Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Y Gelynnen - The Holly Tree

Arranged for 3 harps by Sian Morgan Thomas

It has been suggested that, as holly and ivy were used magically from early heathen times, this was an incantation song to drive out evil spirits. There are several versions bearing the title Y Gelynnen, but the folk-song used in this arrangement is the best known, and comes from a collection of Anglesey folk-songs, recorded by Grace Gwyneddon Davies, and published at the beginning of the last century (1914?). The lyrics refer to an invitation to people to gather together in order to praise the virtue of the Holly Tree. It is therefore an apt choice as a signature tune for a light entertainment television series in Welsh, Noson Lawen, which means a Merry Evening. A Noson Lawen is traditionally an evening of singing and story telling held around the fireside.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Merch Y Melinydd

The Miller's Daughter
Alawon Traddodiadol Cymreig - Traditional Welsh Melodies
Arranged for solo pedal harp by John Thomas Pencerdd Gwalia (1826-1913)

New July 2012 publication from Adlais Music Publishers
Suitable for grade 6 pedal harpists

Whereas most of John Thomas's Welsh Melodies are arrangements of traditional harp tunes, by contrast, Merch y Melinydd is based on a folksong. Collected by Maria Jane Williams, probably in the Vale of Neath, Merch y Melinydd was included in her Ancient Airs of Gwent and Morgannwg, which, in the Abergavenny Eisteddfod of 1837, was awarded the prize for the 'best collection of original Welsh Airs, with the words, as sung by the peasantry of Wales'.

Os yw fy annwyl gariad/Yn caru dwy neu dair/ Ac yn eu caru'n ffyddlon/ Pob marchnad a phob ffair,/ Wel peidied yntau feddwl fod hynny'n boen i mi/ Rwyf i mor rhydd ag yntau/ I garu dau neu dri.

[If my boyfriend has two or three girlfriends whom he courts assiduously every fair and market day, let him not think it worries me, (because) I am just as free as he is to go courting with two or three young men].

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