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Project on the road to discovering what it means to be Welsh

12 Mar 2022 2 minute read
The A470 trunk road passing over Bwlch Oerddrws. Picture by Velella (CC BY-SA 2.5).

From Llandudno to Cardiff Bay, the A470 twists and turns for almost two hundred miles stretching from North to South Wales, providing a link to Wales’ past, present, and future.

So much of our country’s culture, history, and language leads back to this blacktopped backbone yet defining exactly what it means to be Welsh in Wales has never been more difficult.

Starting this month and funded through the Arts Council of Wales’ Create scheme, Ffordd Sain will harness the power of music and this iconic road to explore people’s connectivity to Wales, its everchanging landscape, and notions of ‘Welshness’.

Drawing on its experience as one of the nation’s leading music-focused organisations, Community Music Wales will work closely with ten groups from areas spanning the length of the A470.

From the capital onto the historic valley towns of Pontypridd and Merthyr Tydfil, through the rural farming villages of Mid Wales up to the dramatic summits of North Wales and back down into the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno.


Using a variety of forms that will reflect the musicality of each area – from song writing to sound walks, traditional hillside choirs to experimental city soundscapes– Ffordd Sain promises to deliver an exciting calendar of activity, events, sessions and shows inspired by the A470.

“We’ve been developing this idea for some time and after consultation found that since devolution and its growing visibility during the coronavirus crisis, this question has become more relevant than ever,” explained Community Music Wales director, Hannah Jenkins. “We aim to document, explore and celebrate identity, community and diversity. We want to discover what it truly means to be Welsh.”

From the mountains of the north to the post-industrial south, Ffordd Sain will document its findings through an interactive map that will compile the sights and sounds of this astonishing sonic highway.

Featuring audio, video, photography, and the spoken/written word, it will send visitors on a historic, topographic, and sociological journey into the heart of Wales using music as its vehicle. In the process, providing a digital destination for Welsh identity for many years to come.

Find out more via Community Music Wales

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James William Soares Jones

The internet led me to my Cymro self. I rescued a sidewalk sourced iMac, provided it with my first broadband-capable connection and started exploring. I discovered, and I’m not even sure that was its domain suffix. WOW! wow wow wow wow…what IS this song in an incomprehensible tongue? Yma O Hyd…what does that mean? Why do the hairs on my neck prickle up when listening? Why do I IDENTIFY with whatever it is they are singing about? WHY?! I discovered just who the songwriter and lead singer was, Dafydd Iwan. I discovered we shared a surname, just in different… Read more »

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