Ceri Shaw



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Cordydd at the Ontario Welsh Festival 2016

user image 2016-02-01
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: Events
AmeriCymru spoke to Sioned James, conductor of Welsh mixed choir Cordydd about their forthcoming appearance at the Ontario Welsh Festival in April 2016.

AmeriCymru: Hi Sioned and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. You will be performing at the Ontario Welsh Festival this year on April 22nd in Ottawa. Is this your first visit to the Americas?

Sioned: This is Côrdydd's first visit to Canada - we performed at Carnegie Hall, NYC in 2013 with the esteemed (Welsh and Royal composer, Paul Mealor) and have travelled to Hong Kong and Barbados, but we are very much looking forward to exploring Canada, especially to celebrate the Welsh Festival. We promise plenty of formal and informal Welsh singing!

AmeriCymru: Can you tell us a little about the history of the choir? How common are mixed choirs in Wales?

Sioned: Côrdydd is a Cardiff-based choir, which was established 16 years ago. Mixed choirs have grown in popularity in Cardiff and all across Wales - Côrdydd has indeed been a match-maker for many a wedded couple and maybe this is an instigation for many young people to meet others of the same ilk! Wales is steeped with mixed and male voice choirs history, and it has become very "cool" to be part of a choir of late. Côrdydd does indeed feel like a community and a hub within a vibrant city, and I hope it has a warm, welcoming and family feel.

The choir began when a small group of friends noticed a gap in the choral market in Cardiff - although there were numerous mixed choirs, there wasn't a particularly young choir in Cardiff for new graduates/early twenties/thirty year olds. Hence the birth of Côrdydd. Over a hundred turned up for the first rehearsal which cemented the fact that there was room for more choirs in the city. And fortunately, this still stands today with new choirs springing in every corner of Wales. We are extremely proud to be privvy and part of that exciting scene.

AmeriCymru: What can attendees expect from Cordyyd in Ottawa. Care to give us a sneak preview of your repertoire?

Sioned:   Hopefully, Côrdydd can showcase fine choral singing - we strive to achieve a pure sound, of clarity and excellence - I hope we deliver! Naturally we will perform some of Wales' finest tunes, some recongisable but with a twist; we are at our best singing a capella music and will perform some of Paul Mealor, Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen's works. We are fortunate to collaborate closely with these three composers and will once more, be touring with Whitacre in 2017. We were also chosen to record with Decca/Deutsche Gramaphon label with the world-famous Bryn Terfel, appearing on most tracks of his Christmas CD. We've also won numerous other accolades and appeared on Radio 3, BBC1, S4C - finding time to fulfill all we want to achieve is quite a task, so we will be making the most of Canada!

AmeriCymru: You have appeared, and won prizes at, the National Eisteddfod on a number of occasions. How did it feel to win a prize at this most prestigious of events?

Sioned: It's incredible to think that we have not only won at the National Eisteddfod 10 times, but we are the choir who has won the "Choir of the Festival" (Côr yr Ŵyl) more than any other choir in Eisteddfod history. It's truly an honour, but we never take any win for granted. Each win feels as good as the last, and believe me, there are a lot of nervous choristers backstage before competing!

AmeriCymru: Where can people go online to hear and purchase tracks by Cordydd?

Sioned: We have two websites - www.cordydd.com and www.cordydd.org.uk - we have dozens of clips on youtube and you can buy our recordings with Bryn Terfel ("Bryn Terfel'a Carols and Christmas Songs") on i-tunes.

AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Sioned: We hope you enjoy our performances of Welsh, and our various other repertoire. Between ourselves and the Three Welsh Tenors, Cymru has a strong, splendid, and very Welsh presence in Canada! Thank you for inviting us to be part of your special event -  Iechyd Da!

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