Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Last weekend I took part in a festival called Gwyl Arall in my home in north Wales, where I gave a talk in Welsh (well actually, half Welsh the organisers were kind enough to make allowances for my deteriorating skills). When I told friends in England what I was doing, many responded as though Id just announced I was travelling to the Acropolis to deliver a sermon in ancient Greek. People still speak Welsh? is a common refrain all Cymrys living in England are accustomed to hearing.
Welsh evolved from Brittonic (meaning indigenous Breton, as opposed to Anglo-Saxon), and until the Romans came along, it was spoken in England too. The Welsh language is not a backwards, insignificant thing; it is a fundamental part of Britains collective history. I find it absurd that so few English people realise it is still spoken in families and communities across Wales, as part of a Brittonic culture which has survived through the ages. As part of my childhood, I learned traditional Welsh dance (downsio gwerin), recited Welsh poetry and sang Cerdd Dant (a type of vocal and harp music) during Eisteddfodau (the Welsh culture festival). I joined the Urdd (the Welsh League of Youth); read the Mabinogion (a collection of Welsh mythological stories) in school; and I spoke Welsh so fluently I barely noticed when people switched from English to Welsh. I did all these things as part of an indigenous Celtic culture Ive inherited by being born in Wales a culture that isnt unique to my small and beautiful corner of the country, but at one time reached across Britain and has helped shape it.Continue reading...