Caneuon Gwerin

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

Cloch Erfyl

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Ychydig o flynyddoedd yn ôl penderfynnais i, fy nhad a fy mrawd i ddysgu un neu ddau o ganeuon Plygain baswn ni’n gallu canu fel triawd o amgylch gwasnaethau Maldwyn. Doedden ni ddim eisiau gwneud un o’r rhai poblogaidd, megus Daeth Nadolig, neu basau’n rhaid i ni wastad gwneud yn siwr ein bod ni’n canu’n gyntaf rhag ofn i barti arall canu’r gân cyn ni! Aethom felly trwy y ddau lyfr o garolau Plygain cafodd eu casglu gan Geraint Vaughan-Jones o’r enw Hen Garolau Plygain a Mwy o Garolau Plygain a dod o hyd i Gloch Erfyl a Bryniau Iwerddon. I’n mawr rhyddhad dyden ni ddim eto wedi clywed rhywun arall yn canu’r caneuon hyn mewn gwasanaeth Plygain.

Nativity scene from photobucket.

Nativity scene from photobucket.

Fel Daeth Nadolig, mae Cloch Erfyl yn gân Plygain sy’n sôn am stori geni Crist. Ond, fel llawer o ganeuon Plygain, mae hi hefyd yn sôn am y groes a Chalfari sy’n gwneud hi’n fwy ddifrifol na llawer o garolau modern.

Dwi’n hoffi strwythyr gerddorol y gân – mae’r strywthyr AABA yn rhoi brîg naturiol yn y 5ed a’r 6ed llinellau. Mae geiriau y llinellau yn y tri pennill yn addus iawn i’r brîg gerddorol gan bod nhw’n sôn am gweld Iesu am y tro cyntaf, canu efo’r angylion a Hosanna llon. Dwi hefyd yn hoffi y tamed bach o boliffoni ar ddiwedd ar adrannau A.

Gwreiddiau

Yn anffodus does dim nodiadau ar gael ar y caneuon yn Hen Garolau Plygain. Mae gan y rhan fwyaf ohonynt enw awdur ar ôl y geiriau felly gwyddem taw Geraint Vaughan-Jones ei hun ysgrifennodd y geiriau i Gloch Erfyl yn 1983. Mae’r ffaith bod hi ddim wedi ei sgwennu tan diwedd yr ugeinfed ganrif yn esbonio pam fod ganddi dim ond 3 pennill – mae rhai caneuon Plygain llawer yn hirach ac yn dod o adeg y baledi hir pan oedd gan gynulleidfaoedd ‘attention span’ hirach nag heddiw!

Does dim byd yn Hen Garolau Plygain i esbonio pwy ysgrifennodd yr alaw. Efallai bod hi’n alaw traddodiadol neu’n alaw oedd yn perthyn i gân werin yn barod. Mae’r teitl yn un ddiddorol gan nad ydy hi’n gysylltiedig â geiriau y gân. Efallai Cloch Erfyl oedd enw’r alaw / cân werin wreiddiol neu efallai bod Y Parch Vaughan-Jones wedi rhoi’r enw Cloch Erfyl ar y gân gan fod o wedi ei chyfansoddi yn Llanerfyl pan oedd y cloch yn canu. Os gwyddoch yr ateb cywir, gadewch sylw isod.

Ble Nesaf

Gallwch clywed trefniant Gareth Bonello o’r gân ar y CD Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Plygain (2010, Anhrefn Records) dwi wedi crybwyll mewn postiau blaenorol.

Yn Rhagfur 2013 rhuddhaodd Gareth Bonello EP fer o ddarnau offerynnol hyfryd yn seiliedig ar alawon Plygain o’r enw Plygeiniwch! (Bubble Wrap Collective). Gallwch clywed ei fersiwn o Gloch Erfyl ar soundcloud.

Mae Harriet Earis a Sharron Kraus yn chwarae cerddoriaeth offerynnol nadoligaeth. Dwi ddim yn meddwl bod nhw wedi recordio CD on gallwch clywed ychydig o’u gosodiad o Gloch Erfyl ar eu gwefan.

Geiriau

Daeth cennad o’r Nef i Fethlehem dref
I draethu’r newyddion hael
Fod Ceidwad a Brawd yn Faban tylawd
Yn gorwedd mewn beudy gwael,
Ac wele Ef, Tywysog Nef,
Eneiniog mawr y Tad,
Ym mreichiau Mair ar wely o wair
Yn isel ei ystad.

Ffynhonnell yr Iawn yn eiddil a gawn
Ar fronnau Mareia lon;
Rhyfeddod o hyd gweld Iachawdwr y byd
Yn faban ar liniau hon!
Cydgenwch gân, angylion glân,
I foli Aer y Nef:
I’n gwared o’n loes trwy farw ar groes
O’i lys disgynnodd Ef.

Gogoniant i’r Tad a roddwyd ei Fab
Yn bridwerth trosom ni.
Ein cadw fe all rhag poenau y Fall
Drwy rinwedd Calfari.
Hosanna sy yn llonni’r llu
Uwch meysydd Bethlehem;
Yn fychan a mawr, holl deulu y llawr,
Moliannwn Ef. Amen.

The Bell of Erfyl

A few years ago my dad, my brother and I decided to learn a Plygain song or two to sing as a trio in some of the Montgomeryshire Plygain services. We didn’t want to do one of the popular ones, like Daeth Nadolig, otherwise we’d have to make sure we always sang first in case another party sang the song before us! So we looked through the two books of Plygain carols collected by Geraint Vaughan-Jones called Hen Garolau Plygain (Old Plygain Carols) and Mwy o Garolau Plygain (More Plygain Carols) and came across Cloch Erfyl and Bryniau Iwerddon. To our relief we’ve still not heard anyone else sing these songs at a Plygain service.

St Erfyl's Church from wikipedia.

St Erfyl’s Church from wikipedia.

Like Daeth Nadolig, Cloch Erfyl is a Plygain song about the nativity story. But, like lots of Plygain songs, it also talks about the cross and Calvary making it a bit more serious than many modern carols.

I like the musical structure of the song – its AABA structure gives a natural pinnacle to the 5th and 6th lines. The words in these lines in the three verses are appropriate to this musical pinnacle as they talk about seeing Jesus for the first time, singing with the angels and cheers of Hosanna. I also like the touch of polyphony at the end of the A phrases.

Origins

Unfortunately there are no explanatory notes on the songs in Hen Garolau Plygain. The majority of them have the name of the author at the end of the lyrics so we know that Geraint Vaughan-Jones himself wrote the words to Cloch Efyl in 1983. The fact that it wasn’t written until the end of the 20th century explains why there are only 3 verses – some Plygain songs are much longer and come from a the period of long ballads when audiences had longer attention spans than they do today!

There is nothing in Hen Garolau Plygain to explain who wrote the melody. Perhaps it’s a traditional tune or a melody which already belonged to a folk song. The title is interesting because it’s not connected with the lyrics. Perhaps Cloch Erfyl was the name of the original folk song / tune or perhaps the Rev Vaughan-Jones called the tune Cloch Erfyl because he composed it in Llanerfyl when the bells were ringing. If you know the correct answer, leave a comment below.

Where next

You can hear Gareth Bonello’s arrangement of the song on Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Plygain (2010, Anhrefn Records) CD which I’ve mentioned in previous posts.

In December 2013 Gareth Bonello released a short EP of lovely instrumental pieces based on Plygain melodies called Plygeiniwch! (Bubble Wrap Collective). You can hear his version of Cloch Erfyl ar soundcloud.

Harriet Earis and Sharron Kraus play instrumental Christmassy music. I don’t think they’ve recorded a CD but you can hear an extract of them playing Cloch Erfyl on their website.

Lyrics

A messenger came from Heaven to Bethlehem town
To declare the good news
That a Savoiur and Brother as a poor Baby
Was lying in a lowly stable,
And see Him, Prince of Heaven,
Anointed by the Father,
In Mary’s arms on a bed of straw
Low in his estate.

The source of Righteousness we find feeble
Feeding on the breasts of glad Maria;
A wonder still to see the Saviour of the world
As a baby on her lap!
Sing a song together, pure angels,
To praise the Heir of Heaven:
In order to deliver us from pain by dying on the cross
He descended from His court.

Glory to the Father who gave his Son
As a dowry for us.
He can protect us from the pains of Evil
Through the virtue of Calvary.
Hosanna cheers the host
Above the fields of Bethlehem;
The small and large, the whole family of earth,
Praise Him. Amen.

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  1. Pingback: Dyledwyr ŷm i Seinio Clod | Caneuon Gwerin

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