In the 1960s, Welsh-language popular music emerged as a vehicle for mobilizing a geographically dispersed community into political action. As the decades progressed, Welsh popular music developed beyond its acoustic folk roots, adopting the various styles of contemporary popular music, and ultimately gaining the cultural self-confidence to compete in the Anglo-American mainstream market. The resulting tensions, between Welsh and English, amateur and professional, rural and urban, the local and the international, necessitate the understanding of Welsh pop as part of a much larger cultural process. Not merely a ‘Celtic’ issue, the cultural struggles faced by Welsh speakers in a predominantly Anglophone environment are similar to those faced by innumerable other minority communities enduring political, social or linguistic domination. The aim of ‘Blerwytirhwng?’ The Place of Welsh Pop Music is to explore the popular music which accompanied those struggles, to connect Wales to the larger Anglo-American popular culture, and to consider the shift in power from the dominant to the minority, the centre to the periphery. By surveying the development of Welsh-language popular music from 1945-2000, ‘Blerwytirhwng?’ The Place of Welsh Pop examines those moments of crisis in Welsh cultural life which signalled a burgeoning sense of national identity, which challenged paradigms of linguistic belonging, and out of which emerged new expressions of Welshness.
‘Blerwytirhwng?’ The Place of Welsh Pop Music