Gwerin Iau is Welsh Folk for Young Folks – singing, clogging and instruments for 8-12 year olds with experienced and popular tutors. Before Covid it was an annual residential weekend held in the glorious setting of the Urdd centre at Glan-llyn near Bala in north Wales. Plans are currently afoot for shorter, more local provision.
The course tutors are always specialists in presenting music and folk dance to children of all ages. Children can focus on playing an instrument, singing or step dancing (clogging). For the instrumental option the children must be able to play their instrument as the course involves learning tunes by ear so is not suitable for complete beginners.
When held at Glan-Llyn, there are opportunities to take part in the centre’s exciting outdoor activities, from canoeing, high ropes, and climbing, to ten pin bowling and swimming.
Have a look at more pictures from Gwerin Iau 2019 here
The children have a chance to learn with some of the Welsh folk tradition’s brightest stars, including Angharad Jenkins and Bethan Rhiannon of Calan, Sioned Webb, Branwen Haf Williams, Mair Tomos Ifans, and Tudur Phillips.
What do the Young Folks say about it?
From the children’s feedback, one of the most important things about this course is the chance to make new friends. Many of the children like the fact that the course brings together children from north and south Wales, and that they’re able to learn traditional music by ear, in an informal setting.
“This was the first time I’ve ever played music without the manuscript – I thought I’d never be able to play without a music stand in front of me.”
“I’ve learnt that I’m better on the harp than I thought”
“I have learnt that if you are dreading doing something it can actually be quite fun!”
The bigger picture
In the words of course leader Angharad Jenkins “Gwerin Iau offers so much more than educating about Welsh music and traditional arts – it develops children’s confidence, social skills, and general life skills while they’re having fun.” Just take a look at the videos and you’ll see what an inspiring time they had!