Ifton Colliery Band played a selection of tunes to officially launch the giant patchwork art installation on the town's ancient bridge on the opening day of the 2021 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Artist Luke Jerram was commissioned to create Bridges Not Walls which has seen over 100 individually handcrafted squares of fabric, from people in the local community and around the world, draped over both sides of the bridge.
The aim is to connecting this year's festival, being held mainly online, with its physical roots by producing an ever-changing artwork depending on the angle, light and weather conditions - all of which will be reflected in the water beneath.
The artwork will remain on the bridge until August 5.
During this year's Eisteddfod, with funding support from the Welsh Government, will see the main programme presented free of charge over this weekend.
All performances will be streamed live online via the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod website with no need to book tickets or pre-register.
The festival aims to celebrate a broad range of genres from classical, choral, hip hop, dance and world music, as well as Luke Jerram's Llangollen bridge artwork, to connect with existing and new audiences in preparation for its physical return in 2022.
The programme comprises:
· Tangnefedd by Paul Mealor and Mererid Hopwood
World-premiere of a new choral piece by Paul Mealor, one of the world's most performed living composers and Mererid Hopwood, renowned Welsh poet and the first woman to win the National Eisteddfod Chair. The performance will feature choirs from around the world that have successfully competed at the Eisteddfod, from the UK, US and Africa. In the Welsh language, Tangnefedd means the result of bringing together two elements in peace and harmony.
· Home/Adref with Horizons (BBC/ACW), Rachel K Collier, Magugu and Lily Beau
A new dance track, Home/Adref, commissioned for Llangollen Eisteddfod by up-and-coming electronic producer and performer Rachel K Collier, Nigerian-born, avant-garde rapper Magugu and talented young Welsh singer-songwriter and actress Lily Beau. The track is designed to inspire the Eisteddfod international music and dance community and wider public to respond with their own moves on social media. It's also a world first of combining the English, Welsh and Nigerian Pidgin Rap languages!
· Catrin Finch and Guests
A new musical composition exploring the peace message with internationally renowned harpist and composer Catrin Finch, pioneering beatboxer and rapper Mr Phormula (Ed Holden), British Asian musician and tabla player Kuljit Bhamra, Eliza Marshall and Nick Ellis on Bansuri, Lee House, electronics and RAV drum and the refugee and asylum seeker Oasis One World Choir, from Cardiff.
· Beth Yw Heddwch?/What is Peace? schools project
Project exploring children's thoughts about peace through the written word, dance, movement and drama sessions involving 1,000 pupils from three schools from Rhyl, Llanberis and Llangollen. A creative video will be produced and an exhibition of postcards expressing children's views about peace will be displayed throughout the town.
· Peace Pavilion Programme
A thought-provoking programme of talks and activities with Academi Heddwch Cymru exploring peace and peacebuilding. The programme includes ‘The Peace Lecture' given by Begoña Lasagabaster, UN Women Chief of Leadership and Governance Section; ‘The Art of Peacebuilding'; ‘Peace Poems' and much more. For young people, this series includes virtual cultural exchange and the Young Peacemakers Awards ceremony. [https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/academi-heddwch-cymru-33667861775]
This year's digital Llangollen Eisteddfod will feature videos of the world premiere performances, many filmed in the town itself.
Betsan Moses, interim chief executive of the Llangollen Eisteddfod for 2021 said: "Llangollen Eisteddfod was founded on the idea of bringing peace and this year's cultural programme expresses what it stands for; peace, creativity and togetherness.
"We're looking forward to sharing a varied and inspiring programme of events online this weekend, with an array of world-class performers across musical and artistic genres and exciting new commissions to delight both existing and new audiences across the globe.
"And we're hugely excited about Bridges, Not Walls which celebrates everything Llangollen's much-loved Eisteddfod stands for, as well as offering us a physical connection with this beautiful town for this year's online event and attracting visitors over the summer."
Artist Luke Jerram said: "From the moment I saw it, Llangollen Bridge struck me as incredibly powerful, both physically and symbolically.
"The message and celebration of peace is at the heart of the Llangollen Eisteddfod and so this historic bridge, one of the seven wonders of Wales, makes the perfect canvas. As Sir Isaac Newton once said, 'We build too many walls and not enough bridges.'
"From Israel to the USA, we are at last exploring the possibility of building bridges rather than walls."
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