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A sense of identity: musings on the Welsh soul of Elaine Hugh-Jones

Despite being born in London, and brought up on the Solway Firth, near Carlisle, Elaine was proud of her Welsh-ness. Her father, Thomas, was a Welsh musician, and her mother, Dorothy (nee Bousfield) sang and played the piano when Elaine was young, inspiring Elaine to want to play too. Elaine had five Aunts on her fathers side, to whom she was very attached. Each was strong, intelligent and creative, nurturing the same strengths in Elaine.
One of Elaine's friends through being a Quaker in Malvern remembers the following:
So many fond memories.... On one of our many lunches out together I asked Elaine if she had ever set any Welsh words to music, and said didn't she think she should, given her connections. Over the next many months I copied text from many notices, road works signs etc when in Wales, then - during another lunch - offered her this ' Welsh poem' for her to work on. She accepted it very gratefully and then I told her that the translation was on the reverse. She was in absolute stitches on reading ' wait here when the red light shows' etc. Her wonderful sense of humour and fun was unfailing. I visited her so often that she became like an older sister to me. What a privilege! Jill Etheridge.

Although Elaine is largely known for her English art song, she also wrote for children, for children's choirs, and for adult SATB choir. Her beautiful and uplifting 'Hymn of Peace' is well-loved in Malvern, Worcestershire, where she ended her days. Towards the end of her life her publisher, William Coleman, talked with her about a desire to have this translated into Welsh, and so 'Emyn Heddwch' was created, by the Welsh mezzo-soprano Sian Meinir. This is available to purchase through Caradoc Press either in English or in Welsh.
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