Celebrating Dydd Miwsig Cymru / Welsh Language Music Day with some of our favourite songs
Paid collaboration with Dydd Miwsig Cymru / Welsh Language Music Day
It’s Dydd Miwsig Cymru, Welsh Language Music Day, this Friday – a chance to celebrate and enjoy music made in Welsh, as well as supporting the vibrant Welsh language music industry and promoting the Welsh language.
Friday 10 February 2023 will see the eighth annual Dydd Miwsig Cymru, celebrating all forms of Welsh language music – from rock, pop, folk, to electronica, hip hop and everything in between.
People of all ages, whether they speak Welsh or not, are invited to use the day as inspiration to listen to some Welsh music. It’s a great tool for learning, and if you’re one of the many parents who don’t speak Welsh but whose children are in Welsh medium education, it’s a fun and accessible way to get closer to your child’s language world. Welsh language living room disco, anyone?!
My children are in Welsh-medium education and although I have learned Welsh, until a few years ago I didn’t really know much Welsh language music at all. My husband is English, so it’s definitely a whole new world for him, but one we’ve been trying to embrace as a family.
When my children were very young and started attending Cylch Meithrin (Welsh language nursery) they used to sing Welsh language nursery rhymes; as someone who started learning Welsh at the age of 11, this was a whole new world for me, but I noticed the simple patterns and repetition helped my language as much as it helped my children’s. And music provides the same, as they get older.
My children’s primary school has been amazing at introducing pupils to Welsh language music. At first, it was the cheerful learning-based songs from the presenters of the TV show Cyw and likes of Rapsgaliwn, the S4C character who raps about being the best rapper in the world in his track Rapsgaliwn, recycling (Ailgylchu), different sandwich fillings (Caws) in Welsh, and even an ode to the humble potato (Tatws). Yep, very random, but very catchy too!
And then, as they got older, came the pop, hip hop and rock of bands and artists such as Fleur De Lys, Gwilym, Mr Phormula, Yws Gwynedd, Elin Fflur, Adwaith and so many more. In lockdown, we had virtual school discos to a soundtrack of Welsh songs and the teachers put together videos of all the children doing lockdown challenges such as passing loo rolls (remember those!) accompanied by catchy Welsh pop songs. Our PTA termly discos now feature a Welsh language playlist – and it’s amazing seeing the children dancing and singing along and requesting Welsh favourites. Each year on Dydd Miwsig Cymru, the pupils vote for their favourite Welsh language tunes – and they’ve even had messages of thanks from the artists themselves. Through my children, my eyes have truly been opened to the Welsh language music scene, and it’s been such an enriching experience for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the lyrics – we’ve all been singing along to the Macarena and Despacito for years without understanding the words, and so too can Welsh language music be enjoyed by anyone.
I’ve always felt it’s important for my children to see Welsh not just as the language of their classroom but as a language they can live their lives in – and music is such a wonderful way to show them that, and to expand their cultural knowledge. Plus a lot of it is really, really good.
If you’re new to Welsh language music and wondering where to start, this playlist from BBC Sounds and Siarter Iaith is perfect. The playlist is updated every few weeks and contains an hour of tracks showcasing the breadth of Welsh language music. Some of our favourites from the current playlist include the catchy Paid Ȃ Bod Ofn by Eden, the uplifting Pan Ddaw Yfory by Yws Gwynedd, and Lle Ma Dy Galon by Mr Phormula featuring Alys Williams which fuses rap, beatbox and smooth melodies.
Miwsig Y Siarter Iaith’s playlist is available via BBC Sounds all year round, and although the playlist changes regularly, the same link will work no matter which tunes are currently on offer.
If you’re on Spotify, you can access several Dydd Miwsig Cymru playlists here
There’s plenty of opportunity to see Welsh language music acts playing live. You can also see a list of all the gigs that are taking place across Wales to celebrate Dydd Miwsig Cymru here
And for us here in Cardiff, look out for Tafwyl, the annual free festival celebrating Welsh culture, usually held in June, sees a number of Welsh artists taking to the stage; as well as Gwyl Fach Y Fro, a similar event which takes place in Barry Island, plus there’s always an array of Welsh bands playing at the annual Eisteddfod. Grown ups can get their Welsh language music fix at Clwb Ifor Bach, the famous club in Cardiff city centre.
My children and I have put together below seven of our favourite Welsh language music tracks which we hope will inspire you – the perfect soundtrack for your next car journey or kitchen disco.
Our seven favourite Welsh language music songs for Dydd Miwsig Cymru
Dawnsia by Fleur De Lys
According to the BBC website, the Anglesey indie band say they want to make “Saturday night every night of the week”… “not in a hedonistic stumbling around a heaving nightclub, but in the sense that their music has a real sense of freedom, possibilities and joy to it, in the spirit of the best rock ’n’ roll.” And that’s certainly true of Dawnsia; as you might be able to guess it translates as Dance and it’s definitely a lively anthem of a track that will get you moving.
As the lyrics say, “Dawnsia nes dy fod dy draed di’n rhydd. Ti yn pwy wyt ti ar ddiwadd y dydd” or “Dance until your feet are free. Nobody sees you at the end of the day.”
Gwalia by Gwilym
This one always gives me goosebumps, it’s such a passionate ode to Wales and was BBC Radio Cymru’s anthem for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The band is made up of members from across north west Wales including Caernarfon and Anglesey, and the lyrics are filled with the heart filling joy of supporting Wales.
Mynd Yn Nôl by Mr Phormula
My children love Mr Phormula (aka Ed Holden) and his beatboxing/rap/hip hop tunes. It was hard to choose just one track to feature on our list of favourites, but this one is a favourite of my 11 year old. Mr Phormula is innovative, pushes boundaries, and has the most amazing producing skills, live looping and sampling all kinds of music and sounds.
Bydd Wych by Rhys Gwynfor
A change of pace with Bydd Wych, by Rhys Gwynfor. This tender, melodic ballad and its opening piano accompaniment really pulls on the heart strings. It’s overarching message is that everything is going to be okay. The song was also recorded by members of Young Farmers Wales to raise awareness of mental health; their version is worth a listen to, really drawing on the song’s emotions. Other songs of Rhys that we like include Adar y Nos and Canolfan Arddio, both more upbeat and rocky than Bydd Wych.
Sebona Fi by Yws Gwynedd
With their catchy guitars riffs and drum beats, the indie rock band have picked up a huge number of awards over the year, including Sebona Fi hitting the coveted top spot of #40Mawr, the 40 most popular Welsh-language songs as voted for by listeners of Radio Cymru, in 2016.
Also by Yws Gwynedd is the brilliant Ni Fydd Y Wal, the anthem for Euro 2020, about a country uniting in song and not being held back.
Fel i Fod by Adwaith
Hailing from Carmarthen, indie rock band Adwaith comprises of Hollie Singer, Gwenllian Anthony and Heledd Owen. The trio have won the Welsh Music Prize twice for their first album Melyn (2018) and Bato Mato (2022). In Hollie’s own words Fel i Fod is about “being afraid. Afraid of being stuck. Afraid of being comfortable I don’t think I belong. It’s about realising you’ll be okay even if you don’t think you’ll be okay all the time.”
Yma O Hyd by Dayfydd Iwan
It had to have a mention really! One of the most famous Welsh language songs ever, written in 1983 as a song of protest, it’s been revived in more recent years by Welsh football fans becoming something of an anthem for the Red Wall, It’s an ode to the resilience of Wales, its people and the survival of our language and culture across the centuries, testament that “Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth, Ry’n ni yma o hyd”. Despite everyone and everything, we are still here.
We also love Sage Todz’ 2022 remix O Hyd, which combines rap and hip hop with Dafydd Iwan’s original.
Listen to Miwsig Y Siarter Iaith’s playlist via BBC Sounds here.
You can see a list of all the gigs that are taking place across Wales to celebrate Dydd Miwsig Cymru here https://amam.cymru/channel-highlight/miwsig/gigsdmc23
I’d love to know your favourite Welsh language music tracks. Do let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Instagram channel, or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy
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