Gwenan Gibbard – “Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn Yr Haf” (White Colour Of A Summer Rose).

Today, I want to share with you another version of a traditional song that I previously shared with you on here, this time a more acoustic one from the harpist Gwenan Gibbard. I think this is the first tune by her that I’m sharing where she’s also singing. For more background information about this song, you can click the link below, where I shared the

version by the band Pendevig,

with one of my faza peeps – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – and Bethan Rhiannon as vocalists.

While obviously I really like both versions or otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing them here, I think I lean more towards the Pendevig one, as, in my opinion, it shows its spirit better, and also, well, fazas are fazas, Gwilym rules! But the big pluses of Gwenan Gibbard’s interpretation are that it’s more traditional, and, of course, features the harp.

Song of the day (15th June) – Nansi Richards – “Pibddawns Gwyr Wrecsam” (Men of Wrexham’s Hornpipe).

Hey people! 🙂

Let’s listen to this short, traditional tune by Nansi Richards. Or at least I’m pretty sure it is traditional. A hornpipe (or pibddawns in Welsh) is a Celtic and English dance which is danced in a type of hard shoes, like clogs in Wales I think, and which took its name from the instrument which traditionally accompanies it.

Lynn Saoirse – “Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Nugent”.

And, for today, I picked for you guys a piece played by Lynn Saoirse, from her album The Seas Are Deep, which features compositions by Irish Celtic harper Turlough O’Carolan. As I’ve already written on here before, what was characteristic to Turlough O’Carolan’s music was that he composed a lot of tunes in honour of his patrons, as a way of showing his gratitude. That’s what we can find on this Lynn Saoirse’s album. This is a piece which, as you can figure out from the title, is dedicated to the two mentioned ladies. Unfortunately I don’t know who they were in his life, but he has composed multiple pieces for people with the surname Nugent, so I guess all we can assume is that they must have been some family he knew, whereas there is more than one piece dedicated to Mrs. Maxwell, so she must have been an important person in his life. Seeing all those people’s names though and hearing the music he composed for them, I’d really like to know a bit more about them to have a clearer picture of things.

Song of the day (12th June) – Llio Rhydderch – “Sir Fôn Bach” (Little Anglesey).

Here is a tune from Llio Rhydderch – “Sir Fôn Bach”, from the album by the same title. It translates to Little Anglesey or perhaps rather Little Angleseyshire, Anglesey being an isle and a historic county in north Wales. This is a traditional tune coming from the tune book of Welsh fiddler Robert Thomas. I was wondering what “little” in the title meant, what sort of significance it might have, and it turns out to simply be a term of endearment. Llio Rhydderch herself is from Anglesey, as I think I’ve mentioned before, and she clearly has a lot of love for her little homeland as this is far from only one piece in her repertoire whose title refers in some way to the isle of Anglesey.

 

Enya – “Less Than A Pearl”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to another song in Loxian. In case you don’t remember, Loxian is the language created by Roma Ryan – Enya’s lyricist – for some of her songs. It’s a visual language, so I don’t really get the idea, and it seems to have rather interesting phonetical system because it’s mostly vowels, but I like the way it sounds. Here is the English translation of the Loxian lyrics:

 

Out of night has come the day.

Out of night, our small earth.

Our words drift away.

Our words journey

to find those who will listen.

We call out into the distance…

We call out into the distance…

We call out into the distance…

We call out into the distance…

Less than a pearl in a sea of stars,

we are a lost island in the shadows.

It may be our words become lost.

It may be our words find nothing, find no-one.

We call out into the distance…

We call out into the distance…

Ailie Robertson – “Islay Dawn”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I have an instrumental folk piece from Scotland for you, from Ailie Robertson, one of the harpists whose music I’ve shared on here before several times. Islay is one of the southern Inner Hebrides on the West coast of Scotland, and it seems to be particularly well known for the Scotch whisky that is produced there.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Garth Celyn”.

For today, I have an incredibly interesting song for you! It was written by Gwilym together with his mum – Siân – for Cân I Gymru 2012, and it’s about real people from Wales history.

I think I mentioned some time ago on here that I was reading “Here Be Dragons” by Sharon Kay Penman – a historical novel about the Welsh prince Llywelyn (or Llewelyn) Fawr (Llywelyn the Great) which focused very strongly on his relationship with his wife Joan, known in Welsh as Siwan, daughter of king John of England.

Part of why I really wanted to read this book was that I was already introduced to their story by this song, and it really describes it in such a way that you want to learn more, at least that was the case with me, though surely the fact that Gwilym has been one of my faza people had something to say in it as well. I really like the way it’s written, with a lot of understanding of Siwan’s situation and what she might have felt at the time.

Its name, Garth Celyn, comes from what is the most likely site of their palace, this is a place in Gwynedd, whose name may apparently be translated to Holly Enclosure.

While the song has been written from Siwan’s perspective, it’s also cool that you can just as well see it from Llywelyn’s perspective.

The lyrics, as well as English translation and a slightly more detailed background of this song, are in the description of the video.

Song of the day (4th June) – Maire Brennan – “Banrion” (Queen).

Hey people! 🙂

Hi people! 🙂

As much as I feel rather ambivalent about Maire/Moya/Mary Brennan/Ni Bhraonain’s vocal, whether with Clannad or solo, I think I’ve already mentioned that I always love her instrumental, harp-driven music and it really resonates withh me. Here’s one of such solo pieces, from her album “Canvas”. It really reminds me of her sister’s (Enya) Watermark.

Song of the day (2nd June) – Jeff Victor – “The Mermaid’s Tears”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Jeff Victor is a composer whose music is quite new to me, but he seems to be one of those people who make a whole lot of instrumental relaxing music often inspired by folk, and Celtic music in particular. This piece features a lot of harp and overall is really beautiful in my opinion, so I’m sharing it with you.

Plu – “Ambell I Gan” (An Occasional Song).

Hiya people! 🙂

For today I chose one of the songs by Plu from their album “Tir A Golau” (Land And Lights), which is definitely one of my most favourites from that album. This is the only traditional song on it, and I’ve come across quite a few different renditions of it ever since I’ve started to listen to Welsh music more seriously and learning the language. But Plu’s arrangement is definitely the best I’ve heard, I love absolutely everything about it! The lyrics are great too, capturing it very well how inspiring music can be. I’ve found an English translation of the Welsh lyrics, which has been written by

Richard B. Gillion.

An occasional song will keep my breast

From sinking down under the frequent wave;

The muse is so cheerful,

so attractive, so pure,

I give heart-felt thanks

for an occasional song.

An occasional to song

as the night turns dark,

So light is the day, so cheerful the rose,

Misty, hopeless clouds – like wool

They turn, if I can

get an occasional song.

An occasional song

gives strength in the limb,

And the shoulder to carry

many a burden,

And the force of difficulties

to be crushed completely

If I can get to sing an occasional song.

An occasional song I will get in the world,

But I travel to a land

which is all singing,

And after I leave the desert completely

I hope to get to sing,

not an occasional song.

Plu – “Ambell I Gan”.

Loreena McKennitt – “Marco Polo”.

Hi guys! 🙂

I’ve shared some Loreena McKennit music before, but all of it was very strongly inspired by Celtic folklore, by which a lot of her music is inspired as she herself has Scottish and Irish roots. However, she is the kind of artist who doesn’t limit herself, as it seems, in any way at all. This is also true when it comes to where she draws the inspiration from, as she inspired by world music in general, not just Celtic folk music. Loreena McKennit was, in fact, one of the first folk artists who made me gradually open up to the fact that there is a lot of folk music, not just Celtic, not even just Celtic and Nordic, and it can also be very interesting, worth listening to and digging a bit deeper in. This piece – “Marco Polo” – has a beautifully and evocatively oriental atmosphere to it.

Llio Rhydderch – “Marwnad Yr Ehedydd” (Death Of The Skylark).

Hey people! 🙂

This is another of my most favourite songs by Llio Rhydderch. It comes from her collaborative album with Tomos Williams and Mark O’Connor – “Carn Ingli” – but it’s a solo piece. I like its depth and melancholy.

Clannad – Liza”.

For today, I also have a happy love song for you, also in a Celtic language, but a bit older one and in Irish. It comes from Clannad’s eponymous debut album. I much prefer Clannad’s earlier music, which is more rooted in tradition, there’s more Irish and generally more genuine folk. Which absolutely isn’t to say that I don’t like their later music, I just like it a little less. This song is probably the most modern on their debut album, as it’s the only original song of theirs. I absolutely love it, it’s definitely one of my favourites from this album and maybe even in Clannad’s music in general. The vocalist in this particular song is not Maire Brennan as usual, but one of the male members (don’t know which). Below is the translation, which you can also find

here.

 

I’d been in love with a girl

For years and years

Liza was her name

But suddenly she came to me

With news that broke my heart

Liza

Liza baby

Liza

Stay with me

I searched high

I searched low

I searched again and again

Till one day my love returned

To stay with me forever

Liza was off wandering

She didn’t come looking for me

Liza was a little fool

But who cares?

We’re happy In a little hut by ourselves

Gwen Màiri – “Cyn Gwawr” (Before Dawn).

Hey people! 🙂

It’s late afternoon here, so maybe this piece is not the most timely, but I was listening to it today and thought this is what I’d like to share with you today, because it’s absolutely beautiful. As all Gwen Màiri’s music. If you don’t know or don’t remember who Gwen Màiri is, although I have shared one piece by her before, she’s a Welsh harpist and singer who was raised in Scotland and who can speak fluently both Welsh and Scottish Gaelic.

Delyth Jenkins – “Mwynder Maldwyn” (The Gentleness of Montgomeryshire).

Hey people! 🙂

Let’s listen to Delythh Jenkins today! I’ve shared some of her music before, solo, with her daughter Angharad, and a project she was a part of years ago called Aberjaber. Today I’m sharing a piece from one of her solo albums.

The Maldwyn (or Moontgomeryshire) in the title is a historical county in mid-Wales which now is a part of Powys. If you’re familiar with Nansi Richards, either from my blog where I’ve shared some of her music, or from wherever else, her bardic name was Telynores Maldwyn, or the Montgomery Harpist, because that’s where she lived. Delyth Jenkins also originates from there, and, curiously, I’ve read that both Nansi Richards and Delyth Jenkins were born in the same place – Oswestry in England, aka the Welshest town in England.

Mwynder Maldwyn is a sort of saying in Welsh, which could be translated as the gentleness of Maldwyn but I guess mwynder doesn’t really mean literally the same thing as gentleness in English. In any case, it’s used in reference to the natural beauty of the area, as well as the traits of the people.

I’ve never been to Montgomeryshire, nor even to Wales, but if I was to form some sort of an opinion about the place from this tune, it must be really extremely beautiful and I’d love to see it, even though nothing can beat Gwynedd for me. 😀