International Musical Eisteddfod

Europe, Wales

Posted:22 July 2019

Llangollen, North Wales , Wales

Wales is known as “the Land of Song.” Its tradition of poetry and music stretches back to the ancient Celtic era and is symbolized by the harp, the country’s best-known instrument, in the same way that bagpipes represent Scotland. In more recent times, a vital part of Welsh culture has become that of male choirs—a tradition originating in the south Wales collieries of the mid-19thcenturyand remaining strong today. It is said that when a Welsh made choir bursts into song, the audience bursts into tears, and the harmonies of the very best ensembles—a kind of aural waterfall—certainly seems spiritual.

Tradition poetry, harp music, male choirs, and much more are major attractions at eisteddfods (the plural in Welsh in eisteddfodau,) festivals of Welsh music and language which trace their roots back to a 12th-century Celtic tradition of traveling bards. Today, eisteddfods are held annually across the country, with many of the events judged and winners declared in various categories. The pinnacle is the National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod GenedlaetholCymru), the largest gathering of competitive poetry and song in Europe. It is a totally Welsh-speaking festival (with headphone translations available for non-Welsh speakers) that’s held in a different town every year, usually alternating between the north and the south.

In contrast, the International Music Eisteddfod is held at the same venue every year—the town of Llangollen, with more than 4,000 performers of instrumental music, song, and dance from 50 countries around the world, often appearing in colorful national costume. It is recognized as one of the world’s greatest music festivals. Competitive events are held during the day, with evenings given over to concerts, all of it intending to promote Wale’s place in the wider world as well as global peace and harmony.

WHERE : Llangollen is 190 miles/308 km northwest of london

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