Dear Supporters and Friends,
We have some important news to share regarding Trac Cymru’s funding. After April 1st, we will no longer receive our core operational funds from the Arts Council of Wales. We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Arts Council of Wales for their support throughout the years. Their contributions have been instrumental in enabling us to promote Welsh traditional arts and culture, and for that, we are profoundly thankful.
However this decision threatens to have a disastrous effect, not just for Trac Cymru but for anyone who is passionate about keeping Welsh traditional music alive. There will be no organisation taking responsibility for training the new generations of folk musicians or for helping them make successful careers; no initiatives that support young people to create new songs for their communities, or find a community of musicians who share their love of our traditions.
In 2003 we sent ten young women to a folk camp in Sweden so that they could see for themselves the tremendous power of folk music to change lives. They are all now active musicians. Some are professional musicians touring the world. Some teach canu gwerin and clog dancing in their primary schools. Some just enjoy playing the fiddle with their friends. Each of them has brought on new generations of young Welsh musicians, who in turn are bringing our living heritage to the globe and more importantly to their villages, schools, chapels and homes.
Our work has reached over 188,000 people. Some of them have been audiences at Tŷ Gwerin, our groundbreaking partnership with Eisteddfod Genedlaethol; many of them as adults on our Big Experiment Arbrawf Mawr (BEAM) who now use their spare time to run their own folk workshops over the year. More recently we’ve worked with many young people in music workshop projects such as Gwerin Gwallgo and Gwerin Iau, which helped create our first Youth Folk Ensemble of Wales (AVANC) who are now a highly acclaimed independent folk band performing all around Wales and Europe in festivals such as Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
The Arts Council say they are planning to undertake a ‘strategic intervention’ in the future. But that is likely to result in some form of gap, maybe of years, before any organisation will be supported to do the scale of work we do now. They are hoping to be able to eventually offer more support for our traditional music but the pandemic has taught us that many things don’t regrow quickly, if they come back at all.
We are trying to approach this with positive determination. Trac Cymru remains committed to preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Wales and some externally funded projects, including the 3-year Cân y Cymoedd project. This will continue to be at the heart of our efforts. However, our plan to reach into the new curriculum and make sure that every pupil in the country has the chance to discover our folk songs is now under threat. Our plans to reach all the communities of Wales by having dedicated staff members working in local hubs have been knocked back indefinitely. Our online news service, newsletters and website could disappear. We could be back to the 1990s, when there were very few resources available to support our traditional arts.
But you can help.
We need you to now stand with us, support us, and be a part of our journey. Your help, in terms of donations, funding, and raising awareness, will be invaluable. Please stay tuned for more information about our upcoming donations campaign.
We extend our deepest thanks to each and every one of you who has supported us over the years. Your belief in our mission has been our driving force, and we are immensely grateful for your trust and encouragement. As we embark on this new chapter, we remain steadfast in our commitment to preserving the vibrant traditions and cultures of Wales. We are called the Land of Song for a reason. Now is the time to raise our voices. Together, we can ensure that the cultural tapestry of Wales continues to thrive for generations to come.
With warmest regards,
Trac Cymru team.