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Shortlist for Cân i Gymru 2024 announced

20 Feb 2024 6 minute read
Mared, Carwyn, Dom & Bronwen

The shortlist for Cân i Gymru (Song for Wales) 2024 has been announced.

Elin Fflur and Trystan Ellis-Morris will be back to present the competition which, for the first time, will be held on the Swansea Arena stage, on Friday 1 March 2024; St David’s Day.

Musician Osian Huw Williams, lead singer of the band Candelas and former co-winner of the award is the chairman of the panel of judges who will mentor the competitors and present the winner with a brand new Cân i Gymru trophy.

Star judges

The judges are singer-songwriter Bronwen Lewis, DJ and presenter Dom James, singer, and West End performer Mared Williams and musician Carwyn Ellis.

Osian Huw Williams

The composer of the winning song will win £5,000 and a performing contract, with the second prize winner winning £3,000 and the third prize winner claiming £2,000.

This is the second and third largest prize in the history of the competition.

The eight songs that have been chosen to compete are:

  1. Yr Un Fath by Jacob Howells.
  2. Heno by Elfed Morgan Morris and Carys Owen. Performed by Elin Hughes.
  3. Cysgod Coed by Gwion Phillips and Efa Rowlands. Performed by Gwion Phillips.
  4. Goleuni by Steve Balsamo a Kirstie Roberts. Performed by Moli Edwards.
  5. Ti by Sara Davies.
  6. Cymru yn y Cymylau by Lowri Jones and Sion Emlyn Parry. Performed by Lowri Jones.
  7. Pethau yn Newid by Sion Rickard.
  8. Mêl by Owain Huw a Llewelyn Hopwood.

Viewers will be responsible for choosing the winner by casting their vote over the phone.

Cân i Gymru

All the songs will be played on Radio Cymru from today (February 20) onwards. And viewers at home will be able to join in the conversation on social media by using #CiG2024.

Shortlisted songs

1. Yr Un Fath by Jacob Howells.

Jacob is originally from Llanelli and has recently received a Master’s degree in Music from the Bath University. He has been composing since he was 13 years old. This is the first time he’s applied, and the song reflects a loss of confidence in using the Welsh language and the nice feeling of re-engaging with the culture once again.

2. Heno by Elfed Morgan Morris and Carys Owen. Performed by Elin Hughes.

Elfed, Headteacher of Ysgol Llandygai, has already composed a winning song, ‘Gofidiau’, which won the competition in 2009. Carys, a teacher at Ysgol Y Felinheli, also had success back in 2002, when the song ‘Rhy Gry’, composed jointly with Emyr Rhys, came second. And the two collaborated in 2022 with the song ‘Rhyfedd o Fyd’, which came third.

‘Heno’ is a positive pop song that will make people dance.

3. Cysgod Coed by Gwion Phillips and Efa Rowlands. Performed by Gwion Phillips.

Efa wrote the words to the song ‘Cysgod Coed’, and Gwion composed the music. It’s a love song about a first love. Efa is 20 years old and lives in Cardiff with her family. She has acted in Cyw shows and in the theatre and won the Young People’s Trophy at the 2021 local Cardiff Eisteddfod.

Gwion is a student at Cardiff University and is originally from Aberystwyth. Music is important in his life, and the drums is his main instrument. This year will be the first time he’ll be singing solo in public.

4. Goleuni by Steve Balsamo a Kirstie Roberts. Performed by Moli Edwards.

Steve is a singer and songwriter from Swansea. He has acted in productions of Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1990s and has been in several bands over the years. He has also toured with Elton John, Meatloaf, Slash, Jon Lord from Deep Purple, and others. And he is a familiar name in the competition too. He co-wrote the song ‘Cri’ which was performed by Arwel Gruffudd in 1995, and the song ‘Rhywun yn Rhywle’ performed by Tesni Jones in 2011.

Kirstie was born and raised in Neath and is a singing teacher. Mainly, she has a background in classical music, and plays the harp and cello. She has resumed her Welsh through her 8-year-old son.

‘Goleuni’ is a song about the relationship between a young woman and her father.

5. Ti gan Sara Davies.

‘Ti’ is a love song from Sara’s grandfather to his grandmother. Her Grandfather wrote the lyrics to the song before he died, and after losing him, Sara set about composing the music. Originally from Old Colwyn, she now lives in Llandysul and is a Music, Drama and Wellbeing teacher at Tregaron High School. She is a member of Pontsian Young Farmers Club and a member of the 50 Shêds o Lleucu Llwyd group.

6. Cymru yn y Cymylau by Lowri Jones and Sion Emlyn Parry. Performed by Lowri Jones.

Longing for Wales is the message of this song as the two composers lived outside of Wales for several years. The song describes the journey of returning with the emphasis on the importance of community. Lowri is originally from Anglesey and now lives near Caernarfon. She studied Music in Cornwall and works as a Sound Engineer and for the charity Codi’r To, which leads musical activities in schools.

Siôn was born and raised in Seion, near Caernarfon. He studied Performance in Cardiff before moving to Los Angeles to study Acting. He is a drummer for the band Ffatri Jam and has been playing the instrument since he was 5 years old. He works with Lowri at the Codi’r To charity and is also a drama tutor for Sbarc Drama Club at Galeri Caernarfon.

7. Pethau yn Newid by Sion Rickard.

This is a song about the desire for life to slow down, and the feeling of life slipping away. Siôn is originally from Betws y Coed and has now settled in Machynlleth. He is a familiar face to the Cân i Gymru competition as this is the third time he has reached the final 8 in three years. He sang the song ‘Rhiannon’ in 2022 and ‘Y Wennol’ with his brother Liam under the name of their band, Lo-fi Jones.

8. Mêl by Owain Huw a Llewelyn Hopwood.

The message of this song is to persevere and work together in life. Owain is originally from Swansea and now lives in Cardiff. He is an actor and has recently been part of the Master of the Air series on Apple TV. Llewelyn comes from Carmarthen, and now lives in London. Music is a big part of their lives, and they were part of the band Bromas together.

Cân i Gymru will air on Friday, 1 March, 20.00 S4C.

English subtitles available.

On demand: S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and other platforms

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