Llio Rhydderch – “Mwynen Machno” (The Enjoyment of Machno).

    Hey people! 🙂 

   Today, I want to share with you a traditional tune from the Conwy Valley, played on the Welsh triple harp by Llio Rhydderch. I know that there is a Machno Valley somewhere in Conwy, and a village called Penmachno and some other similar placenames in that area, so the tune’s name must have to do with one of them or the whole area. 

Delyth Jenkins – “Crwtyn Llwyd” (The Grey Lad).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have a traditional Welsh polka tune for you, played by Delyth Jenkins. It comes from the collaborative album that she recorded together with poet Emily Hinshelwood, from which I’ve already shared a couple of other pieces in the past. 

Nansi Richards – “Y Ferch o’r Sger” (The Maid of Sker).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today, I’d like to share with you another traditional tune from the Welsh harpist Nansi Richards. This song was composed by a Welsh harper from Carmarthen called Thomas Evans, who died in 1819. He fell in love with a maid who lived in Sker, a farm house in Glamorgan which took  its name from a headland nearby called Sker Point. And this song is about her. 

Bendith – “ANgel”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I thought I’d share with you this soothing piece by Bendith. For anyone unfamiliar with Bendith, it was a collaborative project between the alt-folk sibling trio Plu (who are very frequently featured on here since one of its members, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, is one of my faza  people) and Carwyn Ellis from the indie band Colorama. I was even able to translate this song for you guys, though it probably does have some mistakes or things that perhaps could have been phrased more aptly or something. There are some phrases in it that were completely new to me, like “sana i’n”, which is a colloquial phrase used in southwest Wales and means “I don’t”, but I was totally unfamiliar with it and it took me quite a while to figure out what it actually was. 

   And if something worries me 

She is the one who comes to my mind 

Nothing can stop her 

From coming to my side 

She is my angel 

 

If it all got too much for me 

So she waits, she comes straight away 

Just say the word and that’s all 

She’ll do it, by my side 

She is my angel 

Beside me, that’s where she will be 

Any time of the day or night 

If anything comes to bother me 

She is by my side 

She is my angel 

 

And if I’ll need a hand to help me 

I don’t worry, she’s still here 

To share the burdens between us 

Here by my side 

She is my angel 

Llio Rhydderch – “Anhawdd Ymadael” (Difficult to Depart).

   Hey dear people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you yet another piece from the great Welsh harpist from Anglesey, Llio Rhydderch, who plays the Welsh triple harp. Her music has been featured on here quite a few times, and this particular tune comes from her album titled Sir Fôn Bach (Little Anglesey). This is a traditional Welsh farewell tune, but sadly I don’t really know anything beyond that about it. Still, I think it is beautiful. 

Gwenan Gibbard – “Trafaeliais y Byd” (I Travelled the World).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a traditional Welsh song performed by Welsh harpist and singer Gwenan Gibbard. It comes from her album Sidan Glas (Blue Silk). I don’t understand the entire lyrics, but from what I do gather it is about someone who was travelling (sailing, I’m pretty sure) through the world and had to say goodbye to his native country – Wales – and a lot of places in North Wales are mentioned by name that have been dear to the lyrical subject as well as things he enjoyed doing there. 

Plu – “Gollwng Gafael” (Letting Go).

   Hey dear people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this lovely song by the Welsh alt-folk trio Plu, whose music is fairly frequently featured on here. It comes from their album Tir a Golau (Lad and Lights). Quite surprisingly for myself, I was even able to translate it. You guys know that I’m still pretty bad at translating Welsh music solely by ear, and when you’re into some small languages, it’s not always as comfy as googling “Artist Song lyrics” and finding said lyrics right away, because often it might require a bit more perseverance to find what you’re looking for at the bottom of the Internet, or it might not be available online at all. Plu’s lyrics usually don’t seem to be, but what I always try to do in such cases is fish out a part of lyrics that I can completely understand and that at the same time is not too generic and distinct enough that it’s not likely to pop up in too many other contexts except what I’m looking for, and then I google it in quotes. And this time round, I happened to be lucky, because I found an S4C (Welsh-language television channel) transscript of a programme where Plu were singing this song. And the lyrics are pretty easy linguistically so I was able to translate it with no particular issues, though again, it’s not like I’m an experienced Welsh-English translator or a native speaker of either of these languages so it’s definitely possible that it has some mistakes or that it just could be better, but as always it’s just to give you more or less of an idea of what it is about. I am sharing with you a live version of this song which they sang at a Celtic music festival called Cwlwm Celtaidd. They precede the song with two verses of a traditional Welsh lullaby called Mil Harddach (A Thousand Times More Beautiful), for which the below translation comes from Mama Lisa’s website

   You’re a thousand times more beautiful than the white rose
Or the red rose on the hillside,
Or the proud swan swimming in the lake,
My little baby.
A thousand times better than all the gold in the world
Is to see your smiles in your crib,
You are my fortune and my blessing,
My little baby.

And here’s Bibielz translation of Gollwng Gafael. 

      You love the land more than the earth 

And the wave more than the water 

You love “was” more than “will” 

And what is the world without its story? 

Without sky, there are no horizons 

Without tomorrow, there is no yesterday 

Open your eyes 

To experience letting go 

For you, the inspiration is in a song 

And the bleak books in front of you 

The inspiration is everyday 

Uncovering the truth 

By pulling off every layer 

Without sky, there are no horizons 

Without tomorrow, there is no yesterday 

Open your eyes 

To experience letting go 

   You love the land more than the earth 

More than the truth 

Cynefin – “Y Fwyalchen Du Bigfelen” (The Yellow-beaked Blackbird).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today, I’d like to share  a really beautiful Welsh tune with you that I have first heard on Radio Cymru some two years ago and it  resonated with me right away. The tune is from Cynefin, a project by Owen Shiers from the Clettwr Valley, which focuses on preserving  the traditional songs and heritage of Ceredigion in the west of Wales, many of which had never been recorded before or have become nearly lost over time. One could have thought that nowadays, when even musicians from non-Anglophone countries whose official languages are doing very well and are not as threatened by English as Welsh is; oftentimes sing their music in English and make it sound very universal and global, it’s enough of an obscure niche when you focus on folk music of Wales in general, let alone just  a small piece of Wales. But I really like it and am happy about it that there are people like Owen Shiers who are strongly connected to and proud of not only just their country, but also their local area and its heritage. 

   If you look up “cynefin” inn a dictionary or a translator or something like that, it is most commonly translated as “habitat”. But in fact, this is one of those deep, untranslatable (at least to English) words, with a meaning that is oddly specific, yet also quite broad at the same time. Much like hiraeth  about which I’ve already written on here several times, and which, by the way, also happens to occupy the central place in this song I’m sharing with you all today. Cynefin has originated as a farming term for paths and trails  frequently used by animals, but over time it’s meaning has become broader and a bit more abstract and deeper, as it is used to mean a place that one is very familiar with and rooted in, and feels a sense of belonging to it. I believe it is also used to describe the relationship one has with such a place. 

   The tune I am sharing with you today is a so-called llatai (love messenger) song. Usually, in this type of songs, or poems, the lyrical subject directly addresses the love messenger, who is usually some animal or creature, often a bird, and sends it to their beloved with a message, because they’re far apart from each other. One example of such tune could be “Ei Di’r Deryn Du?” (Will You Go, Blackbird?) which I shared not long ago. However, this particular llatai song is quite different, because there is no human lover. Instead, the young boy who is the lyrical subject here is feeling a longing (hiraeth) for his home country – Wales – while he is away in England. His longing is emphasised by the singing of a blackbird, which reminds him all the more of the home he left behind. I really like the idea of writing/singing a love song about your home country kind of as if it was a person. 

   According to Cynefin’s Bandcamp page, this song was collected from Mrs. J Emlyn Jones near Llandysul and recorded in the Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru (Welsh Folk Song Society) magazine. However because some words were changed by the collector, the words in Cynefin’s song were written by Llew Tegid. The translation below also comes from Cynefin’s Bandcamp. 

   Oh, yellow beaked black bird, 

Enchant the heart with your early song. 

Sweet notes of a merry heart 

Wakes the choir of little birds. 

 

Come and listen to the complaint of a boy 

Who is in heartache night and day: 

A cruel longing pursues him, 

Longing breaks his sad heart. 

 

Leaving the elegant vales of Wales, 

Leaving the enchantment of the land of song, 

O so difficult is separating 

A pure Welshman from fair Wales. 

 

Your notes evoke the hearts longing 

As you tarry in the Englishman’s land, 

In memories of Coed-fron 

Where once your voice was so dear.

Ffynnon – “Llys Ifor Hael” (The Court of Ifor the Generous).

   Hey dear people! 🙂 

   For today, I have another song by Ffynnon for you. This time, it is a medieval englyn – a short poetic form traditional to Wales and Cornwall – written by Ieuan Brydydd Hir. It is a lament over the state of the court of Ifor ap Llywelyn of Bassaleg in Gwent, who was a patron of bards, including one of the greatest Welsh poets – Dafydd ap Gwilym. – It was also Dafydd ap Gwilym who gave him the name Ifor Hael (Ifor the Generous). The translation below comes from Ffynnon’s website. 

   The hall of Ifor the generous, poor it looks
A cairn, it lies amongst alders
Thorns and the blight of the thistle own it
Briars, where once there was greatness

The muses are no longer there 
No bards nor joyous tables
No gold within its walls
No armour, no generous giver

Cold grief for Dafydd, skilled in song
The burying of Ifor in the earth
Paths where once there was singing
Are now the haunts of the owl

Despite the brief glory of lords
Their greatness and their walls end
Houses on the sand
Are a strange place for there to be pride

Eve Goodman – “Dacw Nghariad” (There is My Sweetheart).

   Hi guys! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you another traditional Welsh love song, a very popular one in Wales as far as I’m aware. I remember that I first heard some very electronic-sounding variation of this song, possibly a remix or something, on a compilation album that I got hold of quite early in the development of my Celtic fascinations, when I was already reasonably familiar with Irish folk, a bit less, but still somewhat familiar with Scottish, but had very little idea about Welsh music, or the Welsh language, for that matter, even though I was definitely curious and often wondered why “Celtic” only seems to mean Irish and Scottish for most people, but not Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton. Nowadays, I get that the Welsh-language folk scene perhaps is indeed very slightly less vibrant than Irish for example, which is compensated by the very prolific Welsh-language pop/rock/electronic etc. scenes, a lot more prolific than the corresponding scenes in Ireland or Scotland. But it still irks me when people say Celtic music and mean only Irish and Scottish or even solely Irish. Anyways, that compilation album I got wasn’t even that much good, most of it was more new age-y and Celtic-inspired rather than actual, wholesome Celtic stuff (which is another thing that bugs me, by the way, the overuse of the word “Celtic”:D ), and that rendition of Dacw Nghariad was the only Welsh-language song on it if I remember correctly (though I could be wrong because I no longer have that album and I don’t even remember what it was called, other than that it was “Celtic-something and it was pretty huge”).

    The next time I heard it in a different version was a lot later, when I started discovering Welsh music, and I believe the first more traditional version of it that I heard was by the group Allan yn y Fan. The funny thing about Eve Goodman’s version is that I first heard it in our Polish public radio, more exactly Polish Radio Programme 1, which was, well, really weird, because it’s not like they play Welsh-language music regularly or anything. 😀 Polish Radio 2 does sometimes, because they are a bit more niche and mostly play classical music and some folk as well, and it’s thanks to them that I discovered Welsh classical harpist Catrin Finch. But there happened to be a programme in Polish Radio 1 about the first Welsh-language novel that was translated into Polish – Un Nos Ola Leuad (One Moonlit Night) by Caradog Prichard, and my Mum happened to be listening to it then and so she yelled for me to come because “They’re talking about Welsh language!” And in between the talking, they played some Welsh songs, and Dacw Nghariad by Eve Goodman was one of them. 

   And I think her version is my favourite out of all that I know now, though I generally like Eve Goodman’s music. She is not only a singer but also writes her own songs. She is from North Wales and grew up in Caernarfon. 

   The translation below is from here

   There is my sweetheart down in the orchard,

 

Oh how I wish I were there myself,

There is the house and there is the barn;

There is the door of the cow house open.

 

There is the gallant, branching oak,

A vision, lovingly crowned.

I will wait in her shade

Until my love comes to meet me.

 

There is the harp, there are her strings;

What better am I, without anyone to play her for?

There’s the delicate fair one, exquisite and full of life;

What nearer am I, without having her attention?

Siân James – “Ei Di’r Deryn Du?” (Will You Go, Black Bird?)

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I would like to share with you a traditional Welsh song, another one on here sung and played on the harp by Siân James. As you will notice, the song is in Welsh and English, and the languages switch with one another every line. The translation below was written by Richard B Gillion 

 

   Will you go, Black Bird

  To my dearest love?

O quest for my dear lass,

  For I’m so deep in love.

 

I cannot see anywhere

  such a damsel in my sight

As the girl fair of colour –

  She is a beauty bright.

 

Her hair is golden yellow,

  Just like a ring of gold,

And her countenance like white snow –

  The truth it must be told.

Ffynnon – “Pais Dinogad” (Dinogad’s Smock).

   For today’s song of the day, I have a deliciously old nursery rhyme, or lullaby, for you. It possibly originates as far back as the 7th century. It was originally written in Old Welsh, and is interesting linguistically because it provides possible evidence of some features of the Cumbric language, which was a language closely related to Welsh or Breton, which was in use in Cumbria and southern Scotland until about the 12th century. It’s the lullaby of a mother who tells her baby son – Dinogad – about his dead father, and what a great hunter he was, while little Dinogad is wrapped in a smock made of marten skins. The poem also mentions “the waterfall of Derwennydd” which is thought to be a river called Derwent in the north of England. Unsurprisingly, the original tune has sadly not survived along with the poem, but the Welsh folk trio Ffynnon have set it to music. I have shared several songs by them on here before, but for anyone unfamiliar with their music, Ffynnon consists of Lynne Denman (vocals), Stacy Blythe (harp) and Emma Trend (fiddle). Their name means “fountain” in Welsh. They have also combined Pais Dinogad with two set of numbers from one to eight, where the first one is in Welsh, and the second one is the Cumbrian sheep-counting rhyme. Also in their version the number of slaves every time they’re mentioned is decreased, as is common in nursery rhymes. 

   I think the whole Pais Dinogad thing is very interesting, so in case you think so as well and have never heard of this lullaby, here is a long and exhaustive article on it from Wikipedia  including a translation which I’m also pasting below. 

   Dinogad’s smock, speckled, speckled,

 

I made from the skins of Martens.

 

Whistle, whistle, whistly

 

we sing, the eight slaves sing.

 

When your father used to go to hunt,

 

with his shaft on his shoulder and his club in his hand,

 

he would call his speedy dogs,

 

“Giff, Gaff, catch, catch, fetch, fetch!”,

 

he would kill a fish in a coracle,

 

as a lion kills an animal.

 

When your father used to go to the mountain,

 

he would bring back a roebuck, a wild pig, a stag,

 

a speckled grouse from the mountain,

 

a fish from the waterfall of Derwennydd

 

Whatever your father would hit with his spear,

 

whether wild pig or lynx or fox,

 

nothing that was without wings would escape.

Lynn Saoirse – “Marches of the O’Neills”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you another piece by Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse on here. Most of what I have shared by her are tunes composed by Turlough O’Carolan, as she has recorded a lot of his music, and so seems to be the case with this set of planxty tunes, but I don’t know anything more about them. 

Norland Wind – “The Snowy Birch Trees”.

   Hey lovely people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you an instrumental piece from a group which I have discovered only very recently, and find it kind of surprising that I hadn’t known about them at all earlier. They’re an international bunch of musicians who, as Norland Wind, make music which is a bit like a bridge between Celtic and Scandinavian folk music. So no wonder that I ended up liking them. It was founded by German harpist Thomas Loefke who learned to play the harp from Irish harpists in Dublin, and its other members are  such people as: Norwegian singer, guitarist and player of multiple other plucked string instruments Kerstin Blodig, whose educational background is in musicology as well as Scandinavian languages and cultures, with emphasis on Norwegian folk music, and like most other Norland Wind musicians she also works on multiple other projects and is a soloist as well (she sounds quite like my peep if she’s both into Scandinavian and Celtic folk music and then Scandinavian languages on top of that 😀 ), Irish fiddler, violinist,  viola player and singer Máire Breatnach and Scottish finger-style guitarist and low whistle player Ian Melrose who used to play with Clannad, and together with Kerstin Blodig forms the duo Kelpie. Late Clannad members – twin brothers Pádraig and Noel Duggan – also used to be part of the group’s line-up, which is precisely why I am so surprised that I hadn’t heard of Norland Wind earlier than I did, because one of my faza  people is Enya, who used to be part of Clannad, and so naturally I find Clannad and its members very interesting, both because they used to play with Enya and because they’re her family. So I like that Norland Wind has some distant connection to Enya as well, through Clannad. 

   Since it’s still winter (at least theoretically, because here it’s been raining a lot rather than snowing and feels more as if it was March or something) I decided on this wintry piece by them. 

Cerys Matthews – “Sosban Fach” (A Little Saucepan).

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this very popular Welsh folk song, I guess it must be one of those Welsh-language songs that all Welsh people know, probably even those who don’t speak that much Welsh, or at least they sure must be familiar with it. I’ve already shared it in a lovely instrumental version played by Delyth & Angharad Jenkins and I included the lyrics to this song in that post. I quite like it because, as I wrote in that post, it sounds like whoever wrote it must have had dysthymia or something, as it’s  all sad and woeful there and everything goes wrong for everyone. My faza peep, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, who sometimes sings this song at his gigs, actually says that it’s like a Welsh national blues song. And, well, since I have dysthymia and I like gloomy, as well as quirky stuff that doesn’t seem to make too much sense, I quite like this tune. 

   This is definitely not a debut for Cerys Matthews here on My Inner Mishmash, because I’ve already shared a few of her other Welsh songs, as well as one by Catatonia, a rock group in which she was the vocalist, for what she is best known. Her version of Sosban Fach comes from her solo album called Tir (Land), containing Welsh folk songs. It also contains one more verse which is not present in that translation I included in the post with Delyth & Angharad’s version, which is all about little Dai the soldier and his shirt tail and how the lyrical subject wishes that he would tuck it in, we also learn that his shirt was white with a blue stripe, which, you have to agree with me, is a vital piece of information from the listener’s perspective. 😀 

Georgia Ruth – “When I Was Blue”.

   Hey dear people! 🙂 

   To finish this year off here at My Inner Mishmash, today I’d like to share with you this melancholic song from Georgia Ruth’s album Fossil Scale, which, as is very typical for this artist, is quite interesting lyrically. 

Rachel Newton – “O Cò Thogas Dhìom An Fhadachd”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you another song by  Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton, this time one coming from her 2018 album West. It is an entirely solo album, consisting only of Rachel’s vocals and harp, both acoustic and electroharp. It was recorded at her grandparents’ house and produced by Mattie Foulds. I don’t know much about this particular piece, other than what Rachel wrote herself, that it is based on the singing of Jenna Cumming on BBC Alba (BBC Alba (the Scottish Gaelic TV channel), and since I don’t speak Gàidhlig (yet) I don’t know what it is about, but it sounds beautiful to me nonetheless. 

Christmas Wishes and Mishes (and a bonus, Christmassy song of the day).

   It’s Christmas Eve, so, as regular peeps on here will know, it’s the time for Christmas wishes here on My Inner Mishmash. Because in Poland, as in many other European countries, we actually start celebrating Christmas today already. In fact, this is in practice the most festive day of Christmas over here, at least when it comes to the external festivities. We eat a big, festive, meatless Christmas Eve supper, and then later on go to the Midnight Mass. Most people also open their presents on Christmas Eve, but since a couple years, we decided to change that in our household and we only do it after we come back from the Midnight Mass, so that’s practically Christmas Day already. 

   But, regardless of when exactly each of you, lovely people, starts your celebrations, I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas. Not necessarily merry, because, in my view, this word is a little superficial and not everyone can force themselves to be merry just because it’s Christmas time, for example if you have depression or something difficult is going on in your life at the moment, and Christmas isn’t exactly about being merry (though if you do feel merry, that’s amazing, I think I do too this year, for once 😀 ). Generally though, I wish you more of a joyous, innerly peaceful, thankful kind of happy Christmas. Or if even that is hard to achieve for you and where you’re at in life, a very hopeful one, at the very least. That’s a must, or else it’s hardly Christmas. I wish you to remember what Christmas is actually celebrated for and why it’s called Christmas and not Wintermas or Snowmas or Loads-of-Yummy-Food-mas. I talk about this every year on here, but I really do think it’s so sad that it’s Jesus’ birthday, and so many people want to celebrate it, yet a lot of them seem to totally ignore the birthday boy. 

   Whether you’ll be celebrating alone or with family or friends or whatever other company, I wish your Christmas not to be lonely, neither in a alone and lonely way, nor in a lonely in a crowd way. And I really hope it won’t be boring or overwhelming or under-/over-stimulating, or stressful, or all those other things that we know Christmases and other such holidays can very often be. 

   I also wish you a cosy Christmas, loads of yummy food, and that you can give and receive some cool presents. Who wouldn’t like that? 

   To all the non-Christian people who are also celebrating something, be it Christmas without the Christ- part, or having time off work, or some other religious holiday, I also want to wish you a happy, cosy, and memorable holidays. 

   And for all those who aren’t celebrating anything, I wish you hope and inner peace as well, and that you have a cool weekend. 

   Misha wants to wish all pets and peeps the best food in their lives, and hopes you can all catch up on sleep and keep warm, either inside your own fur, or some fluffy clothes, and that it’s not gonna be too noisy in your house and that you can spend a bit of time just with yourself. 

   And, yeah, traditionally, I’ve got to share some Christmas song! Last year I thought I’d ran out of all my favourite Christmas songs to share, but over the course of this year I remembered about a few that I’ve never shared on here and heard some new beautiful Christmas pieces. The one I’m sharing with you today belongs to the latter category. 

   This is a  Welsh Christmas carol called “Ar Gyfer Heddiw’r Bore” (On This Day in the Morning), written by David Hughes in 19th century. It seems to be very popular at what is called Plygain in Wales – a traditional Christmas service held either at night or early in the morning where people gather to sing carols, of course in harmony since that’s the only way Welsh people can sing. 😀 – This tradition has been apparently going through a bit of a renaissance lately and it sounds really cool. 

   However, the version of this song that I want to share with you is a little different. It is sung by Gwilym Bowen Rhys (yeah, one of my faza people and yeah, that renewed October peak is still going strong and I’m really glad that my faza life seems to have gone back to normal after like two years of weird chaos) as part of a project called Celtic Beethoven initiated by the Galician musician Carlos Núñez (I believe largely online-based), which involved a lot of musicians from Celtic countries and regions performing Celtic songs arranged by Ludwig van Beethoven. This carol is usually sung to a different tune, but in the recording below, Gwilym sings it to the tune of a Welsh song called The Vale of Clwyd, arranged by Beethoven. And I think this is absolutely stunning, and gives this carol more of a soul! Personally, the original melody makes me think of the Pentre Llanfihangel  song, which is the first thing that I ever heard sung to this tune (by Plethyn), and Gwilym’s version sounds so much more like what I think an old-ish, Christian piece like this should actually sound. 

   If you’d like to know what this carol is about and find out more about Plygain as such, or hear a version of this carol in its original melody, I recommend you visit this blog

Maire Brennan – “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”.

   Hi people! 🙂 

   Well, Christmas is coming very soon (and it feels even sooner  in some European countries like  Poland, where we practically celebrate Christmas Eve most festively of all the Christmas days), so, it feels like just  the right time to share a Christmas carol, even though I’ll traditionally be sharing something Christmassy on Christmas Eve as well. Of course, it HAS to be a Celtic Christmas carol. Well okay, technically, the carol itself is  English, but the singer is Irish – Maire Brennan, whose music I have shared many times on here, both solo and as part of Clannad. – I  like her version of it.