In 2017, we commemorate the centenary of the Eisteddfod of the Black Chair, held in Birkenhead in 1917.
This Eisteddfod is an important part of our national heritage. This is the Eisteddfod in which Hedd Wyn won the Chair. But the young poet had been killed a few weeks earlier in the war-torn trenches of northern France. The poet was not chaired, and the Black Chair became a symbol of the generation of young men who went to war from 1914-18.
The War had a great effect on Wales like all other countries, and as we approach the centenary of Hedd Wyn’s death, it is important that we remember the young poet as well as the thousands of other young men who fought in the War. The opening concert at the Anglesey National Eisteddfod is our chance to do this.
In a project inspired by the story of Hedd Wyn, this will be one of the creative highlights of the commemoration of the First World War here in Wales. A new body of work will be created, a work which will strive to understand some of the challenges of the period and the sacrifice, through the eyes of those left here in Wales – families, young people, and women.
Aled and Dafydd Hughes, two brothers best known as members of Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, from Llŷn, Gwynedd, have been appointed to lead the creative team, and will work with various artists and performers to create a new and unique event in the festival pavilion. This will also be the Eisteddfod Choir concert.
Poet Guto Dafydd will work with Aled and Dafydd creating the words, and he will be attending community workshops before putting pen to paper. The workshops will be held across Gwynedd and Anglesey, and will include a wide cross-section of ages, from primary children to care homes residents.
Paul Mealor, the Anglesey based composer, originally from St Asaph, Denbighshire, well known for his beautiful choral work, will be in charge of part of the musical score. He will be working with the poet Grahame Davies on this part of the project.
Musician, John Quirk, is also part of the creative team, and will work closely with everyone to bring the whole project together and to create a memorable performance at the Eisteddfod.
This project is a partnership between the National Eisteddfod, Snowdonia National Park Authority, Gwynedd Council, Anglesey County Council, the Arts Council of Wales and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
The community in Gwynedd and Anglesey are at the heart of this project and workshops will be held during 2016 as the project develops. The work has already started with some Anglesey residents visiting Yr Ysgwrn, the home of Hedd Wyn recently, to learn more about his life and his work.
The following clip is an introduction to one of the recent visits to Yr Ysgwrn, and more information will be available on this page soon.