Celyn Llwyd Cartwright – “Paid â Phoeni” (Don’t Worry).

Hi people! 🙂

Earlier this month, I shared with you a song from this year’s Welsh-language singing competition Cân I Gymru, and today I want to share with you a song from last year’s Câ n I Gymru, by a singer whom I really like and had actually wanted to feature on here some time earlier but somehow it never happened. Her name is Celyn Llwyd Cartwright, she is a student at University of Wales Trinity St. David and used to be one of the members of Côr Glanaethwy (the choir at Ysgol Glanaethwy which is a Welsh drama school in Bangor). She is incredibly talented and has a very warm, beautiful voice, does well both more choral and more pop/folk pieces. And so, in my opinion she is suited perfectly for a soothing, reassuring and calming song like this, because while her voice can be strong, it can also be very soft. I hope you enjoy this piece. 🙂

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

Hey people! 🙂

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. 😀 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 ‘asleep in peace’.

A little saucepan is boiling on the fire,

A big saucepan is boiling on the floor,

And the cat is ‘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.

Blodau Papur – “Synfyfyrio” (Daydream).

Hey guys! 🙂

You might remember that I’ve shared some of the music of one very talented and extremely musically versatile, young singer from north Wales – Alys Williams. – I genuinely believe she can excel at any kind of music if she sets her mind to it, as she has a great voice, is very expressive and just knows how to do music. I’ve heard her covering artists like Adele, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling etc. (on the Voice), collaborating with electronic musician Ifan Dafydd and some other electronic projects on a few great tracks, singing with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, acapella, more jazzy/rocky kind of stuff, folk, pop and what not. My Mum says that that’s what characterises a good artist, that they can play/sing any kind of music. I generally tend to disagree and think there are more important criteria, but in this case, it’s totally true! I really love her voice, how it’s slightly smoky but that her high registers are also great and how much feeling but also skill she puts in everything she sings. And I love her Welsh accent in English (that I love her singing Welsh too is obvious I guess, isn’t it?).

So today is the time for sharing another song featuring Alys’ vocals. Some time ago, she has established her own band called Blodau Papur, which means paper flowers. Aside from her, there are other musicians popular on the Welsh-language music scene that the band consists of – that is Osian Williams who is the frontman of the band Candelas, and the members of the band Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog. – I really like their music.

But this song is probably my favourite. If I have the correct information, the original performers of this are the band Big Leaves (formerly called Beganifs but they changed their name after a concert promoter in the Netherlands misheard it as Big Leaves 😀 ), or that at least seems to be the most popular version and the one I have heard first, I don’t know of any others. The Big Leaves version is fair enough, more indie-ish, but I have much stronger feelings for this one, hence I’m sharing only this.

Bob Delyn A’r Ebillion – Comin Abergwesyn (Abergwesyn Common).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have another Welsh, acoustic folk song for you, from a very renowned Welsh-Breton band, performing in both native languages of these regions, who have greatly influenced what we know as contemporary Welsh folk music scene. I don’t like all of their music as I just don’t always feel it but I like this reflective song.

The band’s name means Every Harp and the Pegs (I assume the pegs as in in a harp). I’ve heard the name Bob Delyn A’r Ebillion here and there for years, but never really actively listened to them until relatively recently, perhaps a year or so ago. And, funnily enough, it was even later that I realised what their name actually means, even though I knew the meaning of each of these words except for ebillion. But I was sure that what it must mean is that the guy who is the frontman of the group is called Bob Delyn (perhaps some unconscious association with Bob Dylan, lol) and the Ebillion must be how the other members call themselves for some reason. Only a lot later I read what it actually means and was totally stunned how could I not get it! 😀 The actual frontman of the band is called Twm Morys.

The song I want to share with you is about the beauty of Welsh landscapes and nature, and more exactly about

Abergwesyn Common

in county Powys in south Wales. Here it is:

Blanche Rowen & Mike Gulston – “Bugail Yr Hafod” (Shepherd From The Hafod).

Here’s another Welsh duo I’d like to introduce to you guys, a more folksy one. They both sing, traditional Welsh language music with the accompaniment of a guitar, and are a brand new discovery for me. I love this particular tune a lot, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it in the past in someone else’s performance that I liked even better, but I have no idea who it was, and Blanche Rowen does a really good job too, as here it’s only her singing. I don’t really like the voice timbres like hers but overall she’s very expressive and talented and that’s what counts the most, I think, at least it counts the most in this particular case, haha.

I was curious what hafod means, because I saw this word in a lot of traditional music and believed that it must have something to do with haf (summer), but wasn’t sure what exactly it means. Now I’ve checked it out and, according to Wikipedia

hafod

is a Welsh word referring to the seasonal cycle of transhumance – the movement of livestock and people from a lowland winter pasture at the main residence (Welsh hendre) to a higher summer pasture from roughly May through October.

Intriguing… Okay, so now that we know what it means, and it makes more sense, here’s the beautiful song. I really hope I’ll some day be able to find the version that I originally loved so much.

Song of the day (2nd October) – Ben Hamer & Rhianna Loren – “Dawnsio’n Rhydd” (Dance Freely).

Hey people! 🙂

I haven’t shared any music with you in ages! But recently, I’ve learnt about a lot of new music, and among it is also a whole lot of new Welsh music. This time, I want to share with you a song that appeared in this year’s Cân I Gymru (A Song For Wales) competition, which took place in late February. This duo didn’t turn out to be winners, probably because their actual Cân I Gymru performance was rather mediocre in my humble opinion, and, while the song itself is very nice, there were some really stunning competitors who at least to me felt like they had more of a memorable potential, but still just like I said it’s very nice and so I’m sharing it today with you.

I’ve no idea who Ben Hamer is, but I know that Rhianna Loren is an actress and played in a very popular Welsh-language TV series Pobol Y Cwm (People Of The Valley). She hasn’t made any more music though, at least not under her own name that I’d know of, and I wonder whether perhaps she will in the future.

Because the WP people are being really obtrusive with the block editor, those of us who don’t like it for all sorts of reasons have to find workarounds to make blogging still work for us. I am considering writing more of my posts via email, although in the past I’ve always shared music with you via the WordPress website in the classic editor as it can embed videos from YouTube or music from Spotify/Soundcloud easier. In this post I am going to try embed the link to the song via my email client. Just letting you know in case it’s going to be a failure and if something is wrong with the link or it doesn’t display correctly for you, now you know why and you can check back in a minute and I’ll have it fixed.

Sheesh, didn’t work! 🙍‍♀️😡😡😡 Well, here’s the link.

Alys Williams & Cherddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig Y BBC – “Pan Fo’r Nos Yn Hir” (When The Night Is Long).

Hey people! 🙂

I haven’t posted Welsh music in ages! SO I thought I’d post something finally today. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might remember Alys Williams, I posted a few songs by her already some time ago. I really like her, how versatile musically is, I love her Welsh accent when she sings in English, I love her voice, how strong it is but can also be very sensitive, she’s just great! She easily finds herself in rock, jazz, pop, indie, electronica and folk, and probably other genres too only I’ve never heard it.

This time we’ll be admiring Alys in folk music.

Pan Fo’r Nos Yn Hir is a song written by Ryan Davies – a composer very well-known in Wales, another very versatile type as he also was a playwright, radio presenter, singer, actor etc. – This song was also played at his funeral. It seems to be quite well liked as I’ve heard quite a lot of renditions of it, but Alys’ is most definitely my favourite, I actually really really love it. In this particular version that I chose, she is accompanied by Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig Y BBC (also known by the uninitiated as BBC National Orchestra Of Wales or BBC NOW).

I’ve also found a translation, which was written by Irene Ryan-Davies, so I’m sharing it with you as well.

  When the night is long
__and the dawn is far away
Battling through the long hours
__without an hour’s sleep
Fighting, tossing and turning
__through the great, long hours
Without seeing the close of yesterday
__nor the end of my journey
Then through the black darkness
__I see your face
I remember the romance
__the eyelid closes
When the night is long.

Then through the black darkness
__I see your face
And fear doth retreat,
__dread disappears
When the night becomes day.

Song of the day – Casi & The Blind Harpist – “Dyffryn” (Valley) & “Rooted”.

Casi Wyn, also known simply as Casi, or as Casi & The Blind Harpist which is her solo project, is a fabulous Welsh folk-pop singer from north Wales, Bangor more exactly, who sings both in English and Welsh (and has such a delighthful north Welsh accent in English!). I first heard her, quite unsurprisingly, on BBC Radio Cymru, although as for this particular song it’s something I’ve discovered only some weeks ago thanks to the online radiostation called Cymru FM. I’ve always liked Casi’s music, the way that she blends folk and pop influences, her very clear and bright voice, and as I said her Welsh accent as well. This piece is a bit more electronic than most of Casi’s music that I have listened to, but I like it just as much anyway.

It has two versions – a Welsh and English one – though they’re not literally the same of course as that would be difficult to achieve in music and I suppose the Welsh version is the original one. – I much prefer the Welsh version of this song, probably because it feels somewhat richer and it just sounds better in Welsh in this particular case. As I said their lyrics differ a bit, and I am not able to make a literal English translation of “Dyffryn” for you as I don’t understand everything perfectly and there are no lyrics of it online that I could help myself with, but the general feel of those lyrics is very much the same as with the English as far as I can tell. Here are both versions, hope you enjoy. 🙂

 

Meinir Gwilym – “Gwallgo” (Crazy).

Hi people! 🙂

Here’s another song by Meinir Gwilym I want to share with you. It is Zofijka’s favourite, and the first song I’ve heard from her, on Radio Cymru! Zofijka says it’s very funny, and she understands strange things in the lyrics, and now actually whenever I hear this song it makes me think of her.

Meinir Gwilym – “Ar Hyd Y Nos” (All Through The Night).

Maybe you guys remember when I posted some Meinir Gwilym’s songs months ago? I guess it might have even been last year. Anyway. She has much more great music than that. So, as it is late evening here, I thought I’d share this sweet, beautiful lullaby, which you may or may not know, I guess it’s pretty popular and has had some English versions. I am a sucker for very beautiful, Celtic-themed lullabies, and this one makes my brain melt. I’m not including the lyrics since they are in the video.

Mei Emrys – “Glaw Mis Awst” (August Rain).

So, here’s another song by Mei Emrys. Probably my favourite from his album “Llwch”. And, a little bit of topic, did you know that mis (which means month in Welsh, and is used before the name of every month) is pronounced like Mish (MEESH) in south Wales?! I’m learning north Welsh, so it took me a while to realise that, but since I know that, I always say mish, not mis. 😀 Perhaps it’s inconsistent or weird but it feels like the only right thing to do for my brain. OK, so here’s the song.

Mei Emrys – “Brenhines Y Llyn Du” (Queen Of The Black Lake).

Hey guys! 🙂

I think I haven’t posted much Welsh music lately, not as much as I used to. So I’m going to share with you this song by Mei Emrys, and perhaps a few more in the near future. He is a Welsh singer-songwriter, whose music, as many other artists’, I discovered thanks to the online Welsh radiostation called Cymru FM, which plays mostly music, and exclusively Welsh language music (apart from a track here and there in Cornish or Breton that I’ve caught occasionally). He does kinda rock music, or maybe it’s pop rock, something along these lines. And I quite like many of his songs.

Song of the day (16th August) – Yr Angen – “Nawr Mae Drosto” (Now It’s Over).

I haven’t posted any songs from this Welsh indie rock band I love, even though I still love them very much. So here’s another song from them, I guess this is the one that has been their most famous song in Wales – “Nawr Mae Drosto”.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd” (Gentle moon, colour of the day).

Oh my! I just couldn’t wait to share with you guys something from this album! I was talking about it some time last month, well I guess around the beginning of May, it was released on May 1st. But as you can see it took a while because it’s only available on the streaming services since yesterday so although I have the album since as soon as I got to know it was released, only now I can share something with you. In a way that’s actually good though because I could familiarise myself with the whole album, with my music crushes it always takes me loads of time to wholely satisfy my musical cravings when they release something new and I always want to know it thoroughly and from all the possible angles.

I am really so, so impressed with this album! I wrote about it on my blog already earlier so I won’t be repeating myself but it just made me fall into pieces the first time I listened to it, so fascinated, engrossed, bewitched and just full of emotions I was, and even though I listened to all the songs and the album as a whole for many times already it still has the  power over me, and I’m listening to it right now as well. It’s always hard to pick something you think is the best or that you love the most from things of which you love all, but I wonder whether it’s not the best album of Gwilym so far in my ranking, or whether it would be if I had a ranking. 😀 I am just so happy that my current music crush is so artistically fertile and unlike all my previous music crushes I am actually able to thoroughly celebrate all the joys that come with an appearance of a new album. 😀

This new album is called “Arenig”, which is in reference to Arenig Fawr – a mountain in Snowdonia in North Wales, and also the title track of this album is a poem written and read by Gwilym’s great uncle – Euros Bowen – about this mountain, which is a really beautiful poem. It’s hard to believe for me in a way that this beautiful album is an effect of improvisation, but that’s apparently how it is. I know it’s often so that things come out much better when improvised in music, but it makes me think that they all – Gwilym and all the people who contributed to the album – must be remarkably skillful improvisers, which I think is fairly rare. Talking about the contributors, there is Patrick Rimes on violin, he plays in the Welsh folk band called Calan which I also like, brilliant harpist from Scotland but with Welsh roots and who also speaks Welsh Gwen MaIri (I love her harp skills 😂 ), and they both also played on Gwilym’s first album “O Groth Y Ddaear”, and there is also Marit Fält, who plays viola, and, if I understood correctly, (I suppose I did given her Scandi-sounding name), she’s from Norway, so there’s even a little bit of a Nordic accent here! 🙂

I had a real problem with what I am going to choose as the first piece from this album to share with you, I even thought maybe I’ll just link to the entire album and maybe write some extensive review or something but felt too shy to do such a grandiose thing as seriously publicly review one of my crushes’ album, I always write down my reviews of albums I love for myself and I relish in doing so but never published that anywhere. 😀 But after some deep thinking I came to the conclusion that the most beautiful piece on this album for me, regarding the melody, the performance and the lyrics is “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd”, which is a traditional song, though the second verse is known to be written by John Ceiriog Hughes. It’s incredibly evocative, magnetic and enchanting, and just don’t know how else to describe it adequately. 😀

The thing I really like about traditional music, one of many things, especially from Gwilym, and there are also a couple other Celtic people I can think of right now, is the words. I mean, when I was listening to this album before I read the lyrics and translations, I understood some bits and pieces, it wasn’t very much, but I could still thoroughly enjoy music because that’s how it is with folk music very often – even if it is in the most out there language you can still understand the language of music itself and connect with it almost as deeply as through the actual language. But when I read the lyrics, I realised that there are not only plenty of new, enticing, luscious, colourful, magical Welsh words for me to discover, (I didn’t even know that moon is lloer, I only knew the word lleuad for moon in Welsh but it seems like they have two! I now can’t stop wondering what’s the difference, will have to do some research after I write this post, I lthink loer sounds even better), but also a fair handful of English words in the translations that I didn’t know previously. I just love such discoveries! And all those linguistic findings also satisfied my synaesthesia very much, so it’s not only the music. The same was with the previous album “Detholiad O Hen Faledi I”, well actually there were even more new English words to me. That shows how sophisticated folk music can be at times, even if it might not always seem so. 🙂

OK, end of my elaborate. Here’s the translation of the song, which I’ve taken from

Gwilym’s website,

and below is the song, although it’s on Spotify, so very sadly only those of you who have Spotify will be able to listen to it whole, I didn’t see it on Youtube or anywhere that would be a bit more inclusive.

 

Gentle moon the colour of day,

in pain and in sorrow, I’m in a sad daydream.

From splendid astonishment,

my heart is so weak I shan’t live much longer.

When I saw your face you wounded me like a sword,

I received an injury without realising it,

tonight I’m ready for my grave.

Oh good gentle goddess, hear this injured man,

save my life, lovely moon the colour of summer.

Some people’s interests lie in material things,

but on the purity of a fair moon

I gave my whole intentions, one and all.

If I could only have you, I would confidently proclaim

that I had more than enough wealth, pure girl.

Gentle moon the colour of day,

I see your light, you with a pleasing face.

From life to the grave, you are my queen,

fair warm farced one.

You are my fire, the inspiration to my song,

the heavens never did behold

through the light of the sun’s cycle,

such a wonderful sight.

I raise up my head, and look to the skies,

shine upon me, white moon the colour of snow.

Some hold the moon responsible

for pulling the threads and strings of the seas,

the ebb and flow of the tides in and out.

But you, my love, are responsible

for pulling the strings of my heart,

gentle moon the colour of day.

Song of the day (4th May) – Yr Angen – “Boi Bach Skint” (Little Skint Boy).

Hi people! 🙂

Here is another song from the band Yr Angen that I want to share with you on my blog, this one is finally on Youtube so all of you can hear it, regardless if you have that weird thing called Spotify or not.

Bwncath – “Cân Lon” (A Joyful Song).

Hi people! 🙂

So, as I promised, I’m bringing you another song by this year’s “Cân I Gymru” winner – Elidyr Glyn – or actually his band called Bwncath. This is a beautiful song, however it’s a bit of an enigma to me honestly! As you’ll be able to hear (hope that you’ll be able to hear at least a bit even if you don’t have Spotify, it’s annoying how it works that if you don’t have it you can only listen to an excerpt of a song) it’s actually a very sad song, both regarding the music, and, as far as I can tell with my lame Welsh skills, the lyrics as well, it even says “Cân o dristwch ydi hon” if I got it right, which means “This is a song of sadness”. Yet it’s called a joyful song. Irony or what?! Seriously, I guess that there just might be something key in the lyrics that I don’t get. Because at the beginning he sings “Mae gen i gânau o lawn llon…” (I have songs full of joy) or something like that, and I guess later on there is something like that this one is different. Well yeah, figuring out the lyrics while not being fluent in a language, that can be very interesting at times. 😀 But in any case, I love this song, and if there is indeed something ironic, I like that a lot too, I like some irony in music, like when you have a very cheerful melody and tragically depressing words. And if it’s not irony, maybe when my Welsh gets better I’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s the point here.

Elidyr Glyn – “Fel Hyn ‘Da Ni Fod”(We Are Like This) [?]

Hi guys. 🙂

I’ve just recently learnt who is this year’s winner of Can I Gymru (Song For Wales)! But first, most of you probably don’t know what Can I Gymru is, so I’ll just tell you that it is a song competition that takes place in Wales each year, and the contestants sing only in Welsh, so the aim is popularisation of Welsh language music, and growing of Welsh language music scene. I know about Can I Gymru only since I’ve started learning Welsh seriously, and have never actually watched it, but last year I followed it very enthusiastically. This year was a bit diferent because I missed most of it at the time it was happening because of a few things, and I caught up just recently on who actually is the winner. I haven’t heard all contestants, but of those who I have heard, I also like the winner and his song the most. So, the winner was Elidyr Glyn, whom I already knew from his band called Bwncath (which apparently means buzzard), and I like this band a lot. So I just looked if I had actually shared with you anything by Bwncath before, and turns out that I hadn’t. Therefore I decided that I will share some of their music with you in the next couple of days.

But today, I’ll share that song which Elidyr Glyn sang at Can I Gymru. It’s called “Fel Hyn ‘Da Ni Fod”. I’ve been a bit frustrated with my Welsh lately and my patchy understanding of it, and I was also kinda frustrated that I didn’t really understand much of the song, but if I get the title right at least, it would be something like We Are Like This, or That’s Who We Are, or something like this. I can only understand some little bits and pieces of it, which sucks, I have a theory what it could possibly be about, but because I’m not sure and my Welsh is still in development, I guess I won’t share it in case it’s not true, and I can’t give you any context for the song because literally all that I was able to find was this song on Youtube and the info in different places that this is the song that won Can I Gymru and that Elidyr Glyn composed it himself.

but still, the song is really great.