A UNIQUE musical collaboration came to Cardiff Bay today from the RAF and a talented musician from Swansea.
Titled ‘A Celebration of World Music’, it saw the Central Band of the Royal Air Force play at the Pierhead building, joined by Swansea pianist and composer Ify Iwobi.
They played music inspired by Wales, Africa and beyond, including pieces composed by Miss Iwobi in two special performances.
Among the pieces performed were arrangements of the traditional Welsh song Calon Lan, the music of Duke Ellington and a work titled ‘An African Symphony’. One of the many compositions by Miss Iwobi performed by herself and the band was the aviation-inspired ‘Flying High’, which she has previously recorded with RAF musicians.
The event was hosted and sponsored by Welsh Government Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS and was organised as part of Black History Cymru 365. An initiative led by Race Council Cymru, it is supported by the Welsh Government to promote awareness of Black History in Wales through arts and educational activities to go beyond Black History Month and span the whole year.
The RAF’s top officer in Wales, Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams said: “It was an honour for the RAF to be here and great to see the Band of the Royal Air Force come to Cardiff. It was fantastic to hear them play with Ify Iwobi, who is such a great Welsh talent and we’re very grateful to the Minister and the Senedd for hosting us here today.
“The links between RAF Music and Wales were strengthened during the pandemic when many of the military personnel helping the NHS to deliver the vaccine in Wales were RAF musicians – some of whom had trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. After that valuable work in those difficult times, I’m so glad they’ve been able to return today and share the joy of music.”
Professor Uzo Iwobi, CEO of Race Council Cymru said: “Black History Cymru 365 is delighted to work with the Central Band of the RAF on this showcase of world music. We are thrilled with the collaboration with a young Welsh musician of African heritage whose music has been arranged by the Central Band of the RAF. It’s a great honour for us to have the band in Wales and we’re thankful to the Minister for sponsoring and hosting the event and the support of Air Officer Wales.”
Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip Jane Hutt MS added: “I’m so pleased to host the RAF and Ify Iwobi at the Pierhead Building. This fantastic music event, part of Black History Cymru 365, aligns with our Anti-racist Wales Action Plan. Our vision for Wales is clear: to be anti-racist by 2030. Embracing diversity and celebrating Black communities’ contributions is integral to achieving this vision.”