Blog: Trafodaeth Hybu’r Chwyldro drwy’r “Sîn Roc Gymraeg”

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*English below*

Ddoe, fynychais drafodaeth ddifyr yn trafod nifer o agweddau am y Sîn “Roc” Gymraeg bresennol, a sut y gellid hybu credoau a gwleidyddiaeth Cymdeithas yr Iaith drwy’r sîn. Wrth gwrs, mae’r Gymdeithas yn gwneud gwaith amhrisiadwy yn trefnu gigs led-led Cymru, a bwriad y digwyddiad oedd holi pa le oedd i wleidyddiaeth yn y byd cerddorol, a sut all y Gymdeithas hybu’r gwerthoedd hynny.

Mared Ifan fu’n cadeirio panel, a oedd yn cynnwys Rhys Mwyn o Anhrefn, Pat Morgan o Datblygu a Griff Lynch o Yr Ods, a fu’n sgwrs ddifyr o rannu profiadau a chwestiynu beth oedd angen ei wneud nesaf.

  • Y Rhyngrwyd Fel Platfform Hyrwyddo

Un o’r prif bwyntiau a ddenodd fy sylw oedd awgrym Griff Lynch i gyflwyno bandiau mewn cyfweliadau bychan a pherfformiadau ecscliwsif i’r Gymdeithas ar y we – gan adeiladu a datblygu cysyniad Sianel 62 gynt. Nid o reidrwydd yn trafod y Gymdeithas, ond trafod eu cerddoriaeth ac amryw bynciau. Pwysleisir dylid manteisio ar ddefnyddio cyfryngau megis Youtube a Spotify yn hytrach na cheisio mynd yn groes-graen iddynt.

Rydym eisoes yn gallu gweld pŵer blogiau cerddorol ar waith, gydag Isosgeles, Juxtaposed ac O’r Dorf wedi gwneud cryn dipyn o argraff wrth adolygu a thrafod cerddoriaeth Gymraeg. Cefais fy magu yn rhan o’r genhedlaeth lle llwyddodd artistiaid fel Lily Allen ac Arctic Monkeys ddenu sylw a dilynwyr ar blatfformau megis Myspace, ac mae ystyried posibiliadau’r Gymraeg mewn maes aml-gyfrwng yn cynnig cyfleoedd heb eu hail. Blogiwr Juxtaposed blog – sy’n ddwyieithog – Teleri Jones, sy’n trafod potensial a phŵer y platfform blogio i artistiaid wrth greu ‘buzz’ a gwelwn fod adolygiadau ar y we a rhannu lluniau a fideos, fel y gwna Iolo Selyf James gyda’r prosiect Kunst, yn ddull effeithiol o hyrwyddo cerddoriaeth a chelfyddyd.

Rwy’n hynod falch bod y panel yn unfrydig eu barn nad edrych yn ôl yw’r ateb, mai edrych ymlaen sydd angen ac er mawr syndod, datgelwyd y “myth” o Oes Aur a neuaddau mawrion yn llawn dop wrth i fandiau’r cyfnod berfformiad… ROEDD YNA GIGS GWEIGION BRYD HYNNY HEFYD, credwch neu beidio.

  • Gigs Ddwyieithog

Bu cryn drafod hefyd am statws bandiau Cymraeg di-Gymraeg, megis Houdini Dax, ac am gynnig cyfle iddyn nhw – a thrafod wedyn am gynnwys bandiau sy’n canu mewn ieithoedd lleiafrifol eraill (cyfeiriwyd at y gymuned Pwylaidd fel enghraifft) i rannu llwyfan gyda’n artistiaid Cymraeg. Heb os, byddai’n agor drysau i gynulleidfa newydd sbon.

Mae’r cysyniad o gigiau dwyieithog yn rhywbeth sydd wedi bod ar fy meddwl ers cryn dipyn. Oni ddylai fod yn flaenoriaeth cyflwyno’r Gymraeg i’r mwyafrif? Oes, mae angen gigiau cyfrwng Cymraeg y Gymdeithas, ond beth am gynnal ambell i gig ddwyieithog hefyd? Ymddengys, drwy grybwyll cynnal gigs aml-ieithog, bod rhyw fath o ymgais i gyflwyno cerddoriaeth Gymraeg fel ‘cerddoriaeth byd’.

I ryw raddau, teimlaf bod yna elfen o ‘preaching to the choir’ yn ngyd-destun gigiau Cymraeg y Gymdeithas. Wrth fynychu gigs Cymraeg, gwelaf yr un wynebau dro ar ôl tro, gan bobl sydd eisoes yn ymwybodol o waith Cymdeithas yr Iaith. Yr hyn y credaf innau sydd angen gwneud nesaf yw gwthio’r rhwyd ym mhellach, a chyflwyno mwy i’w gwaith. Nid wyf o’r farn y dylid dileu gigs cyfrwng Cymraeg yn unig yn gyfan gwbl, ond byddai’n werth cefnogi bandiau Cymraeg i fynd i berfformio ar y cyd gyda bandiau o bob iaith, er mwyn i gynulleidfaoedd di-Gymraeg glywed yr iaith.

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  • Y Ddelwedd

Rhywbeth sy’n fy mhoeni’n ddirfawr yw’r cysyniad o’r ‘Sîn Roc Gymraeg’. Rydym yn ein ystrydebu ein hun ac yn creu delwedd pendant iawn o’r hyn y dylai bandiau Cymraeg i fod, sy’n gwthio artistiaid amgen i’r neilltu. Yn ogystal â hynny, mae’r broblem o ystyried “Cymraeg” fel genre, ac nid fel iaith, sy’n hollol, hollol niweidiol.

Gofynnwyd gan Bethan Ruth a ddylwn ymfalchio ein bod ni’n gymdeithas “amgen”, ac onid oes angen prif ffrwd ar bob diwylliant? Roedd hi’n anodd ateb y fath gwestiwn, ac mae angen holi ymhellach ynglyn ag i bwy y dylem geisio anelu gyda’r gerddoriaeth Gymraeg? Afraid dweud, mae hi’n amhosib plesio pawb, ond onid yw hi’n werth gofyn pwy y dylem blesio?

O fy mhrofiad i yn fy arddegau, fel ffan o gerddoriaeth roc amgen, roeddwn yn un o’r lleiafrif yn fy ysgol. Oes modd gwneud y Gymraeg yn fwy ‘poblogaidd’ a phrif ffrwd, neu a ddylem gadw i anelu at y gynulleidfa amgen? Oni ddylai’r Gymraeg fel iaith, a’i cherddoriaeth, fod yn rhan ganolog o fywyd bob dydd, ac nid fel rhywbeth ymylol? Yn sicr, mae angen mwy o drafod am y label hwnnw, ac am ba fath o gynulleidfa y dylem ei ddenu.

  • Stigma ‘Canu Gwleidyddol’

Un o fy hoff ganeuon o 2014 yw ‘Cân Wleidyddol’ Endaf Gremlin. “Dyma gân wleidyddol, a sgenai ddim byd i ddeud…” yw ei gwaedd herfeiddiol, ac i mi, mae’n cynrychioli’r mywafrif o’m cenhedlaeth. Onid ni yw’r gymdeithas ddifater, ddiog? Ydyn ni wirioneddol am gael negeseuon gwleidyddol wedi eu gwthio i lawr ein corn gyddfau?

Rwy’n ddigon parod i ddatgan nad oes gennyf ryw lawer o ddiddordeb gwleidyddol – ac fy anwybodaeth am y pwnc sy’n rhannol gyfrifol am hynny. Dyw cerddoriaeth “gwleidyddol” ddim o reidrwydd at fy nant. Ydw, rwy’n hoff iawn o “Cariad Dosbarth Canol Cymru” Y Ffug, ond nid am ei bod yn “wleidydyddol”. Yr angerdd amrwd a’r geiriau a’r dôn fachog sy’n apelio ataf, anad dim, a ni chredaf eu bod o reidrwydd yn fand ‘gwleidyddol’.

Nid wyf yn mynychu gigiau Cymdeithas, chwaith, i gefnogi’r Gymdeithas, er mawr cywilydd. Mae gennyf barch mawr at yr hyn maent yn ei wneud yn trefnu digwyddiadau lleol, ond mynd yno i glywed y gerddoriaeth wyf a mwynhau noson mas. Wrth gwrs, rwyf yn ymwybodol am waith Cymdeithas yr Iaith nhw ac yn hen gyfarwydd â logo Tafod y Ddraig, ond dychwelwn at y cysyniad o ‘preaching to the choir’. Rwyf yn gymharol sicr bod nifer o’r gynulleidfa sy’n mynychu gigiau Cymraeg y Gymdeithas hefyd yn ymwybodol o’u gwaith, ac unwaith eto, mae’n dod i’r amlwg mae ehangu apêl cerddoriaeth Gymraeg a denu cynulleidfa newydd sydd angen.

  • Crynhoi

Dadleuwyd gan y panel a gan gynulleidfa’r drafodaeth bod pethau wedi mynd yn “rhy gysurus” i fandiau ac artistiaid ein sîn gerddorol Gymraeg, a bod y neges amlwg ac angst y 70au a’r 80au wedi mynd ar goll… “Has Welsh rock gone soft?” yw cwestiwn newyddion y BBC. A ddweud y gwir, ydy hynna’n gwestiwn perthnasol yn yr oes sydd ohoni?

Ar y cyfan, ni chredaf mai dyna’r cwestiwn y dylem fod yn ei holi. Griff Lynch pwysleisiodd y dylid creu cerddoriaeth o bob math, heb boeni am gynnwys gwleidyddol. Nid yn unig hynny, ond onid dewis pob band ac artist fel unigolyn ydy os ydynt am ganu’n “wleidyddol”?

I grynhoi, cytunaf gydag awgrymiadau’r panel i ehangu apêl cerddoriaeth Gymraeg, ac i fanteisio ar gyfleuoedd tu hwnt i Gymru, ac hefyd i gryfhau’r defnydd o’ blatfformau’r we. Heb os, bu yna nifer o awgrymiadau i’r Gymdeithas, a gellid darogan bydd dyfodol cyffrous a llewyrchus i’r Sîn Gerddorol Gymraeg pe dewisa Cymdeithas yr Iaith arbrofi gydag ambell un ohonynt.

 


*Cymraeg uchod*

Yesterday, I attended an interesting discussion which aimed to survey the issues and successes of the Welsh ‘Rock’ Scene, and how Cymdeithas yr Iaith (The Welsh Language Society) could promote their policies, views and politics through the music scene. Cymdeithas have worked tirelessly for many years to arrange Welsh-language gigs across the country, and the focus of the afternoon was to question if politics does still have a place in contemporary music, and how Cymdeithas could help promote and nurture that platform?

The panel was chaired by Mared Ifan, and included Rhys Mwyn (… Anrhefn), Pat Morgan (Datblygu) and Griff Lynch (Yr Ods and now Ochr 1 director). Here are some of the points raised: 

  • The Internet as a Promoting Platform

One of the main points of interest was Griff Lynch’s suggestion for Cymdeithas to introduce bands in small interviews and exclusive performances online – building and improving the previously created Sianel 62 project. Not that it was expected for those bands to discuss Cymdeithas yr Iaith, but to discuss their music and various topics. It was emphasises that Cymdeithas should make use of platforms such as Youtube and Spotify, rather than try and attempt their own DIY online platforms. 

It’s clear to see the influence of musical blogs with Isosgeles, Juxtaposed and O’r Dorf having made quite an impact. I was born and raised in a time where Lily Allen and Arctic Monkeys managed to make a name for themselves through online platforms such as Myspace, and presenting Welsh-language bands on a multimedia offers various possibilities. Teleri Jones – author of bilingual blog Juxtaposed – discusses the potential and power of blogs to create a ‘buzz’ for artists and bands, and FFUG’s Iolo Selyf’s new project KUNST is an effective way of promoting music and art. 

It was a relief to hear that not one panellist advocated looking back at the ‘golden era’ was the answer today, and the popular belief that ALL Welsh-language gigs back then were filled to the brim has become a popular myth. There were empty gigs back then, back in the day – believe it or not.

  • Bilingual Gigs

Many Welsh English-language bands were discussed during the day, one prominent name being Houdini Dax, and their status within the Welsh-language music scene. The discussion also moved to discuss bands performing in other minority language, and the Polish community was also refereed to, and how they could potentially share a stage with Welsh-language artists. Without a doubt, it would open the door to a new, wider audience. 

The concept of bilingual gigs has been something playing on my mind for quite a while. Should it not be a priority to introduce Welsh-language music to a minority audience? Yes, there is a place for Cymdeithas’ Welsh-language only gigs, but what about organising bilingual gigs too? Bi- or even multi-lingual gigs could open the doors and cement Welsh-language music’s place as part of a wider world.

To some extent, there is always an element of ‘preaching to the choir’ to Welsh-language gigs. The same faces are always present in a Welsh-language gigs, and all of those are well-acquainted with Cymdeithas’s work. I believe wholeheartedly that more can be done to promote Welsh-language music. I don’t want to rid the concept of exclusively Welsh gigs, but it would be an asset to the language to perform with bands and artists in many different languages, offering the chance for non-Welsh speaking audiences to hear the language.

  • The Image

A personal concern of mine is the concept of ‘Welsh ROCK Music Scene’. We have stereotyped ourselves into a corner, and are offering a clear image of what Welsh-language music should be, pushing musicians who don’t adhere to the rock-genre label to the sidelines. Also, the idea of considering ‘Welsh-language’ as a category for music, rather than a language, is also damaging.

Audience member Bethan Ruth asked if we should celebrate the ‘alternative’ nature of the Welsh-language existence, and if a mainstream is even needed in a Welsh-language context? A difficult question, and we should ask, firstly, who listens to Welsh-lang music? and who are we trying to appeal to with Welsh-lang music? It’s impossible to please everyone… but who should we be aiming to please? 

In my teens, I was a fan of alternative rock music. I was, however, within a small minority of such fans in my secondary school. Is there a way of making Welsh-language music more ‘popular’ and mainstream, or should we persist with promoting the scene as an ‘alternative’ one? Should the Welsh-language, and its music, be a central and integral part of day-to-day life or pushed to the sidelines? There is a further need for discussion the alternative/mainstream label.

  • The Stigma of ‘Political Songs’

One of my favourite songs of 2014 is ‘Can Wleidyddol’ (A Political Song) by Endaf Gremlin. “Dyma gân wleidyddol, a sgenai ddim byd i ddeud…” (This is a politcal song and I have nothing to say…) A long shot, but I guess it represents many of my own generation. Are we not the lazy, couldn’t-care-less generation? Do we really want politics shoved down our throats?

I’m ready to admit I have little to no political interest – my lack of knowledge is mostly to blame for this. ‘Political’ music doesn’t appeal. Yes, I like ‘Cariad Dosbarth Canol Cymru’ (Welsh Middle-Class Darling) by Y Ffug, but not because it’s ‘political’. It’s the raw energy and catchy tune that appeals, and the politics of the lyrics didn’t jump to the forefront. 

I don’t attend Cymdeithas gigs either to support their cause. I have a great respect for their work organising local events, but I go solely to listen to music and enjoy a good night out. I am well aware of their work, but again, I emphasise again that there’s an element of preaching to the choir involved. There needs to be a drive to promote Welsh-language music beyond the usual peripheries to attract a new audience.

  • To conclude…

It was discussed by the panel and the audience that things that the scene had reached a ‘comfortable’ place, resulting in the lack of angst and anger that was an integral part of the music produced and released by Welsh-language bands in the 1970s and 1980s. ‘Has Welsh rock gone soft?’ asks BBC News. Of course, can we ask such a things, with today a drastically different political landscape anyway?

On the whole, I disagree that should be an integral concern. Griff Lynch emphasised the need for all genres of music, regardless of political content or not. Not only that, but is it not a personal choice of a band or performer to convey a political message?

I agreed with the need to widen the appeal of Welsh-language music, and to take advantage of opportunities outside of Wales, and to increase the use of online platforms. Without a doubt, many things were discussed and offered to Cymdeithas as an action plan, and it’s clear to see there will be an exciting future ahead for the Welsh-language music scene if Cymdeithas choose to experiment with some of those suggestions. 

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