We often play Celtic music on Radio Riel, but we generally focus on the music of Scotland and Ireland. Similarly, we often play English music, in particular some of the traditional English Country Dance pieces from Playford and others. We do not, however, often present a programme that includes music from Wales.
Today’s programme seeks to redress the balance by including both Welsh traditional music and traditional songs from England, both in their original form and in the shape of modern orchestrations and arrangements of the old songs.
The destinies of these two countries have been linked since the earliest times. In the days of the Roman occupation, England and Wales (Cymru a Lloegr in Welsh) were administered as a single unit, the province of Britannia. A Welsh identity grew following the departure of the Romans in the 5th century and continued until Wales was conquered by Edward I in the 13th Century and then consolidated by the Laws in Wales Acts of the 16th Century which brought the same legal system to both countries.
While English control continued for centuries, often oppressively (and including the suppression of the Welsh language), it has begun to be relaxed in recent decades, with the re-emergence of the Welsh cultural identity, and the Welsh language thanks largely to Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) and the resulting advent of Welsh broadcasting, culminating in the establishment of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 in the capital, Caerdydd (Cardiff).
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