Plu – Fyddai’m Yn Ddiarth (I Won’t Be Strange).

Hi. 🙂

Today I have a special song for you, and let me elaborate a bit more on my impressions related to it. Well it won’t be an elaborate, but a bit longer post than usual song of the day posts. 🙂

I like how it oftentimes happens that blogging, or more exactly, preparing to write a post, makes me actually think a bit more in depth.

I realised that I haven’t posted anything by my current music crush Gwilym Bowen Rhys in the song of the day series, neither by himself or one of the bands he has collaborated with, which is a terrible neglect given how important all my music crushes are to me, so that, as I often said it before, the word crush in reference to them feels a bit ridiculous but I suppose there’s nothing more adequate in English.

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you a song by the band Plu – which consists of the siblings Elan, Marged and Gwilym, and which I introduced to you before. I absolutely love their often very otherworldly sounds. Elan is the main vocalist in Plu but there are a few songs that Gwilym sings and this is one of them. I love both Elan and Marged’s voices but obviously since Gwilym is my crush I particularly love the songs he sings solo, and I love how he’s great on the instrumental side as well, with all the string instruments he plays in Plu, it’s brainmelting. 😀

But then, I started to wonder. What does actually the title of this song mean? You know, usually, when someone is your music crush, you want, and should, know everything possible about their music, their lyrics etc. and that’s just the minimum. But, things look slightly more complicated if your music crush sings in Cymraeg (Welsh), which is such an uncommon language that people rarely are aware it exists, not to mention music in this language, and you’re just a bit more than a beginner in this language. It’s certainly not a norm or even common things for Welsh language songs’ lyrics to be in the Internets, not to mention their English translations. And it’s not always that easy to figure out the lyrics without having them written down, particularly if you’re just a little bit more than a beginner, in any language, right?

I sometimes am able to figure out the lyrics or some big part of it, but that’s not a usual thing. So, if I have completely no idea, I usually just enjoy the music itself, and the sound of the language, and sometimes it enlightens me after the months of listening to a particular song as for what it is about. And I never particularly wondered what this one is about. Or rather, yes, I did, but it wasn’t something incredibly important for me.

And so now I had a dilemma and realised I can’t even figure out the title of this song. I felt my linguistic self-esteem dropping. Well actually there was just one word, I didn’t understand, but it seemed very significant. I knew what fyddai’m yn (I won’t) means, but what puzzled me was what the check does ddiarth (or actually diarth) means.

It took me a while to find out, its meaning and everything seemed to point that diarth means – yes, it means strange. Hmm, and that made me wonder even more. Does that mean “I Won’t Be Strange” then? That sounds, well, strange! And very enigmatic for a song title, doesn’t it?

So I started to wonder, what it can be about. What’s so bad about being strange? I actually like it (mostly), if I wouldn’t, it’s doubtful I would learn Welsh language or listen to Welsh music, not to mention all of my other quirks, be them linguistic or not. 😀 I always thought this song is more or less about love, so I started to make up with more or less crazy ideas how being strange can disturb one’s relationships with his loved ones, and how to change it. 😀 I was so intrigued what the meaning behind the title could be, that I listened to the song for a few times, focusing solely on the language and finding as many familiar words as possible. I’ve found quite a few of them, but not many really consistent phrases so it was still hard for me to figure out all the other words which meanings I didn’t know and fill in the gaps I had. However it was funny to come up with various ideas as for what it could be about, and why it is bad to be strange.

I don’t know, maybe in the case of this song the word diarth has some different, more sophisticated meaning, anyway, it all got me very fascinated. And also, I think the word diarth sounds fabulous. And soo strange, in a way. I love it for some reason.

As for the song itself as I said it’s one of my most favourites by Plu, but it’s also one of my most favourites of all the songs I know sung by Gwilym.

I hope you’ll enjoy it as well. 🙂 It’s a pity though it’s on Spotify and not somewhere else that would be fully accessible for more people to listen fully, but that’s life.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys ft. Gwyneth Glyn – Galargan (Lament).

Hi! 🙂

Time for something else from my current crush Gwilym Bowen Rhys. I was very interested what’s it about for a long time until I discovered the English lyrics on Gwilym’s website. As I’ve found out somewhere else, the lyrics are very old, originally it was a poem written by Edward Richard in 18th century and it had thirty something verses. Gwilym made a song of it combining it with the melody of an old Welsh Christmas carol, and no, it’s not 30 something verses long on his album, just six. 😀 Although it could be interesting to hear it in the original length.

It is a dialogue between two people, one person is grieving after the death of his loved one, and the other is consoling him. On Gwil’s album this other person’s part  is sung by incredibly expressive Gwyneth Glyn, who is a well-known Welsh language singer. To be honest, I didn’t always liked Glyn’s music, dunno, just couldn’t convince myself to her for a long long time, although can’t say why exactly, she has a nice vocal and everything, but just didn’t resonate with me, but recently I did convince myself to her and I think this song has helped a lot with it too.

What else I like about this piece is how it’s written, as I read it in Welsh there were so many intriguing words and the English in the translation sounds so archaic and slightly pathetic, can’t say much about the original text because my Welsh is too poor so I am not able to fully apreciate poetry yet, just can try to get out the words or phrases I do understand or look for some intriguing ones. I also like that the dead woman’s name is Gwenllian, it is one of my most favourite Welsh feminine names.

It is so stunning and expressive in Gwilym’s and Gwyneth’s interpretation.

Here are the English lyrics:

All my days will be without jollity from now on
For Gwenllian’s been placed in the grit and gravel.
The longing I have is like daggers under my ribs
And my brow has become grey
Though she fell into the cold black earth
She will arise like sunshine, joyously from her ashes
For those who turn to him, life doesn’t wither
In their father’s blissful arms
Oh how human nature presses, despite my knowledge
I weep for grief and longing for her
My bruised heart, so painful,
Breaks and splinters despite these words.
In old age and in youth, in health and in sickness
people often move from this life to the grave,
No amount of devices, of wealth or watchfulness
Can keep us, or even the gentry, from this fate.
My days are spinning upwards
While the night draws near to hang my head
There is one I don’t have, I weep in a cold bed
And I’m falling ill, hear my sigh.
It’s raining in Berwyn valley and the shadows are lengthening May my cottage be the end to your journey tonight.
I’ll give you some hearty turnip soup, some cheese
And buttermilk immediately.

As for the music video, the titles of Gwilym’s songs on Youtube seem to be a little messed up, so the title of this one is wrong and confused with a different Gwilym’s song, but the song itself is right, just in case you’d be confused what it is.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Da Gennyf Air O Ganu”.

Hi guys! 🙂

Time for another song by my crush Gwilym, from that album I’ve been mentioning recently – “Rhwng Y Môr A’r Mynydd” (Between the sea and the mountain) which is a collaboration of various artists from Wales and is entirely in Welsh. There are two songs of Gwilym’s on this album, the one I showed you a few days ago – “Yr Hogyn Pren” (The wooden boy) and this one – “Da Gennyf Air O Ganu”. I also told you how I admire his musical versatility – how he can sing kind of raucorously and fiercely such songs like “Yr Hogyn Pren”, but also things more rocky/garrage-like, like with his band Y Bandana, he can also do a bit psychedelic and otherworldly music with another band he’s a part of, which is Plu, and also kind of sophisticated, idyllic and moving folk music like on his debut solo album. And this song I want to show you today – “Da Gennyf Air O Ganu” – is of this last kind. I love when people are so versatile, and I particularly like it in music. I’ve heard this song in a slightly different arrangement before the album was released in Lisa Gwilym’s show on BBC Radio Cymru, and that version was maybe even more expressive. I even thought about posting that version from Radio Cymru, but I love them both so much so literally couldn’t decide. 😀 The thing that finally helped me make the decision was that if I’d choose the radio version, I’d have to cut it out from the programme, which would take me much more time, plus on the computer I am now I don’t even have a decent app for sound editing. So yeah I chose the album version and I put it in my Dropbox and will remove it after a month. I just love it how any kind of music he does is so expressive. I’m curious about your opinion. 🙂

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n449selznj3rlqt/01-014-Da%20Gennyf%20Air%20o%20Ganu.mp3?dl=0

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – Yr Hogyn Pren (The wooden boy).

Hi guys! 🙂

About a week ago, i was very thrilled to see on Twitter that my current music crush – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – is collaborating on a new album with various other artists. The album is called “Rhwng Môr A Mynydd” (Between sea and mountain), was produced by the most or at least one of the most significant Welsh language music labels Sain Records, and released on 6th April. After having crushes like Enya – who works on her albums very surely and diligently, but also very slowly – Declan Galbraith – who at the time when my crush on him was full-blown suspended his career for quite a few years – and Cornelis Vreeswijk –
who (although very creative and artistically fertile) has passed away years before my birth – it is nice to have a crush on someone this active and hearing something new from him even more than yearly. It is really thrilling. Needless to say I bought the album almost immediately and, although there were only two Gwil’s songs – carved out an hour from my recently very busy schedule to review the album just for myself. There were good, better and worse pieces (I’ve known most of them before, ha! 😀 ), but overall I enjoyed it a lot, even just because of Gwilym’s part, if not anything else.

As for Gwilym’s songs, I’ve also heard them before, but in different arrangements. A year ago (on my birthday, yay!) he played them in Lisa Gwilym’s programme on BBC Radio Cymru, with his friend Gethin Griffiths, it sounded so good and I was silently hoping to see them released.

The song I want to show you is called “Yr Hogyn Pren” and (I guess) originally made by Tebod Piws. While I’m not crazy about neither Tebod Piws’ music nor his version of this song, I really do like Gwilym’s.

I’ve showed you a few songs by him already – his own, and with his rock band Y Bandana, and with more psychedelic Plu and Bendith – so if you’ve seen them you can see he’s very versatile (all my crushes are!). And what I like the most about his music… well, I don’t know whether it’s what I like the most, there’s so much to like about it, but one thing I like a lot about his music is how rich his possibilities and musical interests are. You can hear him in lovely, gentle, sophisticated folk tunes, like from his own album, then you can hear the band Plu of which he’s one of the members – with their music balancing somewhere between the worlds – then the band Y Bandana – with their garrage-styled, catchy songs and Gwilym’s rockish vocals, and then in tunes like this – kind of fierce, mischievous folk. That’s a huge diversity, innit?

I’ll show you Gwilym’s second song from this album later on, it’s more of the sophisticated/lyrical kind. Another artist that caught my attention immediately and that I’ve NEVER heard about before listening to this album is Magi Tudur, and I’ll be also showing you her music some time in future, as it is definitely worth exposing.

Because the album isn’t available online, or at least not yet, I’ll put it in Dropbox and remove after a month.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tkfp9x9g73j8rhs/01-006-Yr%20Hogyn%20Pren.mp3?dl=0

Gwilym Bowen Rhys & Cpt. Smith – “Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd” (Girls doing each other’s hair).

Hi! 🙂

I’d like to continue this Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci for one more day if you don’t mind, but this time it’ll be a cover, or actually, as it is written in the description of the Youtube video with it “a new version” of Gorky’s song.

It’s brilliant, made by my current musical crush – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – and Cpt. Smith. I love it. And I love the original version too, it’s a complete masterpiece, but, since Gwilym’s my crush and he has covered it, I thought I should be loyal and share his version. 😀

Song of the day (1st March) – Alaw ft. Gwilym Bowen Rhys – Lisa Lân (Fair Lisa).

Hi! 🙂

Yesterday it was Dydd Gwyl Dewi (Saint David’s Day) in Wales, saint David is the patron saint of Wales, and so I thought the song for yesterday should be in Welsh, although pity I wasn’t able to post it on time.

This is definitely one of my most favourite songs (if not the most favourite) released last year. The band Alaw (alaw means melody in Welsh) is a folk band and they invited some guests for their last album “Dead Man’s Dance” and one of them was my current crush – Gwilym Bowen Rhys, who sings two songs on this album. Lisa Lân is a traditional Welsh love song, one of the first traditional Welsh songs I’ve ever heard and then learnt by heart just to improve my language skills when I didn’t have that much resources. My Swedish teacher told me to learn as many things as possible by heart in my target languages and in his opinion things like songs or poems are the best and I really think it has improved all of my languages more or less.

The first performance of this song I’ve heard was harp arrangement by Catrin Finch, then some others, many really great versions, but… Gwilym’s is just so stunning!!! When I first heard it I almost cried, so moved I was.

Because this tune is in Welsh I’ll share the English translations

as well, they’re from Wikipedia.

Literal translation:

 

I have loved you many times
Yes many an hour in prolonged tenderness
I have kissed you mysterious Lisa
And your company was better than honey.

My pure bough, my warm embrace
You are the purest in the world
You cause pain and anguish
And it is you who steals my life.

When I stroll during the day
My little heart becomes sad
On hearing the sound of the little birds
I feel great longing for fair Lisa.

When I stroll at nightfall
My little heart melts like wax
On hearing the sound of the little birds
I feel great longing for fair Lisa.

Lisa will you escort me
To place my body in black earth?
I hope you will come, my dear friend
To the graveside where I am going.

Great longing for Lisa Lân.
Great longing for Lisa Lân.

 

Poetic translation:

Full many a time I came to woo,
Oft, Lisa I came a courting you;
I kissed your lips when we did meet,
No honey ever was so sweet

My dainty branch, my only dear,
No woman comes your beauty near;
‘Tis you who with my passion play
‘Tis you who steals my life away

When I go walking through the day,
My lovesick heart will turn to clay,
And but to hear the small birds sing,
The longing to my soul will bring

When’er at eve I walk apart,
Like wax will melt my lovesick heart,
And but to hear the small birds sing,
The longing to my soul will bring

Ah, will you come to bid good-bye,
When in the earth my form must lie?
I hope you too will there be found,
When men shall lay me in the ground

The longing to my soul will bring
The longing to my soul will bring

It’

s a pity though it doesn’t exist on YT in album version, so that even those of you who don’t have Spotify could listen to it fully.

Song of the day – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Dod Dy Law”.

Hi! 🙂

Today’s song is another of those very exceptional ones for me. It’s mainly because Gwilym Bowen Rhys is my current musical crush and the next after mentioned before Cornelis Vreeswijk.

I got to know his music pretty soon I seriously started my journey with Welsh language and wanted to discover some Welsh music. At first I discovered him as a rock singer, ’cause he’s a former member of the Welsh rock band called Y Bandana, but he has also a big interest and talent for traditional music. He’s a member of the band called Plu (which means feathers), they make alt-folk kind of music, and he has also released his debut solo album almost two years ago.

This particular song isn’t from his album, but it is his solo performance for S4C, Welsh TV channel. As always with my crushes I had a big trouble choosing a song to show you, but since I listened to thsi one a lot recently, I decided for this one, I think it’s absolutely beautiful. I’ve also heard it in Sian James’ version and that one is also great.

It’s a traditional Welsh folk song called “Dod Dy Law” and he was performing it for a p programme called “Ffwrnes Gerdd” (Musical Furnace (I guess that’s how it should be translated)). Plus he also introduces himself and the song, so if you haven’t heard spoken Welsh language before, now you have a chance. I think you can get more of a language hearing it spoken than through music, especially if you haven’t had much contact with it before.

Hope you’ll enjoy this song as much as I do: