Dafydd Iwan: The Welsh language has 'helped bring people together' says Yma o Hyd singer

The Welsh language has "helped bring people together" according to Dafydd Iwan, the man behind Wales' official World Cup anthem Yma o Hyd.

A remastered version of Dafydd Iwan's famous Welsh language song was released by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) on Monday.

The video to accompany the song includes archive footage documenting the country's tumultuous past and key moments from Wales' footballing history.

Despite the song first being released in the 1980s; in recent years, it has become synonymous with the success of the national side, with thousands of supporters singing it at every game.

Dafydd Iwan, and his song 'Yma O Hyd' have become synonymous with Wales' journey to the World Cup

"Language can divide," Dafydd Iwan explained in an interview with ITV News.

"But we've always said that the language belongs to us all.

"I think this has helped to bring people together and a lot of non-Welsh speakers have told me 'it's so great to be a part of this'."

He continued: "Let's hope that it'll continue and the spirit will get through to the team and - who knows?"

Mr Iwan went on to explain why Yma o Hyd seems to have struck a chord with so many people decades since its release - even among those who can't speak the language.

He said: "This kind of song is pertinent to most nations, most people and I hope there is a little bit of that in it as well. It's not just us. It's us and everybody else.

"Everybody likes to celebrate the fact that they can overcome difficulties and perhaps that's a part of the appeal of the song."

Dafydd Iwan performing at the funeral of rugby star Ray Gravell in 2007. Credit: PA

Yma o Hyd was originally released in the 1980s, during a dark period for Wales when many of its coal mines were being closed, as a defiant and uplifting song about the survival of the nation and its language.

The song's main line, "Er gwaethaf pawb a phopeth, r'yn ni yma o hyd", means "Despite everyone and everything, we're still here".

Iwan, a long-time campaigner for the Welsh language, was jailed for three months in 1970 for taking part in a protest painting over English road signs.

The imprisonment of the singer-songwriter sparked demonstrations that gained international attention and were written about in the New York Times.

One of the clips from the video shows the moment he was released from prison a short time later.

Shots of other protests in recent history also feature among clips of the Wales team's struggles and triumphs during 64 years of trying to qualifying for a World Cup.

They include footage of a pro-language protest, and a demonstration against the flooding of Capel Celyn, a village in Gwynedd, North Wales, which was turned into a reservoir in 1965 to supply water to Liverpool.

Also shown is a republican protest in 1969 against King Charles - then the Prince of Wales - at Welsh culture festival the Urdd Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth.

Dafydd Iwan had campaigned against the investiture of Prince Charles which took place in 1969 at Caernarfon Castle.

The video also features footage of the 1980s miners' strike to coincide with Iwan's lyric "Er gwaetha 'rhen Fagi a'i chriw", meaning "Despite Margaret Thatcher and her supporters".

The video repeatedly returns to clips of him singing live after Wales's 1-0 victory over Ukraine secured the spot at World Cup 2022.

The re-release features the squad singing during post-match celebrations with Iwan on the pitch.

It has also been mixed with the voices of Red Wall fans captured by hidden microphones at Cardiff City Stadium during the two play-off matches that sealed the team's qualification for their first World Cup since 1958.

Iwan has said he is "immensely proud" of the song becoming the national team's official song.

"It's an impossible dream come true and the incredible sound of the Red Wall on this track is exciting and inspiring to hear," he said.