S4C criticised for banning band from playing ‘political’ song
S4C have been heavily criticised for banning a brass band from playing a ‘political’ song.
The Barry Horns – an 11-piece brass band and fans of the Welsh national football team – were told by TV bosses they couldn’t perform the lyrics to their new song ‘Cymru Rydd’ on Y Wal Goch programme for political reasons, but were happy for them to play the instrumental version.
The programme – the last of four – was broadcast on S4C on Friday night in a bid to build up interest and enthusiasm to this year’s Euros.
Speaking to nation.cymru, band leader Fez, originally from Cardiff but now living in Pembrokeshire, said: “We would like to emphasise that we are really grateful to Y Wal Goch and S4C for having us on the show which was recorded about a week before the Senedd elections. We love the show and the presenters.
“We said we’d like to play our song ‘Cymry Rydd’ which is coming out just before the Euros. When they heard about the song and about it being called ‘Cymry Rydd’, it was like: ‘You can’t play this.”
Y Wal Goch is produced by TV company Avanti, but the controversial decision has sparked a huge backlash from the band’s supporters and S4C viewers.
Fez said the words of the song has references to the treachery of the Blue Books attack on Welsh culture and the drowning of Capel Celyn – which are all true, historical facts and events.
He said: “I don’t think they’d even heard it really. It’s a song called ‘Cymry Rydd’ and it’s about the past, present and future of Wales.”
Lyrics from a @thebarryhorns song – censored for political reasons …
Yet @S4C provide a platform to an extreme-right, hate-pushing commentator to attack the language the channel was set up to safeguard.
— Leanne Wood 🏴 (@LeanneWood) June 6, 2021
Former Plaid Cymru leader and Rhondda MS Leanne Wood tweeted: “Lyrics from a @thebarryhorns song censored for political reasons . . . Yet @S4C provide a platform to an extreme-right, hate-pushing commentator to attack the language the channel was set up to safeguard. (Katie) Hopkins wasn’t censored.”
Newly-elected Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales West, Sioned Williams said: “Protest singing is at the heart of the Welsh culture – a culture that @S4C is supposed to reflect.”
On Twitter, Maldwyn Iago said: “S4C no different to media in states like Russia or Belarus which are often blamed for lacking press freedom. In banning the words they are themselves political!”
And Geraint Evans said: “Yet the BBC is happy to play Rule Britannia. A disgraceful decision.”
There were many other similar comments.
A video accompanying the song has had rave reviews from fans and they are now planning to release a version on vinyl.
An S4C spokesperson said: “The Red Wall is a series celebrating football and it did not feel appropriate to bring politics into the programme.
“The Barry Horns were keen to perform their new song and it was agreed that they played an instrumental version of it.”