24 November 2020
Hands have been a big part of our lives in 2020 as we wash, sanitise and use them to clap the key workers.
35 years ago, hands featured prominently in the first ever Welsh language charity song – Dwylo Dros y Môr (Hands Across The Sea).
This inspired the singer Elin Fflur, with the help of musician Owain Gruffudd Roberts, to bring together more than 30 artists from today's music scene (observing Welsh Government social distancing guidelines) to create a new arrangement, Dwylo Dros y Môr 2020.
And the whole thing can be seen in a special programme Dwylo Dros y Môr 2020 which will be broadcast on 27 December at 8pm.
The new version of the song, which was originally composed by the singer Huw Chiswell is available for download on all digital platforms from 11 December.
And, similar to the intention of the song back in 1985, a share of the profits from the single will go to charity – this time, the Coronavirus Resilience Fund under the charity Community Foundation Wales
Among the artists who have breathed new life into the old song are Mared Williams, Rhys Gwynfor, Kizzy Crawford, Heledd Watkins (HMS Morris), Elidyr Glyn (Bwncath) and Elin Fflur.
There are some family connections between the recent version of the song and the original. Sisters Lisa, Gwenno and Mari from the a capella trio Sorela are following in the footsteps of their mother, Linda Griffiths who sang in 1985.
Sion Land, the son of the drummer on the original track, Graham Land, is also keeping the beat 35 years later.
"Originally, 35 years ago, the aim was to raise money for something that was happening on the other side of the world; but we've had a very different emergency this year," said Elin Fflur.
"2020 has been such a difficult year – Covid has affected every one of us, but there are some people in our communities who have been hit really hard because of the pandemic.
"And this is why Community Foundation Wales' Coronavirus Resilience Fund is important; it works at the heart of our communities.
"Since filming, the charity has decided to share the money through their Community Foundation Wales' Coronavirus Resilience Fund, which is helping organisations all over Wales to recover from the immediate crisis.
"I would encourage everybody to buy the song – we are still in the middle of the pandemic, so if we can help the cause by downloading a song, well we should go for it, shouldn't we?!
"It would be a real bonus to see it reach the top of the charts!"
But it hasn't been easy to retain the magic of such a famous and iconic song:
"I love the original song so much: the words and the melody, the tone and the sound of the voices coming together perfectly.
"So, I was very nervous when I thought about us re-creating this song, because sometimes you shouldn't mess around with songs which work so well.
"But I have to say, when I heard the version Owen had done, I just cried because he had succeeded in keeping the atmosphere and feeling of the original, giving it a new energy without spoiling it," said Elin.
The musician Owain Gruffudd Roberts, who's a member of the popular group Band Pres Llareggub (Llareggub Brass Band) had the challenge of co-ordinating the whole thing:
"It was an honour to have been given the challenge, and I very soon realised that it was a big deal because the sound of the first one was so iconic," said Owain who is originally from Bangor but now lives in London.
"I think the way I tried to deal with that was by trying to do something different, and obviously, it's not easy to please everybody.
"There is a real sound of the 80s, so I wanted to give it a fresh sound that wouldn't date."
"The recording days were huge fun, and everybody was so positive. There was a really special buzz. I was so happy with the way that everything came together."