"To be born Welsh is to
be born privileged, not with a
silver spoon in your mouth, but music in your
blood and poetry in your soul''
The Land of Song
is one of the descriptors that Wales can be justly proud of. Whether it is
singing lustily at the Cardiff Arms Park/Millenium Stadium, joining in perfect harmony in
a male voice choir, hearing Bryn Terfel in the Welsh Opera, being a `would-be' Tom Jones
belting out Delilah at the working men's club or the feeling of the roof being lifted at
the local Gymanfa Ganu (Hymn singing festival) ---- the Welsh love their singing.
not just singing either, all kinds of music. The harp of course is the National instrument
and held in great esteem still. Plus there are Folk groups, Country and Western and Rock
bands a plenty.
THERE ARE MANY WELSH CHOIRS THAT YOU CAN GO TO LISTEN TO OR
A lovely story
of achieving one's dream - Paul Pots from Port Talbot, S Wales.
was Paul's start in the `Britain's Got Talent' competition. Watch
the judges' expressions as they look and listen!
Another festival with Welsh origins you will come across
in Australia is the `Eisteddfod'.
with Australian youngsters in the form of the `Rock Eisteddfod' the
word comes from `eistedd' meaning to sit and `fod' meaning `to be',
put them together and you get `to be sitting', a place where people
come to sit together and to listen and watch. The plural of
Eisteddfod is Eisteddfodau.
Have a look at
the `What's on' page for links to the Welsh National Eisteddfod to
see it's roots and for the ones in Australia see below:
The Association of Eisteddfod Societies of
Australian National Eisteddfod
Famous Welsh Australians:
Welsh, half Irish, the Minogues lived in Cymer near Maesteg, S
Wales, before they emigrated to Australia in the 1950
Welsh Language Folk Group
Pendragon Dreaming Facebook
The Welsh Gymanfa Ganu
- what is it?
cymanfa means an assembly or congregation and canu means to sing.
As cymanfa is a feminine word in Cymraeg (Welsh) the term becomes
gymanfa ganu and it describes a singing congregation or `hymn-fest'.
enjoy music and have never been to one try and get along, it is a very
special thing. You don't have to be religious or even Welsh. A gymanfa
ganu is an excuse to get together and sing lustily and to your heart's
content amongst friends. The hymns are specially chosen to suit the
occasion; they are generally great favourites and lend themselves to
singing with passion or `hwyl' as the Cymry (Welsh) call it.
are many such `hymn-fests' in Australia. Check the `Whats on' and
`Culture' pages for info and links.
Listen to the Welsh
National Anthem; Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
sport, music, culture and even religion come together!
Humour Spot: A prominent Welsh minister travelling home one night
was greatly annoyed when a young man much the worse for drink
came and sat next to him on the bus. "Young man," he declared,
"do you not realise you are on the road to perdition?" "Oh,
Hell," replied the drunkard, "I could have sworn this bus went
Interesting Welsh Music
Julian David Edwards is a lovely tenor from Wales, who tours with
Listen to his debut CD `Celtic Electricity` - his details are on his
website at www.myspace.com/juliandavidedwards
Tom Jones and Shaky, through Catatonia and Feeder to Charlotte Church,
Goldie Lookin' Chain and Duffy, Wales has given the pop world a number
of stars. But do they have anything in common?
Find out here
Young songstress Siobhan Owen
was born in North Wales to a Welsh father and an Irish mother. She is a
classically trained singer who has been a soloist since she was 9 years
Check out where Siobhan will be performing
WELSH LANGUAGE RADIO PROGRAM??
Zina Thompson's program is called “Window
on Wales”...Ffenestr ar Gymru, and she broadcasts in both English and Welsh.
It is currently aired on Highland FM 107.1
Zina's program is currently broadcast in NSW
but soon to broadcast throughout Australia.
WELSH AND CELTIC DANCE; MELBOURNE:
Ceffyl Gwyn Dance Group - Ian Kendall.
tel: Melbourne 9878 2414
The group meets once a month
(generally the 3rd Sunday but contact Ian for details) at the Church of
Christ Hall, 1 The Avenue, Surrey Hills (Melway 46 H11)
Welsh Cornish Folk Dancing -
Composer Karl Jenkins
Karl is Britain's biggest-selling living
classical composer. He is best known for his Adiemus project which is
performed by choirs throughout the world.
His work The Armed Man: a Work for Peace was recently
voted 8th most popular classical piece ever by listeners to Britain's radio
station Classical FM, putting him next to Elgar and only a few places below
Mozart and Rachmaninov.
Music among the Celts in Pre-Christian Times
'They have poets whom they
call bards, who sing songs of eulogy and of satire, accompanying themselves on instruments
very like the lyre. They also have philosophers and theologians whom they hold in extreme
honour, and name Druids. They possess prophets too who are much revered. . . . Friend and
foe submit to the song of the bard. Often when two armies meet, and swords are drawn, and
lances set, the bards throw themselves between the contending parties, and pacify them, as
one by magic subdues the wild beast. And thus, even among the most savage non-Greeks,
frenzy yields to wisdom, and Mars respects the Muses.' Ref: Diodorus Siculus.
Also they `possess uncouth trumpets (The
Carnyx) of peculiar formation which emit a hoarse and warlike sound to inspire terror'.
These instruments, it would appear, were part of the equipment of the soldier rather than
of the poet-musician, for they are mentioned between descriptions of shields and helmets,
and swords, lances and javelins. `The spoils stained with blood they hand to their
retainers to carry, and chant the hymn of victory.'
`The Bards composed and sung odes; the Uates
attended to the sacrifices and studied nature; while the Druids studied nature and moral
philosophy.' Ref: Strabo.
There is also preserved a fragment written in the fourth century BC by an
unknown Greek author who says, as translated by W. Dinan as follows:
The Celts practise the customs of the Greeks, being on the most
friendly terms with Greece
through the exchange of 'guest-friendship': they conduct their public
assemblies to the accompaniment of music,
zealously practising it for its softening effects.
These quotations may not give one much detailed information concerning the
state of music among the Celts of Gaul and Britain in pre-Christian times, but they
certainly help one to realize something of the deep-rooted effect of music and poetry upon
the Celtic race.
Bard with harp
|Dude! - the Welsh Rock
Scene is healthy with Supergroup Welsh bands Manic Street
Stereophonics and the Super Furries rocking on!
(MANE in English) by Super Furry Animals (The band that parks
their (real) military tank outside their gigs) is the most successful Welsh
language album of all time. Costing a mere £6000 the
album is mostly acoustic and entirely in Welsh and reached number
11 in the charts.
Super Furry Animals'
seventh and latest (released in 2005) album is: Love Kraft (Sony BMG 5205016). It's
immense in scope, with more than half of its twelve tracks featuring swooning string
arrangements and the occasional Welsh choir.
|Music in Wales Under the Native Rulers
From early times the Welsh tribesmen had beyond a doubt their skilled poets
and musicians, whose flights of song were independent of literary aid, for the leading
terms connected with these two arts, such as "bardd" (poet), prydydd» (maker), «cerddor» (musician [artist]), «crwth» (crowd),
"telyn" (harp), "cathl" (song), "tant" (string), are of'
purely Celtic origin, being, for the most part, common to Brythons (Welsh) and Goidels
The harp and the crwth/ Y
telyn a'r crwth - We know from the
Welsh Laws codified by Howel the Good/ Hywel Dda (died, 949 or 950) that it was the telyn
which was the royal and bardic instrument in the tenth century
and earlier. It may be that the crwth was associated at this time with the singers of the
ancient British Church, with whom the Italian most probably came chiefly in contact and
hence why the crwth was given so much prominence.
From the beginning of the sixth century, perhaps from a
somewhat earlier date, it would seem, according to Dr. H. D. M. Spence Jones, that the
British Church in Wales developed great strength, owing chiefly to the ever flowing stream
of Christian fugitives flying from the desolating conquests of Roman Britain by the pagan
Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
Dewi, Padarn, Teilo, Cadog, Illtud and Cybi founded
Monasteries in different parts of Wales and, we are told `in the secluded valleys and
hills of wild Wales laid the foundation of that great Irish Celtic Church which for some
200 years aroused the admiration, the wonder and the emulation of the Christian world of
Modern day bard