Llio Rhydderch – “Ffarwell i Gymru” (Farewell to Wales).

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For today, I’d like to share with you a piece from the Welsh triple harpist whose name you’re probably very familiar with from my blog already. This hiraethful (or hiraethus in the actual Welsh language; if you don’t know what hiraeth is, you can read

this Wikipedia article

although it’s very far from exhaustive, but is always something to start with) piece is definitely one of my favourites by her, though of course nothing can beat

Gwenllian.

Sian James – “Cariad Cyntaf” (First Love).

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Like yesterday, today I thought we could listen to another Welsh traditional song, also played on the harp, but this one has lyrics. This is a fairly popular love song from a male perspective and has been sung by a lot of folk musicians, the version I myself was first acquainted with was from the band 9Bach, whose music I’ve also shared on here in the past. I guess the most well-known contemporary version of this song has been sung by Bryn Terfel though. The translated lyrics are below, andI’ve taken them from

here.

There is beauty only second to Eden

In your warm bosom, fair maiden.

Dear loved one, bright and happy;

Beautiful star, hear this lovesick one.

Promise your love to me tonight,

Weโ€™ll make vows before we leave

To engage, come what may.

Place your trust, and say youโ€™ll come.

Bright happy one,

Love of my breast

Fairest that I ever loved

I will take you as a partner.

In your eyes I have truth

That shines like stars

Of Grace and virtue;

To see you is to rejoice.

Nansi Richards – “Wyres Megan” (Megan’s Granddaughter).

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For today I chose to share with you another traditional Welsh tune played by the amazing late Welsh triple harpist and Celtic harpist Nansi Richards (aka Telynores Maldwyn). This is a lovely little waltz, which apparently is particularly often played on fiddle though I know no other recordings of it than this one. There’s also another tune that seems to have some association to this one though I never heard it before, it’s “Merch Megan” (Megan’s Daughter). That makes me wonder if there’s a tune dedicated to Megan herself and what Megan that was, though the latter would probably be difficult to find out, unless folk music experts and nerds bigger than myself know it and it’s just me who does not.

Lynn Saoirse – “Carolan’s Dream”.

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Today I have for you yet another piece composed by Turlough O’Carolan played by the Irish Celtic harpist Lynn Saoirse, and at the same time yet another rendition of “Carolan’s Farewell to Music” on this blog. You might wonder why I’m talking about “Carolan’s Farewell to Music” when the song title that’s in the post title is “Carolan’s Dream”. The explanation is as simple as could be – this song is known under these two titles. – Actually more than two titles, as originally it was called “Molly McAlpin”. I was wondering for a long time how come “Carolan’s Dream” and “Farewell to Music” are essentially the same tune. A while ago I finally did some research and it turns out that the “Carolan’s Farewell to Music” name seems to be incorrect, but still in use nevertheless. Also, it’s apparently not O’Carolann himself who wrote the tune, but William Connellan. O’Carolan really liked it though and might have modified it. I’ve read that he is claimed to have said that he’d like it much more if he composed “Molly McAlpin” alone than all the other tunes he did compose himself. That would make the story of him composing “Farewell to Music” on his deathbed, that I mentioned when sharing

Nadia Birkenstock’s interpretation of this piece,

not true. Perhaps he just played it before his death and people assumed it was original? Another version of it that I’ve shared on here is by

Celia Briar.

Carol Thompson – “She Moves Through the Fair”.

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For today I chose to share with you an instrumental, harp arrangement of an extremely popular and frequently performed Irish traditional folk song. It’s typically known as “She Moved Through the Fair”, but several versions, including this one by Carol Thompson, are called “She Moves Through the Fair” and I’ve also heard several versions of this song from a female perspective. Putting it shortly, this is a song about a man who loses his fiancee, whom he loves very much. She initially tells him that “It will not be long, love, ’til our wedding day” but then unfortunately doesn’t keep her word. The only other time he sees her afterwards is in a dream, where he finds out that she’s died and she visits him as a ghost and repeats the same words, so it seems like she’s waiting for him so that they can be together in the afterlife. Ever since I first heard this song (and I think the first time I heard it it was either sung by Anuna or Celtic Woman) I felt really intrigued by its melody and I still really love it, it doesn’t really feel very typical of Irish music. I also really like Carol Thompson’s way of playing it, it gives it a yet different feel. Carol Thompson is from America, of Anglo-Welsh-Irish descent, and plays the Celtic harp.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Moel Rhiwen/Cam Deiniolen/Morgawr”.

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Haven’t shared anything from Gwilym Bowen Rhys in a while. This set of three pieces comes from his amazing debut album “O Groth y Ddaear” (From the Earth’s Womb). They’re the only instrumental pieces on this album. “Moel Rhiwen” and “Cam Deiniolen” are Gwilym’s own compositions, both are dedicated to specific places in Gwynedd in North Wales where he is from. Moel Rhiwen is a summit in Snowdonia, whereas Deiniolen is a village in Gwynedd. I must admit though that I’m not really sure what Cam Deiniolen as such means, I know that cam means step in Welsh, or apparently also things like stage, or footpring, but I have no idea what it means in this specific context. Then the third piece – Morgawr – comes from the late Welsh piper and composer Simon Owen. – I’ve heard several other versions and arrangements of this tune but, probably not very surprisingly if you know me, I like Gwilym’s most. Morgawr is a creature in the Cornish folklore, a giant sea serpent. As on the rest of the album, we can also hear the harp of Gwen Mairi Yorke (whose music I have also shared a few times on here) and the fiddle of Patrick Rimes from the band Calan, who both frequently collaborate with Gwilym not only on his albums.

ร“rla Fallon – “Galway Bay”.

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The song I want to share with you today comes from ร“rla Fallon’s 2020 album called Lore. ร“rla is known in the Irish and Celtic music world not only for her solo career, but also for being a former Celtic Woman member, and Celtic Woman have also recorded this same song, with Chloe Agnew as the vocalist if I remember correcttly, I might share that one at some point in the future as well. This is an Irish emigrant song, apparently very popular among Irish emigrants in America and certainly covered by a lot of artists. The lyrics have been written by Dr Arthur Colahan, and the song, with slightly changed lyrics, was popularised by Bing Crosby.

Catrin Finch ft. Seckou Keita – “Yama Ba”.

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I’ve shared with you a few pieces played by Catrin Finch already, but I think only one that she played with collaboration with Seckou Keita. They have been working together for quite a couple years now, so I thought I’d share something else, from their album called Soar. Catrin Finch, as you may remember, is a Welsh harpist, whereas Seckou Keita is a Senegalese kora player. I’d never heard what kora sounds like before I first heard their music together, and I really like the way these instruments sound together and complement each other.

Rachel Newton – “Don’t Go Out Tonight My Darling”.

For today, I’d like to share with you yet another song from the Scottish harpist and singer Rachel Newton. It is included in the Roud Ballads index, and apparently can be traced back to Arkansas. As it’s easy to figure out from the song, it’s about a woman who is in a relationship with an alcoholic, and it’s quite heart-wrenching.

Sally Oldfield – “Sun in My Eyes”.

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Today I thought I’d share with you a song from Sally Oldfield, from the beginning of her career in late 70’s. You may know Sally Oldfield or have heard of her, since she was quite a successful artist, and especially her song Mirrors was a hit iin the UK, or her name may sound familiar to you because of her two brothers, Mike and Terry Oldfield, who are also musicians, and I personally enjoy some of Mike’s music a lot, including his Tubular Bells album, which is probably what he’s most known for. He also collaborated with his sister a fair bit. Sally was born in Dublin – as her mother was Irish – but grew up in Reading in Berkshire, England. Apart from singing, she also used to do ballet as well as other types of dancing, but eventually decided to focus on music. At some point during her solo career, she decided to relocate to Germany and released some albums there, but I guess now she’s no longer active or not so much as she used to be.

 

ร“rla Fallon – “Remember Me”.

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Since it’s already evening here, for today I decided to share a lullaby with you. It comes from the Irish singer, songwriter and Celtic harpist ร“rla Fallon, formerly a member of Celtic Woman, from her solo album Sweet By and By. ร“rla has recorded quite a few lullabies and I feel that her voice, combined with her harp – although this piece is not harp-driven – and even with her Irish accent, make her really fit for this very kind of song, she just sounds very mummy-like in my opinion. This encouraging piece was originally written by late Irish singer songwriter Christie Hennessy.

The Harriet Earis Trio – “Take 5/The Unsquare Dance”.

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For today, I chose a set of two pieces from an album from which I’ve already shared some music with you and which I really like for its creativeness. The album is called From The Crooked Tree and comes from the Wales-based group The Harriet Earis Trio, with the very Celtic harpist Harriet Earis at the centre of things.

Song of the day (26th September) – Georgia Ruth – “Cloudbroke”.

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Catching up on yesterday’s song of the day, as I had a migraine so couldn’t do that in the right time, I’m sharing with you another song from Welsh singer, songwriter and harpist Georgia Ruth, namely from her 2016 album Fossil Scale. This is something slightly different from most of her music, more electronic and with a bit of an R&B feel and I came across opinions that it’s the worst track from that album, but I like it nonetheless and while there are songs by her that I like more, I definitely don’t consider it bad.

Rachel Hair Trio – “My Darling Fair One”.

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Last month I already shared with you one tune, or actually a set of tunes, by this Scottish Celtic harpist – Rachel Hair – which she played together with the multi-instrumentalist Ron Jappy. – Rachel Hair is a very active, prolific and versatile artist who does all sorts of things with the harp and also has her own record label called March Hair Records. Among the things she does is she’s also a part of a trio, simply known as Rachel Hair Trio, and this song that I’m sharing today with you comes from their album Tri, released by the aforementioned label. I don’t know who else is in this trio and haven’t been able to find out, but the song is a traditional one and I really like this minimalistic arrangement.

Clannad – “The Last Rose of Summer”.

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Since summer has just passed, I thought this would be a very appropriate song to share at this particular time of year. There are several versions that I like, but, at least for today, I chose Clannad. Perhaps some time later on I’ll also share others that I like.

The Last Rose of Summer is a poem written by the Irish poet Thomas Moore while he stayed in Jenkinstown Castle in Kilkenny, where he was said to be inspired by a flower of rosa old blush. It has later been set to a traditional Irish tune called a Young Man’s Dream in English and has been interpreted gazillions of times as it seems, classically and folkily.

This poem starkly reminds me of my little Misha and how he often is concerned about leaves being lonely, like when they fall from trees and one leaf is blown away from the other leaves or is blown on to the heap with leaves from other trees that it doesn’t know and doesn’t feel well with, or when all leaves have fallen except one who is still on the tree and is alone and cold. I think he has even written about that on here at least once back when he did regularly. This song has a very similar feel to that imo. I’m not sure if Misha has had similar thoughts about flowers during transitions between seasons, but he definitely has an affinity with them too and likes to nibble on them and smell themm.

Enya – “Dark Sky Island”.

And after sharing a song by Maire Brennan for yesterday, for today I chose a song from her younger sister’s most recent album, the opening title track from it. Dark Sky Island takes its title and inspiration from Sark, one of the Channel Islands, which was designated the first dark sky island in the world and where its entire small population has an interesting way of living, adjusted to the sky, for example cars are not allowed there. Enya’s lyricist, Roma Ryan, clearly has a keen interest in all things relating to astronomy, so it’s no wonder that it has become a huge source of inspiration for her, and for Enya as well.

Song of the day (20th September) – The Chieftains ft. Maire Brennan – “Lullaby for the Dead”.

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I thought I’d share this beautiful, very sad, Irish lullaby with you. I like a lot of lullabies and I love how Irish Celtic folk music is so full of lullabies. This one is soulfully sung by, probably well-known by now to the readers of this blog, Maire/Moya Brennan from Clannad, Enya’s sister, who is accompanied by the very popular Celtic music band from Dublin – The Chieftains – who were formed in the 60’s during the Celtic music revival in Ireland and often collaborate with other well-known Irish folk musicians.