Monty Lit Fest Cymanfa Ganu

with M Wynn Thomas, Sioned Webb and Côr Meibion Penybontfawr

Date:  Sunday, 9th June 2024

Venue:  St Nicholas Church, Montgomery

Time:  5.00-6.00pm

Tickets:  £10.00

Join Professor M Wynn Thomas, Welsh music specialist Sioned Webb and Côr Meibion Penybontfawr for another Monty Lit Fest first: our very own Cymanfa Ganu.

Hymns are different in Wales. Even as many in the modern world draw away from organised religion, the great hymns of our time persist: we turn to them at weddings and funerals, at rugby matches and in pubs.

In his new book, Poems from the Soul: Twelve of the Great Hymns of Wales, Wynn Thomas brings together twelve of Wales’s best-loved hymns. In conversation with Sioned Webb, he’ll tell us why hymns are the heart and soul of a people’s poetry – the poems of ordinary folk:  blacksmiths, farmers and preachers – and how they played a vital role in the creation of the Welsh people.

But we won’t have to take Wynn’s word for it. Côr Meibion Penybontfawr will also be leading us in singing those hymns ourselves, from the visionary intensity of Ann Griffiths to the striking biblical imagery of Wales’s unofficial national anthem, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer. Start practicing your best Calon Lân now!

Wynn Thomas is Professor of English and Emyr Humphreys Professor of Welsh Writing in English at Swansea University. In 2017 he won a Wales Book of the Year Award. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Learned Society of Wales, and the author of more than twenty books, including The History of Wales in Twelve Poems, A Map of Love: Twelve Welsh Poems of Romance, Desire and Devotion and, in 2024, Poems from the Soul: Twelve of the Great Hymns of Wales.

Sioned Webb is a well-respected broadcaster, educator, folklorist and composer. A minister’s daughter from Bala, she grew up to the sounds of Welsh hymns.  She has performed in Canada, South America, Asia and Europe, published many books on Welsh music and is the co-editor of two collections of Plygain carols. A familiar voice on Radio Cymru, she is currently collaborating with Salih Hassan, an oud player from Palestine, for an August 2024 performance with the triple harp. She will also be part of the tour of hymn tunes later in the year with singer, Lleuwen. 

Côr Meibion Penybontfawr is based in the village of Penybontfawr, a small village in a mainly farming area situated in North Montgomeryshire at the head of the scenic Tanat Valley and near the Berwyn Mountains.  Founded in 1951, the choir now has over 40 members and a wide repertoire, reflecting the depth of musical tradition and excellence that is to be found naturally in the ordinary work-a-day world of the Welsh rural and industrial communities