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Folklore: The music of Wales

Tigger the Tiger 21 Oct 11 - 06:34 AM
Chris in Portland 24 Feb 11 - 09:02 AM
sian, west wales 23 Feb 11 - 01:33 PM
Chris in Portland 23 Feb 11 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Feb 11 - 06:37 AM
sian, west wales 23 Feb 11 - 06:14 AM
HarryC 23 Feb 11 - 12:35 AM
sian, west wales 16 Feb 11 - 10:34 AM
GUEST 03 Feb 11 - 07:58 AM
sian, west wales 13 Dec 10 - 10:38 AM
sian, west wales 19 Nov 10 - 05:30 AM
GUEST,Nan 18 Nov 10 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Nan 18 Nov 10 - 12:53 AM
GUEST,Seligmanson 30 Oct 10 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Jul 10 - 09:34 AM
Phil Edwards 30 Jul 10 - 03:45 PM
Chris in Portland 29 Jul 10 - 09:12 PM
sian, west wales 29 Jul 10 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Jul 10 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,Chris Murray 29 Jul 10 - 04:57 AM
Splott Man 29 Jul 10 - 04:03 AM
Chris in Portland 28 Jul 10 - 08:19 PM
Phil Edwards 28 Jul 10 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Jul 10 - 12:00 PM
sian, west wales 28 Jul 10 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,KP 28 Jul 10 - 06:15 AM
Phil Edwards 28 Jul 10 - 05:07 AM
sian, west wales 28 Jul 10 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Jul 10 - 10:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Jul 10 - 10:20 PM
Phil Edwards 27 Jul 10 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 27 Jul 10 - 05:40 PM
sian, west wales 27 Jul 10 - 08:24 AM
Chris in Portland 21 Dec 08 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Richard Abertawe 21 Dec 08 - 11:06 AM
Les in Chorlton 20 Dec 08 - 04:55 PM
Matthew Edwards 20 Dec 08 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,richd 08 Nov 07 - 03:25 PM
Peace 08 Nov 07 - 10:23 AM
sian, west wales 08 Nov 07 - 04:21 AM
Les in Chorlton 08 Nov 07 - 03:57 AM
GUEST,albert 08 Nov 07 - 02:27 AM
Nerd 08 Nov 07 - 01:44 AM
Crowdercref 07 Nov 07 - 05:48 PM
GUEST,cyclelogic 06 Nov 07 - 10:09 PM
Chris in Portland 06 Nov 07 - 09:57 AM
BanjoRay 06 Nov 07 - 09:51 AM
Bryn Pugh 06 Nov 07 - 05:40 AM
sian, west wales 06 Nov 07 - 04:39 AM
GUEST,Jeff 05 Nov 07 - 11:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Tigger the Tiger
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 06:34 AM

I used to go to as many Seeger concerts as I could in the 1960s. I just wanted you to know that this singer performed the Bells of Rhymney at nearly every concert. He loved this song,and he loved telling people about the story of your country. It was always presented with great love and care. We knew nothing of all this until the song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 24 Feb 11 - 09:02 AM

Sian - perhaps you could start a new thread with what you learn about plygain singing. I've started singing with an old timey gospel group, and they want to actually work on harmonies. If there is a plygain harmony, that would be fun to try.
Also, has there been any in Wales who sing Pub Carols ?
Is so,are there any in Welsh?
Diolch eto, Chris


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 01:33 PM

Hi Chris.

I've got enough stuff on Plygain here; trying to think of where a succinct explanation can be found is the challenge. I'm seeing Rhiannon Ifans on Saturday and she'll be able to tell me where to look; heck, she's probably written it herself somewhere. Difficult to generalize of course as the traditional developed; carols of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries all have their own characteristics. Like in the West Gallery carols, there's fugueing (how is that spelt?) in the late 18th C ones. Earlier ones use old carol tunes. Some have what you might call 'call-and-response'. There are more Plygain carols with passing notes than is common in Welsh folk songs in general, I think. Verses can be long, and lots of them. Like - REALLY lots. Truly authentic ones are supposed to go, literally, from Cradle (Manger) to Grave (and, of course, beyond). Complicated verbage.   

I'll see what I can find.

The good thing about Plethyn is that they were singing in their specific local tradition. Great stuff. Wish they'd continued.

Suibhne Astray, Siwsi would have been singing "Myn Mair". It was a bit of a 'signature piece' of hers. Happy days. Still miss her.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 10:26 AM

Sian - very interesting what you say about Plethyn. I enjoy their sound and wish there were others singing in that style. Is there a way to quantify what the plygian style is - 3rds, 5ths, no embellishments, no call and response?
The new 101 Carolau cd has a good variety of plygain on one disk 101 o Garolau   
Dydd gwyl ddewi sant hapus, Chris


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 06:37 AM

One of my most transcendant musical experiences was a spontaneous duet with Siwsann George amonst the gravestones of the cemetary of the church at Aust during the Early Music festival there in 1999 where I was storytelling & playing with Misericordia. The song, as I recall, was a Catholic hymn from an underground tradition and found immediate resonance with my crwth & the other punters who gathered to share in what was a rare moment. We talked of working & recording together, but sadly it never happened. A great lady; whenever I'm playing my crwth I feel Siwsann's not too far away...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 06:14 AM

No, it isn't a matter of mixed voices. The only time I really don't want to hear mixed voices is in the Carol y Swper in an actual Plygain service; the power of an all-male group singing that is wonderful. However, I've sung it many times in social or workshop situations.

I just feel that MP is trying to recreate a specific sound and not, in my opinion, achieving it. You'd do just fine not trying to imitate, and just singing in your everyday voices; you're right that tradition bearers do just this.

And, no, I do not like any instrumental accompaniement with Plygain carols. I suspect that the 60s example was 'set up' by the filmmakers at a time when the singers were less media-savvy and less likely to stick to their unaccompanied guns. Having said that, a bunch of us were singing Ar Gyfer Heddiw Bore at The Big Experiment in 2008 and Cass Meurig joined in on the crwth. Very very interesting indeed ...

I do think it's a specific musical genre in some senses. I remember when Plethyn first came on the scene; they nearly didn't get a recording contract because Sain thought they were 'too' Plygain sounding ... but that is exactly what the trio was trying to do; transfer a Plygain sound to the folk world.

In actual fact, the Plygain carols are quite often sung out of context. They are regularly set as competition pieces at Eisteddfodau, sung socially, and sometimes appear as choir concert pieces. I suppose even workshops would be 'out of context'. Also Rhys Mwyn put together a television programme a couple of years ago where he brought together a few current Welsh 'pop' groups and a traditional Plygain party; ran into some opposition but, as he wasn't billing the performance as a Plygain _service_ I think it was an interesting enough experiment.

It would be good to see more Plygain parties on Youtube and maybe that will yet happen. Having said that, it's nice to think that tradition bearers are more focussed on their lives in their (usually rural) communities than on global conquest.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: HarryC
Date: 23 Feb 11 - 12:35 AM

Thanks for your reply and scrupulous clarification, Siân, I appreciate it.

I was (still am) genuinely curious to know what exactly "the sound" is that you're looking for, that we failed to capture, unless it's the use of mixed voices that you can't stomach. I for one would love nothing better than to sing in a "proper" male plygain group, but that's easier said than done when you don't live in the right part of the world. But women singing plygain is hardly that shocking, is it? Come to think of it both Arfon's Arbrawf Mawr workshop version of Carol y Swper and Parti Bronheulog's Hosannah Fawr are mixed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8Anfd5QzMU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UyU8Z2FK_s
Then again, I don't have conniptions when I see female morris dancers, so perhaps I'm beyond help as far as the purists are concerned.

In fact, guess what? Just about everything we do is inauthentic, if by that you mean that we weren't brought up to it. We're not Georgian toastmasters or Bulgarian peasant women or sixth-generation Sacred Harp singers from Alabama, we're children of the industrialised twentieth century in the UK -- so sue us! Obviously we take it seriously, and listen and read as widely as possible, and reviewers have been kind enough to say it's clear we respect the music we sing, but we're not going to avoid singing something amazing that our many people have never heard and would love, just because we're not "tradition bearers". Songs are for singing, not putting in museums. As I'm sure you'd agree. And there should be more Welsh sung at folk festivals.

I too am puzzled by the scarcity of contemporary plygain recordings on YouTube or anywhere else on the web. But then plygain is perhaps not so much a specific musical genre as a Christmas tradition or activity. It's not often "performed" out of context, which I suppose helps explain why there are so few videos of traditional singers, at least. While we'd both have ideas on how it should be sung, the "sound" comes as much from the traditional harmonies as from the vocal timbre. Your tradition bearers don't put on a special plygain voice, different from the one they'd use to sing hymns at any other time of year.

For those unfamiliar with the sound of traditional plygain, here's Parti Fronheulog recorded in the 1960s: http://www.emusic.com/album/Amrywiol-Various-Caneuon-Plygain-Llofft-Stabal-Close-Harmony-Tr-MP3-Download/12211624.html
Also from the 60s, what do we think of the use of a big orchestral harp to accompany traditional plygain singers in this film?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/christmas/sites/content/pages/archive-plygain.shtml
I can't help thinking that a purist would disapprove of that, and I can't say I'm wild about it myself.

I'm sorry I didn't remember meeting you at a workshop. We do a lot of workshops. At least, we have done, but if enough people start to believe casual unsubstantiated allegations to the effect that we don't know what we're doing, that could always change. ;-] (Tip: it's not true!) Reasoned constructive criticism, that's different: bring it on, say I, and back it up.

Also bring on better interpretations. Let's see a video of it done properly, that we can all admire. Till then, I don't think our version is too shabby, though of course I respect your right to dislike or disapprove of it, and I'm truly sorry it didn't hit the spot for you.

Pob bendith a phob dymuniad da, as my Nain used to say.
Harry


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 16 Feb 11 - 10:34 AM

Sorry Harry. We have met briefly. I do respect your work generally and enjoyed a workshop I did with M's P a few years ago. You're right. I should not have said 'ones'; rather, 'one'. Nice attempt. Better than some. But you haven't quite got the sound. Also, for the record, by juxtaposition, people might think that the Muldoon's Picnic one is in the "Plygain that aren't" category and that would be wrong as well. Yours is, indeed, a Plygain carol.

Unfortunately there aren't a whole lot of youtube clips of Plygain tradition bearers. There is one of Parti Bronheulog singing at a ... West Gallery? ... workshop. I think I did look for an all-male Plygain group on Youtube but didn't find one.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 07:58 AM

Dyfarnodd Siân:
> If you're searching for Plygain on Youtube, I note that some
> things are labelled Plygain that aren't. Also, I've watched
> the ones by Muldoon's Picnic - a group for which I have some
> respect - but ... they obviously don't understand the
> tradition and haven't heard much of it either.

Wow, that's a pretty sweeping statement to make on the basis of one solitary YouTube video of some people you've never even met.

I'd be fascinated to know what musical insights you felt were so sadly lacking in that performance, and how you were able to deduce so much about the singers from a three-minute recording. (I don't know of other "ones" myself but perhaps you can supply links?)

Harry Campbell
Muldoon's Picnic


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 10:38 AM

Some of you might be interested in videos that have just gone up on trac's Youtube channel - pieces recorded at the Tutor's Night of our weekend course, "The Big Experiment". We had some crackin' good songs and tunes, but what would you expect from people like Arfon Gwilym, Neil Browning, Sian James, Stephen Rees and Karen Tweed?

I think they're worth tuning in for ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 19 Nov 10 - 05:30 AM

Seligmanson, I thought I had posted a 'holding pattern' response but ... I guess not. I have asked around but haven't found anyone who know of anything relevant. Sorry. It isn't a common time in Welsh music.

Re: Plygain there are a couple of well known carols here: BBC Welsh learners There's also a Mudcat thread here.

If you're searching for Plygain on Youtube, I note that some things are labelled Plygain that aren't. Also, I've watched the ones by Muldoon's Picnic - a group for which I have some respect - but ... they obviously don't understand the tradition and haven't heard much of it either.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Nan
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 02:29 PM

Thanks so much for fixing the links!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Nan
Date: 18 Nov 10 - 12:53 AM

I'm just sad that the link to the website everyone was discussing in previous posts (the one with all the 'disorganized' songs) is now no longer viable. . . any chance the site still exists?

I too would love to find some Plygain songs, but alas, the internet seems to be failing me yet again. any suggestions?



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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Seligmanson
Date: 30 Oct 10 - 04:07 PM

I am hoping some-one of you out there can settle something for me. I have several very fine Welsh tunes in my repertoire, (I'm English, by the way,) and love them as much for their characteristic Welshness as for their considerable musicality (my father's Welsh, by the way); but I feel I'm missing a trick. Many years ago I heard a group whose name I can't remember play several remarkable sets of tunes in 5/4 time, giving them a generic name I can't remember. In fact all I can remember is that they said they'd found them in a nineteenth century collection in either the National or the University Library of Wales. Now, I've been looking into the 'cabm pemp'('5-Step') of Cornwall, and as a result have been able extend my repertoire in that direction, even to the point of composing my own; but I'd really like to know about the Welsh branch of this particular tradition. Can any-one help?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Jul 10 - 09:34 AM

Yes, it would be handy if they were arranged by type. However, I don't think the creator is a musician. Did you notice that the tunes in 9/8 don't have the notes in the right clusters? If you don't know to compensate for that, they will seem very strange.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 30 Jul 10 - 03:45 PM

Well, it's a frustrating site: there are any number of tunes there (which, let me make it clear, is a good thing and I'm very pleased about it), but they're not in any apparent order (which puts me off using it).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 09:12 PM

Sian, I sent you a pm with my info, thanks, Chris


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 03:49 PM

Chris, I still have your private email, don't I? If not, shoot it over and I'll send you either the pdf or Word doc of the song sheets.

You can get the new books through trac if you send us an email. Not sure how we'd work out the payment but we'll manage!

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 09:24 AM

But Pip, I wasn't trying to be sarcastic. In my opinion, your previous remark was so foolish that I'd hoped everybody had forgotten about it.

But if you want it straight from the shoulder -

"That's a frustrating site - any number of tunes, but not in any apparent order."

1. Use the Search function (Ctrl F) to find an item on the page.

2. Use Gwgl to search the web. If you get the Welsh slightly wrong, it will tell you.

3. The person who produced that page spent much, much time giving the world a collection of little-known and delightful music. How about reacting with thanks rather than unpleasantness?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Chris Murray
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 04:57 AM

I have a friend who thinks that all good things originated in Wales. He's recommended Calan and Mabon, both of whom are well worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Splott Man
Date: 29 Jul 10 - 04:03 AM

Cant!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 08:19 PM

Sian - we'll be having a lot of informal song groups here in Portland at the North American festival of Wales in September. Any chance of posting your song sheets on your website? Really looking forward to getting the new publications you mentioned. Will they be available from Sain, Gwales, or somewhere else?
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Chris in Portland
p.s Having lots of fun after finding Say Something in Welsh - North version, no less.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 04:10 PM

Thanks for the sarcasm, I really appreciate it. Actually it was more like "looking for a particular tune, not found it, wondering if I might have mis-spelt it or it might be listed under a slightly different title".

Anyway, shouldn't we be using Gwgl?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 12:00 PM

Looking for a particular tune? Here's good news. Google speaks Welsh. Type the name of the tune into the search box, and it will find it for you.

It would be interesting to know which valley Gooogle's dialect comes from.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 07:22 AM

David Francis and Simon Thoumire ran two of their Distil workshops at Trigonos Centre last year. It seemed to work very well. I put them on to it; I'd been looking at it for a trac event but it proved too small. Spectacular setting.

Who was the harpist?

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,KP
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 06:15 AM

For anyone interested in a wonderful place to stay or have a workshop in North Wales, I can hugely recommend the Trigonos Centre:
Trigonos Centre

I did a workshop there for the University of Bangor last month, and its a stunning location in the Nantlle valley looking up to the west side of Snowdon. Sadly I didn't have an instrument but at one of the students I was working with is a harpist. We had 5 welsh speakers in the group and they were very interesting about the fact that Welsh has distinct accents and dialects in a very small geographic area. Apparently its possible to for a native speaker to tell which valley another native speaker comes from!

As an Anglo-Saxon, I do applaud the efforts of the Welsh and Scots Gaelic communities to try to keep their language going in the face of the relentless tide of English - there's something wonderful about the sound of the speech and song, even if I don't know what they are saying!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 05:07 AM

leeneia - I was thinking more of having the titles come up in alphabetical order, so that you knew whether a title you were thinking of was likely to come up on the next page or the next page but ten. But if the site's inactive there's no point moaning about features it doesn't have. It certainly looks like a good collection of tunes.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 04:47 AM

That's odd, leeneia: Aidan Sheehan was just asking me a couple of days ago about Chwi Fechgyn as he's using it in some beginners classes over the next few months.

We're actually pretty well off with publications of dance tunes, and general instrumental tunes, these days. The folk orchestra, Y Glerorfa, has just published a small 'volume' - "Hobed" - of some of its repertoire (for harp, fiddle, flute), for example. I'm also looking forward to getting my hands on a new book next week, coincidentally titled Pwt ar y Bys, "60 Welsh folk songs for beginners: for fiddle, flute, whistle, pipes; with chords for guitar. Two CDs accompanying with each tune being played through twice (the first time, slowly)Price £10"

It's a pity the Welsh Traditional Music site has been inactive for so long. The guy who set it up had a very good heart.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:38 PM

Here's the URL for Contemplator's site, which has lovely songs:

http://www.contemplator.com/bycount.html


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:20 PM

It might help some people to have the Welsh tunes grouped by type, but not to most. Why not just bring up the tunes and play them?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 06:53 PM

That's a frustrating site - any number of tunes, but not in any apparent order.

To my certain knowledge Les has been playing at least one Welsh tune for several years now - "Finger piece" (Pwt ar y bys), better known by its phonetically-rendered name of "Buttered peas".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 05:40 PM

1. Best wishes for a successful event, Sian.

2. About three years ago, Les in Chorlton asked if there are any Welsh dance tunes on the web. I googled 'Chwi Fechgyn Glan Fri,' which I happen to know is a Welsh dance tune. It led me to this site:

offers Welsh tunes

(Click on Tunes)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:24 AM

Rather than start a new thread, let me refresh this one with a list of 'folky' events happening at this year's National Eisteddfod. This year, the Eisteddfod is in Ebbw Vale for a week, starting this coming Saturday. The majority (all?) the societies involved in trad music are, once again, coming together under one roof: "Ty Gwerin". Once you've paid to get on the field, most of these are free.

Ty Gwerin Stand 713-716

home to
• trac • Clera • Welsh Folk Song Society • Ty Cerdd
• Welsh Folk Dance Society • Voluntary Arts Wales
• Gwyl Cerdd Dant • Cymdeithas Cerdd Dant Cymru

Free workshops, demonstrations and music activities throughout the week
Come and watch Trefor Owen, clogmaker, and Marcus Butler, instrument maker, at their crafts.

Saturday 31 July

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
11.00 Opening Tea-Party (TG)
11.00 Isca Morris, Performance Stage 2 (Llwyfan Perfformio 2)
13.00 Folk dance performance: Isca Morris, Neuadd Dawns
14.00 'Come Try the Harp', a workshop for complete beginners with Gill Madley, held in the Learners' Tent (Maes D)
14.15 "Alawon Gwerin y Cymoedd", in the Pabell Lên, with contributions from: Parti Ysgol Gymraeg Brynmawr, Dawnswyr Bro Taf, Kate Evans, Eluned Holloman, Iwan Gruffydd
15.00 Folk dance performance: Cwmni Gwerin Pontypwl, Neuadd Dawns
16.00 Informal session: Come to sing! (songsheets available) Bring your instruments! (TG)
Late Mynediad Am Ddim, Maes C

Sunday 1 August

11.00 Gwerinwyr Gwent, Performance Stage 2 (Llwyfan Perfformio 2)
13.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Blaenau Gwent, Neuadd Ddawns
14.00 Folk dance performance: Gwerinwyr Gwent, Neuadd Ddawns
15.00 Twmpath Dawns for children, Neuadd Ddawns
16.00 Hei di Ho: Singing, dancing and instruments for children, Neuadd Ddawns

Monday 2 August

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
12.15 Traditional music at the National Library stand: Angharad Jenkins and Patrick Rimes from Wales' young supergroup Calan
13.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Rhondda Cynon Taf, Neuadd Ddawns
13.10 Heather Jones, Llwyfan Perfformio 1 (Performance Stage 1)
14.00 Twmpath for children, Neuadd Ddawns
14.00 Workshop: 'Try a fiddle' - for complete beginners, with Rhian Evan Jones (TG)
15.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Gwerin Pen y Fai, Neuadd Ddawns
16.00 Informal session: Bring your instruments! Come to sing! (songsheets available) (TG)
17.00 Heather Jones, Llwyfan Perfformio 1 (Performance Stage 1)
Late Tecwyn Ifan, Maes C

Tuesday 3 August

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
12.30 'Paned a Phennill' with Mair Tomos Ifans - verse-writing workshop (TG)
12.30 Traditional music at the National Library stand: pipe duo Dwylaw Chwyth
13.00 Heather Jones, Llwyfan Perfformio 1 (Performance Stage 1)
13.00 Tecwyn Ifan, Llwyfan Perfformio 2 (Performance Stage 2)
14.00 Workshop: pipes with Antwn Owen-Hicks of Dwylaw Chwyth (TG)
16.00 Informal session: Come to sing! (songsheets available) Bring your instruments! (TG)
16:00 Step-dancing workshop and demonstration, Neuadd Ddawns
17.00 Bagad Pibau Morgannwg, Llwyfan Perfformio 1(Performance Stage 1)

Wednesday 4 August

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
11.00 Mansel Thomas Memorial Lecture in the Studio. Ben Rees on The life and workof Mansel Thomas, with illustrations and music by Terry Gilmore-James
12.00 Ty Cerdd Lecture in the Studio: Dr Prys Morgan, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Wales, Swansea on Lady Llanover - Gwenynen Gwent
12.00 Traditional music at the National Library stand: Guto Dafis - melodeon and voice
13.00 Workshop: Flute, with Elin Roberts. All levels welcome (TG)
13.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Blaenau Gwent at the Neuadd Ddawns
14.30 Workshop: Try a harp with Telynau Teifi - players and beginners welcome (TG)
15.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Caerdydd, Neuadd Ddawns
16.00 Informal session: Bring your instruments! Come to sing! (songsheets available) (TG)
Late Sesh Bach, Maes C

Thursday 5 August

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
12.00 Music at the National Library stand: Brigyn
12.00 Dawnswyr Merthyr, Neuadd Ddawns
13.30 Workshop: Cerdd Dant ensemble, with Huw Ffowcs (TG)
14.00 Folk dance performance: Cwmni Gwerin Pontypwl, Gwerinwyr Gwent - Neuadd Ddawns
15.00 Welsh Folk Song Society presents Catherine Young, "Dehongli canu gwerin mewn dawns" ("Interpreting folk song through dance") (TG)
16.00 Informal session: Come to sing! (songsheets available) Bring your instruments! (TG)

Friday 6 August

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
12.00 Traditional music at the National Library stand: Bethan Nia - harp and voice
13.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Blaenau Gwent at the Neuadd Ddawns
13.00 Heather Jones, Performance Stage 1 (Llwyfan Perfformio 1)
15.00 Gymanfa Cerdd Dant - cerdd dant singing session with Arfon Williams (TG)
15.00 Heather Jones, Maes D
16.00 Informal session: Bring your instruments! Come to sing! (songsheets available) (TG)

Saturday 7 August

9.00 Craftsmen at work - come and meet the makers (TG)
12.00 Workshop - mandolin for beginners, with Roland Emmanuel (TG)
13.00 Folk dance performance: Dawnswyr Rhondda Cynon Taf, Neuadd Ddawns
14.00 Dafydd Iwan, Performance Stage 2 (Llwyfan Perfformio 2)
14.00 Folk dance performance: Brandywine Cloggers at the Neuadd Ddawns
14.00 Meic Stevens, Performance Stage 2 (Llwyfan Perfformio 2)
14.00 Informal session: Come to sing! (songsheets available) Bring your instruments! (TG)
16.00 Dafydd Iwan, Performance Stage 2 (Llwyfan Perfformio 2)
Late Meic Stevens, Maes C


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:33 AM

There are great plygain songbooks in Welsh for sale at Gwales. We did Ar Gyfer Heddiw'r Bore at church last year, but we got snowed out this year.
Chris in icy OR


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Richard Abertawe
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:06 AM

Ive just bought the CD "ar dymor gaeaf" and, like Mathew (Edwards), would welcome a sight of the lyrics - but in Welsh not English. I have some Welsh but am finding it difficult to recognise the words. Can anyone advise where I might obtain lyrics to plygain singing. I've been checking the Web but w/out success.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 04:55 PM

Any chance of a sample at the Beech on Wednesday 7 January?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 20 Dec 08 - 12:51 PM

I'm reopening the thread to draw attention to a recent CD of plygain singing from Sain records. The CD Ar Dymor Gaeaf contains a variety of beautiful songs, including some from Parti Cut Lloi who were mentioned earlier in this thread. I've just been listening to the singing and I can recommend the CD almost without reservation (a lyric sheet with English translations would have have been nice!).
There's a very good article on Plygain singing by Rhiannon Ifans in ontrac magazine #19 which can be downloaded as a PDF. She is one of the singers on the CD and is also an expert on the plygain tradition.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,richd
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 03:25 PM

re 'Gutter Choirs' is there a tradition of them? I assume that the name refers to groups of unemployed/blacklisted miners from south-east Wales in the late 20s, early 30s who busked cinema/theatre queus in LOndon. If that's the case my Grandfather, blacklisted by Powell Duffryn from the Merthyr pits, played the mouth-organ with one in the late 20s. It was something he was a bit ashamed of, and wouldn't have wanted to repeat I doubt. Didn't Paul Robeson write about encountering one in London, which helped start his relationship with Wales. There's certainly photos of them. My Grandad said they sang hymns- 'Calon Lan'- tune of 'Miners lifeguard' and music halls, also 'Did 'ew ever' (welsh and english). When prosperity returned he did act with my great Uncle round the Miners Halls and clubs with banjo and harmonica. They were very good, they say but I never saw them. The Red Choir come froma bit different strata and tradition. I rember individual members from Miners' support groups and CND actions at The Royal Ordinance Factory in Cardiff and so on. More in the Gutyter Choir Tradition might be the Onllwyn Choir of the 884-85 strike.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Peace
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 10:23 AM

Thanks to all of you. I have been unable to keep up with this thread, but I promise to back to it on Saturday.

Nerd: Makes my heart warm that you chose to post here. Thank you. (I will now go dry my eyes.)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 04:21 AM

There are specialists on printing in Wales. E.Wyn James at University of Wales Cardiff is one; I think his particular interests re: printing are in ballad sheets and hymn books but he has a sound knowledge of the rest. He once told me of going to an international ballad symposium and a word expert - English - expressed his surprise that working class balladeers who wrote and printed their own material seemed to be found across the UK but next to none in Wales. The twit had only been looking at English language sources. 'Expert' my foot. He was researching a time when large swathes of Wales were 80% Welsh speaking (some higher than that) and it hadn't occurred to him that this might be a factor.

Of course, the most famous hand-written source is the Robert ap Huw manuscript.

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 03:57 AM

When was music first printed in Wales rather than written by hand? Was it fact ever written by hand?

I feel another thread coming on!

Cheers

Les Jones


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,albert
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 02:27 AM

Reply to Peace
I would say that folk music is popular in Wales but with reservations. The folk club I go to in Pontardawe is working hard to pull in audiences but we need more people to come along.Pontardawe has an arts centre and the place is usually packed out for gigs by Carthy and Swarbrick or Bellowhead. Pontardawe also has a lively festival which has moved away from its original folk roots to encompass other forms such as rock .
However,
there are lots of musicians in the area we do not see or who do not feel the need to come along so there is much more that needs to be done to make people feel welcome!
We are talking about workshops for beginners and specialist instruments .

In the meantime the great scottish singer,Ian Bruce is appearing at the club on the 16th November and all are most welcome to come along!
[Ivy Bush,Brecon Rd at 8.30 ].
albert


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Nerd
Date: 08 Nov 07 - 01:44 AM

Hi Bruce et al,

I agree that we lost a great one when Siwsann George passed away; I knew her slightly and loved her music. Her solo CD was indeed on Saydisc, not Sain. It's very much worth looking for. Siwsann was also the main singer for Mabsant, who did record for Sain.

Jack Campin asked about the Welsh equivalent of the Bothy Song; I think you mean the Llofft-Stabal, or stable-loft songs. The Welsh Folk Museum did a series of LPs on different traditional song styles in Wales, including this one. They were released through Sain Records, and Sain has put out the LLofft-Stabal record and the Plygain carol record together on one CD.

I'd agree that the Rough Guide CD is a good starting place. Sain also put out a couple of good compilations, Goreuon Canu Gwerin Newydd and Gorau Gwerin. With those three CDs, you'd have a really good cross-section of Welsh folk.

There's also a very good Welsh-language performer in the US: Jodee James, who lives in New Jersey. Click here to visit her site.

For fiction concerning the Wales/England relationship, I'd explore the works of Edith Pargeter, who also wrote as Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael, etc.) Pargeter had two series, the Brothers of Gwynedd quartet and The Heaven Tree trilogy, that had a lot to do with the relationship between the two countries in medieval times.

That's about it from me. I've been listening to Welsh folk music when I can for years, but only got to visit Wales for the first time this summer!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Crowdercref
Date: 07 Nov 07 - 05:48 PM

Perhaps one could add to this fine thread that until c.1600 Welsh Harp and Crwth music had a fine instrumental tradition with scales, structures and forms effectively unknown on the downhill side of Offa's dyke. This tradition, called cerdd dant, (the craft of strings) parallelled cerdd dafod (the craft of the tongue). Together they were the two great genres of bardic art. The first mention of such things seems to be in the time of King Hywell Dda, (10th century). Some of the structures are alleged to have been codified in the 12th century. The music was central to the eisteddfodau of the 15th and 16th centuries. It's only in the last two decades that scholars have really got to grips with the detail of this music.

It's Welsh, unique, and worthy of celebration!

oll an gwella,

Crowdercref


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,cyclelogic
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 10:09 PM

Ok, Peace I'm in! Formerly Guest/Jeff    PM me and we'll arrange to get you copies of the stuff I have. It'll take a little while as my wife has to show me how to use the cd burner.

Sian-Thank you for your responses. I've got a load of questions, but no time at the moment, so I'll post back later.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 09:57 AM

Sorry for the horrendous translation of Mudcat - shouldn't have relied on my little pocket dictionary!! Always a problem trying to make a literal translation in another language.
Sian, I'll be looking at your posting of sessions, hoping to plan our trip next year to visit a few and to hear some of those pub choirs.
I'm also using Ralph Maud's book, Guide to Welsh Wales for making plans to see sites off the regular tourist stops - if anyone has thoughts on other similar sources, I'd be much appreciative.
Chris


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: BanjoRay
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 09:51 AM

As Sian said, I got involved in a band when I was in Aberystwyth University in the sixties. I played banjo with The Virginia Bootleggers (hah!), not a Bluegrass band but an Old Time band - we nicked all our material off the New Lost City Ramblers, though we used to sing folk and shanties as well. We used to do an annual session trip on the Devil's Bridge railway, with our Old Time band, the college New Orleans Jazz band and lots of beer - really good craic. I definitely recommend a bunch of folkies to sort a trip out.
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 05:40 AM

Anwyl Sian,

If you do organise a folkie trip on the narrow gauge, please let me know - my beloved and I would love it.

To my shame, the only songs in Cymraeg I have (apart from Dafydd y Gareg Wen, and the Anthem) are 'Mentra, Gwen and Ble'r yw
ti' n fyned.

I am not a native speaker of Cymraeg, having learned it as a second language. Being semi-retired I can follow my heritage. That said, there is little Cymraeg spoken in Northants !

Kind regards, Bryn.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: sian, west wales
Date: 06 Nov 07 - 04:39 AM

As an aside, the Welsh name for Devil's Bridge is Pont ar Fynach - Bridge on the Mynach (River) and Mynach means 'monk'.

Jeff, I don't know that particular group in Aber' but I think I know people who may be involved with it. Because of the University in Aberystwyth there tends to be a lot of talent about, and groupings tend to ebb and flow. 'Catter Banjo Ray, for instance, went to Aber and played - I think - Bluegrass which got him a gig on a Welsh language TV programme, produced by the ethnomusicologist whom I mentioned earlier. There's coincidence for you.

The Valleys Folk Club is excellent and has been around a lonnnngggg time. There's a list of clubs both at Dr Price's site (folkwales) and at trac's site. We at trac are also building up details of sessions which are springing up everywhere but we can't post all of them on the site; the current entertainment licencing situation in the UK means that some of them are operating slightly below the licencing authorities' radar.

When I first moved to Wales in 1980 there were some folk clubs around, and many pubs would break out into song at the drop of a hat. The folk clubs are mostly still with us (and mostly in the south east of Wales, I think I'm right in saying). Pub singing, and singing at big sports events, has gone into serious decline, but instrumental sessions (and some mixed song/instrument sessions) have started appearing in the last 10 years or so. We're also getting more one, two and three day instrumental workshops, which are a totally new development.

Mick and Ned, I'd be very interested in hearing more about the gutter choirs. The big male voice choirs always grab the headlines but the small pub choirs, Plygain groups, etc are (to me) so much more interesting, sociologically speaking. I think Cor Coch Caerdydd (Cardiff Red Choir) are great; would I be correct in thinking they belong to the lineage of the gutter choir?

sian


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Subject: RE: Folklore: The music of Wales
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 11:33 PM

Sian,
Are you familiar w/t Cambrian Folk Society? There was a 'teaching session' at the Cambrian Hotel in Aberystwyth by a fellow named Peter who is a very good fiddler/whistle player. This was a few years ago. Another person involved was a songwriter named Brian Williams who's just about the strongest rhythm guitarist I've ever encountered. Also, Clive Jones who plays upright bass and had a Bluegrass band called 'Whiskey Before Breakfast'. I've got one of their cassettes around someplace, but alas am unable to locate it. The amount and level of talent in the Aberystwyth area is really quite astonishing. The band WBB had phenomenal banjo and fiddle players both. Their names escape me. BTW, I took the ngr train up to DB and stayed at a small hostel in a town whose name begins w/a Y, but again my memory deserts me.

Anne: It's funny you would mention opening your house up for writer's retreats, etc. as my wife and I were talking about doing the same thing here in rural Tennessee(about 35 miles sw of Nashville)

I really have to sign up so I can send/receive PM...


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