Trwynau Coch – “Methu Dawnsio” (Can’t Dance).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Staying within the Celtic language family, but moving away from folk, I’d like to share with you today another song from Trwynau Coch. For those unfamiliar with them, Y Trwynau Coch (which means The Red Noses in English) were a Swansea-based punk rock band that existed in the late 70’s and early 80’s. All their songs were written in Welsh, which I don’t think wasn’t all that common at the time as it is now (not in rock music anyway) and they clearly took  advantage of that and sometimes wrote some really weird lyrics. One member of the band – Rhys Harris – later went on to become the father of alt-folk trio Plu – siblings Elan Mererid, Marged Eiry and Gwilym Bowen Rhys. – 

   I understand a lot of the individual words in this song, but despite that, I don’t think I get the broader context, other than  what the chorus basically says, which is that the lyrical subject “can’t dance at the disco”. Interestingly, they also have another song, “Wastad ar y Tu Fas” (Always on the Outside”, that I believe I’ve  featured  in the early days of this blog, and which, if I understand it correctly, goes something like this: “I don’t want to go to the disco in T-shirts and jeans from Tesco…”. Which makes me think that maybe one of the Trwynau Coch members, or whoever wrote their lyrics, must have had a strong aversion to discos, and as I can totally relate, that makes me like them even more. 😀 

Kim Robertson – “Dance of the Lambs”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today, I chose to share with you this really pleasant harp piece played by Kim Robertson, who is a renowned American harpist and also people like Nadia Birkenstock for example learned to play the instrument from her. I’ve shared one piece by Kim Robertson on here in the past, called Glenlivet


Nansi Richards – “Faire Dance – Irish Reel”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Staying in the world of Welsh harp music, I’d like to share with you a piece played by the Welsh Celtic and triple harpist Nansi Richards, also known as Telynores Maldwyn. As its title says, this is a traditional Irish reel. 

Folque – “Dans, Dans Olav Liljekrans” (Dance, Dance Olav Lily-wreath).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you a very old, Scandinavian folk song, which came to life in the Middle Ages. From what I see it’s most popular in Denmark, and it’s most commonly known as Elveskud or Elverskud (Elf-shot). However, the version I want to share with you, and the only one that I have actually heard really, is Norwegian. There are also Swedish and Icelandic versions of this. 

   A guy called Olav (or Olof or Ólafur, depends where in Scandinavia we are) is riding through the woods (or towards the mountains, as is the case in the version I am sharing with you today) when he sees elf-maids dancing, and one of them encourages him to join in. And from then on it seems like there’s a lot of variations between various versions of this song. As I said, I know only one, but I’ve read that the most common and traditional one is that he refuses, saying that tomorrow is his wedding day and then the elf-maid makes him gravely ill, so that he dies when he arrives home. There’s also one where he does dance with her and basically dances himself to death. And the Icelandic one is different yetbecause the elves ask him to drink with them, but he refuses saying that he believes in Christ. Then one of the elf-maids asks him for a kiss, and when he bends down to kiss her she wounds him with a sword, and he dies when he comes back home.

   In the version that I am sharing with you, he also refuses to dance with her and says that tomorrow is his wedding day, but then the elf-maid tries to bribe him. I don’t understand the whole lyrics, because I don’t really know what sort of language it is, is it some sort of archaic Norwegian or is it some weird dialect, but to me it is really weird and while I get it overall, I don’t understand some words. But I think she tries to bribe him first with gold, or something golden, and then a silk shirt. Each time Olav says he’d happily have each of these things, but he wouldn’t dance with her anyway. ANd, for all we know, she may still be trying to get her way and convince him, because it doesn’t seem to have a proper ending like those other versions do. 

   As for Folque themselves, they’re a really cool Norwegian folk-rock band from Oslo, established in the 70’s, influenced by bands in the same field like the English Steeleyes Pan. Like I said, I don’t know any other arrangements of this Olav song, but I like how they made it sound very contemporary but in a way that feels natural and not at all obnoxious, which is sometimes difficult to achieve with folk music I would think.