Did supernatural powers help the winners?

Gai Toms believes that powers greater than the viewers' votes could be behind this year's success.

"On the morning of the competition, I went for a walk to the old abbey of Strata Florida, where it is believed the poet Dafydd ap Gwilym is buried," says Gai, a musician from Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog.

"For good luck, I touched the slate plaque which marks the location of the grave, and as I walked away a powerful gust of wind came from somewhere and shook the trees. It was quite an eerie feeling.

"I don't know whether Dafydd was turning in his grave because I was competing in Cân i Gymru, or just wishing me luck.

"When I told Phil the story backstage, another gust of wind came from somewhere and shook the doors and then it started to hail. That was a strange feeling, as if something spiritual was happening! "

Either that the spiritual powers of the fourteenth century poet did bring luck to Phil and Gai, or that the old saying 'Three Chances for a Welshman' is true, because this is the third consecutive year that Gai has competed - and the first time he has won the first prize.

"With Cân i Gymru you never know what the outcome will be because there is such a wide cross-section of viewers voting. The first time I tried with a rock song, and then the second time with a more rootsy song which was quite different to what has won in the past," says Gai.

"Braf yw Cael Byw is a more generic song, with universal themes. The lyrics 'O fy Nuw' (Translation: Oh my God) is a phrase that is relevant to everyone. "

He also believes that the partnership with Philip Jones of the band, Gwibdaith Hen Frân, was a boost.

"This year, the partnership with Phil definitely helped. I think people like a partnership and another thing of course is that there are two families and two groups of friends phoning in to vote!"

To Gai, the victory is a tribute to all musicians in Wales who have lost royalty payments following a change in the PRS policy.

"The Welsh music scene could support itself before the change in the Royalties paid. If it weren't for this crisis, I would have never tried in Cân i Gymru because there was no reason for me to do so," says Gai, who also has decided that this is the final time he will compete.

"But, I would encourage more productive musicians to try in the competition because then at least the money would go back into the music scene. For us the money is essential for investment."

Gai will use the prize money of £7,500 to develop his recording studio Stiwdio Sbensh in Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog. He and Phil are also looking forward to going to Ireland to represent Wales at the Pan Celtic Festival.

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