Music plays a large part in Welsh culture and was a very important part of traditional life. Wales is often referred to as “the land of the song” because of its rich musical heritage.
Wales is famous for its beautiful choral songs, which originate in the early Middle Ages. Welsh music has also produced beautiful songs that were originally sung during religious processions, an important part of medieval life. Songs would have been heard everywhere: at church, in the streets, in pubs, and in homes. Song was an important form of expression and was a way the Welsh communicated their history and taught religious lessons.
Bards would play beautiful ballads and recite poems accompanied by music. They could be found everywhere from street corners to the halls of kings delighting everyone with their songs of love and adventure. Bards used instruments like fiddles, harps, flutes and the Crwth, which is much like a zither. Although the Catholic Church frowned on secular music, this type of music was still common throughout the medieval period.
When the English conquered Wales they supressed Welsh music along with all other aspects of Welsh culture. The introduction of the protestant Methodist church further discouraged Welsh traditional music. However, at the end of the 18th century this began to change. Choral singing became popular again in Wales with singing contests springing up all over the nation. Beautiful hymns began to be composed in both Welsh and English. It was these songs that would give Wales its worldwide reputation as a land of song.
In the 20th century Welsh pop music has become popular throughout the world. Acts like Bonnie Tyler, Duffy, Badfinger, Stereophonics, and Maniac Street Preachers play concerts in many countries and are played on radios all over the world.