National Eisteddfod excludes rapper Sage Todz over bilingual lyrics

The National Eisteddfod, an annual Welsh cultural festival, has defended its decision to exclude rapper Sage Todz from performing due to his bilingual use of Welsh and English lyrics. The festival has maintained a Welsh language-only policy throughout its history. Sage Todz expressed his disappointment on Twitter, stating that there was “too much English” in his songs for the event’s language policy.

Ashok Ahir, chair of the Eisteddfod’s ruling board, explained that the festival’s primary purpose was to “perform, compete and discuss in Welsh – and only in Welsh.” He added that Sage Todz chose to perform in English and bilingually, and it was ultimately his decision not to perform exclusively in Welsh. The festival also condemned racist remarks directed at the rapper on social media following his announcement, with Ahir expressing deep sadness over the comments.

Born in Essex, Sage Todz resides in North Wales and began officially releasing music in 2020. He collaborated with the Football Association of Wales (FAW) last year to remake the famous Welsh protest song, Yma o Hyd, in anticipation of Wales’ World Cup campaign. The Eisteddfod’s language policy has sparked debate on social media, with some calling for a review, while others defend the decision as a celebration of the Welsh language.

The National Eisteddfod, held each August, attracts approximately 150,000 visitors, 6,000 competitors, and 250 stalls. The festival’s origins can be traced back to 1176, with the modern-day iteration dating to 1861. The week-long event takes place in different parts of Wales each year, with this year’s location being Llŷn ac Eifionydd in Gwynedd.

Ahir stated, “The Eisteddfod is a Welsh-language festival, and we take great pride in celebrating the language across every genre of the arts.” He also noted that the Eisteddfod collaborates with partners to make the Welsh language more accessible to a broader range of individuals and groups.

In response to Sage Todz’s decision, Ahir said, “We respect Sage Todz’s passion and dedication to the languages he chooses to use in his music.” He emphasized that the festival was eager for the rapper to perform, but they respected his decision not to perform solely in Welsh.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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