Dafydd Iwan

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Dafydd Iwan
Dafydd-Iwan by-Aberdare-Blog.jpg

Dafydd Iwan (born 24 August 1943), is a Welsh folk singer and politician. He was the president of Plaid Cymru (2003-2010).

Dafydd Iwan Jones was born in Brynaman in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and is the elder brother of politician Alun Ffred Jones.[1] His paternal Grandfather - Fred Jones - was one of the founding members of Plaid Cymru.[2] He spent most of his youth in Bala in Gwynedd before attending the University of Wales, Cardiff where he studied architecture. He rose to fame as a singer-songwriter, writing and playing folk music in the Welsh language.[3]

Musical career[edit]

Dafydd Iwan's earliest material was Welsh translations of tunes by American folk / protest singers: Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. Soon enough, Dafydd Iwan commanded the initiative to write his first ballads. The most prominent of these were political. His most famous satirical song, "Carlo" ("Charlie"), was written on the occasion of the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969.[4]

It should be noted, however, that Dafydd Iwan was equally at home writing love ballads and variations on traditional Welsh folk tunes.

By the late 1960s he was receiving television coverage both for his music and for his political activities, including being imprisoned in 1970 as part of the fight for Welsh language rights, an event commemorated in his song Pam fod eira'n wyn? ("Why is snow white?").[5]

During the 1970s, Dafydd Iwan's political interests (and songs) took in such themes as Pinochet's Chile; Welsh Devolution; the Vietnam War and the Northern Ireland troubles. His inherent internationalism continued in following decades, as his songs mention events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre (1989), the Gulf War (1990) and opencast mining in the south Wales valleys (1995). His biggest hit to date, "Yma O Hyd" ("Still Here"), released in 1981, has become a favourite of most Welsh folk music fans

In 1982 and 1983, Dafydd Iwan embarked on two momentous tours (and accompanying records) with the folk group Ar Log. The standard of Ar Log's musicianship raised Dafydd Iwan's own performance to new heights. Indeed, it was the success of Ar Log which persuaded Dafydd Iwan to continue in a musical capacity, entertaining small venues (clubs, village halls, Eisteddfod events, Plaid Cymru nights etc.) throughout Wales.

Around the turn of the millennium, Dafydd Iwan signalled an end to regular performances, although he remains an occasional performer on an ad hoc basis. It was fitting by many fans that the end of his career should coincide roughly with the establishment of an elected National Assembly for Wales and the beginning of a new generation in Welsh politics.

Public life[edit]

Dafydd Iwan was one of the founders of Recordiau Sain Cyf (Sain Records Ltd), one of the main Welsh music labels, a business he still manages today.[6]

Formerly a Plaid Cymru councillor in Gwynedd he lost his seat in the May 2008 local elections. He blamed his defeat on a dirty tricks campaign by his opponents.[7]

Iwan's long service to the Welsh language led to his being made an honorary member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod at Bangor in 1971.[8]

Iwan escaped a driving ban (for speeding offences) in October 2003 on the basis that he needed to drive for his musical and political duties.[9] This incident led the satirical Private Eye magazine to question "Is Plaid Cymru a political party or a racing team?"

Iwan became President of Plaid Cymru in 2003.[10] He is regarded as a unifying force within the party in the context of several damaging internal splits in recent years.

As part of his campaign seeking re-election as President of Plaid Cymru, Iwan launched a campaign blog 'Dafydd 4 President' in July 2008.[11]

On 22 October 2011, Dafydd and his wife Bethan came to watch the Welsh derby, Wrexham FC vs Newport County AFC. Dafydd sang his hit song 'Yma O Hyd' in front of a crowd of 4,000 before the teams came out. He was invited to sing by the new Wrexham FC Supporters Group named 'Yma O Hyd' named after his song.

Albums (in rough chronological order)[edit]

  • Yma Mae 'Nghân (1972)
  • Mae'r Darnau yn Disgyn i'w Lle (1976)
  • Carlo a Chaneuon Eraill (1977)
  • 20 o Ganeuon Gorau
  • I'r Gad (1977)
  • Bod yn Rhydd (1979)
  • Ar Dan (Live) (1981)
  • Rhwng Hwyl a Thaith (with Ar Log) (1982)
  • Yma o Hyd (With Ar Log) (1983)
  • Gwinllan a Roddwyd (1986)
  • Dal I Gredu (1991)
  • Caneuon Gwerin (1994)
  • Cân Celt (1995)
  • Y Caneuon Cynnar (Early recordings) (1998)
  • Yn Fyw Cyfrol 1 (Live album) (2001)
  • Yn Fyw Cyfrol 2 (Live Album) (2002)
  • Goreuon Dafydd Iwan (2006)
  • Man Gwyn (Songs about the early Welsh emigration to Patagonia and North America) (2007)
  • Dos I ganu (2009)
  • Cana Dy Gân The complete collection 219 tracks. (2012)

References[edit]

  1. ^ News Caernarfon Online
  2. ^ Dr E. Wyn James (2005). "Painting the World Green: Dafydd Iwan and the Welsh Protest Ballad". Folk Music Journal. 5 8: 594–618. 
  3. ^ Welsh Icons
  4. ^ Hill, Sarah (2007). "Dafydd Iwan and the New Welsh 'Folk Culture'". Blerwytirhwng? The Place of Welsh Pop Music. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. 
  5. ^ "Dafydd Iwan biography". Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dafydd Iwan". Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Plaid loses majority in Gwynedd". BBC News. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "About Dafydd Iwan". 
  9. ^ "Plad Leader escapes speeding ban". BBC News. 15 October 2003. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Plaid Cymru website
  11. ^ "A Bridge to the Future". Retrieved 2 March 2013. 

Further references[edit]

  • E. Wyn James, 'Painting the World Green: Dafydd Iwan and the Welsh Protest Ballad', Folk Music Journal, 8:5 (2005), pp. 594–618.[1]
  • C. Fowler, 'Representations of nationalism in the music of Dafydd Iwan', 'Folklore and Identity' Celtic Folk Studies Conference, Cardiff University School of Welsh, 22 July 2005.
  • Llion Iwan (ed.), 'Dafydd Iwan : bywyd mewn lluniau : a life in pictures'. Llandysul, Ceredigion, Cymru : Gomer Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84323-488-2. (Welsh and English)

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ieuan Wyn Jones
Chair of Plaid Cymru
1982–1984
Succeeded by
Syd Morgan
Preceded by
Phil Williams
Vice President of Plaid Cymru
1984–2003
Succeeded by
Jill Evans
Preceded by
Ieuan Wyn Jones
President of Plaid Cymru
2003–2010
Succeeded by
Jill Evans