Trac Cymru is aiming to ensure that the folk traditions are felt as the beating heart of contemporary Welsh life – this is why it’s vital to pass our unique heritage from one generation to another. But it’s not only established folk musicians that the charity has supported on their career progression, we are proud to have helped many other Welsh musicians from other genres to explore their musical heritage.
‘10 Mewn Bws’ (‘10 in a Bus’) was one such project in which we invited ten musicians from different musical backgrounds, including classical, jazz, and rock, to undertake a research journey delving into the nation’s music roots and reinterpret the traditional music in ways that felt relevant to them.
The participants visited the sound archives in St Fagan’s and the National Library’s music collections, as well as meeting some of Wales’s tradition bearers and ethnomusicologists including Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evans, Arfon Gwilym, and Stephen Rees.
The ten musicians then collaborated to reinterpret the traditional material and compose new music, and went on to perform at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) event in Cardiff, at the Hay Festival, and reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards. You can meet the ten musicians here.
Gwilym Bowen Rhys from Bethel, Caernarfon, was the youngest of the musicians taking part in the project and at the time he was making a name for himself as a rock musician; however, since taking part in the 10 Mewn Bws project, he has gone on to become a major figure on the Welsh folk scene, researching and recording old and new ballads in a series of successful albums. In the following video Gwilym talks about the importance of celebrating what is special about Welsh culture, how Trac Cymru opened a door for him, and how the move from rock to folk changed his whole musical career.
As we look back at our 21+1 years to date working to sustain our important national music traditions, Trac Cymru is also planning our future programme of support for all generations of folk musicians.
Please support us by sharing these stories with your friends and colleagues, and join us in posting your own happy memories about Welsh folk music on social media #TRAC21, and you can help us fund our work by making a donation today.