For today, I have for you a little traditional tune played by the great Welsh harpist Nansi Richards. This piece is also known under it’s English title – The Busy Bee of Gwent – and it honours Augusta Hall, Lady Llanover, whose bardic name was Gwenynen Gwent. She was a Welsh baroness, patron of Welsh arts who was very involved in preserving Welsh folk culture in the 19th century, but most notably invented the Welsh national costume.
Unfortunately, because SongWhip seems to be in a sulky mood today and doesn’t want to create links, or perhaps it stopped working as some foretold it would sooner or later, the only thing I have for you is a Spotify link, so people who don’t have Spotify will only be able to listen to a short fragment of this already short piece.
Today I have an interesting little polka piece (or should I say peas 😀 ) for you. I’ve read that it is originally Irish, but it is also known in the north of England, and obviously in Wales. But its history seems to be a bit tangled. Its Welsh title as you can see is Pwt ar y Bys, where pwt means something short or a little bit, so it’s supposed to be something short for the finger, and was apparently meant as a little exercise for harpists (though it’s not like it’s played only on the harp). Curiously, in England, this tune is known as Buttered Peas. The way it must have most likely happened is that some English folks heard it in Wales and heard that it’s called Pwt ar y Bys (poot are uh bees) and were like: “Eh? What? Aha, they’re saying buttered peas!” 😀 I’m not sure how Ireland is fitting into that picture, perhaps that bit of info I’ve got is incorrect, or perhaps it’s just the melody that originates from Ireland maybe some Welsh harpist came across it and “stole” it and gave it their own title.
Today I have a short harp tune for you from the Welsh harpist Nansi Richards or Telynores Maldwyn. This piece’s title refers to a castle called Castell Rhuthun, or Ruthin Castle in English, which is a medieval castle in the Vale of Clwyd near Ruthin, built by the brother of prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd – Dafydd. – This castle is now a hotel.
Yesterday we listened to a tune about the king, and today, it’s about the queen. This is also a Welsh piece, played by the Welsh harpist Nansi Richards, also known as Telynores Maldwyn, whom you’re probably already familiar with given that she appears on my blog quite regularly.
For today I chose to share with you another traditional Welsh tune played by the amazing late Welsh triple harpist and Celtic harpist Nansi Richards (aka Telynores Maldwyn). This is a lovely little waltz, which apparently is particularly often played on fiddle though I know no other recordings of it than this one. There’s also another tune that seems to have some association to this one though I never heard it before, it’s “Merch Megan” (Megan’s Daughter). That makes me wonder if there’s a tune dedicated to Megan herself and what Megan that was, though the latter would probably be difficult to find out, unless folk music experts and nerds bigger than myself know it and it’s just me who does not.
Today, let’s listen to the rendition of this Christian hymn played by the Welsh harpist Nansi Richards, otherwise known as Telynores Maldwyn. Its original, English title is “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and was written by Sarah F. Adams, with the melody composed by Lowell Mason. I found it interesting when I first heard this piece played by Nansi Richards that not only do I know it, as a hymn with this melody is also known in Polish Catholic church (don’t know how about the Catholic church in other countries) but even under more or less the same title as the Welsh version. I was later quite surprised to learn that the author of the lyrics, Sarah F. Adams, was actually a Unitarian, and while when I had a look to compare the English and Polish lyrics they’re quite different and the Polish ones are only loosely based on the original theme, it’s interesting that this hymn made its way here.
It feels quite late here for tunes like this, as it’s almost noon, but I still decided to share with you this beautiful piece performed by late Nansi Richards aka Telynores Maldwyn. It was composed by Dafydd Owen, aka Dafydd y Garreg Wen, also a Welsh harpist, who simply heard a lark singing one morning and got inspired to compose this. I’ve also seen that lyrics to this song exist, but all versions I’ve heard so far are instrumental.
It’s actually a bit weird that I haven’t shared anything from Nansi Richards before, giving how renowned and skilled a harpist she was. Nansi Richards was born in Wales in 1888 and was an expert both in terms of Welsh triple harp, and Celtic harp, and all the pedal harps as well. She is also known as The Queen of the Harp, or Telynores Maldwyn. To me, when reading about her, she generally sounds like someone who must have had bags of character and truly enjoyed what she was doing in life. She was appointed the Royal Harpist to Prince of Wales and held this title until her death in 1979.