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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, one of four boys. One of his brothers was the late actor Huw Ceredig. Dafydd Iwan is the elder brother of politician Alun Ffred Jones. His paternal grandfather, Fred Jones, was a member of the Bardic family Teulu'r Cilie, and a founding member of Plaid Cymru. 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.
Iwan's earliest material was Welsh translations of songs by American folk/protest singers: Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan until he began to write his first ballads. The most prominent of these were political including the satirical song, "Carlo" ("Charlie"). This was written for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969. Iwan has also written 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. He was imprisoned in 1970 for refusal to pay fines for defacing English language road signs as part of the fight for Welsh language rights, serving three weeks of a three-month sentence. This event was commemorated in his song Pam fod eira'n wyn? ("Why is snow white?"). His song Peintio'r byd yn wyrdd ("Painting the world green") was regarded as a "battle hymn" of the road signs campaign.
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. Later songs mention events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre (1989), the Gulf War (1990) and opencast mining in the south Wales valleys (1995). "Yma O Hyd" ("Still Here"), released in 1981.
In 1982 and 1983, Dafydd Iwan embarked on two tours (and accompanying records) with the folk group Ar Log.
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.
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. 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.
As part of his campaign seeking re-election as President of Plaid Cymru, Iwan launched a campaign blog 'Dafydd 4 President' in July 2008.
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)
- 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)
- Dafydd Iwan - Emynau/Hymns (2015)
- News Caernarfon Online
- Dr E. Wyn James (2005). "Painting the World Green: Dafydd Iwan and the Welsh Protest Ballad". Folk Music Journal. 5. 8: 594–618.
- Welsh Icons
- Hill, Sarah (2007). "Dafydd Iwan and the New Welsh 'Folk Culture'". Blerwytirhwng? The Place of Welsh Pop Music. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
- "Dafydd Iwan biography". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Dafydd Iwan". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Plaid loses majority in Gwynedd". BBC News. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "About Dafydd Iwan".
- "Plad Leader escapes speeding ban". BBC News. 15 October 2003. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Plaid Cymru website
- "A Bridge to the Future". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- 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)
|Party political offices|
Ieuan Wyn Jones
|Chair of Plaid Cymru
|Vice President of Plaid Cymru
Ieuan Wyn Jones
|President of Plaid Cymru