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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 May, 2005, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Folk singer dies of cancer at 49
Siwsann George
Siwsann George campaigned for disabled people's rights
One of Wales' leading folk singers has died after a fight against cancer.

Siwsann George, 49, from Rhondda, sang with folk-roots band Mabsant, and later formed the Siwsann George Welsh Road Show (SGWRS).

Ms George, who died on Friday, was an active supporter of the Welsh language, campaigned for the rights of disabled people and promoted performers with disabilities.

She leaves a husband Roger Plater and her 13-year-old son Osian.

Frank Hennessy, the presenter of BBC Radio Wales' folk and acoustic music show Celtic Heartbeat, knew her for 30 years and often performed with her.

Siwsann had a huge capacity for work and her drive as a folk singer was marvellous
Frank Hennessy

"She was a fixture on the folk singing scene at home and internationally, " he said.

"In addition to being a talented musician - playing the harp and the guitar - she was also a fine singer.

"She could interpret traditional and contemporary songs with her fresh approach. It's a sad loss to the entire scene.

"She was also great fun and her enthusiasm was unlimited. Siwsann had a huge capacity for work and her drive as a folk singer was marvellous."

Her most recent overseas visit was last October, and took her to the Republic of Urdmurtia, in the Russian Federation.

Mr Hennessy performed at a show in Mountain Ash in September 2004 to raise money for the trip to Russia.

A private funeral will take place this week and a day or weekend of tribute is planned next autumn.

Her acoustic album Traditional Songs of Wales has sold thousands of copies worldwide and following its release, Ms George toured in the UK and USA with the singers from the Scottish and English CDs in the same series.

Ms George was raised in Treherbert, where her father was a pharmacist.

She was amongst the first generation in the area to receive their whole education through the medium of Welsh, and attended Ysgol Gynradd Ynyswen and Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen.



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