The eight shortlisted songs of the Cân i Gymru (Song for Wales) competition have been selected. And the eight will compete live on S4C on 1 March at Theatr Bryn Terfel, Pontio, Bangor, with the presenters Elin Fflur and Trystan Ellis Morris at the helm.
The prize for the winning song is £5,000, with the second and third in the competition also receiving prizes of £2,000 and £1,000. The winner will be chosen by the viewers, who will be able to cast their vote by phone. The winning song will represent Wales at the Pan Celtic Festival in Ireland in April.
Tickets to attend Cân i Gymru on Thursday, 1 March are available free of charge from Pontio Bangor Box Office from Monday, 22 January, 12.00 midday, by phoning 01248 382828 and are available on the Pontio website www.pontio.co.uk
This year, S4C received 114 songs - the highest number to compete for some years. One of the panellists faced with the task of choosing the shortlist of eight songs was musician, poet, actor and comedian Dewi 'Pws' Morris:
"We had a great number of entries this year, and from a good cross-section of ages. The standard varied considerably, but we had a lot of fun choosing the top eight songs – there were some disagreements along the way! I’ve always been fond of songs with meaningful words; I like them to say something, create a picture or an emotion. Any Celtic sounding songs also stood out for me – I think that’s important as it needs to represent Wales in Ireland,” says Dewi.
The other members of the judging panel were singer songwriter Al Lewis; Heledd Watkins, bassist and lead singer of electro pop group HMS Morris, and composer and singer Steffan Rhys Williams.
The eight songs that have reached the final this year are:
Dwi’m yn Dy Nabod Di – Dafydd Dabson and Anna Georgina:
A mother and son team from Llangwnnadl, Llŷn Peninsula have co-written the song. Anna is a harp teacher, and Dafydd, who now lives in Cardiff, is a guitar teacher.
Tincian – Beth Williams-Jones and Sam Humphreys:
Beth, originally from Abertillery and Sam who is from Nefyn, Llŷn Peninsula now both live in Cwmbrân, and are members of folk band Calan. They are also members of the No Good Boyo folk band. This is the second time they have competed in Cân i Gymru - their song was among the shortlisted eight songs in 2016.
Dim Hi – Hana Evans:
Hana from Sully, near Cardiff, is a sixth form pupil at Ysgol Bro Morgannwg. She has written songs in English since she was young. She will be releasing a single in February.
Byw a Bod – Mared Williams:
Mared is originally from Llanefydd near Denbigh and is currently studying Music at Leeds University. She is a member of the group Trŵbz, and also gigs as a solo artist around Leeds. She released her first single 'Dolig Dan y Lloer' this Christmas, and will release a single soon with Denton Thrift, an electronic group from Leeds.
Ysbrydion – Aled Wyn Hughes:
Aled, who lives in Bethesda, is originally from Botwnnog, Llŷn Peninsula, and is a member of the band Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog. He composed the music for “A Oes Heddwch”, the opening concert at the National Eisteddfod in Anglesey last year together with his brother Dafydd Hughes.
Ton – Gwynfor Dafydd and Michael Phillips:
Gwynfor is from Tonyrefail, and is currently studying Languages at Cambridge University, and Michael is a music teacher who is originally from Swansea, but now lives in Malvern, Worcestershire. They didn’t know each other until they co-wrote the song for this competition. Michael had already written the melody, and was looking for someone to write the words. He contacted Gwynfor after seeing him on an item on S4C's Heno programme about poets who took part in the Her 100 Cerdd (100 Poems Challenge). Gwynfor has won the Urdd Eisteddfod Chair on two occasions.
Cofio Hedd Wyn – Erfyl Owen:
Erfyl of Rhewl, Ruthin works for Denbighshire County Council, and is a member of the musical family of Hafod y Gân. He used to composes songs with his late mother for family and friends’ special occasions, but this is the first time he has composed both melody and words. He was eager to create words that would pull on the nation’s heartstrings by composing a song about the centenary of the death of poet Hedd Wyn.
Ti’n Frawd i Mi -Owain Glenister:
Owain, who lives in Llanelli, works for Menter Iaith Castell-nedd Port-Talbot, and also owns Y Lle, a Welsh centre in Llanelli. He is a member of the folk group Madog, and has composed in music workshops held for young people, but this is the first time one of his songs will be heard by a wider audience.
Details of who will perform each song on 1 March will follow in a few weeks’ time.