Caneuon Gwerin

Archwilio ac arddangos caneuon Gwerin o Gymru / Exploring and showcasing folk songs from Wales

Y Deryn Pur

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Dyma gân gydag alaw hynod o brydferth sy’n gân arall dwi’n teimlo fy mod i wedi hanner nabod erioed. Serch hyn, gwnes i ddim penderfynnu ei ddysgu’n iawn tan i mi glywed fy ffrind Caradog Williams yn chwarae ei osodiad diddorol yng ngŵyl rhyng-Geltaidd An Orient yn ôl yn 2006. Ysgrifennodd o’r geiriau yn fy llyfr bach o alawon gwerin ac es i i ffwrdd yn syth ar ôl y gŵyl i ddysgu hi.

Mae nifer fawr o fersiynnau o’r gân ar gael, o un dyn a’i gitar mewn tafarn i osodoadau mawr corawl. Y llais mwyaf adnabyddus sy’n ei ganu, am wn i, yw un Mary Hopkins. Dydw i ddim yn canu’r gân efo’r rhythm ‘syth’, traddodiadol, ond dwi’n ceisio pwysleisio darnau mwy emosiwn yn y gân.

Yn y gân hon clywn rhywun – dwi wastad yn dychmygu taw dyn ifanc yn pwyso ar ei hof wrth gymryd saib o weithio’r tir yw hi – yn dweud wrth aderyn bod o wedi gweld y ferch brydferthaf erioed ond bod o angen i’r aderyn mynd a’i neges serch at y ferch. Dwi’n cymryd bod hyn oherwydd bod y bachgen yn rhy swil ond efallai mae hi oherwydd dydy o ddim yn gwybod chyferiad y ferch neu hyd yn oed ei enw. Er bod y bachgen dim wedi cyrraedd y pwynt o hyd yn oed siarad efo’r ferch mae Y Deryn Pur yn gân llon sy’n dangos bachgen sy’n hapus bod o wedi dod o hyd i rhywun gall fod yn ‘besotted’ ynddi.

Fy hoff linellau yn y gân, oherwydd bod nhw mor tyner yw: “Ac o, o’i chariad yn ffaelu a cherdded” (hynny yw, mae o’n teimlo mor ‘love sick’ fel nad ydy o hyd yn oed yn gallu cerdded) a “Ni fynswn gredu un dyn fyw nad oedd hi’n ryw angyles”.

Gwreiddiau

Mae yna llawer o ganeuon gwerin Cymraeg, fel Y Deryn Pur, sy’n ymwneud â pherson yn siarad efo aderyn. Dwi weithiau’n smalio bod hyn oherwydd fod cyn lleued o bobl yn byw yng Nghymru wledig. Ond, mewn gwirionedd, mae’r caneuon hyn yn rhan o grŵp lenyddol o ganeuon ‘llatai’ sef ble mae rhywbeth – fel arfer aderyn neu rhyw anifail arall – yn cael ei ddefnyddio fel negesydd serch. Mae llawer o gerddi cywyddwyr y 14fed ganrif, megis Dafydd ap Gwilym, yn gerddi llatai. Mae traddodiad cyffelyb yng ngwaith Trwbadwriaid Profens a Ffrainc (11fed – 13fed ganrofoedd) yn ôl Meic Stephens yn Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymru (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru; 2Rev Ed edition, 1997) ac mae’n siwr fod hi’n rhywbeth sy’n dod fyny mewn traddodiadau gwerin o ddiwylliannau eraill hefyd – gadewch sylw isod os ydych chi’n gwybod mwy am hyn!

Cafodd Y Deryn Pur ei chasglu gan Miss Jane Williams (Aberpergwm) yn y 1800au cynar, mwy na thebyg yng Nglyn Nedd. Roedd hi’n rhan o’r casgliad gwnaeth rhoi’r gwobr gyntaf iddi yn Eisteddfod Hydref 1837 am “y casgliad gorau o gerddoriaeth Gymreig heb ei gyhoeddi”. Cafodd y casgliad ei gyhoeddi un 1844 fel y llyfr Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg.

Geiriau

Y deryn pur â’r adain las
Bydd i mi’n was dibrydar
O! brysur brysia at y ferch
Lle rhois i’m serch a’m hyder,
Dos di ati, dywed wrthi
Mod i’n wylo’r dwr yn heli,
Mod i’n irad am ei gwelad
Ac o’i chariad yn ffaelu â cherddad, O!
Duw faddeuo’r hardd ei llun
Am boeni dyn mor galad!
Pan o’wn yn hoenus iawn fy hwyl
Ddiwrnod gwyl yn gwylio,
Canfyddais fenyw lana’ rioed
Ar ysgafn droed yn rhodio.
Pan fe’i gwelais, syth mi sefais,
Yn fy nghalon mi feddyliais
Dyma ddynes lana’r deyrnas
A’i gwên yn harddu’r oll o’i chwmpas,
Ni fynswn gredu un dyn byw
Nad oedd hi’n ryw angyles!

Ble nesaf

Mae nifer fawr o recordiadau o’r gân ar gael ond mae’r rhan helaeth yn y genre classurol neu pop-classurol. Dwi’n teimlo efallai bod hi’n bryd i ni cantorion gwerin adennill y gân oddi wrth ein ffrindiau classurol! Dyma lle cewch clywed fersiynnau o’r gân yn cael ei ganu (mae llawer o osodiadau offerynol pleserol) mewn steil mwy gwerinol:

  • Sian James, Pur, Recordiau Bos, 2000
  • Pedwar Patagonia, 4 Patagonia, Sain, 2005
  • Mari Griffiths, The Welsh Valley’s Call, Mood Media 2009
  • Mary Hopkin, Blodeugerdd: Song of the Flowers – An Anthology of Welsh Music and Song, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (SFW40552), 2009.

Mae gan Bragod CD yn dod allan yn fuan o’r enw Llatai a bydd hi’n ddiddorol gweld os ydy’r Deryn Pur yn ymddangos arni.

The Pure Bird

This is a song with an extremely beautiful melody which is another one I feel I’ve always half known. I didn’t decide to properly learn it, though, until I heard my friend Caradog Williams play his interesting arrangement at the Inter-Celtic Festival in Lorient back in 2006. He wrote the words in my little folk song note book and I went and learnt the words straight after the festival.

There are loads of versions of this song available from one man and his guitar at a pub open mic to big choral arrangements. I suppose Mary Hopkin’s is the most well know voice to have sung it. I don’t usually sing the song with its traditional ‘straight’ rhythm but try to bend the rhythms to emphasise its more emotional points.

In this song we hear someone – I always imagine a young man leaning on his hoe whilst taking a break from working in the fields – telling a bird that he’s seen the most beautiful woman ever but that he needs the bird to take her his message of love. I assume this is because he’s too shy to approach her himself but perhaps it’s because he doesn’t know her address or even her name. Even though the boy hasn’t even reached the stage of talking to the girl yet Y Deryn Pur is a happy song which shows us someone who’s glad they’ve found someone to be besotted with.

My two favourite lines in the songs are the most touching ones: “Ac o, o’i chariad yn ffaelu a cherdded” (And o, because of her love I can’t even walk) and “Ni fynswn gredu un dyn fyw nad oedd hi’n ryw angyles” (I wouldn’t believe any man who told me she wasn’t some sort of angel).

Origins

There are lots of Welsh folk songs, like Y Deryn Pur, which are about a person talking to a bird. I sometimes joke that this is because there are so few people living in rural Wales that people in days gone by had no choice but to talk to the birds. But these songs are actually part of a literary group called ‘llatai’ songs which is where something – usually a bird or another animal – is used as a love-messenger. Lots of the 14th century cywyddwyr (poets for the nobility) such as Dafydd ap Gwilym wrote llatai poems. There is a similar tradition in the 11th – 14th century Troubadour poetry from Provence and France according to Meic Stephens in Cydymaith i Lenyddiaeth Cymru (Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru; 2Rev Ed edition, 1997) and I’m sure that this love-messenger practice must come up in other traditions and cultures – leave a comment below if you know more about this!

Y Deryn Pur was collected by Miss Jane Williams (Aberpergwm) in the early 1800s, probably in the Vale of Neath. It formed part of her collection which won her the first prize at the October 1837 Eisteddfod for the “best collection of unpublished Welsh music”. The collection was published in 1844 as Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg.

Lyrics

There are lots of translations on the internet but this one by Richard B Gillion sticks closely to the meaning of the Welsh words.

The pure bird with the blue wing
Will be a sincere servant to me
O speed with haste to the girl
To whom I offered my affection and my confidence
Go to her, say to her
That I am weeping salt water
That I am grieving to see her
And from her love failing to walk, O
God forgive the beauty of her vision
For hurting a man so severely!

When my spirits were so gleeful
On a day celebrating a holiday
I discried a girl more comely than ever
With lightsome feet strolling.
When I saw her
I immediately came to a standstill
In my heart I thought
Behold the most comely woman of the realm
And her smile beautifying all around her
I would not believe one man alive
That she was not some angel!

Where next

There are loads of recordings of this song but the majority are in the classical or the pop-classical genres. I feel that maybe we folk singers need to reclaim the song from our classical friends! Here is where you’ll find the more folky versions being sung (there are lots of very pleasing instrumental arrangements available too):

  • Sian James, Pur, Recordiau Bos, 2000
  • Pedwar Patagonia, 4 Patagonia, Sain, 2005
  • Mari Griffiths, The Welsh Valley’s Call, Mood Media 2009
  • Mary Hopkin, Blodeugerdd: Song of the Flowers – An Anthology of Welsh Music and Song, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (SFW40552), 2009

Bragod have a CD coming out soon called Llatai and it will be interesting to see if Y Deryn Pur appears on it.

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6 thoughts on “Y Deryn Pur

  1. A fragment of this song appears in the 1987 TV adaptation of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, featuring Denholm Elliott. During the Noson Lawen sequence, one of the aunties sings the last few lines of an English language version (most similar to the Hayes translation).

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  2. Hi Ffion You say above “…from the collection of Miss Jane Williams (Aberpergwm)” but I suspect this referred to the English words because I’ve always seen Y Deryn Pur referred to as a traditional song…”
    Not sure that I follow – Maria Jane Williams has been noted as one of the only two collectors who recorded the songs as sung, without “improvement”.
    She won the 1838 Abergavenny prize “for the best collection of original unpublished Welsh airs, with the words as sung by the peasantry of Wales”
    (Source – the indefatigable D.Rhys Phillips, “History of the Vale of Neath”, page 372 and thereabouts. [Facsimile edn. 1994, E. Glam Archive Serv. & Neath B. C.] n.b. DRP’s papers are at LlGC/NLW including his wonderful notebooks – vaut la visite) Hwyl, Theo

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  3. Pingback: Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn | Caneuon Gwerin

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