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Composers Create

Discover Sound - Posted 09-09-2020

During the lockdown 25 composers have been busy composing new pieces for the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project. The composers received various interviews from 5 different collections from the sound archive and were asked to listen and use them as inspiration to create a new piece of work.

You can hear all the new pieces on the Library’s YouTube Channel by searching the hash tag #UOSH

The collections that inspired the composers were:

Glenys James Collection

Glenys James was born in London to Welsh parents and spoke Welsh at home and the chapel, but never lived in Wales.

She moved to Canada where she researched the Welsh who migrated to Canada and Patagonia for the Canadian Museum of Man, Ottawa (now known as Canadian Centre for Cultural Studies Ottawa)

In 1974, Glenys James recorded various interviews with people of Welsh descent living in Canada, especially the Satchawen area where Welsh communities were formed. Over 200 people left Patagonia for Canada in 1902 because of difficult conditions and wanting to create a better life for themselves. These interviews include personal stories and accounts of building new villages and naming them in Welsh (Glyndwr, Bangor, Llewelyn). They erected new schools and chapels and held Eisteddfodau.

The original reel to reel tapes are now kept at the Canadian Centre for Cultural Studies in Ottawa with cassette copies and digital files here at the National Library.

Why should we not sing?

In 1916 The Times published a letter where the writer objected to the holding of the Eisteddfod during war time. In response to the article, David Lloyd George delivered a speech at Aberystwyth National Eisteddfod, which began with the words – ‘Why should we not sing during war time?’

Throughout the speech he defends holding the Eisteddfod. It was reported that over 7,000 people listened and cheered his speech. On the 15th February, 1934, Lloyd George recorded part of his famous speech at the BBC studios to be aired on radio.  A copy of this address is kept at the Library and has been digitally restored by the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage team.

Story of the Forest

Story of the Forest was a project run by the Forestry Commission in 2002-3 where they recorded interviews with people involved in Forestry Commission activities in Wales.

Personal stories were told by people who lived and worked in and around the forestry, discussing the situation from post war up to the 21st century, including accounts of how they came to work for the Forestry Commission, the activities – building roads, ploughing. The interviews give us an insight to the changes to Wales’ landscape, and teach us about the social, agricultural and economic effects.

167 Minidiscs were deposited to the Library; they were digitised and catalogued by students of the MA Archive Administration and MSc Digital Curation courses from Aberystwyth University’s Department of Information Studies in 2019.

Caradog Jones

Meleri Mair interviews Caradog Jones in 1997 on the subject of poaching, with comments on his own experience as a river bailiff in the 1950s.

Mr Jones describes why people poached – mainly poverty, the consequences to those who were caught and the custom of disguising their identity to avoid detection at night.

Colin Edwards Collection

Colin Edwards was a Welsh journalist, broadcaster and author who lived in California. During the 1960s he recorded interviews with friends, family and acquaintances of Dylan Thomas. These accounts and reminiscences on the life of Dylan give us an insight to his character, his work, relationships, and family background.

The tapes were donated to the Library by Colin’s wife, Mary Edwards, following his death. David N Thomas used the tapes in his published books ‘Dylan Remembered’, 2 vols (Seren and NLW, 2003, 2004)

We would like to thank all the composers who took part in the commission work; we hope you enjoy listening to the compositions:

Alan Chamberlain; Angharad Davies; Ben McManus; Bonello, Ruth and Hay; Branwen Williams; David Roche; Derri Joseph Lewis; Gareth Bonello; Georgia Ruth Williams; Geraint Rhys; Gwen Mairi; Gwenan Gibbard; Gwilym Bowen Rhys; Gwydion Rhys; Luciano Williamson; Owen Shiers Pierce Joyce; Pwdin Reis composed by Neil Rosser; Sally Crosby; Sam Humphreys; Seth Alexander; Stacey Blythe; Steff Rees; Tinc y Tannau; Toby Hay.

Alison Lloyd Smith,

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage Hub Project Manager

This post is also available in: Welsh

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

Due to the more personal nature of blogs it is the Library's policy to publish postings in the original language only. An equal number of blog posts are published in both Welsh and English, but they are not the same postings. For a translation of the blog readers may wish to try facilities such as Google Translate.

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