Festival of Welsh Hymn Singing
The Gymanfa Ganu (pronounced Gu-Man-Va Gan-new) is one of the three traditional Welsh get togethers WASNC produces.
To understand “The Gymanfa” it is useful to know that one of the nicknames of Wales is “The Land of Song”. From the mines and workplaces of North and South Wales, came a tradition of (usually) Male Voice Choirs. These continue today even as the industries that supported them have declined. Also due to the Revival of Christianity in the 19th Century among a Welsh-speaking population, hymn singing in Welsh and English was a very common pastime.
The Gymanfa Ganu, then, is a traditional sing-along concert of Welsh hymns and English versions of Welsh hymns. It is held close to St. David’s Day (1st March). St David is the patron saint of Wales. WASNC always follows it with a “Te Bach” – a Little Tea – which features typically Welsh food.
WASNC wants everyone who come to the Gymanfa, regardless of their connection, or not, to Wales to be welcome and so part of the concert is the ability of non-Welsh speakers to try some singing in what the Welsh call “The Language of Heaven”. As well as phonetic versions of the words, the guest conductor will help by rehearsing each hymn with the entire congregation.
“The Gymanfa Ganu is a traditional sing-along concert of Welsh hymns and English versions of Welsh hymns held around St David’s Day (March 1st). It is followed by a “Te Bach” (Little Tea)”
Gathering for Stories, FOOD and SONG
The Nosun Lawen (pronounced Noss-un Lough-en) is typically held around about September. It is a gathering of friends and neighbors who each bring a dish, or a story, or a song (or multiples).
The party is very informal and open to all who would like to come and make friends with the Welsh (and Welsh-ophiles) amongst them.
“The Nosun Lawen is an informal party of Welsh People to share stories and food and song.”