Gwilym Bowen Rhys – Owain Lawgoch (Owain Red Hand).

I haven’t shared anything from any of my fazas for a while so time to change it! And because I’ve just shared with you Brian Boru by Alan Stivell, here is another great song about another great Celt. Owain Lawgoch (or Owain Red Hand in English) was a Welsh hero and a soldier, a very important figure for Welsh people. What he’s probably most known for is that he fought for the French against the English in the hundred years’ war. This song comes from Gwilym’s debut album “O Groth Y Ddaear” (From The Earth’s Womb) and both the lyrics and the music are his own (I love how much genuine feeling and involvement there is in them as well as in his performance of it). Below is a translation of the song from

Gwilym’s website.

Seven centuries went by since you came to this world,

And your destiny was to travel far and wide

Yes, you sailed to foreign lands

And fought against the English

And your name became famous, from the lineage of princes

You led your company of Welshmen to arms

In many a battle, in many a country

But your intent was to return

To your rightful land and to save it

And to take back your nation from the claws of a forgotten past,

Owain Red Hand

With your path calling to you, you set sail

With your brave band of warriors at your side

But before reaching that fateful shore

There came the frustrating news

Calling you back to the battlefield in a far away land

Owain Red Hand, Owain Red Hand

Your killer was appointed by the English king

To bring your life to an end in a deceitful and violent way

Yes, you were killed with a blade in your back

And thus our hope was also killed

In one traitorous moment our son of destiny was taken

Seven centuries passed on this earth

And it’s witness to the fact that we’re still here

So we’ll remember your cause and your sacrifice

And we’ll rise up in unity and strength

And now, Owain, we need you

To unsheathe your rebellious sword

On your patriotic spirit we call, let’s loudly cry in unison

Owain Red Hand, Owain Red Hand, Owain Red Hand.

Chwalfa – “Disgwyl Am Y Wawr” (Waiting For The Dawn).

Okay, let’s leave the harp for now and listen to some less ambitious pop rock. But it’s still Celtic. Well, Welsh anyway. I’ve heard this song for the first time in Cymru FM, which is an online radio station playing Welsh-language music. I just like something about this song, though can’t specify why. The lyrics, as far as I can understand them, are rather ordinary, about some kind of interpersonal relationship for sure so we can hazard a guess that it’s supposed to be romantic. The guy’s vocals aren’t awfully impressive – though not too bad either, just very normal. – But I just like it for some reason. Maybe it’s catchy, but is it really? I guess it doesn’t have the kind of harmony suitable for a typical earworm. I like the guitars in it, so that could be at least part of the reason. Sometimes it’s just how it is that we like something for no clear reason at all, and it seems like I am having such a situation here. This is also the only song by them that I know that I really like.The band’s name is Chwalfa, which in Welsh means something like a crash or an upheaval, as far as I’m aware.

Song of the day (15th October) – Catrin Finch – “Migration”.

Since in the previous post I shared Changing Tides by Catrin Finch, I decided to share one more track from the same album by her (the album is called Tides). It’s also richly multiinstrumental as you can hear, but with harp having a prominent place in it. The atmosphere of this piece is very much different though. Which one do you like more? I can’t decide!

Song of the day (14th October) – Catrin Finch – “Changing Tides”.

Here is another harpist – Catrin Finch from Wales – whose music I had previously shared with you, including some that she has created in collaboration with the kora player Seckou Keita. I think this is an evocative piece with interesting instrumentation, pleasant to listen to, and I hope you’ll find it enjoyable too. 🙂

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.

Question of the day (13th September).

Hi people! 🙂

What are you listening to?

My answer:

Currently nothing really. But as for what I’ve been listening to a lot lately and have been listening to a lot today as well, it’s a new radio station I’ve discovered a few weeks ago thanks to my iPhone and the TuneIn Radio app. On my computer I use Radio Sure and I thought that I already knew of all the Welsh language radio stations that exist out there, but turns out that there was one that was not on Radio Sure, but is on TuneIn Radio, that I had no idea about, and I’m glad I finally learned about its existence as, similarly to Cymru FM and BBC Radio Cymru, I’ve already made some interesting music discoveries thanks to it. It’s called Blas Folk Radio Cymru, and, just like its name suggests, it plays folk music and it’s generally very traditional folk music, no folk rock, folk pop and other such fancy stuff. As is usually the case with radio stations, I don’t necessarily like all the music that they play, but there seems to be a whole lot of harp music and generally a lot of instrumental music. And so because even though I have my iPhone I still like to listen to my favourite stations during the day on the computer, and am not going to use TuneIn on the computer, I decided to add |Blas Folk Radio Cymru to the Radio Sure’s database and it is in it now. So yeah, there have been and probably are still going to be some nice Welsh music discoveries for me.

How about you? 🙂

 

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”.