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Folklore: The music of Wales

Peace 01 Nov 07 - 01:11 PM
mg 01 Nov 07 - 01:25 PM
Mick Tems 01 Nov 07 - 01:31 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 01:50 PM
Mick Tems 01 Nov 07 - 02:21 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 02:24 PM
sian, west wales 01 Nov 07 - 02:30 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 02:37 PM
Mick Tems 01 Nov 07 - 02:47 PM
sian, west wales 01 Nov 07 - 02:54 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 02:54 PM
mg 01 Nov 07 - 02:55 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 02:57 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 03:00 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 04:22 PM
sian, west wales 01 Nov 07 - 04:39 PM
bubblyrat 01 Nov 07 - 04:39 PM
Buddug 01 Nov 07 - 05:38 PM
Peace 01 Nov 07 - 09:49 PM
sian, west wales 02 Nov 07 - 05:53 AM
Buddug 02 Nov 07 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,ifor 02 Nov 07 - 09:16 AM
Peace 02 Nov 07 - 10:18 AM
Splott Man 02 Nov 07 - 10:45 AM
Peace 02 Nov 07 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Jeff 02 Nov 07 - 04:56 PM
Peace 02 Nov 07 - 05:42 PM
Peace 02 Nov 07 - 06:12 PM
Anne Lister 02 Nov 07 - 06:47 PM
sian, west wales 02 Nov 07 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,richd 02 Nov 07 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,albert 02 Nov 07 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,richd 02 Nov 07 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,Jeff 02 Nov 07 - 11:59 PM
Les in Chorlton 03 Nov 07 - 04:13 AM
Mary Humphreys 03 Nov 07 - 07:23 AM
Scooby Doo 03 Nov 07 - 07:51 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Nov 07 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,albert 03 Nov 07 - 08:51 AM
Chris in Portland 03 Nov 07 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,richd 03 Nov 07 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,albert 03 Nov 07 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,richd 03 Nov 07 - 03:17 PM
Peace 03 Nov 07 - 03:39 PM
GUEST,richd 03 Nov 07 - 04:04 PM
Peace 03 Nov 07 - 04:14 PM
Jack Campin 03 Nov 07 - 04:16 PM
sian, west wales 03 Nov 07 - 04:32 PM
Peace 03 Nov 07 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Jeff 03 Nov 07 - 08:08 PM
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Subject: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 01:11 PM

I have a question to ask. It comes from my own ignorance. Bear with me.

Wales: it has its own literature, its own history, its own politics. Does it have its own music? That is, are there songs that specifically spring from a/the Welsh tradition? Are there musical instruments that originated in Wales? Is this a stupid question?

Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: mg
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 01:25 PM

Gosh...fantastic music...incredible singers of hymns and group choral songs...very wonderful male groups, often coal miners...there is other music of course as well...harp, etc...but the huge choruses..sometimes thousands of people...are what come to my mind...mg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Mick Tems
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 01:31 PM

The pibgorn, pibgyrn, fiddle, triple harp, tabwrdd, crwth, pibacwd...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I estimate that Wales has approximately 3,000 songs and pretty amazing tunes. Despite Kim Howells' (a traitor to Wales) evil work, there are sessions all over the country. Sorry to be so short, but I must go out to Gwerinwyr Gwent rehearsals!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 01:50 PM

Part of the reason I asked is that I know at one time there were only 50,000 Welsh speakers left and the country has made a valiant effort to save/increase the use of its language. I was wondering whether its music had faced a similar fate. As to Welsh choirs, they are indeed world renown.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Mick Tems
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:21 PM

Not 50,000 Welsh speakers, but 250,000! Cymraeg (the Welsh language) is experiencing a boom at the moment. The University of Glamorgan's Welsh Department runs hundreds of Welsh learner classes (one of which I attend.) Don't forget, you don't have to speak Welsh to be a player of Welsh tunes, both traditional and written.

Mwynhauwch! (Enjoy!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:24 PM

That is amazing, because 25 years ago there were but 50,000. Bravo for the Welsh.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:30 PM

Peace, I think there are a few quite recent threads on this, like this one on song and this one on the crwth . I work for trac and you'll find a great number of links to various societies, performers, etc on our website. Dr Price provides another valuable resource with his Mari Arts website. There's a good overview of Welsh instruments at this BBC Wales site but it falls down badly in that it doesn't discuss song. Weird, because the programme from which it grew did cover song. It's a big omission because one of the foundation blocks of Welsh music is how words - poetry - interact with instrumental music.

Re: choirs, yes, they make a mighty sound and are, historically, a major element of the Welsh 'musical nation'. They did, however, grow from an older tradition - that of the 'parti meibion' or male voice party - which is a smaller grouping, often less than 25 members. I tend to prefer these as they rely more on finesse than on producing a big wall of sound. There is a growing trend for these groups - often as 'pub choirs' - which I think is interesting.

This Saturday, trac is running a Plygain workshop. Plygain is a specific kind of Welsh carol singing, with the same roots as West Gallery singing, Shape Note singing, et al. Historically this was a 'men only' tradition but us females have elbowed our way in now. Well, except for the traditional closing Plygain carol (Plygain carols are sung as part of a specific Plygain service) and there would be a riot in Church if a female dared to join in THAT one. You may have come across a hymn popular in North America - All Poor Men and Humble. That is a direct translation and transplant of a Welsh Plygain carol, typical in its line and verse length of 17th century carols.

Am I right in thinking that you're from the Canadian prairies? There were a few Welsh immigrant communities there. There is a recording available from the Smithsonian of John Thomas, Bangor, Saskatchewan singing a Welsh carol of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" ilk. One track from the "Songs of Saskatchewan" LP

What else can we tell you?

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:37 PM

Are there what North Americans would call 'protest' songs? I'm thinking of the mines and slag heaps (some of which have killed children). What is the relationship of the Welsh to Great Britain? (I know it's PART of it, but how happy a part? What is the musical expression of Welsh nationalism?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Mick Tems
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:47 PM

The number of Welsh speakers has remained pretty static over the last 200 years. In the Glamorgan valleys, most of the population spoke Welsh, but was pretty sparse. The coal boom brought workers flooding in, but the actual number of Welsh speakers did not go down. Drive through Llanelli (or Pontardawe) and up to North Wales, and you will find people speaking Welsh - the more so once you get to the Llyn peninsula. Have you been misled over the Welsh language?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:54 PM

Answers on the back of a postcard?

Ha!

OK - 'protest' songs are a way of life here. Dr Price is currently working with trac to get his collection of old ballads 'n' stuff typed up so he knows a lot about that end of things. I don't know if it would be correct to say (?) that the bulk of the protest songs since the 1960s have been related to preservation of the Welsh language as well as the Welsh independence movement. There's also a strong pacifist movement in Wales so there have been some excellent songs on those lines. (Well, unless you don't agree with the pacifist movement - but even then the songs are still good songs.)

Re: the relationship of the Welsh to Great Britain ... that depends who you ask. Even some people who were heavily into full independence are resting on their oars now that Wales has a National Assembly (rather like a provincial government but with less power).

The musical expression of Welsh nationalism is divers. Pop has the greatest chance of getting media air-time, but usually only in Wales, and usually only on the Welsh-language channels. But there is also 'folk', jazz, classical, etc. written as a conscious expression of being Welsh. Some artists feel that simply singing in the Welsh language is, in itself, a gesture of national alignment. I'd venture to say that this is true, say, of Cerys Matthews either when she was with Catatonia or now as a solo artist.

Re: language statistics, you've left off a '0'. In 1921, there were 922,100 Welsh speakers who were 37.1% of the population. In 1981, 593,500 (19%), and in 2001, 582,400 (20.8%). Some years ago I took a fork in the career path which means I have things like the "Digest of Welsh Statistics 2003: National Assembly for Wales" at hand. Sad, isn't it?

Oh - and if you want to hear a Plygain carol by a very traditional family group there's a sound clip here. Thank God for Max's Linkmaker!

Glad to see you're interested in this stuff! I'm going to make some supper now!

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:54 PM

Possibly so. I understood in a university class that the number of Welsh speakers had dropped to about 50 thousand--that was close to 25-30 years ago. At that time the prof (or grad student) said there was an effort underway to increase that number.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: mg
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:55 PM

We had or have a Welsh community near Seattle in Black Diamond, a coal mining town. They used to come to Seattle to sing and it was wonderful...also communities throughout the Northwest including British COlumbia...I am about 3/8 Welsh I believe although that could include Cornish..my mother was a Williams..which is the third most common name in US I believe..Smith is first, Jones is 4th..no idea what is second...I checked on Jackson, Murphy, Garcia...but darned if I can figure out what it is. Interesting that 2/4 of the top US names are Welsh....Smith is McGowan in Irish so lots of Smiths would really be McGowans..and of course when people from Yugoslavia immigrated they were called Smith, Jones..anything that could be spelled easily..mg


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 02:57 PM

OK then. Thank you both. NOW, if I were to ask about a few books to read that would enlighten me about Wales, what would those books be?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 03:00 PM

Sian's trac link seems not to work. http://www.trac-cymru.org/


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 04:22 PM

Thanks for that info, mg.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 04:39 PM

Books? Definitely A History of Wales by Dr John Davies. Brook no imitations. Well ... unless you want to unload £60 plus postage and wait a couple of months then you could get the new Encyclopaedia of Wales .

That's all for general background. Then different chunks of history are written up by various people. If there's one thing Wales has a lot of, it's authors. Hopefully in a year or two we'll also have a new history of Welsh traditional music (English lang. publication). I know the author is on the last chapter, and University of Wales Press is waiting to publish it.

Thanks, mg, for the link. Don't know what happened there. We must be related. My mother has Williamses from Cornwall in her family and she reckons they came originally from Wales. Quite likely as the quarrymen used to travel (by sea) between North Wales, West Wales, and Cornwall, depending on where the work was. Interestingly, there's a song or two that generally are found only in North Wales but also crop up in one village in Pembrokeshire (Mathry). There was a quarry there and the supposition is that the songs travelled with the quarrymen.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: bubblyrat
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 04:39 PM

Try " Hugh Green Was My Valet " !


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Buddug
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 05:38 PM

Hi Peace, just caught this thread. There is currently a study (it might have been published by now) into mitochondrial DNA (which passes untouched (apart from the odd accidental mutation) down the male line) across the UK. It's beginning to look as if the Welsh are descended from pre-Celts, i.e the stone age inhabitants of the British Isles, not just from the Celts as previously thought - who of course dwelt in these islands before the Romans, Saxons, Normans et al. Successive waves of invasion pushed them into the west of the country eventually - which explains the relationship between the Welsh, the Cornish (and the Bretons), whose languages are all Brythonic Celtic, and the Scots and the Irish (a lot of migration historically between these two lands), whose languages are Goedelic (Gaelic) Celtic.   Hope that helps.
!

Buddug


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 09:49 PM

Indeed it does. My only encounters with Welsh history, language or culture were in a university course to do with the Old English languagem and other than a request that we read "The Mabinogian" (more to ascertain the existence of a 'King Arthur' type figure in the literature, all else about Wales was incidental. Recently, I have had the pleasure of meeting a Welshman through Mudcat, and it struck me that I know very very little about the country, its history or people. Subsequently, I started this thread to try finding a place to start.

sian, west wales has been a Mudcat member likely for longer than I have. His posts (pardon me if you find this a bit embarrassing, sian) have always been erudite, to the point and helpful. I realize that a whole people cannot be extrapolated from an individual, but other Welsh people I have met have seemed to be equally 'nice'. So, my curiousity about Wales has been prodded. I don't have that long to live (in a relative sense--I'm 60 now) and I'd hate to shuffle off this mortal coil with that as an unanswered mystery. Thank all of you who have posted here because it certainly gives me places to start. And I shall.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 05:53 AM

Thank you for that, Peace. I won't be embarrassed by your comments re: 'erudite' although I think I fall far short of that description. I DO try to make comments which add to the debate in some sort of positive way, and that's the fault of 'Catter Snuffy. He once introduced me to a new 'Catter as a 'Catter who didn't give off a lot of "static" - that is, (I think) getting caught up in too many inconsequentials). I have cursed him often for this comment; it's kept me from throwing myself headlong into some of the best bitchy-slappy-fights here. Drat, and double drat. (I'm also Welsh Canadian so the 'nice' imperative is a genetic curse.) (But I'm getting old, so I can be cantankerous too)

I also don't find it (too) embarrassing that you think I'm a "he". You're in good company: Joe Offer for example. "Sion" is male; "Sian" is female.

Now I have to think of something else more relevant to the thread ... hmm.

OK - back to books. I'm thinking you might like "The Matter of Wales Epic Views of a small country" by Jan Morris. Essayist style rather than a full history like John Davies' book. Sioned Davies has just brought out a new translation of The Mabinogion if you're still interested in it. If you go to the gwales.com sight and search on "Mabinogion" you get various things of interest.

Music-wise, a good overview of Welsh music can be had on the CD The Rough Guide to the Music of Wales

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Buddug
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 06:58 AM

Just realised I didn't say - I live in North Wales, and my other half's first language is Welsh (I speak a fair amount, too, enough to hold my own in a conversation in the local pub)- it is very much still a living language - and they do still all sing on a Saturday night in the little village pub a mile and a half away; in Welsh, in English - last time we walked in and they were actuallysinging 'Shenandoah'... Quickly followed by old Welsh hymns, Ar Hyd y Nos, Suo Gan, you name it.

Buddug


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,ifor
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 09:16 AM

Try some of the books by the very respected and much missed Alexander Cordell who wrote about the industrialisation of the South Wales valleys.....wonderfully moving history.
For a starter try his book Song Of The Earth.
Ifor


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 10:18 AM

"I also don't find it (too) embarrassing that you think I'm a "he". You're in good company: Joe Offer for example. "Sion" is male; "Sian" is female."

OUCH. I do apologize, Sian. Another Mudcatter sent me a heads up on that and was kind enough to explain the etymology. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but nothin' beats plain old stupidity to help a guy put his foot in it.

I still think you are erudite--I checked that word and it's a good thing. Please excuse me. I am going to look for sack cloth and ashes.

And for the rest of you: You are real gems. I know in my own way I love the country I live in, warts and all. I could talk about it for hours: geography, cities, towns, regions, rivers, mountain ranges, music, government, but most of all it's the people I have come to love very deeply. Reading what the various posters have said here reminds me that pride is not relegated to Canadians alone. I am very happy that so many of you have taken the time to help educate me.

So, how's a guy say 'thank you' in Welsh?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Splott Man
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 10:45 AM

"Diolch yn fawr"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 11:02 AM

Well then, diolch yn fawr to all of you.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 04:56 PM

Bore da Peace!

A few years ago I did a cycle tour of Wales following the A470 from Conwy to Cardiff. Collected several recordings. The favorite of mine is by a fellow named Paul who was the owner of a music store called 'Gogs' in Llandudno. Very gracious was he as he played me several selections on whistle and accordian. I'll dig back through my stuff and post back here as I've got some books on Welsh history including the aforementioned 'A History of Wales'. I lent it along w/some other books to the daughter of a friend who became very interested in Welsh culture when she found out her ancestry was Welsh.

Anyway, my heritage is also Welsh. Michael Raven recorded a collection of tunes entitled 'Welsh Guitar' which is very, very good. Blodau'r Grug is a collection of Welsh dance tunes which may or may not be out of print.

If I turn up some stuff maybe I can arrange to copy some of the recordings to CD format and send them to you. Meanwhile, good on ya! for your interest in Wales...it's an endlessly facinating country.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 05:42 PM

Wow, THANK you, Jeff.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 06:12 PM

Man, oh, man (and lady) that country has LOTS of history. I have a question that may seem off the wall. But here it is anyway: Idris Davies' lyrics and Pete Seeger's music created a beautiful song (one I first heard on Pete's "We Shall Overcome" album recorded at Carnegie Hall in the early 1960s).

Bells of Rhymney
Idris Davies / Pete Seeger

Oh what will you give me
Say the sad bells of Rhymney
Is there hope for the future
Say the brown bells of Merthyr
Who made the mine owner
Say the black bells of Rhondda
And who robbed the miner
Say the grim bells of Blaina

They will plunder willy-nilly
Say the bells of Caerphilly
They have fangs, they have teeth
Shout the loud bells of Neath
Even God is uneasy
Say the moist bells of Swansea
And what will you give me
Say the sad bells of Rhymney

Throw the vandals in court
Say the bells of Newport
All would be well if if if if if if
Say the green bells of Cardiff
Why so worried, sisters, why
Sang the silver bells of Wye
And what will you give me
Say the sad bells of Rhymney


As sung by The Ian Campbell Folk Group


The song has always had a special meaning for me because my grandfather had been a coal miner in his youth when he lived in England. I won't remark on the obvious dangers of that work, or what I perceive to be the greed of the company owners. That said, has Davies included all the main mining districts?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Anne Lister
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 06:47 PM

Here's a little fairly shameless plug - we are setting up our home to be a writers' retreat for anyone who wants a place in Wales to come and work on a creative project (music or writing, we're not fussy!) We're in South Wales, on the edge of some beautiful scenery but also in an area with a fascinating industrial history.
If you're interested in coming to visit, PM me and I'll tell you more!

Anne


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 07:12 PM

Peace, somewhere there is a thread on the Bells of Rhymney. A good one too if I remember rightly.

Re: the valleys mentioned, they are mostly in south east Wales and are what we'd call "The Valleys" - those that radiate up from Newport, Cardiff and Swansea. I don't have much connection with the area but I wouldn't have thought of the Wye as being one of The Valleys, although it is 'a' valley, if you follow me. The Valleys were the main hub of coal mining, but coal was mined across the south west as far as, I suppose, south Pembrokeshire. There was coal mining in north east Wales as well and one of the most infamous mining disasters of Wales happened at Gresford near Wrexham. There are poems and even a hymn about it, and it rates as one of those 'touchstones' in Welsh memory.

And, of course, there was also gold, lead and copper mining, as well as quarrying, so the Welsh have done their fair share of rummaging about in Mother Earth's bloomers over the centuries. (The hulls of Nelson's ships were clad in Anglesey copper and I think the USA also used it in some of the republic's first coinage.)

Jeff, Blodau'r Grug is out of print indeed although one can still find copies here and there. The second volume is called Cadw Twmpath. Fortunately, there's more interest in republishing these days (with a revival in the instrumental tradition) so perhaps some will see light of day again.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,richd
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 07:53 PM

That's right, the Wye is off the coalfield, so the silver (rich) bells would be happy and unworried, whilst the bells of the coalfield just to the south would be doing much worse. At the time the that Idris Davies wrote the words the eastern valleys were undergoing deep economic depression. Other coal mining areas of Wales, including west of Neath(hence the ambiguity) were more properous, because they mined anthracite. men from the Valleys around Merthyr and Rhymney would often travel west to work in the anthracite pits. Cardiff is south of the coalfield, hence their ambigous line. There's also a strand of sadness/loss in his poems about language too- Idris Davies was part of the last generation of mass working class Welsh language culture at the top of the valleys.

Sadly, as I look from my window above Merthyr and watch the heavy machinary ripping the top of the mountain opposite at Ffos Y Fran to get at the coal I am forced to reluctantly say that you could answer the brown bells of Merthyr by saying- 'not much hope for the future, sorry lads'.

If you are interested in the literature of the time and place in south Wales that Idris Davies is part of then there are a couple of writers worth looking out for- Gwyn Thomas and Lewis Jones, both Rhondda men. Some of their books have just been reprinted as part of the excellent Library of Wales. I don't know anything about any writers from north Wales, but the English language literature of industrial south Wales is very rich at the time of Idris Davies. As to conemporary writers there's Rachel Tresize from the Rhondda (is there a theme here?)and a whole bunch of tidy poets including Tony Curtis, Mike Jenkins.

There's some really good history books. Gwyn Alf Williams "When was Wales?" and "The Merthyr Rising" Dai Smith "Aneurin Bevan and the World of south Wales". Hywel Francis and him wrote "The Fed" heavy going but definitive.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 07:56 PM

The western part of the coalfield that Sian mentions above was the anthracite coalfield which extended across to the Gwendraeth valley in the westan area which is at the heart of welsh speaking South Wales.
Anthracite is a much sought after hard coal used in industry but make no mistake the deat of the miners in 1985 at the hands of Thatcher's state machinery had terrible consequences on not only the coal industry [which was decimated ] but also on the social, cultural and civic fabric of the valleys from the Gwendraeth in the west right across to the eastern valleys.
Albert
The Song Of The Earth performance in Glynneath later this month should be very interesting and enjoyable as the turmoil in S


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,richd
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 08:05 PM

What is "The Song of the Earth"?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 11:59 PM

Semi-jackpot, Peace.

What I've been able to dig out so far is a cd made from a cassette recording of Paul from Gog's. It's 47 mins long @ 12 tracks. Couldn't find my copy of Blodnau'r Grug, but I'll keep at it. A Sian James recording called 'Gweini Tymor', again from cassette to CD. And Michael Raven's 'Welsh Guitar', 36 tracks in all. The Sian James and Michael Raven CDs may still be available. There's a book that goes w/t Michael Raven which I have...somewhere.

Let me know if you're interested in any of this.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:13 AM

Are Welsh dance tunes available on a website ?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 07:23 AM

Don't forget Robin Huw Bowen who has several publications of triple-harp tunes that contain fantastic dance tunes and are very useable for ceilidhs or twmpathau.
Here is a link to the Welsh Folk Dance Society which lists various publications.
Welsh Folk Dance publications


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Scooby Doo
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 07:51 AM

We did have until recently Siwsaun George until she passed away who sung in Welsh and her cd label was sain.



Scooby.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 08:22 AM

Thanks Mary, we are not Jones for nothing

Cheers

les jones


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 08:51 AM

Song Of The Earth is the title of a novel by Alexander Cordell.Its a great read and the background to the novel is the industrialisation of the Welsh valleys in the early 19th century.
The novel deals with the attempt to take a canal barge out of one valley into another but Cordell's sense of history and the people of the valley makes the book come alive.Many in Wales actually got a sense of the vitality of our history through the reading of his books.Cordell was actually English and sadly died about 12 years ago.Check out his books like Song Of The Earth or The Fire People.Great stuff!
Albert


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 11:45 AM

Thanks to all for the great posts -
We're carrying on Welsh traditions here in Oregon too - doing 3 plygain carols for our Lessons and Carols service, and I'm doing some other Welsh carols for the Portland Welsh Society Xmas Tea.

Sian - what's the traditional last Plygain song you mentioned?

Dr. P - hope your song book can get published. Hoping that the new Welsh folk music center - Ty Siamas - will also get involved with similar projects, as well as the good folks at Sain.

Buddeg - we're planning a music-centered trip to N Wales next Fall - where's the pub you mentioned? What's on tap?

Peace - for a bit of Welsh music on a great Welshman's radio program, try Frank Hennessy's Celtic Heartbeat, archived on Radio Wales, and you might also like John ac Alun on Radio Cymry.

Diolch yn fawr i pawb, Chris in Portland


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,richd
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 02:47 PM

So the performance of "Song of the Earth" in Glyneath is a stage adaptation of the book? Is the adaptation any good?

yes, it would be good if Siwsan George were still with us. Wasn't "Traditional Songs of Wales" on Saydisk? Heard 9bach do "Can Merthyr" recently- very good version, also sang "Pontypridd". I do wonder about the wisdom of bass and drums though.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 03:14 PM

Reply to Richd,
The performance in Glynneath is not a literal adaption of the Cordell.The performance takes its name and inspiration from the work of Cordell but is more of a free ranging view of the history of the valleys.

The performers are all linked to either the Pontneathvaughn Music Club or the Valley Folk Club in neighbouring Pontardawe.

However there was a full stage adaptation of the book about ten years ago by, I think, Theatre West Glamorgan which was critically and publicly acclaimed.
The performance in Glynneath will be a "homelier " presentation!!
albert


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,richd
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 03:17 PM

Soon after my last post I found the other thread. All is explained.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 03:39 PM

You folks are wonderful, and I'm beginning to get the idea that Welshmen/women are very scholarly with regard to their history.

Jeff,

I would appreciate any music from/about Wales. I notice we have no way to communicate other than this thread, and threads are not the best place to put e-mail addresses. Is there any chance you'd join Mudcat so we can exchange messages?



As an observation, I suspect that the Welsh are a very proud people, so please excuse me for asking the following questions.


What are the most important social issues in Wales?

In 1087 CE, William Rufus (son of William the Bastard) tried genocide on the Welsh people. From what I have been reading, the Welsh have been no strangers to war in the course of their history. Did that further 'unite' the people of Wales? And as an add-on to that, I have noticed that in some writings the region of South Wales seems to be accorded almost a separate accounting in the various histories. Am I imagining things or is there something more fundamental that I'm missing?

Does Wales have 'minority rights' problems?

In the 750s (?) CE, the Mercian king, Offa, built earthen works to keep the Welsh out (the Romans did the same to my to the north of England). What was the reason for Offa's act? Was it because the people were fearsome, bothersome, Welsh, what?



Please understand that it is very difficult to ask many of these things because I have NO intention of insulting anyone. If I do, it's from ignorance, not design.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,richd
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:04 PM

Wow Peace, that's a number of biguns. The most important social issues I think would vary a lot by the location of whose talking. So where I am the social issues are health and premature death, unemployment and underachievment amoung young people and how to cope with these to assist the survival of former industrial towns and villages. I also have an idea that this might be true for other communites in other areas of Wales.
One reason why south Wales might be treated seperately in some histories is that it is urban, (post) industrial and English speaking.It also has the majority of the population. The process by which the eastern valleys of the coalfield lost the Welsh language is both complex and painful, and I think that it caused real rifts within Welsh culure and nation which are still very problematical. Which brings to folksongs and history...One of the major products of south Wales is historians! Its taken very seriously


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:14 PM

Thank you, Rich D. I do realize that I have the ability to drive people crazy with questions and I appreciate your patience with me.

Wales has a thoroughly interesting history, and I think what I will do is look into a distance education course through one of Alberta's universities.

I tripped over the story of The Mumbles Train, then I checked the DT for songs about it. Are there any kicking around?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:16 PM

Somewhere I have an LP (never listened to it, I need to fix my record player) of a Welsh equivalent of the Scottish bothy song - Welsh=language songs created by seasonal gangs of agricultural workers. Somebody must be able to remind me what that genre is called and what the LP might have been.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:32 PM

I'm just back from running a Plygain workshop all day (really was great fun!) so I'm completely knackered. Apologies if I can't get to grips with some of the 'deeper' questions here. My brain is addled and my throat hurts (had to sing soprano; I should have retired my Top Eff years ago). So, Chris, the final song of a Plygain - sung ONLY by the men - is Carol y Swper. Until last year I (and everyone else, almost, on last year's workshop) thought this was so named because it was the closing carol before you went to the church vestry for a slap up meal. Not so. We hang our collective head in shame, as it turns out the 'Supper' is the same feast as referred to in many spirituals, ie. 'the welcome table', our feast in paradise, etc.

Jeff, Sian James is still going strong and has brought out a couple of albums in recent years - one is particularly 'trad'. I imagine it will be on the Sain website. I actually have a box of them in the boot of my car to return to her someday but that's something only my Santee might be interested in.

Peace, I may yet think of something useful to say about issues in Wales ... but can't think of any offhand now that wouldn't be cured by more people making more music together, which keeps it nicely in the 'music of Wales' category.

Off for a quick cuppa tea and feet up.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:35 PM

May the pillow on which you rest your feet be as soft as your heart.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 08:08 PM

Peace,

Yes, I'll join the mudcat asap. As an interesting bit of history Hywel Dda(Howell the Good) developed a system of laws granting significant rights to women, such as 1/2 of property upon divorce, etc. This set of documents preceded the Magna Carta by 300 years. Also, most of the surviving documents are written in Welsh and not Latin like most of the documents of the time period. The property rights guaranteed women didn't become part of English law for over a thousand years from the dates of the Law of Hywel.

And check out Owain Glyndwr and related history.

My personal favorite, sort of explains the relentless pride in language and culture felt by the Welsh. In 1193 Giraldus Cambrensis recorded a speech by an elderly citizen of Pencader to Henry II of England:

"This nation, O King may now, as in former times be harassed, and in great measure weakened and destroyed by you and other powers, and it will also prevail by its laudable exertions, but it can never be totally subdued through the wrath of man, unless the wrath of God shall concur. Nor do I think that any other nation than this of Wales, or any other language, whatever may hereafter come to pass, shall on the day of severe examination before the Supreme Judge, answer for this corner of the earth."

Strong words. A remarkable combination of deference and defiance.


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