Full, online programme for Eisteddfod as physical festival cancelled again

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is returning online again this year as the worldwide coronavirus pandemic means it is unable to stage a physical event for the second year.

A diverse new cultural programme specially commissioned to celebrate the message of international peace and friendship on which the Eisteddford was founded over 70 years ago will be broadcast online between July 9-11.

Organisers say that with funding support from Welsh Government, this year’s Eisteddfod will celebrate the broadest possible range of genres from classical, choral, hip hop, dance and world music, as well as Luke Jerram’s Llangollen bridge artwork, to connect with existing and new audiences in preparation for its return to the Royal International Pavilion in 2022.

The eisteddfod began in 1947 to bring nationals together through music after the second world war at its message of peace has remained at its core ever since.

A new musical composition exploring the peace message will feature internationally renowned harpist and composer Catrin Finch, pioneering beatboxer and rapper Mr Phormula - Ed Holden - , British Asian musician and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra, Eliza Marshall and Nick Ellis on Bansuri, Lee House, electronics and RAV drum and the refugee and asylum seeker Oasis One World Choir, from Cardiff.

This year’s digital Llangollen Eisteddfod will feature videos of the world premiere performances, many filmed in the town itself. On Saturday night, there will be a performance of Tangnefedd by a mass choir, some appearing digitally from across the world and others on stage in the pavilion.

Tangnefedd is the name of a new choral piece by Paul Mealor, one of the world’s most performed living composers and Mererid Hopwood, renowned Welsh poet and the first woman to win the National Eisteddfod Chair that will be premiered during the weekend. The performance will feature choirs from around the world that have successfully competed at the Eisteddfod, from the UK, US and Africa. In the Welsh language, Tangnefedd means the result of bringing together two elements in peace and harmony.

A new dance track Curiad Canlon has been commissioned for Llangollen Eisteddfod by up-and-coming electronic producer and performer Rachel K Collier, Nigerian-born, avant-garde rapper Magugu and talented young Welsh singer-songwriter and actress Lily Beau.

The track is designed to inspire the Eisteddfod international music and dance community and wider public to respond with their own moves on social media. It’s also a world first of combining the English, Welsh and Nigerian Pidgin Rap languages.

Peace will also be explored by the What is Peace? schools project.

Children’s thoughts about peace through the written word, dance, movement and drama sessions involving 1,000 pupils from three schools from Rhyl, Llanberis and Llangollen. A creative video will be produced and an exhibition of postcards expressing children’s views about peace will be displayed throughout the town.

A thought-provoking programme of talks and activities with Academi Heddwch Cymru will explore peace and peacebuilding. The programme includes ‘The Peace Lecture’ given by Begoña Lasagabaster, UN Women Chief of Leadership and Governance Section; ‘The Art of Peacebuilding’; ‘Peace Poems’ and much more. For young people, this series includes virtual cultural exchange and the Young Peacemakers Awards ceremony.

People living locally, in Wales and around the world are invited to explore the programme, free of charge, at international-eisteddfod.co.uk/.

Running alongside the music will be a new art installation by the world-renowned artist Luke Jerram, who is covering the grade 1 listed Llangollen bridge with a patchwork of fabrics representing Wales and countries that usually attend the Eisteddfod. The artist is well known for his public art installations.

The artwork will remain in place until 5 August.

Betsan Moses, interim chief executive of the Llangollen Eisteddfod for 2021 is leading the creation of a fresh, diverse, world-class cultural programme to connect with both new and existing audiences, after last year’s event was postponed.

She says: “The Llangollen Eisteddfod was founded on the idea of bringing peace and this year’s cultural programme expresses what it stands for; peace, creativity and togetherness.

We’re looking forward to sharing a varied and inspiring programme of events online this year, with an array of world-class performers across musical and artistic genres and exciting new commissions to delight both existing and new audiences across the globe.

“The beautiful town of Llangollen, which normally sees up to 35,000 visitors during the Eisteddfod, will also play host to the visitors that come to see the transformation of Llangollen Bridge into a giant artwork by Luke Jerram, clothed in a patchwork of fabrics from around the world.”

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