Ceri Shaw


 

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‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ (Land of My Fathers) reaches the four corners of the world.

user image 2020-04-21
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: about

Golwg article. Translation by Gwenno Dafydd. Read the article yn Cymraeg here .


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The efforts to encourage people to sing ‘Hen Wales fy Nhadau’ (Land of my Fathers – Welsh National Anthem)  to thank not only the NHS, but also everyone who has played their part in fighting the Coronavirus was ‘a huge success’ according to Gwenno Dafydd, one of the organisers of the ‘Sing for Wales’ project. (Editor – And our very own Americymru Saint David’s Day World Ambassador)

She talked to golwg 360 after seeing that videos of people who sang on Monday night (April the 13th) had arrived in the Facebook ‘Sing for Wales’ group as far away as Jamaica, America, South Africa, Australia, Cambodia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain.  

And the Facebook group ‘Sing for Wales’ has attracted more than 120,000 members in a very short time. 
 
After seeing a Facebook message by Sarah Evans from Gwent, just a few hours after Sarah established the group on March the 29th, Gwenno Dafydd was inspired to join the campaign, and they are both now two out of the five organisers, who include Scott Evans, Sarah’s husband, Plaid Cymru Councillor Rhys Mills and song writer Gavin Clifton

“On the Friday before this I was out on the pavement myself singing the anthem to thank the people working for National Health System (NHS)”, said the performer, author and public speaking coach to golwg 360.

“On the following Sunday, I saw that someone called Sarah Evans had established the group ‘Sing for Wales’ and I thought ‘Wow!’.

“She wanted to sing to thank everyone who had been supporting us during this time. So I contacted her and offered to help. 



“It was a huge honour to lead the singing during this really special event and to be one of the five very hard working and active members of the organising Steering Committee,” said a message at the bottom of a video on Youtube.

“I would like to thank Rhys Mills, Gavin Clifton, Scott Evans but especially Sarah Evans who had the idea, and also latterly the BBC and Wynne Evans for their support, and of course, lastly and more important than anything, thanks to over 120,000 (hashtag)Welshies and (hashtag)WorldwideWelshies for their support for the group. We made an amazing team!”

Teaching people to enunciate the words

Having been responsible in the past for helping to create an Iphone App to help people learn how to enunciate the Welsh National Anthem, Gwenno Dafydd – author of ‘Stand up and Sock it to them Sister. Funny Feisty Females’, a book about female stand-up comics, decided to take advantage of the resources she had from the time of the App.

“Although the app is no longer available, I still had the resources and one of those was a video of me clearly enunciating the words with sub-titles of the words beneath”.

“I offered these to Sarah, and I said I would also record myself singing and she could put these up on the group, and that’s what happened.”

Radio Cymru and Radio Wales backing the campaign

Apart from this, she has also been helping to raise the profile of the campaign by being responsible for drawing the attention of the media, including Radio Cymru and Radio Wales, who both broadcast the anthem live at eight o clock on the Monday night.  

“I got in touch with Radio Cymru and spoke to Rhuanedd Richards, Head of Radio Cymru, a few days before the event and told her what was happening, and at that time the BBC really came fully ‘on board’.

“We  needed to get a backing track that everyone could use  and the two most important  issues, in my opinion, was to put it up on the group so that people could have a practice before the event, and the other issue was that we needed to have a ‘lead in’, so that we had an introduction.

“I was in discussion with Gareth Iwan Jones at the BBC Radio Cymru Music Department and we decided together that we would use a track of  Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir singing and that’s what happened. Then Wynne Evans also made a video of himself in his kitchen teaching people how to sing the anthem, which proved popular

“Between everything, it came together just like that really, truth be known.”

Raising awareness of a medical condition

And Sarah Evans had an even better reason for setting up the campaign – by seeing an opportunity to raise awareness of her son’s very rare condition. 

“Sarah and Scott have two children and the eldest, Harri, has a very rare condition called Williams Syndrome and Rhys Mills, as their local Plaid Cymru councillor has been very supportive to them with his condition.

“Sarah was very keen to raise awareness of this condition whilst running this campaign."

All the Steering Committee have various connections,  and one of the groups I contacted was ‘Corona’ (Welsh medium Facebook group dedicated to singing – with over 40,000 members)  and we had people from the four corners of the world literally contacting us. 

“Although some people were too shy to record themselves, they did sing the anthem to thank all those who had been looking after us during this worrying time, not only those in the NHS but also those who work in the supermarkets, garages, cross country lorry drivers, refuse workers, those who have lost their businesses, children who stayed at home…….”

Worth the effort’

“To those people who were not in the front line, that was Sarah’s intention, and that’s what I liked, was that we were doing something small to thank everyone for doing their bit.”

“Although I worked day and night on this for two weeks (as did all the others in the Steering Committee) I think it was worth the effort. 

Article by Alun Rhys Chivers. Translation by Gwenno Dafydd.
 
Additional information

Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/557557901860425/

Twitter https://twitter.com/SingWales


The group will be singing for Wales once again at 8.00pm Monday 4th May. Whether we are singing because we will celebrate coming out of lockdown or because we need to knuckle down again. We will sing! 


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