The Mentrau Iaith will be supporting Welsh Language Music Day on the 8th of February this year by thanking those who are working hard to develop Welsh music in our communities.
Among these is Dafydd Roberts, founder of the Iwcs club in the South East valleys, attracting more than 50 people, Welsh and non-Welsh speakers to learn classics on the ukulele. The first club was established in 2015 by Menter Iaith Sir Caerffili. Dafydd now leads the group as a volunteer and the group is self sufficient. The clubs have gone from strength to strength. Dafydd explains;
“Now I’m teaching three different groups three nights a week with around 50 attending the sessions. We learn Welsh and English songs and attract many Welsh learners to socialise and sing in Welsh. Our groups are generally older people and people who have grown up in the eastern valleys. It is a real pleasure to see them socialise and perform contemporary songs with new friends while playing Welsh music.”
Several Mentrau projects are also actively developing young bands such as the Bocsŵn scheme in Anglesey, which has been producing new bands since 2001. One of the bands currently part of the scheme is An(n)aearol;
“Since visiting the ‘National Eisteddfod 2017, we’ve started listening to Welsh music and go to see bands like Gwilym, Alffa, Candelas and Fleur De Lys. Seeing how much fun the bands were having on stage inspired us to be in band and to create Welsh music.
The Menter Iaith is great in supporting local bands by letting us use the equipment that in the studio and organise gigs to promote Welsh language music among young people.
We have all loved music since a very young age and hope to continue to create music and perform in the future.”
Incentivising plans and stimulating communities to organise activities as an integral part of the work of the Mentrau Iaith in increasing the use of Welsh, as Lowri Jones, Chair of Mentrau Iaith Cymru explains;
“Recognising and meeting the needs of communities underpin the work of local mentrau iaith in increasing and strengthening the use of the Welsh language in our communities. By establishing Welsh language groups, developing them, and allowing them to thrive on their own, we give ownership back to the community, letting us free to develop something new. We greatly appreciate the work of people like Dafydd Roberts, who voluntarily give their time to make a difference in communities by using music to increase the use of Welsh.”
Case studies of the various projects will appear on www.mentrauiaith.cymru website during the week leading to the Welsh Music Day with various local events being published the Mentrau Iaith social media.