Trac Cymru’s charitable mission is to make sure that our national music heritage can survive and flourish in the years to come. Every place has its own songs and all over Wales we have been working to bring old songs and tunes back from obscurity and back to life in their communities.
When people discover that their local history includes a soundtrack of songs about the place where they live it helps to celebrate and strengthen their community identity. We have demonstrated that bringing people together to learn songs with timeless themes is a powerful way to strengthen communities, and actively contributes to the wellbeing of local people.
In one unforgettable project, Trac Cymru commissioned the singer Lynne Denman to research songs with a Pembrokeshire connection so that she could teach them to residents in the county, with the intention to ‘release them back into the wild’ so that these songs could once again become part of the local soundscape of Sir Benfro. The songs commemorated local landscapes and places filled with local characters and incidents. In another project, we supported Elin Alaw to compile tunes and songs from the Conwy Valley which were then taught to the local folk club, Clwb Gwerin Conwy – you can hear and learn these beautiful songs on our Soundcloud page.
Bethan Nia took her harp to Ystradgynlais to help Trac Cymru teach some of the ‘Songs of Cwm Tawe’ to pupils in English-speaking primary schools – the children loved learning the songs, and Bethan found the same joy working with pupils in Torfaen.
In one of our earliest projects, children in the Caerphilly area learned a wealth of local songs in a project named after a historic songbook, Alawon Fy Ngwlad (‘Songs of My Land’), working with the iconic folksinger Heather Jones and their local arts development officer Kate Strudwick, who created singable English versions to help bridge connections to the originals. We provided songsheets and an education pack to give the schools a wealth of project resources to continue their explorations, and many of the songs were heard in the playgrounds long after the lessons as well featuring in school concerts and Eisteddfodau.
The Alawon Fy Ngwlad project was a partnership between Trac Cymru, Menter Caerffili and Caerphilly County Borough Council – again, you can enjoy and learn the songs on our Soundcloud page.
With your help, Trac Cymru will continue to ‘rewild’ many more beautiful old songs and bring them back to living use in their local communities – please consider supporting us by making a donation today.
Please help us to celebrate the achievements of Trac Cymru’s first 21+1 years of work by sharing our stories with your friends and colleagues, and join us in posting your own happy memories about Welsh folk music on social media #TRAC21.