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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
richd Coal Mine Songs (129* d) RE: Coal Mine Songs 20 Feb 09

Bankley wrote:

'and there's gotta be a lot of Welsh mining songs....'

for some reason, there don't seem to be a lot of older Welsh mining songs, and not too many modern ones either. There's songs sung by Dave Burns, like Maerdy (Last Pit in the Rhondda), 'Roll on The Day', and the words to 'The Bells of Rhymney, by Idris Davies who was a Collier. There's also a number of sentimental songs by Max Boyce, including 'Dew its Hard' and 'The pit head baths a Supermarket Now' Tracy Curtis, an activist and singer from Ammanford sings 'Amman Valley Miners'. As far as I know there's nothing equivalent to either the miners' songs of the NE of England or of the States. My Grandafther, who was a miner a singer and Union activist and my father who was a collier didn't sing anything directly about mining, and there doesn't seem to a history of union songs as a means of propaganda as there is in the States.The only song about a Welsh subject in either of the two books mentioned by the Daves' above is 'The Gresford Disaster' Where organising songs like these are needed then it tends to be American songs. The repertoire of Welsh Choirs tends to be mix of light opera, Spiritituals and Welsh Hymns. The hymns are another matter- tales of a people held in bondage, forced to slave for an oppressor etc, and its these that I've heard sung in times of dire need, but apart from that its the first verse of the Red Flag and Mae Hen Wlad.In contemporary terms, there's only a couple of pits left, the rest is open cast/mountain top scrape which people don't sing about. The music scene for younger people in the old mining town where I live is thriving, but not with songs about mining. It's heavy metal, with little reflection and could have been produced anywhere. I don't know in detail about the experience of the Welsh Language speaking part of the coalfield, beyond what friends tell me, but it seems to be much the same.

The problem with most of the songs about the Aberfan Disaster is that they are not Welsh mining songs, but song about Wales.

What was sung was hymns. Welsh Hymns, lots of them

Now, what i hope is that someone will come along and tell me how wrong I am and provide a list of wonderful songs and singers!

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