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Watch: Welsh folk singer shares powerful protest song calling for peace

05 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Gwilym Bowen Rhys

Stephen Price

Welsh folk singer, Gwilym Bowen Rhys has shared a powerful protest song to his followers, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for equal rights for Palestinians.

Hailing from the village of Bethel at the foot of Yr Wyddfa in north west Wales, Gwilym has been singing in his native Welsh language since he can remember, giving him a deep connection with traditional songs and music, and a love of sharing his music with both local communities and audiences across the world alike.

“Through the ages”

Taking to Instagram to share a version of ‘Daw Dydd y Bydd Mawr y Rhai Bychain’ by Huw Jones, Gwilym said: “Recently I found it almost impossible to start writing something that conveyed all the feeling of frustration and heartbreak of witnessing genocide, whilst world leaders look away and shrug their shoulders.

“So this is a song written over 50 years ago by Huw Jones, with a message that rings true through the ages. Its title comes from a Welsh proverb – ‘Daw dydd y bydd mawr y rhai bychain’ (The day will come when the small ones will be great).”

Speaking to Nation.Cymru about his decision to share the song, Gwilym told us: “As we’re all witnessing the genocide that’s currently being committed in Gaza in real time on the internet and social media, it’s easy to feel powerless to change anything.

“We can urge our MPs to raise their voices against the UKs apathy on the matter and take action (if they haven’t done so already), boycott companies that give financial support to the Israeli state, and attend gatherings of protest.”

“Recording this video was a very small way for me to express my feelings and solidarity. I found it almost impossible to start writing anything original, (I mean, where does one start?) so instead I filmed myself singing this remarkable song by Huw Jones.

“Huw was singing and writing songs at the end of the 60s/beginning of the 70s. His song ´Dŵr´ was the first record to be released by Sain in 1969 – the first label to exclusively release Welsh language music. Huw could accurately be described as a protest singer.”


“As a song writer, I can’t help but admire and envy his fearlessness when writing about the important and pressing issues of the time – ‘Dŵr’ (‘Water’) is a song about the drowning of Tryweryn, ‘Sut fedrwch chi anghofio?’ (‘How can you forget?’) is an epic song that touches on the civil rights movement in the USA, the troubles in the North of Ireland, amongst other matters of injustice and conflict.

A stand out song in his repertoire for me though is the one I covered – ‘Daw dydd y bydd mawr y rhai bychain’ (‘a day will come when the small ones will be great’), the title in itself being an old Welsh proverb.

“Through metaphor and analogy, it perfectly crystalises the situation of so many minorities around the world, be they political, cultural or linguistic.

“I’ll let the lyrics speak for themselves, which I’ve here translated into English. For my cover, I decided to omit the third verse of the original as I felt it wasn’t so applicable to the subject matter.

Daw Dydd y Bydd Mawr y Rhai Bychain (The Day Will Come When the Small Ones Will Be Great) – Huw Jones

In a dream one night I saw
two men standing together,
so similar were they in appearance
but, oh, so different were their worlds.
It was obvious that one was important –
all the wheels turned for him,
but the other, so unnoteworthy, he had nothing
except a soul and a heart to give

chorus –
A day will come when the small ones will be great
a day will come when the great ones will cease to be.
Justice will come with time
to destroy the empires of the earth.

Waiting to answer the call
were the nations and peoples of the world.
Some gloating in greatness and glory,
and others subjugated and silent.
But behind all the wealth and pride
there were peoples and languages under foot,
and in the courthouse of truth there was no place
for the greatness won through blood.

Find out more about Gwilym’s music here.

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Dai Rob
Dai Rob
4 months ago


Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
4 months ago

Cân arbennig gan gyfansoddwr arbennig a chan ganwr arbennig

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

In the tradition of Dylan (Bob)…more needed in these times of change…

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
4 months ago

biti ba fuasai hyn yn wir.

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