A talented mother and daughter have recorded a “magical” video version of a classic Elvis Presley number to comfort locked down care home residents during the coronavirus lockdown.
Musician in residence Nia Davies Williams, who works for the Pendine Park care organisation which has eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon, performed the duet with her daughter, Hawys, 20.
With Nia on the piano, they recorded the close harmony Elvis hit, Can’t Help Falling In Love.
The video is now being distributed to all Pendine Park’s homes for residents to enjoy while they’re isolated.
The duo are now looking to record more songs in the music room at Bryn Seiont Newydd to ensure residents can still hear their favourite songs and perhaps enjoy a sing-along in the comfort of their own rooms.
Hawys, a biochemistry student at Manchester University, works alongside her mother at Pendine’s Bryn Seiont Newydd dementia care home in Caernarfon when she’s not in college.
She’s writing her dissertation on the involvement of the protein, amyloid beta, in Alzheimer’s disease – and has inherited her musical ability from her mum.
Nia came third in the annual Song For Wales competition on S4C and composed music for well-known welsh language bands as well as having wowed 10,000 plus festival audiences as part of the Welsh band, Brigyn.
Another claim to fame is that she helped persuade music legend Leonard Cohen to allow Brigyn to record a version of his iconic song, Hallelujah.
It was the first and only time Cohen has allowed the iconic hit to be translated into any language.
As a result, the popular Glanaethwy choir wowed the judges of Britain’s Got Talent when they sang the Welsh version during the show.
Nia has been playing piano and harp player for over 30 years and is a leading authority on the use of music in dementia care.
Hawys, who is writing her dissertation on the involvement of the protein amyloid beta in Alzheimer’s disease, enjoyed recording the song with her mum and hopes it will help cheer up residents.
She said: “I’ve worked at Bryn Seiont Newydd since last summer as a care practitioner during holidays and when I’m home from university. I really enjoy it especially the interaction with residents. I always look forward to coming back and have made some good friends.
“ I’ve never had any formal music training and certainly not had any voice coaching. I did sing and play bass in a Welsh language band but that’s about it. I do come from a very musical family though, especially mum.
“I was at home and mum was making a video recording so I just joined in. I know how much residents like Can’t Help Falling In Love so I suggested we sang that.
“Mum wants to make sure residents in all the care homes can have access to music and enjoy the songs they like even if she can’t be there in person.
“The coronavirus lockdown makes you appreciate the small things in life and hopefully residents will enjoy listening to this video while perhaps singing along. We plan to record a few more of the more popular songs so residents have a wider choice.”
Hawys isn’t yet sure in what area she will work after graduation but says she would like to work with people and possibly in health care.
She added: “I enjoy working at Bryn Seiont Newydd so much and have made so many friends. I’m really interested in Alzheimer’s disease and the changes in the brain that leads to it.
“That’s why I have chosen to look at what effect some proteins have in causing the disease.
“But first we need to get through this pandemic and hopefully the music videos mum is recording will help our residents endure the isolation and the fact they can’t at the moment see their loved ones.”
Mum Nia, who has been the musician in residence at Pendine Park since 2015, wanted to ensure residents in isolation can still enjoy their favourite songs.
She said: “I visit the Pendine Park’s care homes in Wrexham on a regular basis especially but I’m not able to go there at the moment due to the coronavirus restrictions
“ I know how important music and singing is to residents and know their favourite songs. Two of the most popular are Calon Lân and Can’t Help Falling In Love so I decided to make a recording that could be shared among our cares homes for residents to hopefully enjoy.”
Proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said “Music and the arts have always been deeply embedded in Pendine Park’s ethos and we want to ensure residents are still able to enjoy music and singing while this health crisis persists.
“It’s a case of thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas so music can be shared.