Launching this Autumn: Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a pilgrim - Span Arts
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Launching this Autumn: Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a pilgrim

Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a pilgrim: sounding the way back through story and song is a participatory arts project seeking to connect with the Welsh and Irish diaspora with particular reference to Pembrokeshire and Wexford and a new cross-border pilgrimage connecting these places.

The project takes its title and inspiration from an 18th century hymn by the prolific Welsh writer William Williams Pantycelyn.

The song widely known in Wales and beyond through the Welsh diaspora will be familiar to a great many other people around the globe as it is mostly sung to the tune of Amazing Grace.

This project will invite people wherever they are in the world to sing this song, a version of this song or any song of special significance to them and the themes of this project and to pin that recording to our online map.

Project participants will also have the chance to offer their personal reflections and connections to North Pembrokeshire and Wexford whether current resident, the home place of their forebears, or place of significance for other reasons.

Click here to view the project page.

The project Pererin Wyf will begin in September 2022 with a series of free online workshops with world class speakers focusing on the key themes of the project; connecting with the Welsh and Irish diaspora, language, home, travel and song.

The next session will take place on the 8th of December, where Helen Phelan will present her deeply experiential work that argues for the unique role of song to invite and celebrate community.

Phelan proposes that Song in ritual offers the promise of incorporation without demanding annihilation of unique gifts, yearnings and culture. Her recent book ‘Singing the rite to belong’ explores the act of singing and its ability to foster experiences of belonging through ritual performance. 

Book your place here

Workshops will culminate in an exchange trip between the host counties Pembrokeshire and Wexford in the Spring of 2023 (dates tbc). These workshops will be hybrid in delivery, with a core group meeting in person in Pembrokeshire and Wexford, being joined online through video conferencing by those attending from around the globe.

Workshops will result in a new version of the song featuring the Irish language and reflecting contemporary understandings of pilgrimage, home and return.

If you have a personal connection with North Pembrokeshire or Wexford and would like to take part in this project we would love to hear from you.  Please email to find out more about how you could get involved.

The project has been developed by artist Rowan O’Neill and will be co-facilitated by Wexford based, Irish artists Rachel Uí Fhaoláin from Ceol Mo Chroí and John Ó Faoláin from Traditional Archive Channel and West Wales based digital artist Jacob Whittaker. Coding by Alan Cameron Wills.

Click here for Welsh lyrics to the Pererin Wyf hymn

Click here for an English translation of the Pererin Wyf hymn

Pererin Wyf is part of the Ancient Connections project funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Co-operation Programme.