'Not a man of the establishment': Senedd member pays tribute to Datblygu frontman David R. Edwards


David R. Edwards (Image: GanMed64 (CC BY 2.0)).

Plaid Cymru MS Mabon ap Gwynfor has paid tribute to David R. Edwards, the lead singer of the experimental rock band Datblygu, who passed away on the weekend.


Mr. ap Gwynfor said that Edwards was not "a man of the establishment", commenting that "he would laugh" if he knew that he was being commemorated during a plenary session in the Senedd.


"Dave had no time for anyone or any class of people who looked down their noses and judged others," said Mr. ap Gwynfor.


He added: "He [Edwards] created a new counter-culture with a sound that was unique to Wales. It wasn't music that was trying to emulate the Anglo-American culture, but a sound that belonged to a particular time and a particular place, all through the medium of Welsh."


Mr. ap Gwynfor also said that Edwards had inspired a generation of later musicians and bands that became known for their part in the 'Cool Cymru' movement.


He also described Edwards' music as "an everlasting part of the soundtrack of my generation", while paying his condolences to Edwards' friends and family.


The speech in full:


Yesterday afternoon, we learnt of the death of a man who played such a crucial role in the lives of so many of us. David R. Edwards died at 56 years old. Dave formed the band Datblygu when at school in Cardigan in 1982, and the band developed to be one of the most influential in the history of modern Welsh music. He was a composer and a poet, and his poetry was witty, tender, funny and profound. But he wasn't a man of the establishment. Indeed, he would laugh in thinking that we were commemorating him here today. Dave had no time for anyone or any class of people who looked down their noses and judged others.


Dave's lyrics reflected life in Wales, which wasn't reflected in the mass media. He held a mirror up to real life in Wales—the 'Sgymraeg' life of ordinary people—and through his music it meant that we also knew what life was like for the people of Wales. He created a new counter-culture with a sound that was unique to Wales. It wasn't music that was trying to emulate the Anglo-American culture, but a sound that belonged to a particular time and a particular place, all through the medium of Welsh. In telling the story of real Wales, he gave confidence to a generation of Welsh people to get out there and express themselves. Dave inspired a number of musicians and bands, and that developed into 'Cool Cymru', as it was known at the turn of the century. And, of course, he continues to inspire young people today. Yes, the feelings and lives of young people were very important to Dave. Our thanks are great to him. His music will be an everlasting part of the soundtrack of my generation. We think of this very special man's friends and family in their grief today. Thank you, Dave.


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