Ceri Shaw



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Category: News

The third #SingForWales anthem sing

By Ceri Shaw, 2020-06-07

Introducing Cardiff's very own 'Tiny Trumpeter Steffan Raynor Owen and Sing For Wales event anthem coach Gwenno Dafydd. This will be the third time that the anthem is performed worldwide to thank everyone for the part they have played in Wales during the covid crisis.

Gan gyflwyno 'Trwmpedwr Tidli Twt' unigryw Caerdydd, Steffan Raynor Owen sy'n cyfeilio i anogydd anthem digwyddiad Sing For Wales Gwenno Dafydd. Hwn fydd y trydedd tro i'r anthem gael ei fferfformio led-led y byd i ddiolch i bawb am y rhan mae nhw wedi ei chwarae yng Nghymru yn ystod y cyfnod cofidus.

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We have always had a great  lineup for Dylan Day in the past but because of lockdown this year the Birthplace is closed to visitors so we decided to bring the Birthplace to your living room! And what a response we have had from performers, musicians and poets from all over the world - so much so that we have another two programmes line up for later in the year. On top of that a previously unseen interview with the 39th President of the United States -  Jimmy Carter (beginning of programme 1) . See just why he is Dylan's Number One Fan.

Orange Circus Band * Tia McGraff * Lost Hollow * Oliver Lomax * Adrian Metcalfe * Daisy Owens * Rafa Bocero * Lorraine King * Iqbal Malik + many more

It's all set to go live at 7.00am on the  Birthplace YouTube channel on Thursday 14th May where the programmes will remain for you to view at your leisure  www.youtube.com/ dylanthomasbirthplace

Other Events on Dylan Day
Take a look at www.discoverdylanthomas.com for other Dylan Day events including the virtual International Dylan Thomas Prize hosted by Michael Sheen.

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Message from Gwenno Dafydd

Enunciation (with subtitles)

The Anthem performed by the Morriston Orpheus Choir

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Join the Facebook Group here:- SING FOR WALES

A message from Sarah Evans, 'Sing For Wales' organiser:- 

"SKY NEWS have come on board  # singforwales  and will be televising you singing the WELSH NATIONAL ANTHEM on MONDAY 4TH MAY, 8PM!

They may even be doing a live feed from one of your streets, so make sure you spread the word and get everyone out and singing.

MONDAY 4TH MAY, 8PM stand on your doorsteps and SING the WELSH NATIONAL ANTHEM for all those affected by Covid-19.

For the NHS and keyworkers, for everyone staying at home, for everyone self isolating, for the businesses that have had to shut, for the children missing their schools and friends, for everyone doing their part in the fight againsy Covid-19 and for those who were sadly taken by Covid-19. 

Keep joining, keep sharing, keep practising and STAY SAFE!"

Feel free to download, print and display the official event posters below. It's a great way to stimulate interest and participation. A few posters in your front/bedroom window and the whole street knows about the event!





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Ffred Ffransis, a prominent Welsh language campaigner has been featured in the news recently courtesy of bone headed BBC TV presenter Dan Walker. This character, in the course of reporting on Ffred's current dangerous predicament, thought it most important to mock the spelling of his name (see this news report ). Ffred and his wife Meinir are currently,  ".... stuck in Peru and have no way of coming home. They are in the city of Cusco which is at 11,200 feet above sea level. Ffred suffers from Left Ventricular Systolic Disorder which affects the heart, and has to take medication and have regular blood tests. The disease also makes it difficult for him to breathe and with Cusco's altitude, it’s having a big impact on him, and his health is deteriorating. Both are also in their 70s and therefore in the high-risk category for the Covid-19."

Under the circumstances we have no hesitation in:

1   Asking the Senedd to devote emergency funds to the repatriation of Ffred and Meinir. A couple of plane tickets wont break the bank!

2   Calling on Dan Walker to resign! ( UPDATE: It should be noted in mitigation that Dan Walker has apologised for his absurd remarks and has taken a lead in alerting the world to Ffred's situation via his Twitter feed:-  https://twitter.com/mrdanwalker/status/1240974016174788610 )

Asking our readers to spread the following message as widely and as quickly as possible. 

Llythyr Ffred a Meinir - Peru


Ysgrifennaf atoch ynglŷn ag achos Meinir a Ffred Ffransis sy’n sownd ym Mheriw, a heb unrhyw ffordd o ddychwelyd adref. Mae Meinir a Ffred yn ninas Cusco sydd 11,200 troedfedd uwch lefel y môr. Mae Ffred yn dioddef o Left Ventricular Systolic Disorder sy’n effeithio ar y galon, ac mae’n gorfod cymryd meddyginiaeth a chael profion gwaed yn rheolaidd. Mae’r afiechyd hefyd yn ei gwneud hi’n anodd iddo anadlu oherwydd bod Cusco yn uchel yn yr Andes, yr aer yn dennau, ac mae’n cael effaith fawr arno a’i iechyd yn dirywio. Mae’r ddau hefyd yn eu 70au ac felly yn y categori risg uchel i’r Covid-19. Pryderwn yn fawr beth fyddai’n digwydd pe byddent yn dal y firws allan ym Mheriw. 

Ar Fawrth 15 fe wnaeth Periw gau'r holl ffiniau gyda dim ond 24awr o rybudd, doedd hyn ddim yn ddigon o amser i drefnu ffordd allan gan fod pob hedfaniad yn llawn. Golygai hyn fod miloedd o bobl wedi’u gadael yno heb ffordd allan.

Mae llywodraethau Israel, UDA, Ffrainc, Yr Almaen, Gwlad Pwyl a Sbaen wedi trefnu hedfaniadau i ddod â’u dinasyddion yn ôl adref. Lle mae’r cymorth gan y DU? Mae’r llysgenhadaeth ym Mheriw wedi bod yn aneffeithiol hefyd, pan gyhoeddwyd bod y ffiniau yn cau fe wnaeth y swyddfa gau ac felly doedd dim modd mynd yno am gymorth nac arweiniad. 

Mae’r sefyllfa yn Cusco yn dirywio’n sydyn; mae’r fyddin ar y strydoedd yn atal pobl rhag gadael eu gwestai, mae curfew rhwng 1pm-8am, does dim llawer o fwyd ar ôl yn yr archfarchnadoedd ac mae tensiwn yn cynyddu rhwng y twristiaid a’r bobl sy’n byw yno. Mae wir yn mynd yn waeth bob dydd.

Rydym yn erfyn ar y llywodraeth i drefnu hedfaniad adref i Meinir a Ffred a’r 400 arall sydd ym Mheriw, mae angen i hyn ddigwydd cyn bod hi’n rhy hwyr.


I write to you regarding the case of Meinir and Ffred Ffransis who are stuck in Peru and have no way of coming home. Meinir and Ffred are in the city of Cusco which is at 11,200 feet above sea level. Ffred suffers from Left Ventricular Systolic Disorder which affects the heart, and has to take medication and have regular blood tests. The disease also makes it difficult for him to breathe and with Cusco's altitude, it’s having a big impact on him, and his health is deteriorating. Both are also in their 70s and therefore in the high-risk category for the Covid-19. We are very concerned about what would happen if they caught the virus out in Peru. 

On March 15 Peru closed all borders with only 24 hours’ notice, this was not enough time to arrange an exit as all flights were full. This left thousands of people stranded.

The governments of Israel, the USA, France, Germany, Poland and Spain have all organised flights to return their citizens. Where is the Uk’s response? The embassy in Peru has also proved ineffective, when they announced that the borders were closing, the office also shut its doors and it was therefore impossible to go there for guidance and advice. 

The situation in Cusco is deteriorating rapidly; the army on the streets are preventing people from leaving their hotels, there is a curfew between 1pm-8am, there is not much food left in the supermarkets and tension is increasing between the tourists and the people who live there. It really is getting worse every day.

We urge the government to organise a flight home for Meinir and Ffred , this needs to happen before it’s too late.

Cysylltiadau pwysig / Important contacts:

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:
Dominic Raab MP

Secretary of State for Wales:
Simon Hart MP

Prif Weinidog Cymru:
Mark Drakeford AC

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Lundy Li-Lo Dash 2019

By Ceri Shaw, 2019-04-01

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    SULLY ISLAND (Starting point) <-------------------  (65.1 miles)  ----------------------> LUNDY ISLAND (Destination)      

Competitors from all over Wales and the world will be descending on the small Glamorganshire village of Sully today for the annual Lundy Li-Lo (air mattress) Dash. The event which has been held in the Glan Mor Hafren ( Severn Estuary) since 1966 is a gruelling test of endurance and physical fitness which brings hundreds of athletes together in an attempt to beat the world record for butterfly stroking on an air mattress the 65.1 miles between Sully and Lundy Island.

AmeriCymru spoke to competitor (and last years runner up) David Jones as he wrestled a keg from his locker. When asked why he put to sea with a 40 pint pressure barrel strapped to his back he replied:- "You've gotta stay properly hydrated. It's a long way and it's hard work and you've got the sun on your back too."

RAF Air Sea Rescue captain Llywelyn 'Biggles' Jones said:- "We are always very busy at this time of year and we strongly advise competitors to behave responsibly and observe all necessary safety precautions. So....don't forget the sun screen."

Rescue teams are standing by on the cliffs at Lundy Island in case competitors make landfall in an awkward spot. Most of the island is ringed by cliffs and there is only one safe landing point. Spotters with binoculars and telescopes will also be watching to detect any competitors who, having missed the island altogether, are washed out into mid-Atlantic by the strong tides and currents.

If you would like to take part in next years Lundy Li-Lo Dash please follow the link below to register on the official website.



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Adjudication from Peter Thabit Jones

Americymru 2018 Poetry Competition results

It was a real pleasure to read such a variety of poetic voices among the submitted poems. Most of the entries pulled me into their worlds and kept me there for the duration of their unfolding. Many fine lines settled into ‘the larder of my heart’, to quote my dear American friend Vince Clemente, an emeritus professor and poet. As always, I was looking for a poet whose work revealed an individual and an original voice, something fresh in their offering of a compact and crafted use of language, a poet whose observations and feelings are brought together in a seamless way.

I was truly impressed by the poems of Peter Lewis, Peter Lautz, K. S. Moore, Paul Steffan Jones, and Michael Madden. They are all poets with a controlled array of strong writing skills and with very engaging approaches to their subject matter. It was a tough decision, but the somewhat delicate and yet deep poems of Peter Lewis are my choice for the winner of the 2018 Americymru Poetry Competition.

  The winner of the 2018 competition is Peter Lewis.

   Peter Thabit Jones
   Poet, dramatist, and publisher

Read the winning entries here:- Poems by Peter Lewis

Congratulations/Llongyfarchiadau to this year's winner Peter Lewis

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Adjudication from Mike Jenkins

''It was a tricky choice, but in the end I went for 'Flapper Girl' by Anisha Johnson, which really caught a moment in time very well. I really liked the humour of 'Nativity' as well."

The winner of the 2017 competition is Anisha Johnson.

Mike Jenkins

Read the winning entries here:- Flapper Girl by Anisha Johnson

Congratulations/Llongyfarchiadau to this year's winner Anisha Johnson

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mikejenkins1.jpg How many people know that the world famous International Welsh Poetry Competition began life in a small, independent pub, tucked away down a quiet side street in Pontypridd? Founded by Welsh poet Dave Lewis in 2007 the contest has been run and organised from the town ever since, is now in its thirteenth year and is the biggest poetry competition in Wales!

But what makes this competition so special? Some would say the judges, others the sheer quality of the winning entries but one thing is for sure the competition is here to stay.

Famous Welsh writer, filmmaker and environmental activist John Evans has played a big part. He judged the first two years and has returned on four other occasions choosing poems with subjects as diverse as 'the brutality of war', ‘the plight of captive killer whales’, ‘Munch’s The Scream’ and ‘vegetarianism’.

Other judges have included Sally Spedding, twice winner herself and a respected crime novelist. Celebrated children's writer Eloise Williams and Cardigan-based Bridport Prize winner Kathy Miles can also be counted amongst the competition’s excellent judges. This year, one of Wales' best poets, Cardiff City fan Mike Jenkins, returns for his second time at the helm.

But maybe there is another reason why writers from all over the world love this humble contest that began life as a drunken conversation between Dave Lewis and John Evans in a Clwb Y Bont backroom at one o’clock in the morning, and that is its honesty and integrity. Unlike many competitions your poems are judged anonymously and no filter judges are used. This means a complete beginner can compete against a seasoned veteran. A successful, traditionally published author can fight it out with a newly self-published blogger.

“We offer true equality,” says organizer Dave Lewis. “In a time when corporate greed and influence seem to infect every aspect of our lives and ruin the opportunity for the little guy to succeed the Welsh Poetry Competition is a rare beacon of hope,” he continues.

“Both myself and John love the underdog and coming from a no-nonsense town like Pontypridd you know you’re not going to get given anything for nothing, especially by the establishment that control the purse strings in Wales, so it’s best you just strike out on your own and go for it.”

The competition organizer, Dave Lewis, shuns the limelight however. A well-respected poet himself he continues to self-publish his often avant-garde work rather than seek acceptance from the mainstream just so he can continue to push the boundaries of his art. He also runs a small self-publishing company, called Publish & Print, where he helps other writers get into book form and realize their own ambitions.

This year’s judge, Mike Jenkins, needs no introduction of course being one of Wales’ top poets, famous for his lively performances and writing workshops. He has performed at the Hay Festival, won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors and has co-edited Red Poets for 25 years, an annual magazine of left-wing poetry from Wales and beyond. His latest book is ‘ From Aberfan t Grenfell ’ (Culture Matters) with artist Alan Perry.

With entrants from over 40 countries having taken part in the past this year promises to be no different and with £500 on offer to the winner, plus many other prizes for the chosen runners-up, the International Welsh Poetry Competition will once again punch above its weight in the literary calendar. If you want to enter just check out this year's contest on the official website - www.welshpoetry.co.uk

International Welsh Poetry Competition 2019


1st Prize - £500, 2nd Prize - £250, 3rd Prize - £100, plus 17 runners up published on our website and in a future anthology.

Judge - Mike Jenkins

Starts - 1st Feb 2019

Closing date - 26th May 2019

Poems in English, 50 lines maximum

Entry fee - £5 (£6 PayPal)

Entry forms, rules and details on our website:


Competition Web site - www.welshpoetry.co.uk

Competition Judge – www.mikejenkins.net

Organiser Web site – www.david-lewis.co.uk

Twitter - @welshpoetrycomp

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smallpodd.jpg St David's of Wales Day Benefit Concert

Celebrate the patron saint of Wales' day with the Portland Phoenix Chamber Choir and the Welsh Dragon Choir, as they sing traditional songs of Wales and other cultures. There will be music followed by dessert and a silent auction.

The concert is to raise funds for the Chamber Choir's trip to compete at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales in July 2019.


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AmeriCymru: Hi Justin and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about the history of the Phoenix Choir?

Justin: The Portland Phoenix Choir is a new non-profit choral organization made up of two separate choirs - the auditioned Chamber Choir and the non-auditioned Choral Union. It's made up of students, faculty and community singers who used to perform as the Marylhurst University Choirs. Sadly, Marylhurst, where I served as Director of Choral Activities, unexpectedly closed last spring, leaving us all musically homeless. In a really touching gesture, the singers asked me if we could continue singing together - thus the Phoenix choirs were born, choosing as our name the well-known image of the mythical bird that resurrects itself from its own ashes. It's our Chamber Choir that is traveling to sing and compete in Wales this summer.

AmeriCymru: You will be performing at the Llangollen Festival in north Wales this year. Care to tell us more?

Justin: It's a huge honor even to be accepted to compete at the Llangollen Eisteddfod. It's know worldwide as one of the finest choral festivals on the planet, and this year they received over a hundred applications. We're competing in two categories against choirs from all over the world. The winning choir gets the title of Choir of the World and the Pavarotti Trophy (named after the famous singer), but in reality, we're just thrilled about the chance to hear so many exceptional groups from all over the world, as well as represent Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the United States on a highly visible global stage.

AmeriCymru: I guess transporting and accommodating a choir to an event like this is a massive logistical exercise. How are your plans proceeding thus far?

Justin: It's a logistical challenge, true - but it's a financial challenge above all. Since we're a non-profit that's literally six months old, and no longer have a university backing us up with their resources, raising the money to go is a tall order. Our singers are rich in musical talent but not so in financial resources. So we're looking for community partners interested in helping us represent the region and the world, as well as create ever stronger ties between Wales and the United States.

AmeriCymru: You have a fundraiser on March 1st here in Portland. Can you share the details?

Justin: Yes, we're very excited to collaborate with the Portland Dragon Choir, our city's fine Welsh chorus, on Friday March 1st. I'm sure I don't need to tell your readers that's St David's Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales. The music will feature Welsh favorites, storytelling, a silent auction, and our Chamber Choir singing the music we're taking to Llangollen. It's Friday, March 1st at St David's of Wales Church (of course!) in SE Portland, and tickets can be purchased online at wales.brownpapertickets.com.

AmeriCymru: How would you describe the choir's repertoire? Will you be performing any old Welsh choral favorites at Llangollen?

Justin: Our repertoire is quite eclectic; everything from sixteenth century polyphony, to challenging modern works, to African-American spirituals. En route to Llangollen, we're honored to be invited to sing two Evensong services at Christ Church in Oxford, so we're diving into that Anglican repertoire, too.

But we mainly want to celebrate Wales's incredible and beautiful choral singing tradition. We're currently learning "Calon Lan," so that we can be sure to please our Welsh audiences! We'll also be singing a Gymnafa Ganu in June at Bryn Seion Welsh Church, which looks like it will be terrific fun. Welsh is such a beautiful language, but quite difficult, so learning to sing it has been quite challenging!

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

Justin: We cordially invite you to attend our St David's Day Benefit Concert on Friday March 1st, to celebrate Welsh-American friendship and the choral music, songs and storytelling of Wales, and help us get across the pond to represent America at the Llangollen Festival. More information can be found at wales.brownpapertickets.com or, if you use Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/313780339242497/


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