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The Band Don’t Give Y Ffug

This is a great song by a Pembrokeshire band called Y Ffug.

The title, ‘Cariad Dosbarth Canol Cymru’ translates as ‘Love Middle-Class Wales’ and the song’s having a pop at the traditional Welsh world of eisteddfodau, folk dancing, harp music and all that.

But what’s weird/scary/cool is the call it makes to ‘Anghofiwch Tryweryn’ (Forget Trywern).

It’s a poke in the eye for something which has been held close to the heart of Welsh culture for the past 50 years.

trywern-protest

It was in 1965 that the valley of Tryweryn was flooded to provide water for the city of Liverpool. The village of Capel Celyn was demolished to make way for the new reservoir.

The attempts to stop the flooding created a whoosh of protest and activity as Welsh people started to fight back: marches, protests, arrests, direct action, bombs.

It was around this time that Plaid Cymru won their first MP and Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh Language Society) emerged.

And if you’ve been taught at a Welsh medium school, you’ll probably know all this. You’ll have been taught it in the classroom. You’ll have heard songs about it. You’ll have seen plays about it. You’ll have read poems about it.

You may even have been dragged along to a Tryweryn themed ballet; like Ghost Dance. This was a performance art piece about the Tryweryn protests which was recently staged in Aberystwyth. Here’s performer Eddie Ladd talking about it:

Having read that there were willow trees on the banks of the Tryweryn river, a story about willows came to mind.

It was said that the exiled Jews hung their harps from the branches of the trees by the rivers of Babylon, so that their number (and the intensity of the experience) drew them down to the water’s surface.

I felt that the harpist Rhodri Davies, from Aberystwyth, could do justice to this image and that the music, and the dance work thus invoked, could form the basis of a performance about the Tryweryn case.

There’s nothing wrong any of this. But it’s an example of how something which was once edgy, dangerous and rebellious can, over time, become something for a future generation to snarl at. Something which is viewed as mainstream and middle class.

You can find out more about Y Ffug here. Twitter here.

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