The Voices Of Aberfan



50 years after the Aberfan disaster which killed 144 people, singer and entertainer Max Boyce returns to the Welsh village to meet the choir that formed in its wake.

On Friday 21st October 1966, after days of heavy rain, a spoil tip overlooking Aberfan collapsed onto the junior school below. This catastrophic event left 116 children and 28 adults dead. From this tragedy a group of local men, many of them bereaved parents, went on to form the Ynesowen Male Voice Choir which became a central point around which the community rallied.

48 years since it was founded, the Ynesowen choir is still singing together on a weekly basis. Max returns to Aberfan to meet and sing with the choir. Facing the 50th anniversary of the disaster, the men and women of Aberfan, including disaster survivors, discuss the legacy of the tragedy as well as the place occupied by Male Voice Choirs within Welsh culture.

Max Boyce started his singing career as a soloist in his local male voice choir, before becoming one of the most familiar voices in Welsh music. His singing career has taken him around the globe numerous times and his performances incorporate traditional Welsh choral music, but he still lives in South Wales less than 30 miles from Aberfan.

In the changed landscape of this once staunchly industrial region Max and the choir members consider what the future holds for the choirs of South Wales.

Produced by Kelvin Brown

A Reform Radio production for BBC Radio 2.