It was a case of third time lucky in the final of S4C’s Cân i Gymru (Song for Wales) songwriting competition held at Llandudno’s Venue Cymru on St David’s Day and broadcast live on the channel.
The winning song, Gofidiau, (Sorrows) was written by Welsh teachers Elfed Morgan Morris from Deiniolen and Lowri Watcyn Roberts from Tregarth, who have already twice won S4C’s carol composing competition. This was also the third time that Elfed had performed in the Cân i Gymru final.
The pair were delighted to have won the top prize of £10,000, and admitted that they were extremely nervous while waiting for the final result, which added together the votes of the studio panel and S4C viewers at home.
“The other songs in the final were all of a high standard and we knew it would be a close contest,” said Elfed, whose performance of Gofidiau received a standing ovation from the studio audience.
“Lowri and I have been living and breathing Cân i Gymru for the past three months as we’ve been preparing for the big night. We’ve received huge support from pupils at the schools where we teach – Ysgol John Bright, Llandudno, where I teach, and Ysgol Brynrefail in Llanrug, where Lowri teaches. We also had wonderful support from the studio audience on the night.”
There were more song entries for the competition this year than ever before, and Lowri Watcyn Roberts feels that Cân i Gymru is huge incentive for Welsh songwriters. “Winning is a wonderful bonus, of course, but I think that what’s important is that this year the competition has inspired composers to write 120 new Welsh songs.”
In second place, winning £2,000, were Tesni Jones and Ceri Bostock of Caernarfon with their song, Gafael yn fy Llaw, (Hold my Hand) which was sung by Tesni. In third place were Merfyn Hughes of Dinas and Steve Pablo Jones of Caernarfon with their song, Fy Enaid Gyda Ti, (My Soul With You) winning £1,500. Their song was performed by Angharad Brinn.
The competition’s music director, Owen Powell, was delighted with the response to the eight songs in this year’s final, presented by Sarra Elgan and Rhodri Owen.
“In the years I’ve been working on Cân i Gymru, this is the best atmosphere we’ve had,” he said. “Everything came together on the night, and the studio audience and viewers at home were treated to some great songs which were performed really well. We have to remember that this programme would be nothing without the songs.”
Elfed Morgan Morris and Gofidiau will now represent Wales at this year’s Pan Celtic Festival to be held in the town of Donegal in Ireland in April.
One of the members of the panel of judges was X-Factor’s Rhydian Roberts, who also gave a special performance during the evening. “Being on the Cân i Gymru panel has been a wonderful experience, it’s nice being on the other side of the fence, sitting in Simon Cowell’s seat!” he joked.