The life and times of Dafydd Iwan the subject of TV special
In the shadows of the Snowdonia mountains, Elin Fflur travels to the village of Caeathro to meet her special guest, Dafydd Iwan, in a new hour-long episode of Sqwrs Dan y Lloer.
Accompanied by a roaring fire and the stars, Elin gets to hear about the extraordinary life and career of one of the most notable figures in recent Welsh history, and certainly one of the busiest.
Dafydd Iwan is a singer, composer, campaigner, politician, preacher, and businessman. He lives in Caeathro with his wife Bethan, and Wini the dog.
Originally from Brynaman, he has lived in the north for many years.
His father was a minister and his mother a teacher – both Welsh nationalists, and his grandfather was one of the founders of Plaid Cymru. Being a nationalist was something natural in his upbringing, without anyone having to preach it. For Dafydd, it was “a natural thing to support your own country and to see your own country get the same rights as any other country.”
He has campaigned enthusiastically over the Welsh language, that included spending time in prison, and has stood several times for Plaid Cymru and as a member of Gwynedd Council. He was also one of the founders of Sain Studio in 1969.
Its amazing how much Dafydd Iwan has achieved and although there are very different elements to his life and career, it is the same things that tie everything together: “I hope I say similar things in a concert on Saturday night that I do in the chapel on a Sunday morning.”
Religion and faith are also a big part of his life, and he preaches regularly. The chapels, regardless of the numbers, are important institutions, according to Dafydd, and the discipline to go anchors him:
“They keep the flame going in a very real way and it helps me to keep my feet on the ground, even if my head is in the clouds!”
Perhaps an unexpected element in Dafydd’s life and career is the world of football. Certainly, he is the man of the moment in Welsh football with the World Cup in Qatar picking up the momentum.
His iconic song Yma o Hyd has a special place in the hearts of Welsh football fans and now also with the team members. Dafydd was there at the Wales game against Austria singing this song, and then again at that incredible game when Wales won their place in the World Cup against Ukraine in front of 30,000 people. And the response was astounding.
“It’s a period that’s almost unreal now,” said Dafydd when he remembered, “”When the red wall came in on that first chorus, it was like being hit by an otherworldly force. It was an amazing experience. And a very powerful experience.”
One of the most moving things about the performance are the tears in his eyes. This isn’t unusual for Dafydd when he sings, but he admits that it wasn’t possible to do anything else in that situation:
“I was singing a song I’ve sung for almost 40 years and here are the thousands of football fans – Welsh and non-Welsh speakers – singing it back to me.”
The one-hour long episode of Sgwrs Dan y Lloer will reveal more about all the different elements that belong to Dafydd Iwan’s extraordinary life and there’s a chance to enjoy a very special duet at the end of the programme.
Sgwrs Dan y Lloer – Monday 17 October, 8pm
Welsh and English subtitles available
On demand: S4C Clic, iPlayer and other platforms
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