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VIDEO: Happy Birthday Swansea 50

Mal Pope

Mal Pope's tribute for Swansea's 50th anniversary as a city

A music video launched today offers a tantalising teaser for one of Swansea 50's big early celebrations.

The film acts as a preview for the musical Calon Lân, about to be staged in the Grand Theatre as Swansea marks its first half century of city status.

It has been created by the city's Mal Pope, who wrote the words and music to the musical. It features his song Warm Wind.

The video features choirs from the US, Singapore and India as well as The Morriston Orpheus, The DVLA Choir and the Choir of Sir Harry Secombe Theatre School.

 

 

Mal takes up the story: "Last autumn, Paul Hopkins from the Grand Theatre, asked me if there was a production we could put together to celebrate Swansea's Golden Jubilee.  We decided that we would create a new musical based on a terrific story which has its roots in Swansea.

"Calon Lân tells the true story of Evan Roberts and the 1904 Welsh Revival

"But we agreed that this should not be just something to look back on but a story that has relevance in today's world.

"With that in mind I wanted to find a partner project that would show how the Calon Lân story is still touching the world. What better way than by bringing the world together through a song?  The finale song in the musical is Warm Wind but it also mashes up with Calon Lân the hymn.  With that in mind, six months ago I started reaching out to people across the world.

"The first task was getting my band, the Jacks, back together.  In many ways this was the most difficult part because they now work with people such as Chris De Burgh, Shakin' Stevens and Steve Balsamo.

 

"I manged to find one day when four were around and we met at Tim Hamill's Sonic One studio in Llangennech for the basic session.  Nigel Hopkins had to record his parts in studios he was working on for a Chris De Burgh project and Andrew Griffiths did the brass from his studio in Ystradgynlais.

"The first choir I approached was the New Hope Baptist Church in Atlanta, USA. Their pastor Rhys Stennor comes from Wales and he brings the choir every year on mission.  Last summer they performed at the Hyst and I got on well with their musical director John Conrad.

"Then I approached the Cornerstone Church in Singapore who have a massive passion for the 1904 Revival.

"As a vice president of the Morriston Orpheus I was pretty sure I could persuade their musical director Joy Amman Davies to get involved and we recorded them with the help of students at UWTSD.

"I wanted the Grand to be involved. Their terrific Harry Secombe Youth Choir was marshalled by their musical director Jonathan Lycett and we recorded them in the Arts Wing at the Grand.

"I went to the DVLA to record their choir.  We spent most of the evening laughing but finally managed to record the song all of the way through.

"This is our way of showing Swansea at its beautiful best but also reaching out to the world."

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