Georgia Ruth – “Madryn”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Even though it’s summer already, and pretty hot over here, I thought we’d listen to a song from Georgia Ruth’s spring-filled album from two years ago called Mai (May). I don’t really know much about this piece, I don’t even know what, if anything, Madrynn means in Welsh, as my dictionary doesn’t know this word, but I like how this song sounds. 

Plu – “Nos Da Nawr” (Goodnight Now).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today, I have a lovely little children’s lullaby for you, from Plu’s album called Holl Anifeiliaid y Goedwig (All Animals of the Forest). As far as I can tell, this lullaby is about what various animals do before bedtime and how they prepare for sleep. 

Mared – “Y Drefn” (The Order).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today, I have a beautiful song for you, the title track from Mared Williams’ last year’s album, which was deemed Welsh-language Album of the Year and from which I’ve already shared several songs because it’s really cool and very versatile musically. Mared is also someone whom I don’t think I really need to introduce on here, but for any newbies to my blog out there and people who are green in Welsh-language music, she is a young singer from Conwy, who is great at everything from jazz through pop to folk, and also rock, as part of the band Y Trŵbz. I really like this acoustic piece, and decided to share a live version of it with you. 

Song of the day (21st June) – Siân James – “Y Llyn” (The Lake).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Here’s the song that I was supposed to share with you yesterday, by a Welsh singer, harpist and pianist Siân James, whose music appears fairly frequently on here. 

Y Bandana – “Cyffur” (Drug).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today I want to share with you a song from Y Bandana’s album Bywyd Gwyn. For any newbies out there, Y Bandana is, or rather was, a rock band from north Wales who wrote their songs  in Welsh, and the band consists of brothers Siôn (bass) and Tomos (keyboard) Owens, their cousin Gwilym Bowen Rhys (vocals and guitar) and his friend Robin Llwyd Jones (drums) and Gwilym, who is a solo artist now as well as member of an alt-folk group called Plu has been one of my faza peeps. While I don’t understand the entire lyrics of this song, I do understand enough to be able to figure out that it’s about being in love with someone so much that it has turned into an addiction, and the person who is the cause of this is fully aware of it. 

Nansi Richards – “Morfa Rhuddlan” (Marsh of Rhuddlan).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you an old Welsh tune, played by the Celtic and Welsh triple harpist Nansi Richards, whose music I’ve shared many times before on here. As the title suggests, this song is associated with a small town in North Wales called Rhuddlan, which is surrounded by marshland. It  commemorates battles that the Welsh fought with Mercians in 8th century in that area. 

Plu – “Llwynog Coch Sy’n Cysgu” (Red Fox is Sleeping).

   And for today I also chose a song that Gwilym Bowen Rhys has contributed to, ‘cause why not? It’s a song by the band Plu who surely are well-known to the more regular readers of my blog – the alt-folk sibling trio of Elan, Marged and Gwilym Rhys. – It is a nice little Welsh nursery rhyme or a lullaby, from their album Holl Anifeiliaid y Goedwig (All Animals of the Forest) with a very self-explanatory title as to what it is about. I really like their arrangement of it. I rarely translate Welsh songs for you myself as I still don’t feel as confident in this as I do with Swedish or even Norwegian, but (even though as you’ll find out this song has such extremely sophisticated and difficult lyrics) I was able to translate it for you, and, miraculously, my brain hasn’t even exploded as a result of such ultra-strenuous activity, yay! 

  Red Fox is sleeping
Red Fox is sleeping
Red Fox is sleeping
On the meadow.
Red Fox is dreaming
Red Fox is dreaming
Red fox is dreaming
On the meadow
Who is going to see
Who is going to see
Who is going to see
On the meadow?
A red eye is opening
A red eye is opening
A red eye is opening
On the meadow
Red fox is waking
Red fox is waking
Red fox is waking
On the meadow
Red fox is wandering
Red fox is wandering
Red fox is wandering
On the meadow
Red fox is tired
Red fox is tired
Red fox is tired
On the meadow
Red fox is sleeping
Red fox is sleeping
Red fox is sleeping
On the meadow

Song of the day (3rd June) – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Hogyn Gyrru’r Wedd” (The Ploughboy).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I’d like to share with you all one more song from Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ album Detholiad o hen Faledi I (Selection of Old Ballads I). This song is actually a translation from English, the original traditional English song is called The Farmer’s Boy. It is said to have been written by Charles Whitehead, the brother-in-law of the Reverend Thomas Fownes Smith who was a Baptist minister in Little Leigh in England and the song is allegedly based on Reverend Smith’s life, though it was popular all around England. It’s sung to the tune of the Napoleonic Wars song called Ye Sons of ALbion. The Welsh version was written by the poet Richard Davies Mynyddog. I like this version a lot more than the English one, both in terms of the lyrics, which feel a bit more evocative, and Gwilym’s interpretation. The translation below comes, as is usually the case with Gwilym’s songs on my blog, from Gwilym’s website.  Please keep in mind that, like I said, it’s Gwilym’s English translation of the Welsh translation, rather than the English original. I emphasise that because I’ve had quite a few confused non-Welsh speakers coming here and wondering about Welsh versions of English songs that I’ve shared on here and why the lyrics on my blog aren’t the same that they are familiar with. 🙂 

The sun it sinks over the hill
into the depths like some giant
When a frightful pale boy knocks
on the door of a big farmhouse.
He asks from ‘neath his sack
With his cheeks all grey;
“where can I earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy?
As a ploughboy?”

“There’s seven of us with my mother
And my father’s in a damp grave
And worse than this, me myself
Is the eldest of all seven,
I’ll do my part, despite my small size
And despite how grey my cheeks are,
If I can only earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy,
As a ploughboy.”

“If my help is not needed
May I have from you
Some shelter through the wet night
From the cold of the black winter.
After a long night I’ll look for work
So that my cheeks can be restored,
If I can only earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy
As a ploughboy”

Well the wife of the house lovingly said;
“Take him for goodness sake!”
“ Yes father!” says the daughter
With her tears flowing down.
“It’s a pity that there’s anyone now
Still wandering with grey cheeks”
If he could only earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy,
As a ploughboy.

The father and mother went before long
To Tan-y-Graig cemetery,
And the house became property of the lad
And the daughter became his wife.
In a pure home he sings a song
With gentle and healthy cheeks,
Remembering the day he came to the house
As a ploughboy
As a Ploughboy.


Gwilymm Bowen Rhys – “Er Fy Ngwaethaf” (Despite Myself).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Even though I’ve shared a song by Gwilym just a couple days ago, today I feel like sharing yet another one with you, this time round one with a  more contemporary feel to it lyrically. THis song comes from his album called Arenig, and while I absolutely love this album as a whole, this has to be one of my favourite songs on it, just after “Lloer Dirion Lliw’r Dydd” (Gentle Moon, Colour of the Day) and “Clychau’r Gog” (Bluebells). It was written by young Welsh poet ELis Dafydd, who I’m pretty sure is also from somewhere in the Caernarfon area, and the fact that the village of Brynrefail is mentioned here could indicate that too. The music to this poem was composed by Gwilym. Below is Gwilym’s translation of it. 

   A few names, a few songs,
a few fags that are looking for a flame,
a few shadows in the eyes of an old friend,
a few that I haven’t loved until they have gone.
 
A few sunrays that are hot on the back of my neck,
a few of the old faces in the mirror above the bar.
A few afternoons in empty carparks
with a girl from Brynrefail that’s escaping to Prague
 
A few old lads in the corner by themselves
who drink to health every Monday morning.
Whilst these things are there, I will be a slave
to every swallow between now and Summer

Y Trŵbz – “Tyrd Y Nôl” “Come Back”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Like yesterday, today I also have a Welsh song for you, but this time it’s a rock one, from the band called Y Trŵbz who’s been a regular in my song of the day series, because of one of my faza people, Jacob Elwy, being one of its founding members. This piece comes fromm their full-length debut album Yn Y Dechrau. 

 

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Cerdd Braich y Saint” (Song of Braich Y Saint).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today, let’s listen to a song from Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ first album in his Detholiad o hen Faledi (Selection of Old Ballads) series. This song was written by Robert Williams, also known as Robin Fawr o Fynytho around 1870. It’s written from the perspective of a farm-hand, who has been hired by a farmer from a place called Braich y Saint in Criciedd who initially makes a very good impression on his new employee, but eventually, as he starts working there, he turns out to be a very nasty and difficult boss. The translation below comes from Gwilym’s website. 

 

Old Cadwaladr came on his grey mare
From Cricieth to Pwllheli to hire four farm-hands
He came to me quite pleasantly, on his face, a big smile
And I signed up, thinking I’d get the kindest master in the world.

Early on Friday I started on my way
To serve in Eifionydd, leaving Llŷn behind
To a lovely little place called Braich-Y-Saint,
I was there a few days, It won’t pay to say how long.

The slopes where steep an the scythe was blunt
And old Cadwaladr was a very difficult man indeed,
He’d rise in the morning with his cheeks full of wind
Shouting ‘wake up boys! It’s a quarter past five!’

After the boys had risen and taken the horses to water
And had returned, they’d eat flour and water pottage,
He’d order all to work, running around like a mad man
But that’s how Caswaladr was, a hard man t’wards his servants

I was raised at home, I never proved any suffering
But this year at Braich-Y-Saint I’m living on dry bread,
a herring on the forge, with a very bad taste
But you know what Cadwaladr was like, a hard man t’wards his servants

In dismal Braich-y-Saint there’s a bed like a carriage
Where I tried to sleep with my belly half empty
And the old Sow’s meat was hard and tasteless
But you know what Cadwaladr was like, a hard man t’wadrs his servants

Farewell to pulling swedes, farewell to the pick’n’shovel,
Farewell to the thin mare lying in the dirt,
Farewell to the white headed bull and the grey mare,
Farewell to old Cadwaladr, a hard man t’wards his servants.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Ben Rhys”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I was listening to this song this morning and was wondering how come I don’t remember ever posting it on here in the song of the day series. But I checked and I indeed have not shared it before, as weird as it is. I say it’s weird because, well, I have obviously posted a lot of Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ music, both solo and with the bands he’s played and sung with, and this song seems to be one of his more popular/successful ones, also it was the first song from his solo album that I happened to come across when my faza on him was starting out, when I was already familiar with Plu and Y Bandana. It’s also a really good song and a very interesting one because it’s just about as folky as it gets while at the same time having this sort of bluesy and indie feel to it that I think can make it very accessible for those who perhaps aren’t necessarily as muchh into folk as Bibiels are. So this finally had to happen at some point. 

   This song was written by Gwilym together with his mum – Siân Harris – and it tells the story of his great-great-great-grandfather, Ben Rhys, who was a coal miner and died tragically in the Cymmer Colliery explosion in South Wales in 1856, from his point of view. While it was included on Gwilym’s 2016 debut album O Groth y Ddaear (From the Womb of the Earth), enthusiasts of Welsh-language music could have heard it two years earlier already, because he also sang it at the Cân i Gymru (Song for Wales) competition in 2014. It was his second time taking part in it, he also competed with the song Garth Celyn in 2012, which he co-wrote with his mum as well and which is also written from the perspective of a historical figure. The translation comes from Gwilym’s website. 

    My name is Ben Rhys, a man and a collier
And a pure Welshman under my dirty shell,
One of the ants of the pit in the centre of my valley
And I mine in the darkness day in day out
Yes I mine all my days to put bread on the table,
Labouring for hours in this underground furnace
Yes, I work under hardship
And sweat in the darkness
Just to earn mere pennies
Doing my duty as a father and husband

One mid-summer’s dawn I descend into the pit
And the humid walls close in about me
Under weak and fragile beams and my candle’s naked flame
I leave the light of day for the last time
Yes I leave the light of day unconscious of my fate,
The lack of air overwhelming and pressing on my flesh,
Yes, I’m choking from the gasses
Amongst the deafening beating of hammers,
The beating of picks, and my heartbeat quickening in my breast.

My name is Ben Rhys, I was a man and a collier
And a pure Welshman under my dirty shell,
A man, father and brother, one of four in a grave,
And the grave is one of twenty that are open,
Yes the grave is one of twenty that are open in my valley
And the widows are lamenting and the children are weeping, Repressed under the master’s feet ,
Masters who only want to fill their pockets,
And that flee from justice, an injustice to this day.

Song of the day (7th May) – Delyth Evans – “Carolan’s Farewell to Music”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Previously, I have shared with you this composition of Turlough O’Carolan played by 

Nadia Birkenstock, Celia Briar and Lynn Saoirse, and now I thought I’d share with you yet another version of this beautiful tune, played by another harpist whose music I’ve been sharing with you quite regularly, that is Delyth Evans, currently known as Delyth Jenkins, whom you may also recognise as part of the D&A duo which she forms together with her daughter Angharad who is a fiddler. You can find out more about this song and its origins clicking the links above. 

Llio Rhydderch – “Yr Hen Amarylis” (The Old Amaryllis).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   For today, I’d like to share one more piece played on the Welsh triple harp by Llio Rhydderch with you. It comes from her album called Carn Ingli which she recorded together with Mark O-Connor and Tomos Williams and I’ve already shared several tunes from this album, but in this particular piece we can only hear the harp. I believe this is Llio’s own composition. 

Plu – “Dod Dy Law” (Place Your Hand).

   Hiya all you lovely people! 😁 

   After less than two months since the second installment of Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ record series Detholiad o Hen Faledi (A Selection of Old Ballads ) has been out, we can now celebrate the release of yet another beautiful album of delicious Welsh-language music, which is a creation of the alt-folk trio Plu, which consists of siblings Elan Mererid Owain, Marged Eiry Rhys and the aforementioned Gwilym Bowen Rhys from the Caernarfon area in North Wales. For any newbies out there, Gwilym  is one of my faza people, which means events like this are a really huge thing over here in Bibielland. Like I mentioned in the post linked above where I shared one of Gwilym’s songs from his latest solo album, so far he happens to be the most actively prolific of my faza peeps when it comes to releasing new music currently, so I always make a lot of fuss when he does release something because my other faza peeps currently don’t really do it either regularly or at all. ANd so this year, being able to enjoy not only Gwilym’s new album solo but also a new release from Plu, I feel like I’m being spoilt absolutely rotten! 

   This new album is simply called Tri (Three) and was released by Sbrigyn Ymborth – a branch of the label Sain. Like their previous albums it was recorded at Studio Sain and produced by Plu with Aled Wyn Hughes, known for example from Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog. Most of the songs are Plu’s own material. As far as I know, it came out on April 29, however, on that day Bibielz were completely out of touch with the  world thanks to a migraine, so  only got it yesterday. I’ve already mentioned a lot on here that when it comes to my faza peeps’ music that I hear for the first time – be it objectively new or just new to me – i like to listen to it  in specific conditions, and that, among other things, means it has to be when most  people in my timezone are likely to be asleep, and it’s crucial  that all the people in my household are asleep, so I can have complete peace and as few external distractions as possible. And I had to wait a long time to have this particular condition fulfilled, because the first days of May are always grilling (or, as Sofi used to say to annoy me when she was younger, gwilling ) 😒 ) time here in Poland because we have national holidays and the weather usually starts feeling warmer and stuff, and so my family was grilling as well and it was practically only today – a couple hours after midnight – that I was able to focus my  attention solely on Plu. So more thorough listens are definitely due, but I was feeling too giddy about it to wait longer with sharing the news with y’all. 😀 

    This was a very interesting experience, and a little surprising. I’ve always thought that Plu were not only a well-developed and already fully-shaped but also a really very mature band musically, but I think since their last album called Tir a Golau (Land and Lights) in 2015 (not counting their more recent Bendith collaboration that they did together with Carwyn Ellis from Colorama) a lot must have been going on for all of them, because they have grown even more, as mind-blowing as it is. I’d say that, as a whole, pretty much from start to finish, this album has a bit more of a substantial vibe to it. What I mean is, Plu’s earlier albums feel very ethereal and otherworldly, airy kind of, giving you a feeling as if you have suddenly found yourself in some beautiful, alternate realm woven from clouds,  mist and moonlight (not that I’ve ever seen any of those visual phenomena but these are the sort of things that Plu’s sound makes me think of nonetheless), or something akin to Avalon, which is one of the reasons why I originally fell in love with their music and I’m sure they’re called Plu (feathers) for a reason. This album definitely doesn’t lack that soft lightness, but at the same time it feels more earthly as a whole than their previous releases. Perhaps some part of why I get this impression is that we have a bit different instrumentation here, featuring more electric guitars than in the past (courtesy of Dafydd Owain and Aled Hughes) as well as drums (Carwyn Williams) which were never part of Plu’s instrumentation before, well at least not on any of their studio recordings. Something about their amazing three-part harmonies feels different too, and makes this album sound slightly closer towards the alt- end of the alt-folk spectrum than its predecessors. Throughout the album, I literally couldn’t stop marvelling at how rich, expressive and extremely flexible ELan’s voice is! And Gwilym’s exquisite guitar play… I’ve always been in awe of his skills with all them beautiful stringed instruments and raved over them on here a lot, but I have a particular liking for how he plays the guitar in Plu, it makes all my brain cells shiver with happiness. 

   The album is not available in places like YouTube or Spotify or Apple Music or wherever else people typically listen to music these days, and given that Gwilym’s last album hasn’t made his way there to Spotify which is what I use, I believe it’s possible they don’t feel like having it on there.  I have finally figured out though that (surprise, surprise! 🙃 ) you can also embed songs from Bandcamp on other websites, so that’s how I’ll share my joy with you. 

   Honestly though I had a real trouble picking out that ONE song that is the clear winner of this album for me, because I have several strong favourites. I eventually decided on Dod Dy Law mostly because I also really like this tune in general, and I’ve shared several different versions of it on my blog already so I thought it could be interesting for people to hear this one for comparison. 

   I’ve shared it sung by Gwilym, Siân James, and Gwenan Gibbard, and in the post with Gwenan Gibbard’s version you can also find its translation and a link to a lot more comprehensive post that Ffion from The Foxglove Trio wrote about this song on her blog. It’s a very sad, traditional tune written from the perspective of someone who addresses their lover, by whom their heart has been broken. 

   I like that Elan sings this song so low, with only a gentle guitar accompaniment from Gwilym, which makes the whole sound a bit dark and deep and so incredibly beautiful. 

<a href=”https://pluband.bandcamp.com/album/tri&#8221; data-mce-href=”https://pluband.bandcamp.com/album/tri&#8221; data-mce-fragment=”1″>Tri by Plu</a>

Llio Rhydderch – “Waltz Trefforest” (Treforest Waltz).

   And for today, I thought I’d share with you another lovely tune played by Welsh triple harpist Llio Rhydderch. This time it’s a traditional three-part Welsh waltz whose name refers to a village in Wales near Pontypridd called Treforest, or Trefforest in Welsh. 

Plu – “Mam Wnaeth Gôt i Mi” (Mum Made the Coat for Me).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you a happy little tune from Plu’s album Holl Anifeiliaid y Goedwig (All Animals of the Forest). All the songs on this album feature some animal(s) and I believe most of them are traditional. So seems to be the case with this one as well. From what I can gather from the lyrics, here we have birds, and the lyrical subject of the song goes around and asks different birds where they’ve got their coats. To which they all respond that it was their mum, and I believe they all say that their mums have made it “from a piece of air” or something like that, and each of them adds when their mum made it, for example “when it was the middle of summer” or “when it was raining” etc. 

Y Bandana – “Diwedd y Gan” (End of the Song).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I thought I’d share with you a song by Y Bandana – the cheeky teenage Welsh rock band that one of my faza peeps – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – was the frontman of while it existed. – When I think of the four solo albums that Gwilym has released since they disbanded it kind of feels like Y Bandana was a thing in some very distant past, even though they released their last album in 2016. And it’s a song from that last album – Fel Tôn Gron – that I want to share with you. It’s called quite appropriately given that it comes from their final album, namely Diwedd y Gân, which means End of the Song. 

 

   Y Bandana – “Diwedd y Gan”

Mared – “Let Me Go”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today, I’d like to share with you another song by the incredibly talented Mared Williams, also known simply as Mared. I have shared with you some of the music that she recorded together with the rock band Y Trŵbz, some folk music by her as well as more jazzy pieces, which I think showcases her huge genre versatility very well. For today, I thought we’d listen to her song with a bit of a soul vibe to it, so that you can see that she is very competent in this genre as well. 

Song of the day (17th April) – Trwynau Coch – “Bywyd Personol James Bond” (Personal Life of James Bond).

   I was thinking all Lent about some more or less Easter-themed song that I could share with y’all once Easter came and had a few ideas along the way, but in the end I didn’t feel convinced that I liked any of them enough to actually share. So it’s Trwynau Coch, the Welsh-language punk rock band whose music I’ve been sharing quite regularly, and who have a connection to one of my faza peeps – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – because his dad – Rhys Harris – was the vocalist in it.