A LOCKDOWN rock song could become a new independence anthem for Wales, its creator hopes.

Musician and filmmaker Geraint Rhys will next week release Who Are You?, a record “of seething punk rock frustration aimed at the Westminster government”.

The Swansea man wants the three-and-a-half minute track, which was written and recorded at home during lockdown, to become the sound of the Welsh independence movement.

Rhys has shared a snippet with Sunday National readers, but the entire tune – which comes with a video featuring footage from landmark independence marches in 2019 – won’t be released until Friday.

However, it’s already got the backing of Yes Cymru. Its founder and chair Siôn Jobbins, who authored a book about the Welsh national anthem, said: “Wales is the ‘land of song’ and we’re also inspired by the independence campaign of the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – who used song and music in ‘the Singing Revolution’.

“There’s also a strong tradition of protest songs and songs about Welsh independence or the language, especially in Welsh, since the 1960s.

“For centuries Wales, unlike Scotland, had no national institutions. The only national institution we had was our language, so, we’ve been defined, and we define ourselves, by our language and culture. A big component of the campaign for independence is to strengthen and promote Welsh language and culture, and also culture in English from Wales.

“People writing songs, composing poetry, painting, writing plays and drama as all an important part of the independence campaign. We welcome all new songs.”

Edinburgh University graduate Rhys, 32, has worked in Russia and Catalonia, where his pro-independence track Visca La Terra (Bless this Land) was playlisted on Catalan radio.

It was written in tribute to the “solidarity” seen “from Girona to the sea”.

While that track is optimistic, he says Who Are You? is a “wake-up call to people in Wales” after a year in which Westminster has shown “incompetence and complete disregard for other nations” over issues like the provision of furlough. The Welsh and Scottish Governments both had calls for furlough funding for the distinct needs in their countries turned down until Number 10 chose to provide it to the entire UK.

During 2020, support for Welsh independence rose to 33%. Polling this week put that at a higher rate of 39%.

Rhys said: “This track is about feeling completely and utterly despondent and in despair at those who allegedly represent you. It is also a song bred from the centuries of neglect I feel we have experienced here in Wales.

“It’s a song about saying enough is enough and is not only aimed at those in power, but is also a rallying cry to the people of Wales to question who they want to be.

“Do we want to carry on along the same path or take a different future for ourselves?”

Featuring lip-sync footage sent in by fans from their homes, Rhys’ video also includes recordings taken from Yes marches held in Wales in the spring and summer of 2019.

Thousands attended the demonstrations, which were organised by All Under One Banner Cymru, in Cardiff, Caernarfon and Merthyr Tydfil.

While such activities have been impossible for the past year, Rhys says independence supporters in his country have “become a movement on social media” over lockdowns.

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And with the Senedd elections coming up in May, he believes Wales is reaching a pivotal moment.

Three Labour candidates have revealed their backing for independence, while anti-devolution voices remain within the Welsh Conservatives.

While Plaid Cymru has pledged to hold a referendum on the constitution if it wins a majority, neither the Tories nor Labour have backed this. Labour MP Chris Bryant, who serves Rhondda, called it “utter nonsense and childish”.

Jobbins, who has written a book about the Welsh national anthem, says Yes Cymru is working to “make the arguments stronger for independence”. He said: “Although individual polls may go up and down the overall trend shows that more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the people of Wales are best placed to manage their own affairs like every other country.

“If countries like Ireland and Denmark can be independent, then why not Wales? YesCymru aims to build a fairer and better Wales for all who call Wales home.”

On the motivation for writing Who Are You?, Rhys, who works in both English and Welsh, said: “We are not at the same level of engagement in our national politics as in Scotland. That’s to do with a lack of strong Welsh media.

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“We have to use other ways to get the message out there.”

The entire song will be available on the artist’s Spotify and YouTube channels from Friday, as well as at www.geraintrhys.com.