Gwilym Bowen Rhys “Y Gwydr Glas” (The Blue Glass) & Mared Williams “Gwydr Glas”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I chose to share with you two versions of a traditional folk song in Welsh. As is often the case with me, I just couldn’t decide for one because I think they’re both great each in its own way and also that it will be cool to have more than just one version so that you can compare them for yourselves and see which one speaks to you more.

The first one comes from Gwilym Bowen Rhys and it’s the final track from his debut albumm “O Groth Y Ddaear” (From The Earth’s Womb). As is often the case with folk songs like this, they often have a lot of tunes associated with them and their lyrics can vary. Gwilym decided to go with a less commonly known melody, the last recording of which, before his, was from the 1950’s. I really like the minimalism of his interpretation.

The second version – by Mared Williams – whom you may recall as a vocalist in the Welsh rock band Y Trwbz whose music I’ve shared on here a few times (both Gwilym and Mared are quite mind-blowingly versatile whenn it comes to musical genres) also appeared on her debut album, however in the video I’m sharing with you she sings it from her home. It has the more common melody and is a bit longer, but I got the English translation of the lyrics for you from

Gwilym’s website

so it doesn’t include the additional verses in Mared’s version, which is a pity because from what I understand from them, that’s where the things get more interesting and captivating, but I don’t feel fully capable of translating them myself just by ear without at least looking at the lyrics and I can’t find these verses anywhere. It has a bit of a jazzy feel as a lot of her solo music does which makes it really interesting.

I think it’s cool that while this is such a very traditional song, I guess both these versions could be quite easily digestible to people who aren’t really into folk, or that’s how it seems to me, although I’m probably not very objective since I’m very much into Celtic folk so it’s just me trying to put myself in other people’s shoes really. 😀

Just as a fun trivia sort of thing, the “glas” in the title doesn’t mean glas, it means blue. 😀 I guess it could be confusing for people since the title means The Blue Glass. Actually, the Welsh word glas can also mean other colours, I’ve come across this word also being used for green, grey and silver. The blue glass in the title, from what I read, most likely refers to the window panes which used to be bluish green.

Here is the English translation:

 

If my love comes here tonight to knock on the blue glass

Give him a seemly answer, don’t answer him crossly,

That the girl isn’t home and her good will isn’t in the house,

A young lad from the next parish has taken her away.