Enormous 1967 rugby crowd sings the Welsh national anthem in powerful, sonorous union

11 August 2021, 17:39 | Updated: 11 August 2021, 18:12

1967 Welsh rugby game at Cardiff Arms Park
1967 Welsh rugby game at Cardiff Arms Park. Picture: YouTube

By Kyle Macdonald

A vintage Welsh choir of 60,000, singing in full voice. We guarantee it’s one of the most incredible sounds you’ll ever hear.

They’ve always loved music in Wales, they adore their rugby, and they love singing together. Add in their glorious national hymn and it’s something very special indeed.

They call it the Land of Song for very good reason.

Wales’ deeply-loved unofficial national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, is as synonymous with Welsh rugby as grass-stained jerseys. It’s sung passionately before every national game, but just listen to this awesome rendition from the 1960s.

Read more: What are the lyrics to the Welsh national anthem – and what do they mean?

In the early days of live sport on TV, New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks, was touring the British Isles. On a November afternoon, they clashed with Wales at their home stadium, Cardiff Arms Park in the Welsh capital.

And just before kick-off, came the moment and the team’s official national anthems are sung (at that time it was God Save the Queen for the Welsh).

But afterards, the Welsh supporters would let rip with their own song. And for that hymn, every single one of the 58,000-plus fans in the stadium that day lifted their voice.

They sang in remarkable unison, with the amazing resonance of the stadium. As the climax nears, you can hear them thumping on the wood in the stands. What an utterly glorious sound. Take a look at the black and white footage of the moment:

You can see the New Zealand players standing straight, in respectful silence. We wonder what that imposing sound must have felt like for the antipodean travellers that day.

After that moment of choral captivation, the game was of course played. Not even that rousing hymn could help the Welsh players that day, who went down to the All Blacks with a 6-13 scoreline.

Wales’ national anthem lyrics were written by Evan James, with the melody composed by his son, James James, in January 1856. ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ translates to ‘Land Of My Fathers’. Its magic lives on to this day, with world-renowned Welsh singers Bryn Terfel, Wynne Evans and Katherine Jenkins singing it at sporting events and national occasions.

And of course, it’s a melody proudly championed by the countless choirs of the country – and something very special every time...