Aberjaber – “Taith Madog” (Madog’s Journey”

Hey people! 🙂 

   Today I have an interesting piece for you from the Anglo-Welsh group Aberjaber, one of whose members was Delyth Evans (currently Jenkins), the harpist whose solo music I’ve also shared quite a lot with you on here. This piece, as you can see in the title, is called Madog’s Journey in English, and I don’t know that for sure, but it feels quite safe to assume that the Madog is the Welsh prince Madog ab Owain Gwynedd, who is said to have sailed to the Americas some three hundred years before Columbus.

Mared – “Yno Yn Barod” (Already There).

And for today, I’d like to share with you this really captivating song from Mared Williams, whose music I’ve already shared many times before on here, both as a soloist as well as the vocalist for Y Trŵbz. I really like her expressiveness in this song. 

Plu – “Hedfan” (Flying”.

Hey people! 🙂

For today, I want to share with you a beautiful piece from Plu – the Welsh alt-folk trio comprised of siblings Elan, Marged, and Gwilym Rhys. – According to the credits of this song, it was written by Welsh musician Endaf Emlyn. I really like the harmony of this piece.

Song of the day (26th December) – Bob Delyn A’r Ebillion – “Cân Begw” (Begw’s song).

Hey guys! 🙂

This is the second song from the band Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion (Every Harp and the Pegs) that I want to share with you all on here. I really like its minimalism. It’s a beautiful, acoustic love song, written by the leader and vocalist of the group – Twm Morys. – Begw is a Welsh feminine name, a nickname of Margaret, so I think we could say it’s a Welsh equivalent of Peggy or Maggie.

Enya – “Dan Y Dŵr” (Beneath The Waters_).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have a Welsh song for you, a Welsh song sung by Enya, and the only Welsh song that she’s ever released. This song commemorates the little village of Capel Celyn (which literally means Holly Chapel in Welsh) in the Tryweryn valley in Gwynedd in North Wales, which was drowned in 1965 and disappeared entirely, which was a carefully planned out thing. This song is featured on Enya’s album The Celts. I’ve already shared with you a song which deals with the submerging of Capel Celyn, by another of my faza people Jacob Elwy and his band Y Trŵbz, and the song is called

Annibyniaeth.

The lyrics, as always, are written by Roma Ryan.

And now I’m going to be a bit nitpicky, because this song actually sparks my curiosity a little and something about the Welsh feels off. While I’m almost 100% sure Enya doesn’t speak Welsh, because I’ve never heard of her being able to do that and her Welsh doesn’t sound convincing or particularly understandable to me at all even when I read the lyrics along with her singing (granted, I’m a learner myself, of course, and song lyrics online often have tons of weird errors in them, especially if they’re in minority languages), I wonder if Roma is able to fluently speak all the languages that she writes lyrics for Enya in. It’s very interesting. To me these lyrics look a bit odd and like things are phrased in a weird way, which could be just that it’s some more formal Welsh that I’m not really accustomed to, or it’s some older way of writing in it, and it’s clearly more South Welsh while I am more accustomed to North Welsh. Then there’s a translation, which I’ve found on

Enya Blues

, which I suppose originally comes from the album’s liner notes, and either the translation is not fully accurate, or the lyrics are a bit off to begin with, or the translation is not really literal. Like, in the original lyrics, there’s a line that goes: “Dan y dŵr, tawelwch sydd” which is translated as: ”

Beneath the waters, there is silence”. Again, I am still learning Welsh myself, and I don’t know LOADS of things, for example I don’t know a lot about formal or more poetic ways of expressing yourself in Welsh, but “tawelwch sydd” seems to me like a weird way to say “there is silence”. To my best knowledge, it literally means “silence which”. Then the next line is: “Dan y dŵr, galwaf i” which is translated as: “Beneath the waters, I call you”. Now here I’m absolutely sure that galwaf i does not mean I call you but only “I call”. And then she sings: “Nid yw’r swn gyda fi” which apparently translates to “There is no companyy withh me”, whereas I am sure that swn means sound, not company. Company is cwmni in Welsh. Later there is further reference to the sound, and then the word for it is translated properly.

Regardless whether this song is written in good Welsh or not, I’ve always felt that it’s so cool that Enya has released a song in this language that I love so much, and paid a tribute to Capel Celyn. And I’m going to include the translation anyway, because maybe it’s meant to be just as it is, and I’ve always found Enya Blues quite reliable for info about Enya and her music, and even if it isn’t exactly great, it always gives some idea about the song’s meaning.

 

Beneath the waters, there is silence.

Beneath the waters, I call you.

There is no company with me.

Beneath the waters, silent forever.

Beneath the waters, I call you.

The sound is no longer with me.

Christmas wishes, plus a bonus, Christmassy song of the day.

It’s Christmas Eve, so while a lot of people in a lot of countries aren’t celebrating Christmas just yet, for those who do celebrate it at all I’m sure the atmosphere is already very Christmassy anyway. If you’re a regular on my blog, you know that here in Poland we start our Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve afternoon/evening with a very festive supper, and then a lot of people go to Midnight Mass, particularly if they have young children. In fact, it’s fair to say that in the whole Christmas period, it’s Christmas Eve that is most celebrated and festive here when it comes to traditions and the like. So I always like to send people Christmas wishes on Christmas Eve already.

I wish you all a very joyous and peaceful Christmas. May it be a blessed time for you, filled with a bit of everything good – prayer and true joy because of Christ’s coming, beautiful Christmas music, time with your loved ones if you have them around this Christmas, whether in person or perhaps only virtually, time alone, God’s presence in your life and thoughts, yummy food, amazing presents, joy from giving something to others, love, fun, rest, laughter, relax, sleep, snow, cosiness, some funn book or film etc. etc. – And please, I’ve already mentioned Him, but don’t forget whose birthday we’re actually celebrating. I think it would feel very rude for most if not all people if like a half of the world declared they celebrated someone’s birthday and yelled about it for a month in advance, but the person in question wouldn’t even get any attention from most of the birthday guests on the actual day but instead people would just give presents to each other and consistently ignore the birthday boy/girl.

For those of you who aren’t Christians but are also going to have some relaxing, festive sort of time, or for whom it’s going to be life as normal, may it also be a really good time for you and may you find something in it that will fill your heart with joy.

For those who identify with some other religions and perhaps celebrate some other holidays soon, or those who celebrate Christmas a bit later on, may you have just as peaceful and joyous and fun-filled holidays.

And for those for whom this Christmas season will be difficult for some reason, whether they do celebrate it or not, because they’ve lost someone, or because they can’t be with their family, or because it’s a very difficult time for you every year for whatever reason, I wish you hope, strength, and that despite the difficult time, you may also find a bit of comfort in it. At this time of the year there’s a lot of mostly very superficial, sickly sweet and toxically positive talk about how “magical” and merry it is, but it’s totally okay if you do not feel on cloud nine if for you this happens to be a time of grieving, or bad mental or physical health, or loneliness, or exhaustion/overwhelm due too many people around and perhaps also needing to cook for them or something.

Misha doesn’t really care about Christmas as such very much, but he likes all the comotion around it, especially wrapping presents and Christmas decorations, and the Christmas Eve supper because there’s a lot of fish, and a lot of good food for him throughout the Christmas period. So he’d like to wish all the pets a happy Christmas time, hoping that they’ll also get a lot of yummy food and maybe some nice presents and that they’ll have a lot of fun.

Since our actual song of the day today wasn’t Christmassy, I thought I’d do the same thing as last year and share a bonus Christmassy song in the Christmas wishes post. I had a bit of a problem choosing one though, because it seems like I’ve shared all of my absolute most favourite Christmas songs in the previous years. Finally I decided on a song that perhaps isn’t among my absolute favourites, but that I really like to listen to around Christmas ever since I first heard it on BBC Radio Cymru. And unlike last year, it’s not a carol but just a lay Christmas-themed pop song about snow and how beautiful/unusual Christmas time is, although I don’t understand it in its entirety so it’s a very generalised summary of it I suppose haha. Since it’s from BBC Radio Cymru, you’re right to assume that it’s in Welsh. It’s called “Nadolig Oer” (A Cold Christmas) and is sung by Ifan Siôn Davies, who is most known as vocalist in the Welsh indie rock band Swnami which I really like and whose music I’ve shared a few times before. The Christmas music period on my blog is really long though (goes from the beginning of Advent all the way to Candlemas) so maybe I’ll still fall in love with some new to me Christmas carol or song and share it.

Happy Christmas! 🎄

 

Delyth Evans – “Pandeira de Nebra”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, let’s listen to a harp piece from Delyth Evans (currently better known as Delyth Jenkins). I have no idea what the title of this piece means, if anything, haven’t been able to figure anything out. It looks like Spanish or Portuguese to my brain but doesn’t seem to mean anything particular in either of these languages. Still, it’s a beautiful piece, and that’s what’s important to me.

Gwenan Gibbard – “Glan Môr Heli” (Seaside of Heli).

Hey people! 🙂

For today I have for you a beautiful piece played and sung by Welsh Celtic harpist and folk singer Gwenan Gibbard. As far as I know, it’s a traditional tune. Honestly though, I don’t really know what “Heli” in the title is supposed to me. As far as I can tell, there’s no such word in Welsh and it’s quite clearly a placename, but I don’t know of any place called Heli in Wales (which doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one, just that I haven’t come across it). The only thing that I can think of is a town called Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula, which, as it happens, is Gwenan Gibbard’s hometown, so maybe it’s colloquially known as Heli or used to be called Heli in the past or something. Maybe I’d be able to figure out more about what Heli is if I understood more of the lyrics. I’m pretty sure from what I do understand that there’s a mention of Ireland in this song though.

Sian Phillips – “Codiad yr Ehedydd” (Rising of the Lark).

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve already shared this Welsh traditional tune played on the harp by

Nansi Richards,

and today I’d like to share with you a fiddle version, played by Sian Phillips from South Wales. Sian has been part of many Welsh music collectives and collaborated with a lot of artists, however she has now retired and is no longer performing due to fibromyalgia. Instead, she has settled in Oxfordshire where she’s running her own business called Fiddler’s Elbow Grease, selling various hemp products.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Bugail Hafod-Y-Cwm” (The Shepherd of Hafod-Y-Cwm).

Hey people! 🙂

For today, I’d like to share with you a very bucolic-sounding, traditional Welsh tune sung by Gwilym Bowen Rhys – one of my faza people. – It comes from his debut album O Groth y Ddaear (From the Womb of the Earth) and is one of several songs on this album that were collected and recorded by Welsh folk singer and collector Meredydd “Mered” Evans from Caernarfon. It is a song sung by a shepherd who lives in a place called Hafod-y-Cwm (hafod was the name used to refer to the higher pastures where people moved to during spring-summer months, as opposed to a lowland pasture where they spent the colder months of the year, and Hafod-y-Cwm means something like a hafod in the valley) and it expresses his deep joy, happiness and satisfaction with his life and the nature around him. I like how it’s filled with such simple yet profound and sweet happiness, the spring-like feel of it (so different from the weather we’re having here right now, haha) and I love Gwilym’s arrangement of it. I’ve noticed that the melody of this song is incredibly similar to an English ballad The Three Ravens, included in Child ballads’ anthology, but I don’t know which one was earlier and whether the melody was deliberately borrowed from one for the other or whether it’s a total coincidence maybe.

The translation is available at

Gwilym’s website

and that’s where I got it from:

 

I am the shepherd of Hafod-y-Cwm,

I sing with jollity even though I’m poor.

I have a wife and three children

Living above the stream,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

The gentleman of Plas-Nant walks by importantly,

He is the owner of many a hundred pounds,

But I am happier than he,

Among my bleating flocks,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

May, with its sweet and fair days,

And its warm weather is approaching,

The enchanting and resounding melody of the stream

Will gladden all the world and its children,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

I am the shepherd of Hafod-y-Cwm,

I sing with jollity even though I’m poor,

And I’ll sing until the day I die

On the slopes of this valley, my seventh heaven,

Falala oh I’m happy falalala.

Serol Serol – “Aelwyd” (Household).

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I’d like to share with you some Welsh space pop. Serol Serol (which literally means Stellar Stellar in Welsh) is a four-piece band from Conwy who debuted in 2016. The people behind it are the same people who make up the psychedelic pop band Omaloma, which I really really like and whose song Aros o Gwmpas I shared with you all earlier this year. Omaloma’s psychedelic pop sound is also in many ways alike compared with Serol Serol. It started out as an idea in the brains of producers Llyr Pari and George Amor (the latter also associated with the no longer existing group Sen Segur which I love to bits as well), and then two cousins, who have also contributed their vocals to Omaloma’s music – Leusa Rhys and Mali Siôn – joined. At least one of them is also Llyr’s cousin so I guess it’s fair to call this a family business. They have been very successful on the Welsh-language pop music scene ever since and seem to be enjoying a lot of attention from BBC Radio Cymru as I hear their music played on there fairly regularly. This song comes from their self-titled debut album from 2018 and I’m pretty sure aelwyd means household, though I guess it could possibly also mean something more poetic like hearth.

Sian James – “Cymun” (Communion).

Hi people! 🙂

For today, I’d like to share with you something from the Welsh folk singer and harpist Sian James, whose music I’ve already featured in this series. Like a lot of harpists, Sian also plays the piano, and the piece I want to share today is solely played on this instrument. It’s also the title track of her 2012 album released by Recordiau Bos.

Delyth Evans – “Gymnopedie III”.

Hey people! 🙂

Recently I shared with you one of the Gnossiennes composed by Eric Satie and played on the harp by Floraleda Sacchi, and today I’d like to share another, and I guess more commonly known, composition by Eric Satie – the last of his Gymnopedies. – Gymnopedies are three pieces of music that Satie composed for piano, all very melancholic pieces (the first is meant to be played painfully, the second sadly, and the third – the one we’ll listen to today – gravely) and I’ve heard quite a few different harp performances of them and I really like how they sound played on the harp. The name of these pieces comes from some ancient Greek festivity called gymnopaedia, during which young men were dancing naked/unarmed. I have a little bit of a personal connection with Gymnopedies because when I was in nursery, there was a documentary that was being filmed about our nursery (for the blind) and how we lived in there. Then all of our parents got a copy of this film. I now know that my Mum hated that film, but she watched it a lot anyways especially when I was away at school and then she always ended up crying. Once I grew up a bit I never liked watching it either or people mentioning it, something about it is very depressing to me though I’m pretty sure it’s just in my brain and all sorts of memories coming up rather than the documentary itself being objectively depressing. Anyways, gymnopedies were in the soundtrack of this film. I actually don’t remember now if it was all of the Gymnopedies or just one, and if one then which one, because I haven’t watched that in ages nor has my Mum, but I am sure that there was at least one Gymnopedie. I guess Gymnopedies are a sort of go-to soundtrack for all things that are meant to be tear-jerking because I’ve heard them used a lot in this way. This is actually a bit of a pity, because they’re great pieces of music, and while they’re melancholic, it’s not in a tear-jerking, maudlin way. But despite my Mum hated that film, she really liked this music and wanted to know what it is, and finally when she found out she bought some music album where Gymnopedies were included, I don’t know who played them. And she still really likes them despite they sometimes make her think about the times when I was at school and how it made her sad that I couldn’t be at home with my family. And that’s why, when it comes to me, what I primarily associate Gymnopedies and what they make me think of when I hear them is my Mum, rather than the time when I was in nursery, which I’m so glad about, because otherwise they’d probably be totally spoilt for me, and as it is, I really love them. Especially, like I said, played on harp. This third, grave Gymnopedie in A minor is played by the already well-known harpist on this blog, Delyth Evans (currently Jenkins) from Wales.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Casse en Lorient”.

For today, I’d like to share with you another harp & fiddle piece from this Welsh mother-daughter duo whose music appears on my blog quite frequently. They’re also known as DNA or D&A. I think it’s a really beautiful piece with a kind of reflective vibe to it.

Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Casse en Lorient”.

Gwenan Gibbard – “Calon Drom” (Heavy Heart).

Hi guys! 🙂

For today, I’d like to share with you something from the Welsh Celtic harpist, singer and songwriter Gwenan Gibbard. This time it’s her original song, from her 2013 album Cerdd Dannau”. Unfortunately my understanding of these lyrics is far from full, so I don’t feel capable of translating them for you.

Song of the day (12th November) – Delyth & Angharad Jenkins – “Can y Lleisoniaid” (Song of the Lleisons).

I’ve already shared one interpretation of this song, played by Gwenan Gibbard. If I had to choose which one I prefer, I definitely wouldn’t be able to tell, they’re all beautiful, and I suppose this mournful-sounding piece would be really difficult to properly butcher by anyone. As I’ve explained when sharing the Gwenan Gibbard rendition, Lleison is a Welsh surname. I wonder who they were and what’s the story behind this piece.

Song of the day (10th November) – Alaw ft. Georgia Ruth – “Y G’lomen”.

Hey hi people! 🙂

Sorry for my total absence for a few days, I’ve been sick lately and wasn’t able to get out of bed or think coherently really.

This absolutely beautiful Welsh traditional song is sung by already well-known on this blog singer songwriter Georgia Ruth, and accompanied by the band Alaw, it comes from Alaw’s 2017 album Dead Man’s Dance, where we can also hear one of my faza people – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – singing in two songs. The band’s name means melody, and it consists of Nia Lynn, Dylan Fowler and Oli Wilson Dickson.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what g’lomen is. It doesn’t really look like a Welsh word to me, not a contemporary Welsh word anyway, I’ve never come across Welsh words starting with G followed by an apostrophe. And my understanding of the lyrics is too patchy to make it out. Apparently glomen without the apostrophe means glowing in Middle English, so maybe it’s something to do with that? Or maybe it’s something like gloaming. These are just my loose theories, none of whhich is probably true, but actually, this song’s vibe could easily make one think of gloaming.

Aberjaber – “Y Crefftwr/Kost Ar Choat/Whelan’s Jig” (The Craftsman/Kost Ar Choat/Whelan’s Jig).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a set of three pieces, played by the Anglo-Welsh band Aberjaber, another quite regularly appearing act on this blog, which no longer exists but which sparked myy interest because Delyth Jenkins (or Delyth Evans back then) – the Welsh harpist whom I really like – was part of it.

I could be wrong but it seems very likely to me, based on these pieces’ names, that each of them comes from a different Celtic region. The first one, Y Crefftwr, means The Craftsman in Welsh. The second, Kost Ar Choat, seems to be some kind of Breton dance. And the third, Whelan’s Jig, seems Irish to me, given that the last name Whelan is Irish in origin. I really like all three of these pieces.

Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – “Hinna-Djulo”.

Hi people!

The piece I want to share with you today comes from this amazing Welsh-Senegalese duo’s latest album called Soar which I really love. Catrin is a very versatile Welsh Celtic harpist, and Seckou Keita is a kora player, the first kora player whom I ever heard playing this instrument and who made me realise that I like it a lot. Apparently, despite Hinna-Djulo was released on their latest album in 2018, this piece is older than that, but only when working on Soar did they feel that it was ready to be shown. I think it’s interesting because to me this piece feels so perfect that it totally makes sense that they must have been polishing it for ages to make it sound the way it does. Catrin’s harp is incredible here.

Catrin Finch ft. Seckou Keita – “Hinna-Djulo”.