THE GOLDEN voice of singing care worker Karl Bohana has been hailed as “tonic for the soul”.
According to Karl, 38, who works at Pendine Park’s Bryn Seiont Newydd in Caernarfon, he always wakes up every morning with a song in his heart.
As well as providing day to day care, he delights the residents by singing their favourite songs.
Karl said: “I’ll sing in the morning and on my way to work and then sing all day with the residents here. I love working at Bryn Seiont Newydd because I know I can make a difference to the people who live here.
“I know my singing puts a smile on the faces of the residents and I enjoy it when they join in the chorus or just hum along.”
Music plays a huge part of daily life at Bryn Seiont Newydd and it can be heard in all the lounges and along the corridors of the building.
“We always have music but in the afternoons, after we’ve taken care of lunch and settled the residents down for a while I’ll go for a wander around the lounges for a chat and a song.”
He said his favourite songs are those by Dafydd Iwan, Rhys Meirion and Bryn Fôn.
“The residents love to hear me sing Anfonaf Angel (Guardian Angel) and almost anything by Dafydd Iwan, even the children’s songs he recorded. They like one with a beat that they can clap along to and one with a chorus when they can join in.
“I often sing Dafydd’s song, Hawl i Fyw (Right to Live), because it means quite a lot to the residents here because of the illness some of them have but at the end of the day we all have a right to live our best lives and that is the message expressed in Dafydd’s song,” said Karl.
A former schoolteacher, Karl started singing at an early age and during his school days at Ysgol Maesincla and later at Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen in Caernarfon he was a member of choirs who took part in concerts and competed at the Urdd National Eisteddfod.
“I never did much on my own but I started doing some karaoke and even staged my own events and singing became a larger part of my life and now I sing everywhere.”
Residents described Karl’s singing as a “tonic for the soul”.
David Edwards, from Dolwyddelan, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, said he has sung with Côr y Brythoniad for many years: “They make a great sound but there are many voices in the choir. Karl makes a great sound all by himself, he’s got a wonderful voice.”
His friend Robert Jones, from Pwllheli, added: “I enjoy singing along with Karl, we sing all day long here. Karl’s the star of Bryn Seiont.”
Both joined in with Karl in an impromptu sing-a-long and were rewarded with generous applause from other residents and staff.
Bryn Seiont Newydd’s creative practitioner, Emyr Gibson, has known Karl for many years as they were both members of the Ysgol Glanaethwy theatrical and singing school at about the same time.
He said: “I’ve great respect for Karl. He’s a real character but is excellent at what he does with the residents at Bryn Seiont Newydd. He knows what they want and what they need and he’s forever pulling their legs and sharing a joke or two with them.
“Since he joined the staff they have really taken to him and his singing ability is a real bonus.
“He has always been a character and you can hear him laughing from a distance. He has such an infectious laugh a television production company once hired him to come along to the live recording of a comedy series shown on S4C. You can clearly hear him laughing in the background in that programme.
“Bryn Seiont Newydd are really lucky to have Karl.
It was a view supported by Bryn Seiont manager Sandra Evans who added: “The arts in general and music in particular are central to daily life at all of Pendine Park’s care homes.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Karl on the staff here at Bryn Seiont Newydd. The residents love to see Karl walk into their lounge because they know he’s going to sing for them.”