One Day at a Time

Welsh Books Council

One Day at a Time - 08 January 2009
One Day at a Time

Trebor Edwards Publishes His Autobiography

The Welsh singer who has sold over 200,000 records, the tenor seen on stages throughout Wales and further afield, the successful farmer who was made President of the Royal Welsh Show in 2008. Here are some things most of us know about Trebor Edwards. But  Un Dydd ar y Tro  (the title of his most famous song One Day at a Time), Trebor Edwards’ new autobiography gives us an opportunity to get to know the man behind the melodious voice.

For instance, who would have thought that Trebor Edwards worries terribly about forgetting his words, that he cuts his hair every five weeks without fail and that he has been on 19 cruises in the last 25 years?

Despite his successful singing career, it is around Pen Bryniau, a farm near Corwen in north Wales that Trebor Edwards’ life has revolved since he was a young boy. Indeed, the autobiography begins with the life-changing sentence the author uttered to his mother at just fifteen years old: ‘Mi faswn i’n licio ffarmio Pen Brynie’ - 'I’d like to farm at Pen Brynie'. He recalls running from the village school as fast as he could to his grandfather’s farm Pen Bryniau, and the huge influence his grandfather had on both his decision to take up farming and to start singing: "My grandfather was very musical, with a good ear and a strong baritone voice," says Trebor. "Gathering around the piano for a sing-song was a very normal thing to do in a rural community like ours, and I, the shortlegged boy soprano, would be delighted when someone praised my singing."

Eventually Trebor came to take over the reins at Pen Bryniau, whilst at the same time carving out a successful singing career, first at local eisteddfodau and then on radio and television programmes such as  Cais am Gân, Trebor, Taro Tant, Noson Lawen  and many others. As he says in the book, "Although I consider myself a farmer first and foremost, I couldn’t imagine a world without singing, and even when I’m at my busiest on the farm, I couldn’t imagine not singing myself."
He goes on to mention that his favourite singers are the ones who enunciate well, including Gwyn Hughes Jones, Rhys Meirion, Bryn Terfel, Sian Cothi, Bethan Dudley, Marian Roberts, Katherine Jenkins and Pavarotti.

The book is peppered with humourous anecdotes about Trebor’s habit of picking up bargains for the farm on the way to and from concerts, as well as the by now infamous clip of Trebor singing with Sbot the dog, which made him a national hit on Dennis Norden’s  It’ll be Alright on the Night.  Recalling the incident, he says "One afternoon we were out filming, and there I was sitting with Sbot the dog in the field for one of my songs ‘Yr Hen Shep’ when I noticed that the camera crew were laughing like no-one’s business. I turned to see what was happening and noticed Sbot sliding on his behind down the slope, as if his backside was on fire!

"What was even more interesting was the response I got from viewers. I got sent all kinds of pills and powders in the post by people suggesting that the dog had worms. Some were serious, but not everyone said who they were, so I’m still not sure who was winding me up!"

Author Elfyn Pritchard, born only a stone’s throw away from Trebor in Gwyddelwern, co-wrote the autobiography with Trebor and his wife Ann over a few months. He said, "Because we came from the same area, we shared many of the same memories; of the harvests, the arrival of the milk lorry and so on so that helped. Trebor’s wife Ann had kept cuttings and letters so they were also very useful in putting together the full picture.

"The impression I get is of a very genial man, though some tragedy has also touched his life. He has a very strong sense of family and community, I think he treats everyone the same. Somehow this comes across in his concerts, and I believe that is the real secret of his success."

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