Plu – “Milgi Milgi” (Greyhound Greyhound”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I’d like to share with you a little children’s song by Plu. You may remember, if you have been around here for a while, that Plu is a Welsh alt-folk trio, consisting of Gwilym Bowen Rhys (who has been my most recent faza subject) and his two sisters Elan and Marged, with Elan being the leader of the group. They have recorded an album solely dedicated to songs about animals for children, it’s called Holl Anifeiliaid I Goedwig (All The Animals of the Forest). Naturally, being a children’s songs album, it feels a bit different from their usual, otherworldly, psychedelic music, but I really like it. It has such a fun, carefree, innocent feel to it. I believe that at least some of these songs are traditional, but I have no clue as for who wrote/composed this one, Spotify credits don’t say anything and I don’t know any other version of this song. Milgi means greyhound in Welsh, and that’s exactly what this song is about, and also about a little hare. I think that, musically, it’s my favourite one from this album. Well maybe except Melangell which I shared a few years ago.

Mari Mathias – “Ysbryd Y Ty” (Spirit of the House).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’ve got a song from an exciting artist for you. I’ve first come across Mari Mathias on radio Cymru FM, and the song I’m sharing with you was the first one from her that I’ve heard and instantly liked its folksy but at the same time quite contemporary and indie feel, her voice is also great. I had a listen to more of her music and also really enjoyed it. But still, that first song, which generally seems to be the most popular of hers, is my favourite.

Mared Williams ft. Jacob Elwy – “Gewn Ni Weld Sut Eith Hi”.

Hey people! 🙂

Time for yet another Cân I Gymru song, this time from 2019. I honestly found this one of my most favourites in that edition, I think it’s so nice and cool. While I don’t know much at all about Jacob Elwy, Mared Williams has already been known to me as a great singer, she’s from Gwynedd, and had been a part of Côr Glanaethwy, a great choir at Ysgol Glanaethwy, a Welsh drama school in Bangor. Right now she has her own YouTube channel and I’m a big fan of hers. I didn’t translate the title of this song this time around as I’m not exactly sure myself what it means.

Mali Melyn – “Aros Funud” (Wait A Minute”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a more pop-y piece, which to me also has a slight soul feel or something. I’ve shared with you quite a few songs that were sang by Cân I Gymru (Song for Wales) contestants from different years, and this is another one. Cân I Gymru is a Welsh-language music competition which takes part every year, around March or February if I remember correctly, on a Welsh TV channel called S4C. The singer whose music I want to show you today – Mali Melyn – was one of the participants in last year’s edition. So far, I haven’t heard any other music from her, but this piece is quite nice.

Y Bandana – “Dal Dy Drwyn” (Hold Your Nose).

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I’ve got quite a quirky song for you. As some of you perhaps remember, Y Bandana is a band fronted by Gwilym Bowen Rhys – my most recent major faza subject. – He was the vocalist and guitarist in it, and apart from him there were also his two cousins – Tomos Jones on keyboards and Siôn Owens on bass guitar – and Gwilym’s school friend Robin Llwyd Jones on percussion. – It was something they were doing in their teens and early twenties, and the band is no longer alive, however it shows in such a cool way how musically versatile Gwilym actually is. For those who don’t know – albeit I write so much about my fazas that I’m not sure there is someone reading this who doesn’t know already – Gwilym’s main musical interest evolve around Welsh folk/acoustic music. Even in this genre alone, he can be very flexible, but it’s fun to see that he’s also had some experience with pop-rock like this and they were really good at it. They had very characteristically catchy songs, and usually somehow mischievous/humourous lyrics. And that’s definitely the case with this song. I really regret that I can’t translate it to you so that you’d have more of a context but my understanding of it is a bit patchy so that probably wouldn’t be the best idea, however I do know enough to say that it’s all about another person being very smelly. I like when people are inventive with song topics, even when they’re sometimes a little gross like that. :DIt really made me laugh when, after having listened to Y Bandana for a while already and starting to learn Welsh, I started picking up some bits of lyrics and figured out very roughly what this song is about, that really made me laugh. It’s funny when listening to music in other languages that you barely know or not at all, to realise that something you’ve been listening to concerns such a fascinating topic.

Lleuwen – “Cawell Fach Y Galon” (Little Cave Of The Heart).

And for today, I picked a Welsh song, from quite a well-liked and known singer on the Welsh-language music scene. Lleuwen Steffan, also mononymously known as Lleuwen, is the daughter of Steve Eaves – a Welsh poet and singer, heavily influenced by blues. – So she grew up in a very musical household for sure, and one filled with love for her native language. Her sister, Manon Steffan Ros is also well-known in the Welsh speakers’ community, as an author. She’s also very popular with beginning learners of Welsh as her books are very learner-friendly from what I know.

I heard this song today in the morning, and thought it’s really cool, so maybe you’ll like it too. 🙂

Song of the day (27th December) – Lisa Pedrick – “Fel Yr Hydd” (As A Hart).

Hey people! 🙂

I decided that, since it’s Christmas time, I’d share a hymn with you – not such that would be particularly connected with Christmas, but any Christian hymns really seem very right to share at this time of year to me. –

Lisa Pedrick is a relatively new artist to me, I come across her music listening to Cymru FM and quite liked her. Lisa was the winner of the first series of a Welsh music talent show Waw Ffactor – the same one that Duffy competed in, in case that tells you something more. –

This song, as you may easily recognise if you’re a Christian yourself or somehow acquainted with Christian hymns, is just the Welsh version of the English well-known hymn “As The Deer”. It’s also known here in Poland, and here it’s neither the deer or the hart, but the doe. This hymn was composed by Martin Nystrom and based on psalm 42. I really like the way it sounds in Welsh. I think generally Welsh is a great language for praying in.

Song of the day (25th December) – Lisa Angharad – “Waiting”.

Hey people! 🙂

It was Christmas yesterday, so I probably should have found something Christmassy for this day, especially that this Christmas season we only had one Christmas carol in Advent and another one on Christmas Eve and nothing more, but I sort of didn’t have very many Christmassy ideas in mind.

Lisa Angharad is an emerging Welsh artist, and this is her first single. I think it’s really cool and it’s gotten some popularity as I’ve heard it played a lot both on BBC Radio Cymru and Cymru FM. Enjoy. 🙂

Kizzy Crawford – “Adlewyrchu Arnaf I” (Reflecting On Me).

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve featured Kizzy Crawford earlier on this blog, and today I thought I’d share another song of hers that I’ve known for a long time and that is my favourite of hers. I generally really like Kizzy and am always trying to be up to date with her music, as she is a very interesting musician, blending a lot of genres together, with a diverse cultural bakground and an ear-catching voice.

She is a Welsh-Bajan singer who seems to feel equally comfortable with as diverse genres as folk, pop, soul, rap and jazz. This song is definitely more on the pop-y side and it’s entirely in Welsh, as I think her Welsh music is particularly interesting, at least for me as a Welsh learner.

Another interesting thing about Kizzy that makes her and her music stand out from the crowd (as if singing in a minority language wouldn’t be enough :D) is that she has, from what I know quite recently, been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. There was a documentary on BBC Radio Wales about her, where she was talking with fellow autistic people, particularly focusing on the struggles of women and girls on the spectrum, but also about her own experiences having lived undiagnosed her entire life until now, and what the diagnosis has changed for her, as well as how music has helped her to cope with all of this.

As many of you know, although I am not on the spectrum myself, I have been assessed twice, once as a child, and then once again as an adult, a lot of people have “accused” me of being autistic, 😀 and I do feel a lot in common with autistic people, since whatever is going on with my brain, it also appears to be a bit atypical, so that was interesting to learn about her and it’s great that she is so open about it!

She mentioned in that documentary that this song is also inspired by her experience of being autistic.

Harmony Yemanya – “Hiraeth Am Feirion” (Longing For Meirionethshire).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you a traditional song I’ve recently heard, from an artist who is very new to me. I heard her for the first time on Blas Folk Radio Cymru.

Harmony Yemanya is the artistic name of Hilary Davies, who is a flautist, singer, songwriter and composer based in Gwynedd and London. This particular song that I want to show you though, is, just like I said, her rendition of a traditional tune. I was wondering where her artistic name came from and it seems like there is some, I guess Nigerian, goddess named Yemaya and one of the way to spell her name is also Yemanya so perhaps it’s in relation to that.

The song is about one’s longing to a (now historic) county in northwestern Wales, which is called Meirionethshire in English.

I managed to find a translation of this song into English, on the website of a Welsh band called Ffynnon

and here it is:

 

There is a mountain in the sea which hides Meirioneth

I had sight of it once only before it broke my heart

Wind from the sea and sun from the mountain

Grey rocks instead of trees

And gulls instead of people

I will make a boat of the oak of love

And its mast, the wood of experience

And put longing in its sail to make it go

Wave to wave to my own land

 

Question of the day.

What’s on your bucket/to do list? What’s stopping you from doing it? 🙂

My answer:

I don’t really have an actual bucket list as such, I hardly ever even do to do lists, I just don’t have the habit I guess. You could say though that learning all my favourite languages is on my bucket list. Is anything stopping me from it? Well I’m already doing it, it just takes time so for now what’s stopping me from learning more of them is that I’m still working on my Welsh and still definitely don’t feel like I can move on to something new, because I don’t feel comfortable with it yet.

How is it with you? 🙂

Hywel Pitts – “Ailadrodd” (Repeat).

For today, I chose to share with you a Hywel Pitts’ song. I only know two solo songs of his, it’s possible that he has more of them and I just don’t know (that’s what the lyrics of this song may also kind of suggest, haha). Currently he is the vocalist of a Welsh-language rock band I Fight Lions. Both these songs by Hywel Pitts that I know have always sounded to me like they have very interesting lyrics but since I’m still like lower intermediate or so, and couldn’t find the lyrics anywhere online to help me understand them, there was always a lot of guessing and assuming involved. However now I understand at least as much of this song to be able to grasp the context, although I fear I have no clue about what this repeating bit in the chorus means, and I feel like it’s important. Oh well…

Anyway, the song is about how the lyrical subject (can we talk about lyrical subject in pop/folk lyrics? 😀 I don’t know, but I also don’t know if it’s Hywel Pitts’ own experience or just something he felt like writing so let’s say it is a lyrical subject) dreamt in his teens about being a rock star. Years later, he finds himself doing just small gigs. He is wondering whether perhaps he’s not charismatic enough, not talented enough, not confident enough. But how can he be confident if he has no fans? Maybe it’s because he isn’t good at laughing at himself, or because he doesn’t have family in the BBC, maybe he’s not fashionable enough, or doesn’t write enough hits, or his songs are bad, in any case no one buys his CD’s or even downloads his mp3s. He has tried a lot of things (everything basically) to achieve his dream – he has tried dressing like a guy, like a girl, he’s been working very hard for free, trying to be folksy, punkrocky, fat, thin, courageous, interesting, funny, honest, different, entertaining, straight, gay, bi, support Tories, Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales – this is a socialist-nationalist Welsh party), Labour, he tried praying, joined Zoosk, Tinder, OK Cupid, he’s been writing in Welsh, English and French, etc. etc. etc. I don’t understand all of that unfortunately, but the point is that still, despite his efforts, no one’s paying any attention. Eventually he concludes that – I am not sure if I understand what he does not need, but I’m pretty sure that what he does need is “four chords and a smile”.

If this is indeed Hywel Pitts’ experience, that makes me very sad because, while I know only two songs by him, except for I Fight Lions, I like them both and I think I could consider myself his fan, even if I’m the only one. I like things that others don’t, especially if they have anything to do with minority languages and Celticness and are quirky. So perhaps that would increase his self-confidence, if he knew that, lol, and maybe that would help him to gain more fans, in turn. I am hoping for the best here.

Bendith – “Lliwiau” (Colours).

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I have a very beautiful song for you from an album which is a result of collaboration between two quite distinctively different Welsh bands – Colorama (which is more like alternative rock with some psychedelic and indie stuff as well as folk motives thrown in there) and Plu (which is classified as alt-folk or psychedelic folk). They called this project, as well as the album that came out of it, Bendith, which means blessing in English. The album focuses on pleasant childhood memories and so generally feels rather nostalgic, more specifically it evolves around Carwyn Ellis’ (the leader of Colorama and the initiator of this collaboration) fond childhood memories of Carmarthenshire. Plu is one of the bands where Gwilym Bowen Rhys – the object of my most recent major faza as you may know – is involved as a singer, guitarist and other stringed instruments player. I love Plu so this album is very special to me, even though it’s not exactly what you’d expect from your typical Plu album. I shared one song from this album in the past and a few others from Plu. I think, despite it came out in February, it’s a great listen for autumn. And I wonder whether they’ll be doing something more together. This song is one of my favourites from this album because it sounds very much like the sound of Plu. It just has a great feel to it.

Sian James – “Aderyn Bach Syw” (Little Laden Bird).

Hi guys! 🙂

Today I have something very short and sweet for you – a Welsh nursery rhyme. I find this little tune quite interesting – as a lot of nursery rhymes are, even if they don’t seem to be at a first glance. – I’ve always believed that since nursery rhymes are generally for children, and we put so much pressure on teaching kids all sorts of things even through literature or music that is made especially for them, that they’d have some kind of a moral. But if this one has a moral indeed, it seems quite hilarious to me. People complain so much that times have changed a lot and how so many children now are overweight or even obese. Well, perhaps it’s nursery rhymes like this, emphasising the role of our bellies that are at fault. 😀 Perhaps it was just made for the fussy kids… Well yeah, sometimes music provokes strange thoughts in my brain. 😀

I like how stoical this bird is and accepting of the possibility that we may die just absolutely any time. Reminds me of how Sofi was little, and when you asked her what she was going to do tomorrow, for example, she’d say “I don’t know, maybe I will die”. No, Sofi wasn’t suicidal or depressed, I can assure you of that. She would always say that in a happy/neutral tone, like the most natural thing in the world. Since our family is Christian and my Mum has a very similar mentality, she was simply taught that you just never know what will happen but whatever will, it was surely meant to happen, and even if it seems a bad thing, something good will likely come out of it for someone at some point. This, rather than making her nervous and worried about the future as some would perhaps expect, made her a very spontaneous girl who never plans anything too far in advance and prefers to live in the now. Which has its good and bad sides, obviously, but that’s just what Sofi’s like, and this bird reminds me of her. The part about the belly also reminds me of Sofi when she was little, because there was such a time when, whenever she would introduce herself she would say something like this: “My name is Zofia, I like to dance, draw and eat”. She doesn’t remember that but she still loves to eat more than an average person and even though she eats a lot, it doesn’t show as she’s very thin, and, because she knows about that thing she used to say from what we’ve told her, sometimes now that’s what she tells people on purpose when she doesn’t know what else to say about herself: “I’m Sofi and I like to eat”. 😀

Perhaps then, the actual moral of this nursery rhyme is accepting whatever happens to you, even if it’s death, and being aware of the fact that it may be just about anything, but while you’re alive, doing things that will keep you alive and that you find pleasant at the same time. Very simple, but perhaps not necessarily as obvious life truth as we may be tempted to think.

I used to wonder why there’s a bird in this nursery rhyme, but Welsh nursery rhymes and lullabies generally seem to be full of animals (which is, after all, not a distinctly Welsh trait at all), moreover I’ve heard about similarly nonsensical nursery rhymes from other countries where an animal is asked where it’s been or where it’s going and its answers have nothing to do with what animals of its species actually do/eat etc. The word for little bird in Welsh is aderyn, and I’ve seen somewhere that it could also mean a boy (don’t know how accurate it actually is though as I’ve never heard it in such use and am not sure how credible the source is) so perhaps it could be a boy, not a bird, but each and every mention of this song that I found in English says bird, so it’s much safer to assume that it is actually a bird.

Okay, now I’ll let you formm your own opinion on this song, here is the translation, and the song itself is below.

„Where are you going, little laden bird?”

“I’m going to the market, if I will be alive.”

“What will you do in the market, little laden bird?”

“Go and get salt, if I will be alive.”

“What will you do with the salt, little laden bird?”

“Put it in the soup, if I will be alive.”

“What will you do with the soup, little laden bird?”

“Put it in my belly, if I will be alive.”

“What will you do with the belly, little laden bird?”

“If it weren’t for my belly, I wouldn’t be alie.

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.

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.