Cardiff Blues’ choir could join WRU in banning ‘Delilah’

After the Welsh Rugby Union banned choirs from performing Tom Jones’ ‘Delilah’ at pre-match performances due to its lyrics referencing domestic violence, members of Côr y Gleision, the Cardiff Blues rugby choir, are reconsidering their position on the song.

Rich Vaughan conducts Côr y Gleision. He says “it’s always been a bit of a weird song. – why you’d write a song with that sort of topic in the first place is a bit of a strange one, and as a songwriter and as a composer myself!”

Mr Vaughan said that previously he’d kept ‘Delilah’ in the choir’s repertoire, “because it does well with the fans,” but pointed out that “many in the choir themselves have voiced an opinion on it and don’t like singing it.”

When asked if Côr y Gleision would follow the WRU’s stance and no longer perform ‘Delilah’, he said, “as far as Cardiff rugby games go, there’s no ban on singing it, the fans can sing it.

“I’ll have to see how the choir feels with regards to it.”

Gwenno Dafydd is a soprano in Côr y Gleision. She is “delighted that ‘Delilah’ will no longer be performed before the rugby games.”

She says; “What lots of people seem to forget is this is a song about a man murdering his partner because she’s been unfaithful to him.

“Especially in a large scale scenario such as the Principality Stadium, where you have 74,000 people who are there who may not actually deconstruct what the song is all about.

“They may just think, oh, it’s a really great song, let’s sing it. But then they need to examine what the last two lines talk about, because it’s the ending of someone’s life, because a man has decided that he has that power over a woman.

She continued; “I think times have changed since the 70s. I’ve gone through all of those ages where it was an immensely patriarchal society and very chauvinistic.

“We’re not living in those times anymore. And for those reasons, I think it would be a good policy change not to include ‘Delilah’ in our repertoire, but to find something that actually embraces women embraces women’s participation. Something that’s just as rousing, but without the domestic violence element of it.”

Catherine Llewellyn is one of the choir’s altos. She thinks the WRU “is just using this to paper the cracks.

“I think the issues are much, much, deeper than this, and I just think this is something for headlines and nothing more.”

Ffion Wynn is a soprano in the choir – she says she can “see both sides of people’s arguments.”

She added that she’s worked in nursing, and “done a lot of care of people who’ve [suffered] domestic abuse […] these things start with the belief that abusing women is okay, and then it just escalates.”

A spokesperson for the Principality Stadium told CJS News; “Delilah will not feature on the playlist for choirs for rugby internationals at Principality Stadium.

“The WRU removed the song from its half-time entertainment and music play list during international matches in 2015. Guest choirs have also more recently been requested not to feature the song during their pre-match performances and throughout games.

They added; “The WRU condemns domestic violence of any kind. We have previously sought advice from subject matter experts on the issue of censoring the song and we are respectfully aware that it is problematic and upsetting to some supporters because of its subject matter.”

Whilst the ban only affects choirs officially performing, not the fans in the stands, the WRU’s decision to ban ‘Delilah’ continues to divide opinion.

WRU scandals have dominated news headlines over the past weeks. Some may see the Delilah ban as part of efforts to tackle misogyny and racism .

But critics say the ban is performative – or even censorship. Sceptics may question whether the ban comes out of genuine concern for the song’s content, or is it just a distraction from what some believe are institutional problems.