Musical roots of the Welsh and Appalachian exchange

In 1976 Appalachian scholar Helen Lewis was living in Wales and documenting coal mining culture. Lewis arranged for The Strange Creek Singers (featuring American musicians Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, Mike Seeger, Tracy Schwarz, and Lamar Grier) to be part of a musical exchange between Appalachia and Wales. These two video clips provide a glimpse into this historic exchange, which inspired the After Coal project.

In the first clip, Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard sing Coal Miners Blues to an audience of miners at the Onllwyn Miners’ Hall in the Dulais Valley of south Wales. The next clip features Cor Meibion Onllwyn, a traditional Welsh male voice choir, performing The Roman War Song. In 1976, when this video was recorded, most choir members were working miners. The choir still performs today and has travelled to the US as part of the Welsh and Appalachian exchange.

Coal Miner's Blues from AfterCoal on Vimeo.