Cân y Ffordd Euraidd
Song of the Golden Road
Over the Summer of 2021 Span Arts worked with PLANED and artist Rowan O’Neill to produce a Radio Ballad in response to the Preseli Heartlands from Crymych to Cwm Gwaun. The Ballad titled The Song of the Golden Road was launched at a listening party at Tafarn Sinc on the 6th November 2021.
A radio ballad is an extended sound piece weaving together oral speech, ambient sound, traditional songs and newly created music and lyrics. The work was created between May and October 2021 through a series of talks, walks, interviews and music workshops with sound material recorded at each event.
The events took place at different locations throughout the Preselis encircling the Golden Road, a name given to the ancient trackway that runs across the Preseli ridge. The final bilingual programme is an hour in length and draws from the rich and deep material recorded, skilfully weaving together the lived lives and languages of the Preseli area.
Artist and Community Producer Rowan O’Neill said, “It’s been incredible to be able to realise this wide-ranging project with the support of Span Arts and PLANED. It has engaged so many different people all connected by their love of the Preselis, the landscape and the culture of this area.”
Ballad producer Paul Evans whose roots are in Mynachlog-Ddu had this to say of the Listening Party event, “I was completely bowled over by Saturday night – and by the whole project! So proud to be part of it!” Public recording workshops were completed in October with a Cor Unnos event at Rhosygilwen supported by ACW to learn and record a setting of the Waldo Williams poem Y Tangnefeddwyr which features in the final work.
PLANED Cultural Co-ordinator Stuart Berry had this to say about the final ballad, “The ballad itself is genuinely a work of art – it is such a (positively) emotive experience, instilling joy and pride and much more. It describes such a rich and deeply personal tapestry of language, landscape, heritage, personal experiences and traditions – and more!”
Musician and project participant Shelley Morris summed up the experience of being involved in the project like this: ““It gave me a confidence to create, to create more things about the Preselis, to create more art, more music, more poetry. I found it deeply inspiring.”
Click here to watch ‘Crafting The Song of the Golden Road’, a short film about the making of the ballad, the music-making sessions, and the project’s inspiration and aims.
You can read more about the project including a full transcript of the radio ballad in the project e-book. Click here to read!
The book also contains many links to the project map which is located online here and is still open to be added to. Click here to visit the map!
The Song of the Golden Road was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Ein Cymdogaeth Werin Preseli Heartlands project part of the Great Place scheme which set out to celebrate the intangible heritage and unique landscape and culture of the Preselis.
This project responds to two strands of the PLANED Heritage Lottery funded Preseli Heartlands project, part of the Great Places scheme; namely Routes to Roots and Our Museums.
Routes to Roots aims to bring people together to explore and identify tangible and intangible heritage, current and past cultural and heritage activities and events, as well as existing heritage skills and skills gaps. Researched material formed the basis for heritage interpretation with different communities creating specific outputs in order to celebrate their local history.
Our Museums aims to explore the concept of museums as experienced traditionally in order to find new and holistic ways to present local heritage, especially given the rurality of the area.