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A Cymanfa Ganu (, ''Singing Festival''), is a
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...

Welsh
festival of sacred
hymn A hymn is a type of song, usually religious and partially coincident with devotional song, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. T ...

hymn
s, sung with four part harmony by a congregation, usually under the direction of a
choral director Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or Choir, choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary ...
. The Cymanfa Ganu movement was launched in 1859 at Bethania Chapel in
Aberdare Aberdare ( ; cy, Aberdâr) is a town in the Cynon Valley Cynon Valley () is a former coal mining valley in Wales. Cynon Valley lies between Rhondda and the Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr Valley and takes its name from the River Cynon. Aberdare ...
, where it was pioneered by the Reverend Evan Lewis. In Wales, cymanfaoedd canu are held each year in many villages and towns throughout the country. Some have more than one Cymanfa Ganu a year, as often many separate chapels hold their own. Some large annual events occur in some
chapel 300px, schematic rendering of typical "side chapels" in the apse of a cathedral, surrounding the ambulatory. A chapel is a Christian place of prayer and worship Worship is an act of religion, religious wikt:devotion, devotion usually dire ...

chapel
s and take place at festivals such as the
National Eisteddfod of Wales The National Eisteddfod of Wales (Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wal ...
and the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. Some are occasionally held in theatres and concert halls. Cymanfau Ganu are held across the world - wherever people of Welsh heritage live, significantly in Patagonia ( Argentina) e.g. Trelew, Gaiman, where there were significant Welsh settlements from the 19th Century. In some of these areas Welsh is still spoken as a main language in daily use, usually together with Spanish. Outside Wales, in the UK there are cymanfaoedd canu in London, parts of the West Midlands and other areas where there are still chapels using the medium of Welsh . The preservation of the Gymanfa Ganu as a unique feature of
Welsh culture Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the so ...
is being supported by a number of Welsh cultural associations, such as the
New Zealand National Gymanfa Ganu Association New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New or NEW may refer to: Music * New, singer of K-pop group The Boyz (South Korean band), The Boyz Albums and EPs * New (album), ''New'' (album), by Paul McCartne ...
and the
Welsh North American Association Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
(
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
).


North American Gymanfa Ganu

Once a year, a four-day North American Festival of Wales is held in North America over the
Labor Day Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States In the United States, a federal holiday is a calendar date that is recognized and designated by the federal government of the United States as a holiday. Every year on a U.S. federal holid ...

Labor Day
weekend. The four-day festival starts on Thursday night with an opening ceremony and concert. The weekend continues with an evening
banquet sponsored by the North America Wales Foundation A banquet (; ) is a formal large meal or feast, where a number of people consume food together. Banquets are traditionally held to enhance the prestige of a host, or reinforce social bonds among joint contributors. Modern examples of these pur ...
on Friday and a Saturday concert, generally featuring a Welsh male voice choir and soloists, both from Wales. Sunday is the defining day of the four-day festival which begins with a
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bilingual
church and memorial service. After a brief intermission, this service is followed by afternoon and evening sessions of the Gymanfa Ganu itself. A unique feature of the gymanfa ganu is the seating separation of
alto The musical term alto, meaning "high" in Wikt:alto#Italian, Italian (Latin: ''Wikt:altus, altus''), historically refers to the counterpoint, contrapuntal Part (music), part higher than the tenor and its associated vocal range. In SATB, 4-part voic ...

alto
,
soprano A soprano () is a type of classical music, classical female singing human voice, voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261&nbs ...

soprano
,
tenor A tenor is a type of classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, ...

tenor
, and
bass Bass or Basses may refer to: Fish * Bass (fish) Bass () is a name shared by many species of fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in thi ...
singers into sections for the four part
harmony In music, harmony is the process by which the composition of individual sounds, or superpositions of sounds, is analysed by hearing. Usually, this means simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitch (music), pitches (timbre, tones, note (music), ...

harmony
singing. And while the Gymanfa Ganu is conducted with the dignity of a church service, it is not unknown for the musical conductor to stop the singing when one or more of the voice sections wanders from the desired harmony and needs special attention. Interspersed between the formal proceedings are frequent sessions of spontaneous singing of favorite hymns. A Welsh
Marketplace fa:بازار A market, or marketplace, is a location where people regularly gather for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock, and other goods. In different parts of the world, a market place may be described as a ''souk'' (from the ...

Marketplace
, offering Welsh products, artifacts, souvenirs, recordings, and books, is also available during the days of the festival. The
Welsh North American Association Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
is the main organizational body responsible for putting on the event.


See also

*
List of music festivals in the United Kingdom There are many notable music festivals in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synon ...


References

{{Welsh folk music Folk festivals in Wales