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Musicians refuse to perform at Eisteddfod over Welsh language policy

20 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Welsh musicians Eädyth and Izzy Rabey (Credit: Promo pic)

Welsh artists Eädyth and Izzy Rabey have said that they do not intend to perform at the National Eisteddfod until the main language policy is changed.

In a statement they said that “bilingualism is at the core of how we express our Welsh identity, and celebrate it”.

The pair were among the artists that had been announced who would perform at the Eisteddfod in August. However, Eädyth and Izzy Rabey said they would not perform in the Eisteddfod pavilion without a change to the language policy

They announced that they no longer intended to perform if the language policy did not change, in order to show support for Sage Todz and DJ Jaffa.

Sage Todz said at the beginning of the month that he would not perform at the Eisteddfod because there was too much English in his songs.

He later added that he was not protesting and that he respected the Welsh rule, which has been in place since 1952.

Last week DJ Jaffa said he would also pull out of the ‘Huw Stephens presents’ event at the Eisteddfod on August 10.

On Monday morning, Izzy Rabey suggested that she and Eadyth Crawford would do the same if the language policy was not relaxed.

“Neither Eadyth nor I would perform at the gig if the Eisteddfod does not change the language policy towards artists they invite to perform,” said Izzy.

They also called for a meeting with the Eisteddfod board to discuss their concerns.

They added in a statement: “Asking artists who write bilingually to change words not only calls into question the true motives of why you are booking us in the first place, it also suggests and perpetuates the idea that our expression is not the experiences of our lives’ experiences as Welsh people are not in terms and to a standard that fits that are in line with what the Eisteddfod believes to be ‘cultural preservation’ and ‘linguistic celebration’.”

In response the National Eisteddfod said: “We have received an email from Izzy Rabey regarding her performance at the Eisteddfod this morning. We will respond to her personally and not through the press and media.”


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Tomi Benn
Tomi Benn
8 months ago

When will BBC Radio Wales give equal time to music in Cymraeg?

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago

May not be deliberate but this is feeding the hate for the Welsh language. True that Wales is a bilingual country with English as the dominant partner due to history that cannot be covered here. Plenty of Anglo stuff going on so if you don’t like the fact that a few events are Welsh only you really need to perform at those other English only or bilingual events.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago

My Scalextric set is at the core of my identity. I demand St Ffagan immediately pay me and retain the piece for posterity. This non-story is genuinely absurd, privileged, insensitive nonsense. Art(-ish) and protest, always awkward bedfellows, have now become “Rage To Defend The Machine”. Education on Welsh history, culture and the language must be improved to avoid this auto-cannibalistic foolishness. There are 2 major Welsh language arts festivals, one being for children, some scattered gigs and, y’know, a decently long history of suppression and oppression. Ladies, you’re asking to diminish 1 of those things, something that we can ill… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

Eloquently stated. My point exactly but far far better. Diolch yn fawr.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Der ‘mlaen nawr, mun! Er bo’ ‘da fi peth cydymdeimlad o rhan y safbwynt cyffredinol (hwbio dwyieithrwydd yn ogystal/llaw yn law gyga hwbio diwylliant ieithyddol y Cymry), i weld bobl yn gwneud y fath gofynion, yn gyhoeddus ac mor debyg (yn unfath, a dwud y gwir) i ddisgwyliadau a gofynion y cwr sy’ wedi gwrthwynebu’n diwylliant a’n iaith, wel, mae bach yn abswrd. “The Left will always eat itself”… Gydag arian, enwogrwydd, statws a grym fel yr halen, pupur, sos coch a finegar. Cas gwr (neu gwraig) na charo’r gwlad a’i maco and all that jazz.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
8 months ago

Naw wfft i’r ddwy. Ni ddylai’r Gymraeg orfod cyfaddawdu efo’r Saesneg o hyd ac o hyd.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rhufawn Jones
Geoffrey Harris
Geoffrey Harris
8 months ago

Don’t know who they are never heard of them. The survival of our language is paramount, they will be gone in a few years. This attempt at destroying the status of the language has happened in the past, Neill Kinnock, George Thomas and the like tried to force so called bilingualism on the Eisteddfod by removing funding, that failed. Stick to the principle of the Eisteddfod.

Rhian Hewitt-Davies
Rhian Hewitt-Davies
8 months ago

Well for me as a recent learner of Cymraeg, I’ve got to Advanced level now, (even if I’m near bottom of the class, I’ve not been thrown out!) to the Eisteddfod is a great way to experience Total Immersion in the culture of Cymru. You cannot separate a people from their language, the language is the culture, therefore if you want to contribute to and respect the culture of the Cymry (Welsh-speaking people) then you need to understand the language to a reasonable degree, as the whole point of languages is they don’t translate!! I think these two should go… Read more »

neil
neil
8 months ago

The thing that strikes me is that elsewhere there is a lot of comment, mostly in English and 99% supportive of keeping the Eisteddfod all Welsh. It’s not as if there aren’t many other opportunities for English speaking and crossover acts, and mostly these are opportunities Welsh language acts don’t get. My Welsh is very limited, but I enjoy Welsh language rock bands.

Rhian Hewitt-Davies
Rhian Hewitt-Davies
8 months ago

Its like these two are trying to split the social atom! You can’t separate a people from their language, a language is the foremost way people transmit their culture! get it?!

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
8 months ago

The National Eisteddfod is, and always has been, a Welsh language event and long may it continue.
I worry that the “bi-lingual” argument is a tool to undermine the language. Once English is introduced because we are a “bi-lingual nation” the Welsh only rule will be undermined very quickly.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

One of the points being raised in defence of the proposal (demands) is that the Welsh-only policy makes sense for competitors, but not invited artists. Why? Why not allow for those who wish to express themselves in any language the RIGHT to do so? As you suggest, then – thus dies the Eisteddfod, and subsequently, the language itself.

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

John Ball is 110% right. Have these very dispensable musicians no idea of the situation or history of the Welsh language? It’s so depressing to have to fight again battles you thought won decades ago.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

since 1950

Rhian Hewitt-Davies
Rhian Hewitt-Davies
8 months ago

Well the Cymraeg (Welsh) is Art you see, it’s very creative, language is creativity you know. And as that English critic said ‘Art is not easy you see’ – Eadyth is trying to dumb Cymreig (Welsh culture) down. Can’t be done!

Richard Burton
Richard Burton
8 months ago

Creating a race row when it’s blatantly not the issue. It’s a policy that applies to everyone. Shame on them both but part of me is grateful as I will not have to endure the pain of Izzy’s cringe music.

Karl
Karl
8 months ago

What an odd thing to think you can demand changes to our national celebration of our unique language and culture. The Eisteddfod exists to do as it always has done, our language us key to it. The demand appears anti Cymraeg, not a great position to put yourself in.

Bwgan
Bwgan
8 months ago

I support the Eisteddfod’s rule here, but surely it has to apply to the whole event. It is a common occurrence now for large food companies to out bid smaller producers for the privilege of supplying food and drink at the event and as a result you find you have to order your food in English at ridiculous prices. As far as I can see there is no rule that states food stall staff have to speak Welsh. If the rule exists, then it is quietly put to one side as it seems filling the Eisteddfod coffers comes before principle.

Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
8 months ago
Reply to  Bwgan

Good point really assuming that using the language is the key point of Eisteddfod. Certainly one would expect stall holders to be all speakers of the language. However, reading the piece I am slightly confused. The two folk featured appear to be invited performers. So what did it say on their invitation or did the person inviting them not realise that they have a big English language repertoir as well? The other question is whether thay have been asked to translate their English language songs. I can see that they might feel that was inappropriate. Whilst this is a bit… Read more »

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago
Reply to  Bwgan

A fine point well made – an ability to speak welsh should be mandatory for all concession staff on-site

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

Just interesting to see that well known supporter of all things in Welsh – Mr V Gethin MS carrying on the ‘ divide and rule ‘ tradition of parts of Labour in Wales.

George Thomas, Neil Kinnock and Leo Abse et lal would be proud to see their planted seeds are bearing fruit .

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
8 months ago

Would they similarly protest at the lack of Welsh in English language festivals held in Wales?? Of course, not!

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago

Start your own Gŵyl ddwyeithiog and stop whinging

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

That is the best idea…

Riki
Riki
8 months ago

Sometimes I think nation.Cymru want British gone. Some benign comments are just not allowed to be made for some reason.

Frank
Frank
8 months ago
Reply to  Riki

…… and lots more want Cymru gone. Censorship of what the Cymry say on social media has been happening forever but others (English) can say whatever they like no matter how insulting or racist. It’s not nice, is it? Try walesonline as an example.

CapM
CapM
8 months ago

Some of the comments here seem to imply that that Maes B provides the only opportunity for artists who perform bilingually to appear. This is wrong other festivals are available in Cymru and beyond. For reasons that others have covered the Eisteddfod requires the lyrics that performers use be wholly or at least have a very high Welsh language content regardless of genre. The Eisteddfod’s unique selling point is the Welsh language. Those artists who have declined to perform and are making an issue about it are being rather self absorbed I think. Imagine musicians who’d been invited to a… Read more »

Wynn
Wynn
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

Superb comment, made me smile. thanks!

Wynn
Wynn
8 months ago

I have never heard of any of these people (I’m a Scot) but it sounds like a huge sigh of relief should be heard over Cymru now that they are not performing. It’s the National Eisteddfod for heaven’s sake, that’s like having Land of Hope and Glory sung by Michael Gove at the Royal National Mòd. These events are to celebrate the Welsh and Gaelic languages, what’s their problem? there’s not a lot of opportunity to celebrate our languages in the United Kingdom, we have to defend what we’ve got.

Arthur1968
Arthur1968
8 months ago

I’m gutted that Eadyth especially has taken this stance. The Welsh language media has been a huge platform for her music career to date and she has been such a positive ambassador for multicultural Welsh speaking women. Her sister Kizzy has enjoyed similar success, but if they couldn’t speak Welsh would their musical talent alone have taken them very far? Seems a lot like ‘Biting the hand that feeds you’ to me.

Gisella
Gisella
7 months ago

Although if there’s a strict Welsh only rule, why did they accept latin to be sung in “Requiem” di Verdi, in the past?

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