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sian, west wales Lyr Add: Hob-i-derry Dando (66* d) RE: Lyr Add: Hob-i-derry Dando 02 Feb 12


>> And thank you to Mike for supplying the source info about the dearth of Welsh chanties. … You might be aware that I am very interested in chanties, especially in their development. So I find it intriguing that there were no or very few Welsh ones, for two reasons.

Hmm. I went after some other notes on other Welsh words to this tune. Some more interesting points:

Dr Evans' (above) father, who was a sailor for 18 years, said that, (my translation from Welsh) 'there was much singing of Welsh popular songs in the foc's'le … but Dr Evans doesn't remember him ever mentioning specifically work songs. But, here was a sight, at last, in the College library, shanty words that were sung while raising anchor. At least, that's how the evidence appeared on paper.' So, how I read these notes (and the greater piece from which they come) is that he feels that Welsh language shanties existed but weren't recorded. Maybe there weren't a lot of them, but they did exist.

The other thing which struck me is that "Happy now we are all, my boys" is typical of the macaronic chorus found in Welsh songs. They were English phrases that were repeated phonetically and, inevitably, mixed up. Dr Evans feels (and he is the expert) that the original came from 'Happy New Year, all my boys' … which puts an interesting slant on the song, doesn't it?

>>I am still unclear where the English-lang. "Marco Polo" verse comes from. Did Davies write it?

Someone might know the answer but it's a bit like asking where any rugby verses come from. "Author Unknown" would be my guess.

>>I'm not yet in the position to really critique Hugill in this case, i.e. as to whether he was being disingenuous or failed in his critical duties.

Dr Evans knew Hugill, I think. He might be willing to talk to you about this. I could ask him …

>> There were some shipboard work song traditions prior to and concurrent with "chanties" that were in other languages, but if one looks really closely, they can be distinguished from the phenomenon called chanties – at a point.

The idea that the Welsh mostly sang currently popular songs (and hymns would fall into that category) would work with that theory.

>>So please accept my apologies for any "butchering" of the language.

Easily corrected. Just find yourself a Welsh speaker.

>>Mochyn Du

Remember, Y Mochyn Du was written about 1854 so those specific verses would fall into the 'pop song' category above. I'm not sure if the author (John Owen, who became a minister and was deeply embarassed by the song in his old age) also wrote the tune or used an existing tune. I'll try to find out for you.

>>So are we to assume "H.B. Jones" gave the "folk song" version to Hugill, and Hugill felt the license to call it a chanty form? Or should we assume that Jones presented it, w/ Welsh words, as a chanty?

I can't answer that but Y Mochyn Du is sung just about everywhere by just about everyone in Welsh speaking Wales. Hugill would have heard it frequently as a popular pub song. Jones would know that.

>>Hob-y-Derri(n)-Dando

Not sure where the 'n' comes from but, apart from that …

>>There is in Nevin a light ale, boys,

I think 'light' doesn't really convey what the verse is saying. These kind of verses are considered witty if they say contrasting, impossible things. So to say the beer is 'sallow, fusty' and then praise it by saying it's both food and drink is thought to be humourous.

>>The start of another Welsh verse is given, from "Bill Morris":
>>Ar y fford wrth fynd i Lundain,
>>Mi gwrddais a theiliwr llawen.

That's the first verse of a humourous song usually sung to another tune, with a different chorus.   But see below re: verses.

>>Hugill continues: Sometimes 'Borth' was sung about instead of London, with 'torth' (loaf) as the rhyming word in the second line.

Pardon? Apart from that changing the meter, it makes no sense. 'On the road as I was going to Borth, I met a loaf tailor.' He either didn't know whereof he spoke, or he made a balls-up of explaining what he meant.

>>So again he seems to imply that a veteran seaman, "Bill Morris," presented a Welsh form as a chanty.

Perhaps Morris is saying, 'this is a song, and we used in as a chanty' which isn't the same thing as saying, 'this is a chanty'.

>>Rownd yr Horn

I now realize that I know surprising little about this one, 'though we sing it constantly in sessions.

Re: the origins of the songs published by J. Glyn Davies, let me just give you a list:

Fflat Huw Puw(Huw Puw's Flat): Tune, 'Dydd Cyntaf o Awst' being played here by Stephen Rees and Huw Roberts.

Ca^n Huw Puw (Huw Puw's Song): Tune, "Miss Tickletoby kept a school"

Gadael Tir (Leaving Land): Tune, 'A-roving'

Tywydd Mawr (Heavy Weather): Tune, 'Difyrrwch Ifan Delynwr' harp tune

Codi Angor (Weighing Anchor): Tune, 'Across the Western Ocean'

Gyrru 'Mlaen i Bortinllaen (Riding hard to Portinllaen): Tune, 'Visen om Palle', Danish trad.

Yn Harbwr Corc (In Cork Harbour): Tune 'Good morning, Mr Tapscott'

Hwylio Adre (Homeward Bound): Tune, 'Good-byd, fare you well'

Santiana: Tune, 'Oh, Santiana, blow your horn'

Mo^r Tir (Ground Swell): Tune, 'Oh poor old man his horse will die' (Dr Price may know more about this)

Dafydd Jones: Tune, 'Sally Brown'

Portinllaen: Tune, 'The Happy Miller'

Longau Caernarfon (The ships of Caernarfon): Tune, Norwegian trad.

Ca^n y Fronfraith (The throstle's song): J.G.D.

Diwrnod Cario Gwair (Hay harvest day): J.G.D.

Be Gefaist Ti'n Fwyd? (What had you to eat?): Tune, Danish trad.

Robin ar y Rhiniog (Robin on the threshold): Tune, trad. Welsh

Hwre^ am Gei Caernarfon (Hurrah for Caernarfon Quay): Tune, 'Rio Grande'

Diofal yw'r Aderyn (Carefree is the bird): Tune from Sweden

Carlo (dog's name): Tune, Samoan chant

Dewryn (dog's name): Tune, J.G.D.

Teg oedd yr awel (Fair was the breeze): J.G.D.

Mae'r Gwynt yn Deg (The wind is fair): Tune, 'A long time ago'

Rowndio'r Horn (Rounding the Horn): tune, 'Tommy's gone to Ilo' (not to be confused with the other song, Rownd yr Horn)

Ffarwel San Salvador (Farewell San Salvador): tune, 'Blow the man down'

Y Llong a^'r Hwyliau Gwynion (The ship with the white sails): Tune, 'Blow,boys, bully boys, blow'

Y Drol Fach Felen (The little yellow cart): Tune, 'Whiskey is the life of man'

Heibio Ynys Sgogwm (Past the Isle of Skokholm): Tune, 'Boney was a warrior'

Bryniau Iwerddon (The hills of Ireland): tune, 'Haul away, Joe'

Robin Sio^n: Tune, 'Ranzo'

Brig y Bercin (The Brig Bercin): Tune, last bars of 'A-rovin' expanded by JGD

Golau Enlli (Bardsey Light): Tune, JGD

Ffarwel, hen Bethau (Farewell, beloved things): Tune, 'Lusty gallant'

Yn Harbwr San Francisco (in San Francisco Harbour): Tune, 'The girl I left behind me'

Cerdd y Genweiriwr (The angler's song): Tune with changes, old Languedocian

Dwy a Dimeu (Twopence ha'penny): Tune, Swedish trad.

O Quae Mutatio Rerum! (Oh how things change): Tune, 'O alte Burschenherrlichkeit' German student song

Y Sgwner Tri Mast (the three-masted schooner): Tune, 'Spanish Ladies'

Owen Dau Funud (Half a Jiff Owen): Tune, JGD

Noson Aflawen (The noisy night): Tune, JGD

Clwt y Dawns (The Dancing Green): Tune, JGD

Y Meddyg Gwych (The splendid Doctor): Tune, 'Pant Corlan yr W^yn, Welsh trad.

Edrych Tuag Adre (Looking homewards): Tune, 'Shenandoah'

Meibion Adda (Sons of Adam): Tune, Danish trad.

Finally, I would like to add something – including a hypothesis I've only just come up with – on Welsh folk song.

Welsh folk song, as a body of work, has a really high proportion of 4 line verses. Of these, a very great number have a burden/refrain either at the end of each verse, or every other line within the verse ("Deck the halls…" good example). There are also quite a few with a repeated line. Plus, the Welsh just love folk songs which gives everyone a chance to join in as some point or another. These were sung in the fields, in the labourers' quarters on farms, in quarries, etc. They were quite often sung in competition, with people making up verses as the song progressed. These verse forms, and the situations in which they were used, go back to at least the 1500s, and in some cases much farther.

So, my hypothesis is that if the Welsh had this song tradition which could be so easily adapted to the work at hand on board, it would be easy enough to use their indigenous tradition and, if someone wanted to explain them using the word 'chanty, shanty' … yeh; ok. No skin off our noses.


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