In a performance at the final send-off for the Cymru football squad as they head to the World Cup, drill artist Sage Todz captured the weight of anticipation around Cymru’s campaign. The bilingual Welsh and English language track O Hyd is one of many creations by artists, poets, musicians, and creators across Wales rallying behind the Wales national team which has qualified for the FIFA Men’s World Cup for the first time in 64 years.
This creative spirit is a key part of the Team Wales Cultural Programme that will be amplifying Welsh arts and culture around the world, may that be at the stadia themselves or in clubs and social centres throughout Wales, or in organised watch parties in cities and towns around the globe.
In the US, to build on the excitement around the Wales v USA game and to mark the start of an exciting tournament and period for Cymru, Focus Wales will present Teddy Hunter, L E M F R E C Kand Mace the Great in collaboration with NYC festival New Colossus.
Rapper Mace the Great, who will be performing at the Focus Wales showcase in New York, said:
“I’m looking forward to returning to the US after my debut at SXSW earlier this year. This is a huge opportunity for me to develop as an artist, as well as representing Wales at such an important moment for Welsh football and culture. I’m very excited to be showcasing in New York, working on a new video, and continuing my collaboration with Show Racism the Red Card and FAW.”
One of the most unique things about Wales is its thriving indigenous language, Cymraeg, a Celtic language that is widely spoken today, and is celebrated in this competition. The national Welsh Language broadcaster S4C celebrated the channel’s 40th birthday by broadcasting the ‘Wales to the World’ concert from New York. The concert featured Sir Bryn Terfel, Dionne Bennett, Eve Goodman, Sywel Nyw, Mark Evans, Owain Roberts, L E M F R E C K, and some of the Welsh of the West End stars, including Mared Williams.
Representing the young people of Wales in Qatar will be Côr Dyffryn Clwyd on behalf of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, who are also a part of the culture programme.
Sian Lewis, Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, said:
“Urdd members are great ambassadors for Wales, our language, culture and country. We’re proud that Côr Dyffryn Clwyd will have this amazing opportunity to support the team but to also take Wales to the world and the global audience of the world cup on behalf of the young people of Wales. As an organisation we aim to inspire the next generation by offering unique experiences to extend their horizons and build self-confidence and we can’t wait to be part of the Team Wales Cultural Programme.”
The Cymru terrace brass band the Barry Horns - whose ambition is to “unite Welsh football with the power of horns” - will also be traveling to Qatar, alongside DJ Katie Owen, Sage Todz, and mural artists Peaceful Progress and Unify.
Gŵyl Cymru international will see a diverse representation of artists and cultural organisations taking to stages around the globe to share Wales’ unique culture internationally. Events range from a local Irish pub in Connecticut (USA) to an international school in Matsumoto (Japan) for which people are gathering to celebrate Cymru, community and creativity. Activities span live music, poetry, education, and even a Penderyn whiskey tasting. The international cultural programme connects Wales with the world through our Welsh diaspora, international friends, and their local communities.
Meanwhile in Wales, Gŵyl Cymru is a 10-day celebration of creativity rooted in the communities of Wales, starting on the 19 November. Presented in partnership between Arts Council of Wales and the Football Association of Wales, the festival features a diverse range of programming, including Footballroom (a dance/theatre show exploring football and LGBTQ rights, produced by August 012) to live comedy gigs across Wales and London, to an event hosted by the Syrian Welsh Society to acknowledge and celebrate the support of refugees for Cymru. The programme also includes a range of activities curated by our biggest and best-known arts organisations, including Welsh National Opera, National Museum Wales, National Theatre Wales, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Tŷ Pawb and Chapter Arts Centre.
Artists are not only using the event to support the team but as a platform to highlight concerns around issues of equalities and human rights around the world. Tîm Cymru partners have developed a shared Values Statement inspired by the unique Well-being of Future Generations Act and aims to make sure that “football is for everyone, everywhere. It’s an opportunity for fans to engage with people and cultures from around the world, potentially creating lasting relationships that promote peace and solidarity.”
For those who can’t make any of the Gŵyl Cymru events or any official watch parties in person, content from Gŵyl Cymru will be available on multiple digital platforms. Make Cymru your favourite team by tracking the hashtags and following official channels, such as the Red Wall + and the Football Association of Wales. In return, the three million people of Wales will keep you informed about the Welsh journey, on and off the field. We can’t wait to introduce, welcome, and entice you to Wales, or at least for now to make Wales your favourite or second team of choice.