Mudcat Café message #1682093 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89237   Message #1682093
Posted By: GUEST,Dr Price
01-Mar-06 - 07:59 AM
Thread Name: Tune Add: The tops in National Anthems
Subject: RE: Tune Add: The tops in National Anthems
There's a statue in Pontypridd town, commemorating father and son Evan James and James James, who wrote Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau - a truly inspirational, moving and stately gift of Welsh culture. Or was it?

The historian and Pontypridd Museum curator, Brian Davies, had this story (I had a severe stroke and I haven't seen Brian for five years, so apologies if this gets a bit garbled):

Apparently, James was a harper and a bit of a drunkard. He used to go for a 'sesiwn' at one of Pontypridd's many pubs, carrying his harp on his back, and stagger back in the small hours totally pissed. At one of these sessions, it was James who wrote the jig tune Glan Rhondda (the banks of the Rhondda river) which was a rip-roarer and, once it had been tidied up a bit, an absolute likeness of the Welsh National Anthem.

Glan Rhondda? In Pontypridd 100 years ago, houses lined the Rhondda river, which was an unwilling drain for toilets. Every time Pontypridd men wanted to take a leak, they would use the local slang phrase: "I'm just going down to the Banks of the Rhondda." So you have one very merry harper, desperate to relieve himself on the long walk back home and vowing to write a tune in praise of a bog - which became the Welsh National Anthem!