Aberjaber – “Taith Madog” (Madog’s Journey”

Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have an interesting piece for you from the Anglo-Welsh group Aberjaber, one of whose members was Delyth Evans (currently Jenkins), the harpist whose solo music I’ve also shared quite a lot with you on here. This piece, as you can see in the title, is called Madog’s Journey in English, and I don’t know that for sure, but it feels quite safe to assume that the Madog is the Welsh prince Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, who is said to have sailed to the Americas some three hundred years before Columbus.

Enya – “Athair Ar Neamh” (Father in Heaven).

Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you another song by Enya, one that really resonates with me, mostly because of how it sounds. It’s just so extremely beautiful. It’s inn Irish Gaelic, and the English translation, which I’ve taken from the Enya Blues website but which I believe come from the album notes or something like that, is below: 

 

Father in Heaven, God help us.

Father in Heaven, God help me.

My soul, my heart, my voice

praise to you, oh God.
Long is the day, and peaceful,

long is the night without gloom,

happiness, joy, love,

praise to you, oh God.
I praise you from day to day.

I praise you night after night.
Father in Heaven, God help us.

Father in Heaven, God help me.

The moon, the sun, the wind,
praise be to you, oh God.

 

Sinéad O’Connor – “He Moved Through The Fair”.

Hey people! 🙂

As much as I don’t really care too much for Sinéad O’Connor as an individual, and don’t even like all of her music, I really do like some of her songs a lot, and especially many of her renditions of Irish folk songs are absolutely great. I really like this one, too. I’ve already shared it in two versions, a harp instrumental by

Carol Thompson

and a capella by the stunning

Anne Briggs,

so this is yet another one, and totally different from the both previous ones, also in that it’s actually from a female perspective which I also really like.

Aine Minogue – “The Selkie” & Cecile Corbel – “The Great Selkie”.

Hey people! 🙂

I think I’ve shared that on my blog already that one of my favourite folk creatures are selkies. So today I thought I’d share with you two songs about them, which are practically variations of one song, both vastly differing arrangements. Both Aine Minogue’s and Cecile Corbel’s music has already been featured on my blog. They’re both harpists. Aine was born in country Tipperary in Ireland but currently resides in the Boston area, whereas Cecile is from Brittany.

Usually when I share two versions of the same or almost the same song it’s because I can’t choose between them, but here, I can say with no hesitation that Aine’s version speaks to me much more. Still, I really like Cecile’s version too, and I think it sounds very interesting, and even more so when you compare the two.

Aine Minogue:

Cecile Corbel:

Plu – “Hedfan” (Flying”.

Hey people! 🙂

For today, I want to share with you a beautiful piece from Plu – the Welsh alt-folk trio comprised of siblings Elan, Marged, and Gwilym Rhys. – According to the credits of this song, it was written by Welsh musician Endaf Emlyn. I really like the harmony of this piece.

Órla Fallon – “Wild Mountain Thyme”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you quite a popular folk song which is Scottish in origin. It was adapted by Francis McPeake from Belfast, from a poem called Braes of Balquhither by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill, with already existing music composed by Robert Archibald Smith. Ever since it was first recorded in 1950’s, it has been sung by loads of Anglophone folk musicians and it’s also alternately known as Will Ye Go, Lassie Go. Órla Fallon’s version is oone of my favourites.

Song of the day (26th December) – Bob Delyn A’r Ebillion – “Cân Begw” (Begw’s song).

Hey guys! 🙂

This is the second song from the band Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion (Every Harp and the Pegs) that I want to share with you all on here. I really like its minimalism. It’s a beautiful, acoustic love song, written by the leader and vocalist of the group – Twm Morys. – Begw is a Welsh feminine name, a nickname of Margaret, so I think we could say it’s a Welsh equivalent of Peggy or Maggie.

Enya – “Dan Y Dŵr” (Beneath The Waters_).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have a Welsh song for you, a Welsh song sung by Enya, and the only Welsh song that she’s ever released. This song commemorates the little village of Capel Celyn (which literally means Holly Chapel in Welsh) in the Tryweryn valley in Gwynedd in North Wales, which was drowned in 1965 and disappeared entirely, which was a carefully planned out thing. This song is featured on Enya’s album The Celts. I’ve already shared with you a song which deals with the submerging of Capel Celyn, by another of my faza people Jacob Elwy and his band Y Trŵbz, and the song is called

Annibyniaeth.

The lyrics, as always, are written by Roma Ryan.

And now I’m going to be a bit nitpicky, because this song actually sparks my curiosity a little and something about the Welsh feels off. While I’m almost 100% sure Enya doesn’t speak Welsh, because I’ve never heard of her being able to do that and her Welsh doesn’t sound convincing or particularly understandable to me at all even when I read the lyrics along with her singing (granted, I’m a learner myself, of course, and song lyrics online often have tons of weird errors in them, especially if they’re in minority languages), I wonder if Roma is able to fluently speak all the languages that she writes lyrics for Enya in. It’s very interesting. To me these lyrics look a bit odd and like things are phrased in a weird way, which could be just that it’s some more formal Welsh that I’m not really accustomed to, or it’s some older way of writing in it, and it’s clearly more South Welsh while I am more accustomed to North Welsh. Then there’s a translation, which I’ve found on

Enya Blues

, which I suppose originally comes from the album’s liner notes, and either the translation is not fully accurate, or the lyrics are a bit off to begin with, or the translation is not really literal. Like, in the original lyrics, there’s a line that goes: “Dan y dŵr, tawelwch sydd” which is translated as: ”

Beneath the waters, there is silence”. Again, I am still learning Welsh myself, and I don’t know LOADS of things, for example I don’t know a lot about formal or more poetic ways of expressing yourself in Welsh, but “tawelwch sydd” seems to me like a weird way to say “there is silence”. To my best knowledge, it literally means “silence which”. Then the next line is: “Dan y dŵr, galwaf i” which is translated as: “Beneath the waters, I call you”. Now here I’m absolutely sure that galwaf i does not mean I call you but only “I call”. And then she sings: “Nid yw’r swn gyda fi” which apparently translates to “There is no companyy withh me”, whereas I am sure that swn means sound, not company. Company is cwmni in Welsh. Later there is further reference to the sound, and then the word for it is translated properly.

Regardless whether this song is written in good Welsh or not, I’ve always felt that it’s so cool that Enya has released a song in this language that I love so much, and paid a tribute to Capel Celyn. And I’m going to include the translation anyway, because maybe it’s meant to be just as it is, and I’ve always found Enya Blues quite reliable for info about Enya and her music, and even if it isn’t exactly great, it always gives some idea about the song’s meaning.

 

Beneath the waters, there is silence.

Beneath the waters, I call you.

There is no company with me.

Beneath the waters, silent forever.

Beneath the waters, I call you.

The sound is no longer with me.

Delyth Evans – “Pandeira de Nebra”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to a harp piece from Delyth Evans (currently better known as Delyth Jenkins). I have no idea what the title of this piece means, if anything, haven’t been able to figure anything out. It looks like Spanish or Portuguese to my brain but doesn’t seem to mean anything particular in either of these languages. Still, it’s a beautiful piece, and that’s what’s important to me.

Gwenan Gibbard – “Glan Môr Heli” (Seaside of Heli).

Hey people! 🙂

For today I have for you a beautiful piece played and sung by Welsh Celtic harpist and folk singer Gwenan Gibbard. As far as I know, it’s a traditional tune. Honestly though, I don’t really know what “Heli” in the title is supposed to me. As far as I can tell, there’s no such word in Welsh and it’s quite clearly a placename, but I don’t know of any place called Heli in Wales (which doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one, just that I haven’t come across it). The only thing that I can think of is a town called Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula, which, as it happens, is Gwenan Gibbard’s hometown, so maybe it’s colloquially known as Heli or used to be called Heli in the past or something. Maybe I’d be able to figure out more about what Heli is if I understood more of the lyrics. I’m pretty sure from what I do understand that there’s a mention of Ireland in this song though.

Sian Phillips – “Codiad yr Ehedydd” (Rising of the Lark).

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve already shared this Welsh traditional tune played on the harp by

Nansi Richards,

and today I’d like to share with you a fiddle version, played by Sian Phillips from South Wales. Sian has been part of many Welsh music collectives and collaborated with a lot of artists, however she has now retired and is no longer performing due to fibromyalgia. Instead, she has settled in Oxfordshire where she’s running her own business called Fiddler’s Elbow Grease, selling various hemp products.

Margie Butler ft. Florrie Brown – “Beauty of the North/Glen of Copsewood”.

For today, I have a beautiful Celtic two-piece set. I don’t know any other music from Florrie Brown, but as for Margie Butler she’s one of the very first Celtic harpists I’ve heard, I got a cassette with her music from my Mum years ago, Margie is from Ireland. As far as I’m aware, this first piece was composed by Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser, and the other is traditional.

Song of the day (18th December) – Enya – “Last Time by Moonlight”.

Hey people! 🙂

With Christmas coming very soon, I thought I’d share with you a piece from Enya’s Christmassy/wintery album which I really love, namely And Winter Came. Just as it is for many people, Enya says that winter is a very reflective time of the year for her, with a lot of reminiscing and thinking about her life. And so this song also has such a reflective, and also as Enya says romantic, feel to it. It’s about a couple who once loved each other, their reflecting back on the time when they were still with each other before they parted. I really like the wintery feel of this song.

Celia Briar – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas/Auld Lang Syne”.

Hey people! 🙂

Christmas isn’t yet here, but it’s coming very soon, and so I thought I’d share something Christmassy today, the second Christmassy song this Advent. This set of two pieces comes from the Irish Celtic harpist Celia Briar whose music I’ve already shared on here a few times. As you can figure out from the titles, the first one is We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and the second is the Scottish Auld Lang Syne. It comes from her Christmas album Celtic Peace at Christmas.

Celia Briar – “We Wish You a Merry Christmas/Auld Lang Syne”.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Bugail Hafod-Y-Cwm” (The Shepherd of Hafod-Y-Cwm).

Hey people! 🙂

For today, I’d like to share with you a very bucolic-sounding, traditional Welsh tune sung by Gwilym Bowen Rhys – one of my faza people. – It comes from his debut album O Groth y Ddaear (From the Womb of the Earth) and is one of several songs on this album that were collected and recorded by Welsh folk singer and collector Meredydd “Mered” Evans from Caernarfon. It is a song sung by a shepherd who lives in a place called Hafod-y-Cwm (hafod was the name used to refer to the higher pastures where people moved to during spring-summer months, as opposed to a lowland pasture where they spent the colder months of the year, and Hafod-y-Cwm means something like a hafod in the valley) and it expresses his deep joy, happiness and satisfaction with his life and the nature around him. I like how it’s filled with such simple yet profound and sweet happiness, the spring-like feel of it (so different from the weather we’re having here right now, haha) and I love Gwilym’s arrangement of it. I’ve noticed that the melody of this song is incredibly similar to an English ballad The Three Ravens, included in Child ballads’ anthology, but I don’t know which one was earlier and whether the melody was deliberately borrowed from one for the other or whether it’s a total coincidence maybe.

The translation is available at

Gwilym’s website

and that’s where I got it from:

 

I am the shepherd of Hafod-y-Cwm,

I sing with jollity even though I’m poor.

I have a wife and three children

Living above the stream,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

The gentleman of Plas-Nant walks by importantly,

He is the owner of many a hundred pounds,

But I am happier than he,

Among my bleating flocks,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

May, with its sweet and fair days,

And its warm weather is approaching,

The enchanting and resounding melody of the stream

Will gladden all the world and its children,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

I am the shepherd of Hafod-y-Cwm,

I sing with jollity even though I’m poor,

And I’ll sing until the day I die

On the slopes of this valley, my seventh heaven,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

Anúna – “Fill, Fill a Rún” (Return, Return).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a piece performed by the very famous Irish choir ensemble called Anúna. Anúna are very versatile when it comes to the kinds of music they perform – from traditional Irish music to classical or medieval pieces to original works. – Over the years, Anúna has had lots of members, from Ireland and abroad. The ensemble has been founded by Michael McGlyn, who also composes original music for them. I really love Anúna for their diversity and the atmosphere of their music. In this particular piece, we can hear Eabha McMahon as the soloist. Eabha is a sean nós singer and currently one of the members of Celtic Woman, but she spent many years as part of Anúna and joined them when she was only 15, making her the youngest member of this choral ensemble. I really like her soulful vocals in this traditional song.

This song is said to be written by a mother of a former Catholic priest (Father O’Donnell, or O’Domhnaill in Irish) who became a Protestant minister. It expresses her deep sadness due to his apostasy and her desire to return to the Catholic faith. I’ve found a translation of it

here.

Return, return, my dear.

Return my dear, and don’t leave me

Return to me, my darling and my dear

And you will see the glory if you return

I walked near and far

I was born in Mota Ghrainn Oige

And I have seen no wonder yet to

compare with Father O’Donnell becoming a minister

Return, return, my dear,

Return my dear, and don’t leave me

Return to me, my darling and my dear

And you will see the glory if you return

You renounced Peter and Paul

For the sake of gold and silver;

You renounced the Queen of Glory

And you began wearing the coat of the minister

Return, return, my dear,

Return my dear, and don’t leave me

If you return today or ever

Return in the order that you were trained in

Anne Briggs – “She Moved Through the Fair”.

Hiya people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you some music from the great, Nottingham-born English folk singer that is Anne Briggs. She is quite an intriguing case in English folk music. She started her singing career in 1963 as a young girl, discovered by A.L. Lloyd and Ewan McColl. Her music was received very positively, people were in awe of her pure voice, she collaborated with a lot of influential people of the mid-20th century English folk scene and had herself a strong influence on British folk music and female folk singers, even people outside of folk circles like Jimmy Page. However, Anne had one big challenge – she absolutely hated the sound of her recorded voice. – She was also apparently very nervous when she had to sing, despite she did it so well. I think stories of people like her could be very empowering for people who struggle with stuff like low self-esteem or anxiety, to see that there are people who experience similar feelings even when they’re really great at something, so the fact that you feel you suck at it doesn’t necessarily have to be that it’s what everyone else thinks as well. The emotional toll associated with her singing career must have been too much for her though, after all, because she retired fro music in 1973, and apparently lives semi-reclusively. She still continues to have a strong influence on many folk musicians and the folk music scene as a whole. I even once shared some two years ago a song performed by Julie Fowlis, called Go Your Way, which was written and first recorded by Anne Briggs. Sandy Denny (whose music I’ve also shared on here and who almost became one of my faza people) wrote a song in tribute to Anne Briggs called The Pond And the Stream. Richard Thompson’s Beeswing is also inspired by her.

She Moved/Moves Through the Fair is an Irish traditional tune, one version of which (an instrumental one, played by harpist Carol Thompson) I’ve already shared and in that post I explained a bit about the song. You can read that post

here.

Sarah Copus – “Walking in the Air”.

And today, it’s time for the first Christmas song on here this Christmas season! I’ve already shared with you this lovely Christmas classic performed by one of my faza people Declan Galbraith, but I also really like this ethereal version by Sarah Copus. Sarah Copus is a singer and harpist, who aside from her own solo activity, also collaborates with their parents’ new age-y (and a bit creepy sounding to me most of the time) music project called 2002, she contributes the vocals on a lot of their newer music.

Song of the day (6th December) – Clannad – “Mrs. McDermot”.

Hey people!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to share the song for yesterday on time as I had a migraine so I’m doing it today. I thought I’d share with you another song composed by the Irish 19th century harper Turlough O’Carolan, whose compositions, played by different artists, I’ve already shared many times on here. He dedicated a lot of his tunes to people that were important in his life, particularly his patrons who supported his career and development as a musician, and it’s no different with this piece. Mrs. MacDermot Roe was actually someone of key importance in O’Carolan’s life because it was thanks to her and her family that he became a harper. It is in her house that he seems to have found a second family home and that’s also where he died. She was the wife of his father employer, who took care of young Turlough’s education when he lost his sight at eighteen due to smallpox. She paid for his training, and then gave him money, a guide, and a horse, so that he could travel round the country and compose his music and earn a living this way. Most often I’ve shared with you O’Carolan’s pieces played by the Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared his music played by Clannad before. Specifically, it’s Maire/Moya Brennan (who’s also the vocalist) who plays the harp in their family band.