Pererin Wyf / Is oilithreach mé / I am a Pilgrim: Sounding the way back through story and song
is a new cross border participatory arts project connecting the Welsh and Irish diasporas of North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford launching this Autumn.
The Pererin Wyf project will be delivered by artist Rowan O’Neill and Pembrokeshire based community arts organisation SPAN Arts, working in tandem with co-facilitators, Irish artists Rachel Uí Fhaoláin from Ceol Mo Chroí and John Ó Faoláin from Traditional Archive Channel.
Pererin Wyf is Welsh for the affirmative statement, ‘I am a pilgrim’ and is the title of an 18th century hymn written by prolific hymn writer, William Williams Pantycelyn from which this project takes its inspiration. The hymn later became associated with the tune Amazing Grace and was popularised in the 1960s with a recording by Iris Williams.
The Pererin Wyf project will invite singers from all over the world to record a version of this song in any language from the location of their choice. Recordings will be pinned to a digital map to form a global chorus of this enduring song. Project participants will also have the chance to offer their personal reflections and connections to North Pembrokeshire and Wexford whether current resident, the home place of their forebears, or place of significance for other reasons.
The project Pererin Wyf will begin in September 2022 with a series of free bi-weekly online workshops with world class speakers focusing on the key themes of the project; connecting with the Welsh and Irish diaspora, language, home, travel and song. Speakers will include David Greenslade whose book Welsh Fever is a gazeteer of Welsh activity and connection in North America, Pamela Petro author of The Long Field, a meditation on hiraeth shortlisted for the 2022 Welsh Book of the year, Professor Helen Phelan Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and Rachel Uí Fhaoláin and John Ó Faoláin, traditional song, folklore and story collectors based in Wexford.
A series of hybrid workshops will follow culminating in an exchange trip between host county participants in the Spring of 2023. The workshops will result in a new version of the song featuring the Irish language and reflecting contemporary understandings of pilgrimage, home and return.
If you have a personal connection with North Pembrokeshire or Wexford and would like to take part in this project we would love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how you could get involved or book a place on the introductory session on the 29th September through www.span-arts.org.uk