National Welsh icon Dafydd Iwan is to receive a special award at this year’s Welsh Music Prize ceremony in recognition of his lifetime contribution to Welsh music.

The ceremony will take place at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, on October 10.

“If I’ve truly been an inspiration to anybody, then that in itself is a priceless prize,” Dafydd Iwan said, following this week’s announcement.

Born in Brynamman, near Ammanford in 1943, Dafydd Iwan was nurtured in a household that held the Welsh nationalistic slant extremely strongly. His paternal grandfather, Fred Jones, was a founding member of Plaid Cymru.

Most of his adolescence was spent in Bala before he moved south to attend the University of Wales in Cardiff, to study architecture.

His first musical forays were translating American folk and protest songs by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan however his own songs began gaining tv coverage throughout the 1960s.

In 1970 he received a custodial sentence for refusing to pay signs after defacing English-language road signs.

His most well known song ‘Yma o Hyd’ (Still Here), was released in 1981 to remind people that ‘we still speak Welsh against all odds. We are still here’.

Since then it has become the unofficial Welsh anthem for the Wales national football team. In 2020 it reached number one in the UK iTunes chart and was also sung live by Dafydd Iwan before Wales’ last two games of their first successful FIFA World Cup qualification. Welsh captain Gareth Bale led the Welsh team’s singing, along with Dafydd Iwan, after the final match. As a result, the song returned to number one in the UK iTunes chart.

In 2003 he became president of Plaid Cymru.

Welsh Music Prize founder Huw Stephens said: “We are so happy Dafydd Iwan is receiving the Welsh Music Inspiration Award this year.

“His work through Sain Records, Wales’s largest and oldest independent record label and his own solo career for over seven decades continues to inspire Wales and its people. This is a chance for us to say diolch to Dafydd for his vision, work and music.”

Previous Welsh Music Inspiration Awards have been given to the late David R. Edwards of Cardigan & Pat Morgan (Datblygu), Mike Peters (The Alarm), Meic Stevens, Meredydd Evans & Phylis Kinney.