Song of the Golden Road Listening Party
Parti Gwrando Cân y Ffordd Euraidd / Song of the Golden Road Listening Party
Tafarn Sinc, 6th November 2021
After a summer of informative talks and walks in the Preseli area the radio ballad Cân y Ffordd Euraidd / The Song of the Golden Road is finally ready for its first public broadcast. This hour-long online bilingual radio programme will be launched at Tafarn Sinc on the 6th November.
Cân y Ffordd Euraidd / The Song of the Golden Road has created a radio ballad in response to the Preseli Heartlands from Crymych to Cwm Gwaun. The project has taken the form of a series of workshops and walks from the communities that reside at the foot of the Preselis, concluding with a community walk along the golden road, a name for the ancient trackway which traverses the seven-mile ridge of Mynydd Preseli (the Preseli Mountains) from Foel Drygarn to Bwlch-Gwynt. The workshops followed different themes from the Neolithic, agriculture, education, religion and industry and were an opportunity to get to know the place from different perspectives and to find out what is important to people about this place.
Sophie Jenkins Community Engagement Officer with the Ein Cymdogaeth Werin project had this to say about the workshops, “One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the workshops are the opportunities to keep re-visiting the really unique elements of our heritage and culture in the Preseli area and all of those layers that overlap and build a picture of the place, of that sense of place, of living in an area.”
The workshop walks included talks by invited experts, opportunities for story swapping and sound recording. The Ballad features the voices of those who contributed talks to the project workshops including the historians Martin Johnes, Hefin Wyn and Hedydd Hughes as well as workshop participants’ conversations in response to the talks that took place on the accompanying walks and the final walk along the golden road itself. Other material was collected through a meeting with Bwlch Y Groes local history group facilitated by group member and PLANED Ein Cymdogaeth Werin administrator Hedd Harries and interviews undertaken by Huw Jones with local farmers and land workers through the Cwm Arian Renewable energy project Growing Better Connections.
Workshop and ramblings were followed by an intensive weekend of music-making led by composer and musician Stacey Blythe where participants were invited to give voice to the songs of the place. As Shelley Morris drummer and project participant stated, “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.” For Carolyn Waters, “When I joined the project uppermost in my mind was the music but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it all, learning about the area and then especially the golden road walk Foel Drygarn to Foel Cwm Cerwyn, amazing, fantastic and such a good feel.” Speech, sound and song have been incorporated into the final radio ballad, an oral record of a unique place, that future generations can continue to appreciate and enjoy for years to come.
Ballad producer former BBC radio producer Paul Evans says of the project, “I’ve been coming to this area for 64 years. 64 years ago we could have made this programme and it would be completely different. You could do this every ten years and it will be like a time capsule to a time and place – it shows how a community grows and changes and morphs into something else.”
The participatory elements of the project concluded with a scratch choir event at Rhosygilwen on the 3rd October where a choir came together to learn and record Y Tangnefeddwyr a setting of Waldo Williams’ poem by the composer Eric Jones. The choir leader Margaret Daniel said of the event, “A perfect choice of words and music for a programme like this.”
Those who have contributed to the work’s creation and anyone who has an interest are warmly invited to come to listen. We will be joined again by singer and musician Stacey Blythe who will kick off the evening with a set of local Pembrokeshire folk songs. The Ballad itself will be broadcast in the pub from 8pm when you are invited to huddle round the fire as in days of old to listen to the stories and songs of the Golden Road.
If you aren’t able to make it on the night the ballad will also be available from 8pm through the AM Cymru platform https://amam.cymru/spanarts
The Song of the Golden Road has been delivered by Span Arts and Rowan O’Neill in partnership with PLANED as part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded Ein Cymdogaeth Werin Preseli Heartlands project.