Nansi Richards – “Cainc Dona” (Dona’s Tune).

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For today I chose another tune from the amazing late Welsh harpist Nansi Richards, also known as Telynores Maldwyn. I’m not exactly sure whether cainc indeed means tune, ’cause it also means things like branch and I guess several other things, but in this context I suppose it’s meant to mean tune.

Gwenan Gibbard – “Paid Γ’ Deud” (Don’t Say).

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Today I’m sharing with you a song from Welsh harpist and singer Gwenan Gibbard, already featured on this blog multiple times. I don’t really know much about this song, not eve whether it’s her original composition, or a traditional tune, or maybe someone else wrote and composed it in modern times, but I think it’s beautiful.

Morgan Elwy – “Bach o Hwne” (A Bit of That).

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Today I have a song in Welsh for you, this year’s winner of CΓ’n i Gymru (Song for Wales) which took place in early March. Since CΓ’n i Gymru is very exciting, and also, as you may or may not recall, Morgan is the brother of Jacob Elwy, who’s one of my

faza peeps,

despite I wasn’t able to watch CΓ’n i Gymru, I was following it at the time of it happening and keeping all my fingers, toes, and brain hemispheres crossed for him, ’cause I’m loyal to my faza peeps and that includes their families too. So he basically couldn’t have not won, physically impossible. But even putting this personal bias of mine aside as much as it’s possible, this tune was very much fit for winning. As I think I have written before, there’s not much reggae on the Welsh-language music scene, or at least I don’t know of many Welsh singers who have done it, only a few, but perhaps it’s just me being ignorant. So with this song and then later with his album he is filling what seems to me an important and quite a big gap in Welsh music, doing something maybe not entirely new (as it’s not like previously Welsh-language reggae was never a thing at all, there’s just not much of it) but still very fresh and exciting, and doing it well (as far as I can tell not being a huge reggae fanatic or anything) and it’s no wonder that people must have fallen in love with it. This song was also included on his album Teimlo’r Awen (Feeling the Muse) which was released in May.

Personally I don’t love this song, it doesn’t necessarily speak to me very strongly, but I still do like it and its very upbeat vibe which can instantly make you smile.

I definitely don’t understand the lyrics well enough to do a translation, or even tell you in detail of what it’s about, but from what I do gather, and from what I understood from CΓ’n i Gymru’s website, this song is about the value of friends and having a lot of fun with them.

Llio Rhydderch ft. Tomos Williams & Mark O’Connor – “Ecclesia”.

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Here’s another piece from the album Carn Ingli, on which Welsh triple harpist Llio Rhydderch collaborates with Tomos Williams – trumpet – and Mark O’Connor – percussion. –

Rosey Cale – “Ceidwad” (Keeper).

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For today, I chose a really nice song to share with you from a Welsh singer from Pembrokeshire called Rosey Cale. She is a strongly country-leaning artist, and as you might know country isn’t really my thing, also she mostly sings her music in English, but I really like this one Welsh song from her. It is also available in English and titled Keeper, but I personally prefer the Welsh one so that’s why I’m only sharing this one. I think it’s really cool and she has great vocals.

Gwen MΓ iri – “Y Feillionen” (The Clover).

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Today, I decided to share with you another piece from this Welsh-Scottish harpist, whose music I’ve already shared with you on here before. This piece is her original composition and comes from her beautiful album Mentro (Venture, on which she is accompanied by two other great Welsh folk musicians, Jordan Price Williams on cello and Gwilym Bowen Rhys on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and shruti box. I think if I had to pick my most favourite piece from this album, I’d pick this one.

Song of the day (17th August) – Plu – “Geiriau Allweddol” (Keywords).

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I thought I’d share with you this very dynamic song from Plu. It comes from their self-titled debut album and it’s their original, with Elan’s and Marged’s lyrics, and Gwilym’s music.

Sian James – “Cysga Di Fy Mhlentyn Tlws” (Sleep My Pretty Child).

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Since it’s already early evening here, I thought I’d share a lullaby with you, and I picked this beautiful Welsh one performed by Celtic harpist and singer Sian James, whose music I’ve already shared on my blog before. Here is the lyrics translation that I’ve found:

 

Sleep you now, my pretty child,

Sleep you now, my pretty child,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

The door is closed, and safely locked,

Lullaby, my pretty child,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

All the birds are sleeping too,

Lullaby, my little one,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

The wooden horse is by your side,

Lullaby, oh darling mine,

Sleep until the morning,

Sleep until the morning.

Song of the day (27th July) – Y Trwbz – “Tic Toc”.

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We haven’t listened to anything from Y Trwbz in a while, so let’s do it today. This song was released in 2015, when Mared Williams was with the band as the vocalist. Sadly, I don’t really have much of a clear idea what the song is about, so can’t share that with you, but still I think it’s great musically.

Mared – “Over Again”.

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Today I decided that we’d listen to a really stunning piece from Mared Williams, also known just as Mared. This is definitely one of my most favourite of her songs. It deals with the topic of moving away from where you grew up and used to live, but coming back there and trying to keep in touch with friends. Mared is originally from Llannefydd in north Wales, although as far as I know she now lives at least some of the time in London. She is also the vocalist in the Welsh rock group Y Trwbz, as has been one of my faza people – Jacob Elwy. – She’s also in a relationship with Morgan Elwy, Jacob’s brother, with whom she sometimes collaborates also outside of Y Trwbz. This song was produced by the Drwm recording studio, and people like Osian Huw Williams from the well-known on the Welsh-language scene band Candelas, or Branwen Haf Williams from Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog were involved in the recording.

Nansi Richards – “Nes Atat Ti” (Nearer To Thee).

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Today, let’s listen to the rendition of this Christian hymn played by the Welsh harpist Nansi Richards, otherwise known as Telynores Maldwyn. Its original, English title is “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and was written by Sarah F. Adams, with the melody composed by Lowell Mason. I found it interesting when I first heard this piece played by Nansi Richards that not only do I know it, as a hymn with this melody is also known in Polish Catholic church (don’t know how about the Catholic church in other countries) but even under more or less the same title as the Welsh version. I was later quite surprised to learn that the author of the lyrics, Sarah F. Adams, was actually a Unitarian, and while when I had a look to compare the English and Polish lyrics they’re quite different and the Polish ones are only loosely based on the original theme, it’s interesting that this hymn made its way here.

Delyth Evans – “Yr Hen Don/Y Corgi Bach” (The Old Wave/The Little Corgi).

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For today, I chose to share with you a set of two (I think traditional) tunes played on the Celtic harp by Delyth Evans, currently known as Delyth Jenkins. I find both of them really nice.

Catrin Finch – “Drifting”.

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I’ve shared some music, original and not, from this Welsh harpist a couple times before. But harp is not the only instrument she can play, as she also plays piano, and I remember reading somewhere that she said that piano is like a harp lying down, which sounds like quite an accurate way to put it indeed. This is her original piece and I really love how smooth it is.

Georgia Ruth – “The Doldrums”.

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Today I thought we could listen to yet another one song by Georgia Ruth, from her album Fossil Scale. I think if I had to pick my favourite album from her it would be this one, and this particular song is one of my favourites from this album, it’s just so very beautiful. I remember once reading a review of this album, where someone compared her style in general, and also especially this song, to Sandy Denny (known from bands like Fairport Convention or Fotheringay) whom I absolutely adore, and I think this is a very accurate comparison.

Gwenan Gibbard – “Dod Dy Law” (Place Your Hand).

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At the beginnings of my blog, one of the songs I shared with you was

Dod Dy Law

beautifully sung acapella by Gwilym Bowen Rhys, who’s of course one of my faza people. And then I think I also shared it sung by SiΓ’n James. I had very little idea about Welsh then, and didn’t know what the word “dod” was supposed to mean in this context, but now I know it means to put or place. Since then, I’ve also become familiar with Ffion from the Foxglove Trio, who has a blog where she writes about Welsh folk songs, and which I often find very useful. And she wrote

a post about this song.

It’s thanks to her that I finally learned what this song is about and I agree that it’s one of the saddest Welsh songs of those I’ve heard.

As it’s quite easy to figure out from the lyrics, the lyrical subject is addressing their former lover, by whom their heart has been broken.

The translated lyrics below are taken from Ffion’s website, who in turn got them from the website of Gwenan Gibbard, and they’ve been translated by Dafydd Ifan.

 

Place your hand, lest you believe,

On my breast, without hurting me,

If you listen, you may hear

The sound of my little heart breaking.

Oh my dearest, take a reed

And hold it at both ends,

Break it in half

Just as you broke my heart.

Heavy the lead, heavy the stones,

Heavy is the heart of all lonely people,

Heaviest of all, twixt sun and moon,

Is bidding farewell where there is love.

Nansi Richards – “Codiad yr Ehedydd” (Rising of the Lark).

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It feels quite late here for tunes like this, as it’s almost noon, but I still decided to share with you this beautiful piece performed by late Nansi Richards aka Telynores Maldwyn. It was composed by Dafydd Owen, aka Dafydd y Garreg Wen, also a Welsh harpist, who simply heard a lark singing one morning and got inspired to compose this. I’ve also seen that lyrics to this song exist, but all versions I’ve heard so far are instrumental.

Plu – “Ar Garlam” (Galloping).

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Today let’s listen to a song by Plu, from their album with children’s songs called Holl Anifeiliad y Goedwig (All Animals in the Forest). This is one of my favourite songs on this album musically, although my understanding of the lyrics is rather patchy so I can’t share any translation or anything like that with you.

Delyth Jenkins & Angharad Jenkins – “Can y Bachgen Main/Ebenezer” (Song of the Slender Lad/Ebenezer).

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For today I decided to share with you a set of pieces from this great Welsh mother-daughter, harp-fiddle duo, also collectively known as DNA. I like their arrangement of these tunes very much, I like their arrangements in general. The first one is called “Can Y Bachgen Main”, also known simply as “Y Bachgen Main”, and it does originally have lyrics. It’s about a boy who is walking in the forest when he hears two women talking with each other. As it happens, they turn out to be his lover and her mother arguing. The mother tries to persuade the girl that she should find herself a wealthy husband and that she’s going to find her the right match, but she disagrees and says she’s happy with the boy with whom she is. She emphasises that even if she would be offered all the riches in the world she’d stick to him anyway. That really pisses the mummy, who says she’ll have to sleep on a bed of torns if she doesn’t change her mind. Then we can assume that the girl eventually did what she wanted, as we hear that the girl who sleeps in the lad’s arms is happy, but then in the next verse he goes off to sea, and we don’t even know why. Perhaps he couldn’t deal with the mother-in-law.

The second tune, “Ebenezer” is a hymn, it’s alternate name being Ton-y-Botel (Tune From the Bottle), which I think is a very funny name for a hymn, but it is called so for a very simple reason, namely that it is said to have been found in a bottle along the Welsh coast. It was composed by Thomas John Williams.

Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Hanes y Sesiwn yng Nghymru” (The Tale of the Session in Wales).

And for today, I chose a song from my other faza peep, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, from his album Detholiad O Hen Faledi I (A Selection of Welsh Ballads I). This is the first song on it, and one of a few quite hilarious ones on this album. It was written by the satirical poet and pamphleteer John Jones (1766-1821) better known under his bardic name Jac Glan-y-Gors, called so after his birth place, Glanygors in Denbighshire, and set to a traditional melody. It refers to the situation that happened in Wales after the Welsh act of union, when English became the official language of the country, but most people only spoke Welsh. The song takes place in 18th century when the linguistic situation is still the same. It tells the story of a rural Welsh court where people can’t really communicate effectively due to that barier, which the judge finds quite frustrating, and the whole thing is really comical.