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Datblygu's David R Edwards Has Died
Patrick Clarke , June 22nd, 2021 21:02

The news was confirmed by his bandmate Patricia Morgan

David R Edwards, of pioneering Welsh alternative band Datblygu, has died, aged 56.

Patricia Morgan, his bandmate in Datblygu, confirmed the news on Twitter. She said in both English and Welsh: "David is no longer with us. He was one of the best friends you could ever have. A huge, generous personality, a bear of a man; his legacy will live on."

Edwards had been living with a number of health difficulties, including epilepsy and diabetes.

He formed Datblygu at Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi/Cardigan County Secondary School in 1982. The band went on to release a number of albums, sung primarily in Welsh, notably the acclaimed Wyau (1988), Pyst (1990) and Libertino (1994).

Edwards also performed with Tŷ Gwydr and electronic pioneers Llwybr Llaethog, and worked for some time as a secondary school teacher.

Datblygu went on an indefinite hiatus in 1995 due to Edwards' battle with ill health and alcoholism. They returned in 2008 for the one-off single 'Cân y Mynach Modern', and then reformed in 2014. Their final album, Cwm Gwagle, was released last year. It appeared at number 2 in tQ's round-up of the best of New Weird Britain that year.

Among those to pay tribute to Edwards was Gruff Rhys, who said (via Nation.Cymru): "Devastated, Dave was and is a gigantic figure. His contribution to the Welsh language can't be overestimated and his work with Datblygu serves as a focal point for its vibrant counter-culture.

"I've no doubt his influence will grow and his songs will continue to serve as moral compasses and as sources of light to guide us through the darkness down the ages."

Mark Bowen, co-founder of Wichita Recordings, said: "It's hard to put into words the extraordinary effect of hearing Datbylgu for the first time on the John Peel show (inevitably) in the mid-eighties.

"To hear Peel play a record in Welsh that stood head and shoulders above anything else he played that night was a stunning moment for a teenager who had never felt 'cool' for his nationality before.

"David made me feel like anything was possible and although I never got to meet him I will always owe him so much."

Producer and member of audiobooks David Wrench said on Twitter: "David R Edwards of Datblygu was one of the greatest musicians/poets in the world. I'm so so sad to hear he is no longer with us. Genius is an overused word. But he was a true genius. His lyrics and delivery are as good as it gets."

Tim Burgess has said that a special edition of Tim's Twitter Listening Party will take place on July 2, featuring a playback of Datblygu's album 1985 - 1995.