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sian, west wales Welsh Ballad site now online. (9) RE: Welsh Ballad site now online. 10 Aug 10

Tons and tons of Welsh language ballads about. With a strong bardic and narrative tradition, it would be weird if there weren't! And it is an ongoing, living tradition. We've just had the National Eisteddfod where the two main competitions ('Crown' and 'Chair') are for poetry, and the Pabell Llen (Literary Tent) is always full to overflowing for the poetry team competitions.

These team competitions (Ymryson y Beirdd) also take place throughout the year and have their own radio programme: one of Radio Cymru's most popular. Many of the poets are also songwriters or singer/ songwriters so often produce work in the balledic tradition.

One of the people involved in the Welsh Ballad site travels internationally lecturing about ballads and their 'process' - which, IIRC, was in three stages: author, printer and distributor (singer/salesman). He told me about sitting through a presentation by a reknowned English authority who showed a UK map of 19th (18th?) century centres of ballad printers. The lecturer mused that Wales showed next to no activity which he thought was odd. "Our" expert then pointed out that the Englishman hadn't thought to look for Welsh language activity; given the level of Welsh-speaking population at the time, it was an extremely stupid mistake for an academic to make, but (sorry guys) all too common among English monoglots. Taking the Welsh-language press into the equation, Wales claimed its place on the map, big time.

The International Ballad Conference was held in Cardiff last year and I attended a couple of sessions. Interesting stuff. Lecturers in Aberystwyth are currently looking into Welsh ballads connected with the French Revolution. Should be interesting.


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