Listen Now: Song of the Golden Road Radio Ballad - Span Arts
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Listen Now: Song of the Golden Road Radio Ballad

On Saturday 6th November Span Arts and Planed hosted a listening party event at Tafarn Sinc for the culmination of the heritage lottery funded project Cân y Ffordd Euraidd / The Song of the Golden Road. 

The project which has been running since May 2021 has created a radio ballad in response to the Preseli Heartlands, from Crymych to Cwm Gwaun.  Taking inspiration from the work of Charles Parker, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger whose radio ballads to industry and other ways of life were broadcast on the BBC in the late 50s and early 60s, the project hosted talks, walks, interviews and music workshops recording material at each event.  The events took place at different locations throughout the Preselis circling the Golden Road, a name for the ancient trackway that runs across the Preseli ridge.

A radio ballad, an extended sound piece weaving together oral speech, ambient sound, traditional songs and newly created music and lyrics was created from the rich and deep material recorded.  The final programme is an hour in length and skilfully weaves together the lived lives and languages of the Preseli area.

At Tafarn Sinc we were joined once again by musician Stacey Blythe who led the music making workshops for the final ballad.  Stacey treated those present to an intimate recital of Pembrokeshire folk songs to the accompaniment of the harp.

Following this the ballad was broadcast to the assembled gathering through the pub sound system.  It was a magical experience to hear the ballad in company for the first time.  There was laughter, tears and even impromptu singing as those who knew the words to the songs joined in!

At the end of the programme Hefin Wyn who has been a great supporter of the project and also features in the programme gave a moving address praising the ballad creators and the content of the finished work.

The Chair of Span Arts Cathy Davies who attended the evening had this to say, “A wonderful evening at the launch of Cân y Ffordd Euraidd – Song of the Golden Road. Creative, spellbinding hymn to the Preselis, the culture, folklore, communities and of course language. Well done Span Arts – I’m proud to be associated with you!”

We’re proud of all those who’ve contributed to the ballad some of whom were present on Saturday including Shelley Morris, Simon Chatterley, James Purchase, Carolyn Waters, Hefin Wyn, Peter Claughton, Sharon Carter, Sally Morris, Huw Jones and our brilliant ballad producer Paul Evans.  Full credits below.

Thanks to the staff of Tafarn Sinc for welcoming us and for Sophie Jenkins and the PLANED Ein Cymdogaeth Werin team for keeping faith in the project.

The ballad plays with a captioned transcript of the content – for English captions of Welsh language elements click CC and choose English.

Find further information about the project on the project map.

CD copies of the full ballad can be obtained from the Span Arts offices (The Towns Moor, Moorfield Rd, Narberth SA67 7AG). Please contact or call 1834 869323 to order your copy.

The Song of the Golden Road has been delivered by Rowan O’Neill and Span Arts in partnership with PLANED as part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded Ein Cymdogaeth Werin Preseli Heartlands project.

Pictures by Jacob Whittaker

Credydau / Credits

Lleisiau cyfranwyr yn y drefn y’i clywir / Contributor voices in the order they are heard
Carolyn Waters, Dyfed Thomas, Sophie Jenkins, Peter Claughton, Eirwyn George, Ysgol Llanychllwydog, Hedydd Hughes, Martin Johnes, Grŵp Treftadaeth Bwlch Y Groes (David Evans, Huw Rees, Terwyn Tomos, Gaynor Evans, Rita Evans), Hefin Wyn, Sally Morris, Stacey Blythe, Norma Brittain, Ewan Rees, Mike Parker Pearson, Shelley Morris, Bill Davies, Huw Jones, Mary Chadwick, Rowan O’Neill, Chris & Patrice Buck, Simon Chatterley, Margaret Daniel, Gwenda Mark, Rhian Medi Jones, Kate Edge, Judith Rees, Sharon Carter, James Purchase

Cerddorion Y Ffordd Euraidd / Golden Road Musicians
Arweinydd – Stacey Blythe
Stacey Blythe – llais, harp, accordion, electric piano
Sharon Carter – oboe
Simon Chatterley – voice, guitar and electric piano
Paul Evans – voice
Sophie Jenkins – voice and percussion
Sally Morris – voice
Shelley Morris – voice, drums and percussion
Rowan O’Neill – voice, clarinet and low whistle
James Purchase – voice
Judith Rees – voice, glasses and piano
Carolyn Waters – voice, guitar and percussion

Cantorion Côr Unnos / Scratch Choir Singers
Rhowan Alleyne, Robert Crosskey, Brian Daniel, Dai Davies, Elaine Davies, Louis Edwards, Annie Evans, Ken Griffiths, Jacqueline Harries, Jill Horwood, Sophie Jenkins, Mary Jones, Keith Leighton, Myfanwy Lewis, John Philip Merrett, Natalie Morgan, Shelley Morris, Rowan O’Neill, Ailsa Richardson, Elizaberth Smart, Valerie Tarrant, Denzil Thomas, Helen Thomas, Sian Elin Thomas, Dr Alun Rhys Williams, Helen Williams, Alan Wills

Arweinydd y Côr Unnos
Margaret Daniel

Rhidian Evans
Gyda diolch i Cyhoeddwyr Curiad, cyhoeddwyr Y Tangnefeddwyr
Geiriau Waldo Williams, Cerddoriaeth Eric Jones

Tîm Cynhyrchu SPAN
Marchnata / Marketing
Di Ford

Cyfieithu / Translation
Margaret Morgan

Recordiwr Sain a Ffilm / Sound Recorder and Film
Jacob Whittaker

Recordiwr Sain a Chynhyrchydd y Faled / Sound Recorder and Ballad Producer
Paul Evans

Cysyniad Creadigol, Recoridiwr Sain a Chynhyrchydd Cymunedol / Creative Concept, Sound Recorder and Community Producer
Rowan O’Neill

Rhan o’r prosiect Ein Cymdogaeth Werin Preseli sydd wedi’i ariannu gan Gronfa Treftadaeth y Loteri Genedlaethol.

Part of the Preseli Heartlands Project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Diolch i PLANED
Ein Cymdogaeth Werin Administrator Hedd Harries
Ein Cymdogaeth Werin Community Development Officer Sophie Jenkins