Wales has a long history of music and has been known as the 'land of song' since at least the Nineteenth Century. This reference to Wales as the land of song, probably comes from the passionate singing in Welsh churches and at Welsh sports meetings, particularly at rugby matches. However, Wales' links with music go much further back than that.
Wales has a tradition of folk music which is closely linked with Scottish and Irish folk music. There are several forms of musical gathering that are comparable to those in other Celtic countries in the United Kingdom. For instance there is the twmpath (folk dance session), g?yl werin (folk festival) and noson lawen (a traditional party comparable to the Gaelic "C?ilidh").
Modern Welsh folk musicians have often resurrected traditions which had been suppressed or forgotten, and have competed with imported and indigenous rock and pop trends. This has been especially true since the 1990's.
Despite modern Welsh trends in music, Wales will always be connected with Male Voice Choirs such as the Morriston Orpheus Choir and Treorchy Male Voice Choir which enjoy world wide fame.
These choirs were often made up of workers from one village or one coal mine and so it was fairly natural for men to sing when one village played against another, especially if that game was Wales' national sport of rugby. The first time the Welsh National Anthem, 'Yr Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' ('The Old Country of my Fathers', normally translated as 'Land of My Fathers'), was sung at an International sporting event was in 1905
Along side the choirs, brass bands developed in villages, working men's clubs, churches and at work particularly in South Wales where brass bands are still very popular. In fact, the Cory Band is one of the most best brass bands in the world.
There were more than a few world famous Welsh singers in the Twentieth Century and some of them are still singing to jam-packed audiences worldwide. Ivor Novello was one of the first who became well-known during the First World War as a singer songwriter. Then there was Geraint Evans and Delme Bryn-Jones during the Second World War.
After that, Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey started their singing careers in the 1950's and are still singing fifty years later. There were also popular bands in the Seventies and Eighties such as Man and Budgie and solo singers such as Shakin' Stevens, nnie Tyler and John Cale (Velvet Underground).
In more recent times, we have seen the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci; the latter two bands being famous for lots of their songs' lyrics being in Welsh.
There have always been operatic singers as well such as Rebecca Evans, Aled Jones, Bryn Tervel and Charlotte Church. Cardiff holds the 'Singer of the World' competition and the Wales also has its very own Eisteddfod, where Pavarotti performed for years. It was because of Wales tradition as a nation of singers that Paul Robeson visited Wales in the Fifties
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