Story: Welsh

Cymanfa ganu

The Welsh are renowned for their singing and for musical events that have helped keep their language alive. Their reputation for singing is at least a thousand years old, but the cymanfa ganu – communal singing of hymns in parts – dates back only to the 19th century temperance movement, when communal singing was promoted as an alternative to drinking in taverns. The first national cymanfa ganu in New Zealand was held in Auckland in October 1991. We hear the 23rd Psalm (‘The Lord is my shepherd') sung by the massed choir at those celebrations. The poster shown is from the fourth national gathering.

Sound file from private collection, Margot Griffith

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Private collection, Margot Griffiths

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How to cite this page:

Terry Hearn, 'Welsh - Welsh culture in New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/music/767/cymanfa-ganu (accessed 22 January 2022)

Story by Terry Hearn, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 25 Mar 2015