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Composer of Welsh hymn featured in animated city film

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: July 08, 2013

honour A bust of Daniel James.

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A NEW animated short film about Swansea composer Daniel James is to be premiered in the city this week.

James, who is also known by his bardic name of Gwyrosydd, wrote the words for the famous hymn Calon Lan.

He was born on January 13, 1848, in a thatched cottage, long demolished, in what is now Llangyfelach Road, not far from Brynhyfryd Square.

He became a puddler, working first in one of the Morriston ironworks then moving to Landore tinplate works but it is his musical talent that has seen him remembered.

James's grave, which is in the grounds of Mynyddbach Chapel, has almost become a tourist attraction in its own right following increased interest in Calon Lan after a performance of the hymn by Only Boys Aloud on Britain's Got Talent.

And now the Treboeth Historical Society, assisted by the Swansea University Connected Communities project, has put together a short animated story that records the life James. The premier will take place on Wednesday at Mynyddbach Chapel, from 7pm.

The evening will be introduced and led by the Reverend Grenville Fisher of Mynyddbach Chapel. A talk about the project will also be given by Swansea University research graduates, followed by poetry readings and performances by school children from Ysgol Gynradd Tirdeunaw, Gwyrosydd Primary School and Ysgol Gyfun Bryntawe, all of whom have been involved in the creation of the film.

Ivor Williams, secretary of the Friends of Mynyddbach Chapel, said: "We have been working on the DVD along with Swansea University and local schools, particularly Ysgol Gynradd Tirdeunaw, Gwyrosydd Primary School and Ysgol Gyfun Bryntawe for the last 18 months thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery.

"We will be distributing 100 copies of the DVD in schools and libraries with the aim of bringing Daniel James and his work back into the spotlight."

Of the man himself Mr Williams added: "He is best known for Calon Lan, which was just one of his many poems.

"He used to write poems for pints in the Kings Head in Treboeth.

"He was an extremely hard working man who moved from the tin works in Morriston to the mines and ended up sweeping the streets for the council.

"I have a lot of respect for him, he worked until he was 70."

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