Llio Rhydderch – “Melangell”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to share with you this beautiful and delightfully long piece played by Llio Rhydderch, the Welsh triple harp player whose music I really love and have shared on here many times. This is the title track from her album Melangell. Melangell is a Welsh feminine name said to originate from the Welsh words mêl meaning honey, and angell meaning angel. It’s the name of a Welsh early saint who is considered a patron saint of little creatures and whose feast day is on 27 May, her name can be also latinised as Monacella. I’ve actually once shared a song about her sung by Plu

Gwen Màiri – “Y Dydd Drwy’r Ffenest” (The Day Through the Window”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you a beautiful piece from Gwen Màiri’s album Mentro (Venture), an amazing album from which I’ve already shared several tracks in the past. In case you don’t know, Gwen Màiri Yorke is a harpist and folk singer of both Scottish and Welsh heritage, who is both a Scottish Gaelic as well as Welsh native speaker. On this album, she is accompanied by Jordan Price Williams on cello, as well as Gwilym Bowen Rhys on several instruments, but in this particular piece we can hear him playing the mandolin. As far as I’m aware, this tune is Gwen’s original composition. 

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Y Ddeilen Dobaco” (The Tobacco Leaf).

   Hey people! 🙂 

    I thought I’d really like to share with you something from Gwilym’s latest  album, the second one in the Detholiad o Hen Faledi (Selection of Old Ballads) series, because so far I guess I’ve only shared one song from it on here, and it’s a really good album as I’ve already said so deserves some more attention on here. So I chose for today an interesting song from 19th century, in which the lyrical subject ponders on the transience and fragility of our earthly lives while smoking a pipe. It was written by poet Ebenezer Thomas, known under his bardic name of Eben Fardd (Bard Eben), and set to a traditional tune. The translation below comes from Gwilym’s website

  The tobacco leaf comes from afar,
be it good or ill to those who take it,
in the morning it is full of colour,
but in the afternoon it withers
and this shows us all
that we are not going to last here very long,
that we’re only people in clay pipes,
that’s what I think whilst smoking it

The white clay pipe, the colour of pure fine snow
that shines so bright as I see it.
when this falls, it quickly breaks,
and is cast away without a second thought,
and that’s how we are, though so bright at our dawn,
and all the good intentions we might have -
only a small strike will leave us broken on the floor,
I think all the while whilst smoking it.

The pipe, when used, obtains a bad colour,
the ash and the smoke blackens it.
to get it clean again,
one must put it in the fire to re-purify it.
and so are we with our black, cruel sins,
full of uncleanliness, inside and out,
until we are re-purified through spirit and grace,
I rightly think as I smoke it.

The sparks ascend to the heavens
to seek the element that’s there
and likewise the smoke rises,
we can clearly see it climbing.
and this clearly shows us all the while
that were are all but travellers, the wisest in the world -
let’s not place our desires in material things,
I always think whilst smoking it.

The ash and dottle stay on behind,
in a way that is to be remembered -
from the soil we came, loud is our noise,
to the soil we shall return again.
the earth to the earth, we’ll return on our way,
the ash to the ash, and the body like it was before.
our life disappears like smoke in the wind
I carry on thinking whilst smoking it.


Nansi Richards – “Rhydd Ddu” (Black Ford).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   A short folk tune from Nansi Richards – Welsh triple harp and Celtic harpist – today. The name of this piece refers to one of the footpaths on Snowdon which is called Rhydd Ddu. 

Tant – “Byth Eto” (Never Again).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   The song I have for you today comes from a very interesting Welsh all-girls folk group. They mix traditional Welsh folk influences and quite minimalistic, acoustic sound with more modern, pop sensibilities. The results of such mixes in folk music can be of all kinds, but theirs are very good and a little quirky in my opinion. The members of this band live in different bits of North Wales, and they are Angharad, Elliw, Modlen, Non and Siwan, and apart from singing, Angharad and Non are also harpists, Elliw and Modlen are guitarists, and Siwan plays cajun. Some of the songs are written by one of the girls, others are covers, but another person who has written several of their songs is Siwan’s dad – Rhun ap Iorwerth – who is also Deputy Leader of Plaid Cymru – Welsh left-wing nationalist party. – And from what I understand from this song, it does have to do with the independence and freedom of Wales. 

 

Georgia Ruth – “Terracotta”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today, I thought I’d share with you something else from Georgia Ruth’s 2020 album Mai, which I really like and from which I’ve shared a few songs already. I like how sweet and calmly joyful this one feels. 

Elin Grace – “Breathe”.

Hey people! 🙂 

   The song I have for you today is quite special, because it hasn’t been officially released yet, and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before on here that I’d share something ahead of its release. It’s also special because there’s so much for me to like about it, as it’s by a Welsh singer, all about mental health, and just sounds very good to me. 

   It comes from Elin Grace – a very interesting independent singer and songwriter – who is about to release her debut EP in two weeks’ time, and “Breathe” is the lead single from it, which will come out a week before the EP, on 16 September. 

   When I first heard it, it immediately sparked my attention, not just because Elin is Welsh, from Llandrindod Wells more exactly, and I’m sure that you all or at least the regular people on here know that I love Welsh music and try to follow what’s going on on the Welsh music scene, but also because this song struck me as very authentic and raw where the lyrics are concerned. And I really appreciate people who can make music that is genuine, that expresses their true, complex feelings or talks about difficult experiences in a candid or even raw way, because it lets me get to know them better, and I just am like this that whenever I listen to a song/album or read a book, I wonder who’s the person behind it and what they are like, so when someone is authentic like that it gives me more of a picture and lets me get to know them a little bit better. That’s also why I like to listen to music by people who write both their music and lyrics themselves, which is  the case with Elin. Besides, I’m sure it isn’t easy at all to let it all out like that and expose some very deep, vulnerable, fearful bit of oneself to the listener – so basically some totally random peep whom you don’t even know. – And for us as listeners, such songs have the potential to be highly relatable, despite paradoxically being very personal at the same time. And I have a feeling that Elin’s whole EP, not just this song, has such potential. 

   “Breathe” was written by Elin when she was eighteen, and it reflects her own struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. Mental health is a recurring topic on this EP, but tis particular song deals with it very explicitly, as we have the lyrical subject here who clearly is experiencing a panic attack, finding it difficult to breathe and trying to manage it by hiding in a chicken shed. As someone with mental illnesses and a mental health blogger, I like how Elin tackles this topic head on, describing it very vividly. While my own anxiety generally looks different from that of the lyrical subject’s, as it’s more of the lingering, always somewhere in the background variety rather than panicky and gripping you all of a sudden, the latter certainly sounds very familiar as well. 

   Musically, the inspiration was that cool keyboard riff we can hear in the second and last chorus that Elin came up with, which was the base for the whole melody. I like how, in a bit of a contrast to the angsty-themed lyrics, there is something oddly soothing and almost cosy to this song and Elin’s smooth yet strong vocals, and the song ends on a more peaceful note as well. Elin is a classically trained pianist who seems to enjoy and draw inspirations from many different genres, and  it shows in this song. 

   I am definitely looking forward to seeing Bee Without Wings come out and plan to spend some time with it once it does, so perhaps I’ll end up sharing something else from it at some point as well. It is also going to handle such topics as love, coming of age or self-esteem. 

   What I think is also worth mentioning is that Elin has previously supported another young Welsh indie folk singer – Mari Mathias – whom I also really like. She has also been compared to the great English singer Laura Marling whom I like as well, and she does indeed sound a bit similar. 

Song of the day (6th September) – Mared – “Pontydd” (Bridges).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Let’s catch up on our overdue Song of the Day posts which I hadn’t been able to post on the actual days when I planned to do it. The first one is from the already well-known on here Welsh singer and songwriter Mared Williams, who is both a solo singer as well as part of the folk-rock group Y Trŵbz and whom as you may know I really like because of how versatile and comfortable in different genres she is. This particular song has  a decidedly jazz-y feel and I really like how powerful and clear her vocals sound here. As Mared says herself, this is a song about building bridges, between cultures, communities and the arts. It comes from her album Y Drefn (The Order) from two years ago. 

Gwenan Gibbard – “Gwcw Fach” (Little Cuckoo).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have for you a little traditional Welsh tune, performed by the singer and harpist Gwenan Gibbard, whose music I’ve shared a lot on here. I found a translation of it, written by Dafydd Iwan. 

   Little cuckoo, aren’t you foolish,
Singing amongst the spiky gorse,
Go to the parish of fair Dolgellau,
You will find there green bushes.
Little cuckoo, fly immediately
To the banks of the Wnion river
On the wing, wait awhile
By the home of my beloved.
Little cuckoo, if you see there
Someone weeping salty tears
Sing to him the song of spring
A song of hope to comfort him.

Y Bandana – “Cân y Tân” (The Fire’s Song).

   And for today I have for you quite a cheerful tune from Y Bandana, a rock group from North Wales of which one of the members was one of my faza peeps – Gwilym Bowen Rhys. – The group no longer exists, but it was really popular on the Welsh-language scene, and this song was one of their most popular, if not the most recognisable one. The video below contains both the Welsh lyrics as well as the translation so you can have a look. 

Jacob Elwy a’r Trŵbz – “Hiraeth Ddaw” (Longing Comes). w

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today, I thought we’d listen to a beautiful song by Y Trŵbz, with Jacob Elwy – one of the founders of the group and one of my faza peeps – as the vocalist and guitarist. This song is one of my most favourites by Y Trŵbz. Like Drudwy it is also in honour of Bryn Williams, Jacob and Morgan’s late father. He seems to have been very strongly musically inclined despite not being a professional musician from what I’ve read, and he wrote penillion – a traditional form of Welsh poetry which is sung usually accompanied by the harp. – The boys found them after his death and decided to make some folk-rocky arrangements to a few of them. 

   I feel a bit frustrated that I still don’t understand the entire lyrics of this song and there are a lot of gaps in what I understand of it. But even from what I do understand currently, this song sounds incredibly sad. I’ve read in Y Selar ( a Welsh music magazine) that Jacob said Bryn struggled with alcoholism, which  one can also kind of suspect from the lyrics, so judging from that and the bits of lyrics I understand he must have had a lot of difficult feelings to deal with.  I’ve also read on Morgan’s website that this is, if I understood correctly, a longing song for their father, so perhaps since the song is about longing, they can also express their longing for him through the words that he himself wrote. 

   I translated hiraeth as longing for the post title, because that’s how people usually translate hiraeth into English and what seems to be the most accurate translation of this word, at  first glance it almost seems like a literal translation because hir means long in Welsh. But hiraeth is actually a word that isn’t easily translatable into English, as there’s just no English word that would have exactly the same meaning. If you’ve been around here for a while, you may or may not remember that I’ve written a little about hiraeth several times on here, because I really love this word, I love how it has so many aspects and kind of shades to it and is very descriptive, and yet at the same time is far more specific than any other longing-related words in any other language that I know. I think another part of why I like this word so much is that I myself experience hiraeth a lot, or at least I believe I do, though mine is possibly a bit different than Welsh people’s since I’m not Welsh, and for a lot of Welsh people hiraeth has to do with their homeland, I’ve also never personally never experienced my country not being fully independent or my native language being endangered or having to emigrate or anything like that. But in any case many kinds of hiraeth-like feelings are something I know very well. 

   I’ve read a lot of descriptions and explanations of what hiraeth is, and it’s primarily a longing for a place, be it your home, or your motherland, but a place which doesn’t really exist as such, because you long more either for the imagining of it that you have in your brain, or for what it was like in the past but no longer is the same. It can also be a less specific longing for a place to belong, or for some sort of place that you could feel at home in even if you’ve no idea where that might be. Hiraeth can also generallyy be a feeling of longing and yearning for anything that doesn’t really exist, like something from your past that you idealise in your mind. Or it can be some kind of unspecified longing where you don’t really know what you’re longing for at all, but you are and quite intensely so. It can be a weird feeling of longing when you see something really beautiful. Or, finally, I’ve also read that hiraeth can be a soul’s longing for God as well, which makes total sense, because I’ve heard a lot that when you experience that kind of unspecified longing for not sure what really, it’s your soul longing to be with God, especially for people who don’t believe in God and perhaps  aren’t consciously aware of this longing, not that all people who believe always are, and people often tend to either suppress this feeling somehow or quench it with other, more earthly things. Or, like in this song, it can be a grief-filled longing for someone who is no longer physically here. 

Nansi Richards – “Faire Dance – Irish Reel”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Staying in the world of Welsh harp music, I’d like to share with you a piece played by the Welsh Celtic and triple harpist Nansi Richards, also known as Telynores Maldwyn. As its title says, this is a traditional Irish reel. 

Delyth Evans – “Nyth y Gog/Difyrrwch Gwyr Llangrallo” (The Cuckoo’s Nest/Delight of the men of Coychurch).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Yes, I’ve been listening to a lot of Delyth’s music lately, and decided to share with you yet another piece from her earlier records, this time from Ar y Ffin. It’s a set of two traditional Welsh dances, and the first one – Nyth y Gog – I shared not so long played by Delyth together with her daughter Angharad on fiddle, called just Nyth. Here I believe Nyth y Gog is more like a variation on the theme or so it sounds like, unless this piece has several tunes that are associated with it or there are two different pieces with the same name and similar tunes. The second piece is a jig, whose name refers to a village called Llangrallo in Welsh or Coychurch in English, which lies near Bridgend. 

Delyth Evans – “Carad Pur” (Pure Love).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   And for today I thought I’d also share a piece by Delyth Evans (or Delyth Jenkins as she’s known now) but this time from her album Delta (Cerddoriaeth y Delyn Geltaidd / Music of the Celtic Harp). As far as far as I’m aware, this is a traditional tune. 

Delyth Evans – “Bourrees”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Today I want to share with you another piece played by Delyth Evans/Jenkins, from her album Ar y Ffin. A bourree is a type of French dance which is similar to gavotte, and I think that’s where the title of this piece comes from. 

Trwynau Coch – “Un Curiad Llai” (One More Beat).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   Since we had a song by Plu yesterday, I thought that today I could share with you one more song by Trwynau Coch, in which band Plu’s dad – Rhys Harris – was the vocalist. For any newbies around here who still don’t know Trwynau Coch, they were a popular punk rock band in Wales in 70’s-80’s and one of the first bands in this genre who had their lyrics entirely in Welsh. 

Plu – “Porth Samddai”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Well, time to share some more music from that new album by Plu – Tri – that I gushed about when it came out. You can read more extensively about it in the post above. It’s been over three months since I first heard it and I’m still listening to it as a whole. I normally don’t do that a lot with albums that I would listen to them as a whole lots of times, usually it’s just once, or 2-3 times if I think it’s really good and then I just listen to individual songs whenever I feel like it, but it’s different with my faza people’s music as well as anything that is just insanely good in my opinion or has a lasting impression on my brain for some reason. 

   This song, unlike the one I shared in the post above, is Plu’s original to my knowledge. Generally though, i haven’t been able to find out much about it, which is quite a pity. There seems to be some sort of a location called Porth Samddai somewhere near/within Caernarfon in Wales but that’s about everything I know. I find the little bits of lyrics that I’ve been able to understand over time very interesting and am looking forward to when I’ll be able to understand more of it, but so far I am definitely not able to translate it or anything. I said in my previous post about this album that it feels closer to the alt- side of the alt-folk spectrum, unlike the previous ones which drew closer to the -folk side, and this is one of these pieces that I think show this gentle shift very well. 

Delyth Jenkins – “Blue Lagoon”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I’d like to also share with you a piece played by the Welsh harpist Delyth Jenkins, like I’ve done many times before on here, but this piece is a bit different. It comes from an album which is the result of her collaboration with poet Emily Hinshelwood. The album is called Salt on Our Boots, and is inspired by their walk along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, and it contains Emily Hinshelwood’s poetry beautifully illustrated by Delyth’s harp, as well as some harp tunes. The whole thing is really interesting and so immersive that when listening to it as a whole, you can easily feel as if you were by the sea, although I personally have never been to Pembrokeshire coast, or Wales in general, for that matter. This piece refers of course to the blue lagoon in Pembrokeshire, and coresponds with Emily’s poem of the same title which is very descriptive and evocative.