Yma o hyd - still here!

IssueOctober 2013
News by Lotte Reimer

Image14 September 2013 was a special day, marking 30 years of action by the legendary Côr Cochion Caerdydd, Cardiff Reds’ Choir. At a celebration in The Gate Arts Centre in Cardiff, singer song-writer, politician and activist Dafydd Iwan paid tribute to the choir’s long commitment to standing up for peace and justice: ‘If Côr Cochion are campaigning for a cause we all know it is worth campaigning for!’

Tributes came flooding in from Wales and afar, reflecting the choir’s local, national and international involvement and deep-felt understanding that injustice to one is injustice to all. During the past 30 years, Côr Cochion have campaigned against racism, fascism, war, nuclear arms and many variations of social injustice and they have taken part in countless demonstrations, picket lines, marches and protests. They have collected tens of thousands of pounds for the causes they support and have truly made a difference to the world in more ways than meet the eye.

The Gate celebration included an impressive picture gallery of the choir’s past activities. They describe themselves as a family and it is heart-warming to see how the children of the choir grew up as part of it and, indeed, now carry forward the tradition of campaigning through music and song.

Ray Davies told the story of being reported to the council by a ‘blue-rinsed Tory lady’, who thought it was outrageous that the children were accompanying their parents on street demos. The council, having duly investigated the matter, wrote back to the outraged lady that the children in their view were receiving the best possible social education and would likely grow up to be upstanding citizens working for peaceful solutions to conflicts.

Performers at The Gate included Dafydd Iwan, Dave Burns, Côr Gobaith (who, like Bristol’s Red Notes choir, owe their existence to Côr Cochion), Côr Cochion themselves, of course, with their unique passion, joy and conviction, and Gwenno and The Lovely Wars – two bands, each fronted by a talented daughter of the choir.

Côr Cochion continue to inspire their contemporaries, the next generation(s) and long may we be able to hear them sing – yma o hyd!

Topics: Culture
See more of: Wales