Dafydd Iwan (born 23 August 1943), is a Welsh folk singer and politician. He is the president of Plaid Cymru, The Party of Wales.
Dafydd Iwan Jones was born in Brynaman in Carmarthenshire, Wales, he spent most of his youth in Bala in Merionethshire before attending the University of Wales, Cardiff. He rose to fame as a singer-songwriter, writing and playing folk music in the Welsh language.
Dafydd Iwan's earliest material was Welsh translations of tunes by American folk / protest singers: Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. Soon enough, Dafydd Iwan commanded the initiative to write his first ballads. The most prominent of these were political. His most famous satirical song, Carlo ("Charlie"), was written on the occasion of the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969.
It should be noted, however, that Dafydd Iwan was equally at home writing love ballads and variations on traditional Welsh folk tunes.
By the late 1960s he was receiving television coverage both for his music and for his political activities, including being imprisoned in 1970 as part of the fight for Welsh language rights, an event commemorated in his song Pam fod eira'n wyn? ("Why is snow white?")
During the 1970s, Dafydd Iwan's political interests (and songs) took in such themes as Pinochet's Chile; Welsh Devolution; the Vietnam War and the Northern Ireland troubles. His inherent internationalism continued in following decades, as his songs mention events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre (1989), the Gulf War (1990) and opencast mining in the south Wales valleys (1995). His biggest hit to date, "Yma O Hyd" ("Still Here"), released in 1981, has become an anthem in his homeland.
In 1982 and 1983, Dafydd Iwan embarked on two momentous tours (and accompanying records) with the folk group Ar Log. The standard of Ar Log's musicianship raised Dafydd Iwan's own performance to new heights. Indeed, it was the success of the Ar Log which persuaded Dafydd Iwan to continue in a musical capacity, entertaining small venues (clubs, village halls, Eisteddfod events, Plaid Cymru nights etc.) throughout Wales.
Around the turn of the millennium, Dafydd Iwan signalled an end to regular performances, although he remains an occasional performer on an ad hoc basis. It was fitting by many fans that the end of his career should coincide roughly with the establishment of an elected National Assembly for Wales and the beginning of a new generation in Welsh politics.
Dafydd Iwan was one of the founders of Sain Recordiau Cyf (Sain Records Ltd), one of the main Welsh music labels, a business he still manages today.
Dafydd Iwan is a Plaid Cymru councillor in Gwynedd.
Dafydd Iwan's long service to the Welsh language led to him being made an honorary member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod at Bangor in 1971.
Dafydd Iwan escaped a driving ban (for speeding offences) in October 2003 on the basis that he needed to drive for his musical and political duties. This incident led the satirical Private Eye magazine to question "Is Plaid Cymru a political party or a racing team?"
Dafydd Iwan became President of Plaid Cymru in 2003. He is regarded as a unifying force within the party in the context of several damaging internal splits in recent years.
Albums (in rough chronological order)
- Yma Mae 'Nghân (1972)
- Mae'r Darnau yn Disgyn i'w Lle (1976)
- Carlo a Chaneuon Eraill (1977)
- 20 o Ganeuon Gorau
- I'r Gad (1977)
- Bod yn Rhydd (1979)
- Ar Dan (Live) (1981)
- Rhwng Hwyl a Thaith (with Ar Log) (1982)
- Yma o Hyd (With Ar Log) (1983)
- Gwinllan a Roddwyd (1986)
- Dal I Gredu (1991)
- Caneuon Gwerin (1994)
- Cân Celt (1995)
- Y Caneuon Cynnar (Early recordings) (1998)
- Yn Fyw Cyfrol 1 (Live album) (2001)
- Yn Fyw Cyfrol 2 (Live Album) (2002)
- Goreuon Dafydd Iwan (2006)