Zoom festivities on Slack

Here’s a review of the first Noson Lawen held on the Welsh Speaking Practice last Friday…

Noson Lawen Review
As an American learner of Welsh, I had only a vague idea of what a Noson Lawen might be… until this past Thursday.Knowing the SSiW community, I expected a welcoming, good-natured event: and so it was! A good time was had by all, and by the end of the night we had all become pretty handy at toggling those mute buttons on and off in order to applaud between acts.

The tone—generous, light, communal—was set by Phyl, acting as the emcee. And then the denizens of a screenful of tiny little two-inch boxes each came to life and, one by one, took their star turns. Surprise followed upon surprise: there were truly beautiful renditions of folk songs—a tenor, a baritone, and a lovely soprano clear all the way from Canada; there was a hymn (the tune was “Amazing Grace”) that somehow turned into a beery pub song in the middle and then back into a heartstring-tugger; there was some skillful jazz guitar and singing and another folk song—was that a mandolin?—as well as a lively cover of “Fel Hyn ‘Da Ni Fod” by Bwncath’s Biggest German Fan. Then there were rousing poetry readings which—the englyn most of all—both reminded this Welsh learner that it was the rhythms and sonorities of yr hen iaith which first drew him to this friendly corner of the web and also gave him a sharp (but not uninspiring!) reminder of just how great a challenge it is to come to grips with a tradition so rich, formal, and subtle.

Last—and certainly not least—there were the comic interludes throughout the show. We had the emcee’s patter and we had stand-up comedy (from a sitting position, as befits our current constraints), but best of all was a woman wearing many hats—literally, and hilariously. If the englyn was gripping but sobering (all those hours of Aran’s coaxing and I only caught a word or two!) then this comic routine brought us home to the fun of language “acquisition:” we learners might not have gotten all of it, but with a little help from silly voices and some glorious webcam-mugging, we surely caught the gist.

Kudos—llongyfarchiadau, rather—to everyone who was part of the show. Building a community online is a very good thing, and an hour of music and fun is always welcome—but rarely more than now. I hope we don’t really have to wait a whole month for the next one…


Dates to put in your calendar:

An evening with Owen Shiers / Cynefin - 8/5/2020
Noson Lawen 15/5/2020

If anyone would like to take part in the noson lawen please get in touch :smile:


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@nia.llywelyn What I’m still not entirely sure of is whether everyone who attends a Noson Lawen is a participant, or whether there is an audience as well, and if the latter, would you be able to accommodate a large audience?

Similar question re the Owen Shiers evening. Surely attendees for that can’t be participants - or can they?

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Hi @AlanP good question, we had 24 in the noson lawen last time and only half of them were performing, everyone else was on mute most of the time.
Similar with Owen’s evening, the audience will be on mute most of the time while Owen performs.

With people on mute it’s easier to only see the performer…because a cough or a slight noise from someone else might shift where the camera is focused.
Believe me…we’ve had enough practice of this now during PANTO recording and rehearsals and Sesiwn Canu :joy::see_no_evil:

We will be asking for a contribution towards Owen’s performance ( and only Owen performing) but of course Noson Lawen is free :star:


Diolch yn fawr iawn @nia.llywelyn, mae hynny’n glir iawn.

Yes, one of the things I could never get used to with hangouts was how the camera constantly shifted with the slightest twitch, so you’d be answering somebody then suddenly someone else would come into focus, and vice versa. But the audience on mute sounds the perfect answer.

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I don’t know if it works for Zoom, but a tip for hangouts in Slack (the ones via Google) is that if you click on the little box of someone, the camera will stay on that person until you click on it again (a white line around the box tells you it’s ‘on’), and does so regardless of any noise coming from anyone else, and even if that person stops speaking. I’ve found this trick particularly useful in my Show&Tell hangouts to keep the camera on the person showing the item :slight_smile:


I dont think that feature works on Zoom but I haven’t tried it to be absolutely sure. Definitely worth trying as our community choir Zoom meetings can descend into chaos!!

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You can “pin” another participant in Zoom so that the focus stays on them :slight_smile: My yoga class is using Zoom so I pin the instructor so that she is always in focus and occupying the largest part of the screen.

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Hiya @nia.llywelyn

Os dw i’n aelod ‘Welsh Speaking Practice’ yn barod, oes angen i mi anfon e-bost ata ti?