Delyth Evans – “Gymnopedie III”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Recently I shared with you one of the Gnossiennes composed by Eric Satie and played on the harp by Floraleda Sacchi, and today I’d like to share another, and I guess more commonly known, composition by Eric Satie – the last of his Gymnopedies. – Gymnopedies are three pieces of music that Satie composed for piano, all very melancholic pieces (the first is meant to be played painfully, the second sadly, and the third – the one we’ll listen to today – gravely) and I’ve heard quite a few different harp performances of them and I really like how they sound played on the harp. The name of these pieces comes from some ancient Greek festivity called gymnopaedia, during which young men were dancing naked/unarmed. I have a little bit of a personal connection with Gymnopedies because when I was in nursery, there was a documentary that was being filmed about our nursery (for the blind) and how we lived in there. Then all of our parents got a copy of this film. I now know that my Mum hated that film, but she watched it a lot anyways especially when I was away at school and then she always ended up crying. Once I grew up a bit I never liked watching it either or people mentioning it, something about it is very depressing to me though I’m pretty sure it’s just in my brain and all sorts of memories coming up rather than the documentary itself being objectively depressing. Anyways, gymnopedies were in the soundtrack of this film. I actually don’t remember now if it was all of the Gymnopedies or just one, and if one then which one, because I haven’t watched that in ages nor has my Mum, but I am sure that there was at least one Gymnopedie. I guess Gymnopedies are a sort of go-to soundtrack for all things that are meant to be tear-jerking because I’ve heard them used a lot in this way. This is actually a bit of a pity, because they’re great pieces of music, and while they’re melancholic, it’s not in a tear-jerking, maudlin way. But despite my Mum hated that film, she really liked this music and wanted to know what it is, and finally when she found out she bought some music album where Gymnopedies were included, I don’t know who played them. And she still really likes them despite they sometimes make her think about the times when I was at school and how it made her sad that I couldn’t be at home with my family. And that’s why, when it comes to me, what I primarily associate Gymnopedies and what they make me think of when I hear them is my Mum, rather than the time when I was in nursery, which I’m so glad about, because otherwise they’d probably be totally spoilt for me, and as it is, I really love them. Especially, like I said, played on harp. This third, grave Gymnopedie in A minor is played by the already well-known harpist on this blog, Delyth Evans (currently Jenkins) from Wales.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Casse en Lorient”.

For today, I’d like to share with you another harp & fiddle piece from this Welsh mother-daughter duo whose music appears on my blog quite frequently. They’re also known as DNA or D&A. I think it’s a really beautiful piece with a kind of reflective vibe to it.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Casse en Lorient”.

Song of the day (12th November) – Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Can y Lleisoniaid” (Song of the Lleisons).

I’ve already shared one interpretation of this song, played by Gwenan Gibbard. If I had to choose which one I prefer, I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell, they’re all beautiful, and I suppose this mournful-sounding piece would be really difficult to properly butcher by anyone. As I’ve explained when sharing the Gwenan Gibbard rendition, Lleison is a Welsh surname. I wonder who they were and what’s the story behind this piece.

Delyth Evans – “Ysbryt Kilvrough” (Spirit of Kilvrough).

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Today I have for you a piece played by the Welsh Celtic harpist Delyth Evans, better known as Delyth Jenkins these days, from her 1991 album “Delta (Cerddoriaeth y Delyn Geltaidd/Music of the Celtic Harp”. I suppose that the Kilvrough in the title refers to Kilvrough Manor, a country house near Swansea. And the spirit should perhaps actually be translated as ghost? I’m not sure, I haven’t heard anything about this place being haunted or the like, but then I know next to nothing about it in general.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Pantyfedwen”.

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Today I’d like to share with you a Welsh Christian hymn, a Presbyterian one, more exactly, praising Christ. It’s a very recent one really because it has only been written in 1960’s, by a Welsh minister as well as a bard, William Rhys Nicholas. The name of the hymn comes from a farm in today’s Ceredigion, in which the hymn was sung for the first time. This is an instrumental version played by the mother and daughter duo whose music I’ve frequently shared on here before – Delyth and Angharad Jenkins, also known as D&A or DNA. – In this piece, however, Delyth, who is primarily known for being a Celtic harpist, plays the piano, as you’ll be able to hear.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Pantyfedwen”.

Delyth Evans – “Yr Hen Don/Y Corgi Bach” (The Old Wave/The Little Corgi).

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For today, I chose to share with you a set of two (I think traditional) tunes played on the Celtic harp by Delyth Evans, currently known as Delyth Jenkins. I find both of them really nice.

Delyth Jenkins & Angharad Jenkins – “Can y Bachgen Main/Ebenezer” (Song of the Slender Lad/Ebenezer).

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For today I decided to share with you a set of pieces from this great Welsh mother-daughter, harp-fiddle duo, also collectively known as DNA. I like their arrangement of these tunes very much, I like their arrangements in general. The first one is called “Can Y Bachgen Main”, also known simply as “Y Bachgen Main”, and it does originally have lyrics. It’s about a boy who is walking in the forest when he hears two women talking with each other. As it happens, they turn out to be his lover and her mother arguing. The mother tries to persuade the girl that she should find herself a wealthy husband and that she’s going to find her the right match, but she disagrees and says she’s happy with the boy with whom she is. She emphasises that even if she would be offered all the riches in the world she’d stick to him anyway. That really pisses the mummy, who says she’ll have to sleep on a bed of torns if she doesn’t change her mind. Then we can assume that the girl eventually did what she wanted, as we hear that the girl who sleeps in the lad’s arms is happy, but then in the next verse he goes off to sea, and we don’t even know why. Perhaps he couldn’t deal with the mother-in-law.

The second tune, “Ebenezer” is a hymn, it’s alternate name being Ton-y-Botel (Tune From the Bottle), which I think is a very funny name for a hymn, but it is called so for a very simple reason, namely that it is said to have been found in a bottle along the Welsh coast. It was composed by Thomas John Williams.

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

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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. πŸ˜€

Delyth Jenkins ft. Angharad Jenkins – “Glyn Tawe”.

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Another piece today featuring Delyth Jenkins, this time with her daughter – Angharad – playing fiddle. They’re also known together as DNA. I really really love this beautiful peace. Its title comes from Glyn Tawe, a hamlet near the river Tawe in Powys in Wales.

Delyth Evans – “A L’Entree De L’Este”.

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I have another short and sweet harp piece for you today, only this time it’s from Delyth Jenkins (nee Evans) who plays Celtic harp, unlike Llio Rhydderch who plays Welsh triple harp. I’ve already shared with you at least one piece by her from what I remember, in collaboration with her daughter Angharad, they work as a duo called DNA.

Since this piece has a French title, and I don’t know this language beyond some little words and phrases or what I can figure out thanks to other languages that I know, I have no clue what the title means exactly.

Delyth Jenkins & Angharad Jenkins – “Sosban Fach” (Little Saucepan).

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Today I have a strange little Welsh folk tune for you, which also happens to be one of the most popular (if not the very most popular) Welsh folk song currently, and, interestingly also a sort of Welsh rugby anthem. I say interestingly because it’s actually very gloomy and minor so it’s kind of funny that anyone would sing something like this after a victory. πŸ˜€ But that’s what I like about this song! When I heard it for the first time, I was like: “What?! What is it actually about? Was it someone with dysthymia writing this or whatever?” (If you’re new and wondering, no, I’m not trying to laugh or trivialise dysthymia, I have it myself and know what it’s like, while having a lot of distance to things). It’s just so blue, and at the same time kind of nonsensical. But I grew to like it, because I like quirky stuff that doesn’t seem to make sense, because I like the gloomy and the grim. And it actually gets all better at the end, if you want to believe so, so it’s not all so very bad, but it gets better in a very realistic way and not everything gets better, so it’s not your classic happy ending. We have too many sickening, insipid, exalted or just plain boring and predictable songs focusing monothematically about love, that I think we should embrace the diversity that we still get to have in music.

I’d be most happy to be able to share with you my the very very most favourite version of this song (I actually haven’t found many versions of this song that I’d truly like, only three or so that seriously stand out to me and resonate with me) sung by Gwilym Bowen Rhys and played by him on autoharp, but it is not an actually published version and also is not really available online as a standalone recording so I’d have to cut it out and I’m not sure that’s even a right thing to do legally and I don’t want to do illegal things with music if I don’t absolutely need to. So I’ll share my second favourite, but it’s really very close and it’s also great. It is also an instrumental so you don’t get to enjoy the gloomy text, but I’ll share the translation with you.

 

Mary-Ann has hurt her finger,

And David the servant is not well.

The baby in the cradle is crying,

And the cat has scratched little Johnny.

A little saucepan is boiling on the fire,

A big saucepan is boiling on the floor,

And the cat has scratched little Johnny.

Little Dai the soldier,

Little Dai the soldier,

Little Dai the soldier,

And his shirt tail is hanging out.

Mary-Ann’s finger has got better,

And David the servant is in his grave;

The baby in the cradle has grown up,

And the cat is β€˜asleep in peace’.

A little saucepan is boiling on the fire,

A big saucepan is boiling on the floor,

And the cat is β€˜asleep in peace’.

I was wondering what was the deal with the “little Dai the soldier” and what was he doing there, but apparently it could be just a sort of mistake that has evolved over the years and in fact the “soldier” could have more to do with “soldering” rather than an actual soldier. He also seems to be left out in many versions I’ve heard.

The version I want to share with you is played by the fabulous mother and daughter duo – Delyth and Angharad Jenkins. – Delyth is the mother and plays the harp absolutely gloriously, and Angharad is a very talented fiddler, who is also part of a Welsh folk band Calan. The two ladies often perform under the name D&A, but for this piece they seem to have kept their actual names. Also this piece gets more cheerful by the end so I thought it would be better to share it with you in case all these miseries at oncemade made you feel too intensely blue.