On Thursday, September 27th, at Powis Hall, Bangor University, an event was held to mark the launch of a new and highly significant volume on music in Wales.
Cydymaith i Gerddoriaeth Cymru (‘Companion to the Music of Wales’) is an authoritative encyclopedia that covers all aspects of music in Wales from the 6th Century to the present day and is the result of a collaborative project between the School of Music and Media at Bangor University and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.
The volume was launched in the presence of the Welsh Government's Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport - and former Chancellor of the University - Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas in addition to a large number of those who worked diligently on the volume over a six-year period.
The editors of the volume are Professor Pwyll ap Siôn and Wyn Thomas of Bangor University's School of Music and Media and articles on specific subjects have been received from a large number of authors in the field. On the night of the launch, a spectacular concert was delivered by Mared Emlyn (harp), Huw Ynyr (tenor), Glian Llwyd (piano), Osian Huw Williams (guitar) and Côr Seiriol. These performers were invited to take part in the launch due to their direct links with the School of Music and Media at Bangor University.
The volume has over 500 individual entries, ranging from early Welsh music to the contemporary scene, from folk singers to orchestras, from ‘Aberjaber’ to ‘Zabrinksi’.
Officially launching the volume, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: "As Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport I am pleased to support the publication of this unique reference book on Welsh music. This book could only have come about due to the important and valuable research undertaken by Bangor University, with support from Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. This book will be of benefit to generations of music students to come."
One performer with her own entry in the volume is renowned harpist, Elinor Bennett. Discussing the new book, she said: "This volume is a significant milestone in the history of our nation’s music. To most, it will be a useful guidebook and a record of the successes of the past; but to some, it will serve as inspiration for them to explore the tradition’s new horizons."
This was echoed by international star, Bryn Terfel, who also features in the volume: "At last, here is a tome that sheds a deserved light on Welsh music – from rock to classical music, all between two covers. All aspects of Welsh music are covered here – an incredibly interesting, useful and revealing book."
According to Dr Ioan Matthews, Chief Executive of Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the Coleg’s investment in the project has yielded a very special academic volume: "I’m incredibly pleased to see the Coleg’s investment lead to the publication of such an authoritative volume: a valuable contribution to Welsh and Welsh-medium scholarship. There is no doubt that the Cydymaith will be an invaluable resource to those current and future students of Welsh music studying through the medium of Welsh."
Cydymaith i Gerddoriaeth Cymru is published by Y Lolfa, Talybont and received project and financial support from Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.