from every ethnicity?

    HQ resources are finite and very limited. They need to be focusing on the things that really matter to people, not extremely niche issues of little interest to 99% of the population.

    Also as a native speaker of Welsh I’d like to correct the translation of the title. “Dwi’n hoff iawn o gerddoriaeth Gymraeg” does not translate as “I love Welsh music”. “I love Welsh music” would be translated as “Dwi’n caru cerddoriaeth Gymraeg”

  • Diolch yn fawr Jasneet, sut ydych chi? It’s one of the most beautiful languages ever and I am still learning it from afar. One of my favourite phrases when visiting the pubs in my Carmarthen student days was ‘peint o cwrw os gwelwch yn dda.’

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