Caneuon Gwerin

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

Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn

[SEE BELOW FOR ENGLISH]

Ar hyn o’r bryd mae cyfres o gynherddi cyffroes iawn yn digwydd yng Nghymru o’r enw Song Chain Cylch Canu. Mae llawer o gerddorion gwerin Cymru wedi dod at ei gilydd i greu rhaglen o alawon a chaneuon gwerin sy’n cynnwys rhai newydd (megis alaw gan Jamie Smith), rhai poblogaidd (fel Llongau Cernarfon) a rhai llai adnabyddus.

Gofynodd Tamsin o Theatr Mwdlan, sy’n cyd-gynhyrchu’r taith, os hoffwn i ysgrifennu rhywbeth am y gyfres Cylch Canu. Dwi eisioes wedi ysgrifennu am un o’r caneuon yn y rhaglen, Y Deryn Pur, felly dyma ychydig o sylwadau ar un o’r ganeuon llai adnabyddus, Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn, sydd hefyd yn un weddus ar gyfer adeg yma’r flwyddyn!

Mae’r gân yn fyr ond mae’n drawiadol oherwydd yr alaw iasol. Mae’n swnio fel petai’n dod o’r canol oesoedd efo alaw ystumiol a brawddegau o wahanol hydoedd. Dwi’n meddwl bod sy’n swnio ychydig yn debyg i alaw’r gân Saesneg One Night As I Lay Upon My Bed.

Dylai’r gân fod yn un hapus – mae bachgen yn edrcyh ar ei gariad ac yn dweud pa mor brydferth mae hi. Ond, fel sawl cân gwerin Cymraeg megis Cariad Cyntaf, mae’r geiriau hapus yn cael eu canu ar alaw truenis. Mae alaw y llinell “Oedd gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd” yn arbennig o alarus. Efallai bod rhyw gefndir trist i’r gân, fel Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, sy’n golygu bod y bachgen yn gallu edrych ar y ferch ond gallen nhw ddim bod efo’i gilydd.

Gwreiddiau

Mae Blanche Rowan, sydd efo recordiad o’r gân ar Soundcloud, yn dweud, “Fe’i gasgliwyd gan Maria Jane Williams felly gân o’r De Dwyrian yw hi, ond rwy’n siwr mae’n hynod o hen, gan fod y dôn yn teimlo mor ganoloesoedd. Dorian mode yw hi.”

Yn ôl Daniel Huws a ystrifennodd erthygl yng Nghylchgrawn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (Cyf. 15, rh. 1 Haf 1967), gofynodd Lady Augusta Hall os gall y bardd Tegid (y Parch John Jones) ‘cywiro’ llawer o’r ganeuon oedd wedi eu casglu gan Maria Jane Williams ar gyfer Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg. Yn rhai o’r caneuon mae’r cam-dreuglo a’r cam-sillafu wedi ei gywiro, yn eraill mae geiriau Saesneg neu geiriau anghwrtais wedi eu newid. Weithiau mae gan y ganeuon penillion hollol wahanol sydd wedi eu ysgrifennu gan Tegid neu Taliesin ab Ioan yn arbennig ar gyfer y gyfrol, neu penillion gan Iolo Morgannwg oedd eisioes wedi eu ysgrifennu.

Roedd Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn ar y rhestr anfonodd Lady Hall i Tegid efo’r teitl Pan Own I’n Fachgen Ieuanc Llawen a nodyn yn dweud “to Tegid for other Welsh words and translation”. Gallwn felly tybio bod y geiriau yn y llyfr ychydig, neu llawer, yn wahanol i’r rhai a chasglwyd gan Maria Jane Williams.

Ble nesaf

Gallwch clywed fersiwn offerynol o’r gân ar y CD Taith, Now & Then, Taith Records, 2005. Gallwch clywed Blanche Rowan yn canu’r gân ar Soundcloud ond dydy hi ddim ar un o’i CDs eto.
Mae Ceri Rhys Matthews wedi recordio’r alaw – gallwch clywed hwn ar youtube.
Yn ôl erthygl diweddar yn Golwg mae Jess Hall hefyd yn canu hi, ond dyw hi ddim ar ei EP diweddaraf.

Mae’r gân wedi ei gyhoeddi yn y llyfr Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg ysgrifennwyd gan Maria Jane Williams yn 1844.

Wrth gwrs, gallwch hefyd mynd i weld yn gyngerdd Cylch Canu lle mae Jamie Smith, Dylan Fowler a Delyth Jenkins yn chwarae’r alaw. Y dyddiau sy’n weddill yw:

10 Ebrill: Theatr Brycheiniog, Aberhonddu
11 Ebrill: Theatr Hafren, Y Drenewydd
12 Ebrill: SPAN @ Queen’s Hall, Narberth

Geiriau

Pan o’wn y gwanwyn ar uchelfryn,
Yn gwylio’r defaid gyda’r wyn,
Clwyn lais fy nghariad ber ei chaniad,
Yn seinio’n llawen yn y llwyn;
Oedd gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd
O mor hardd ei lliw a’i llun,
A minnau’n syllu, ac ymhyfrydu,
Gan hardded hwyl fy annwyl fun.

When In Spring Time

There is currently a series of exciting concerts taking place in Wales called Song Chain Cylch Canu. Many of Wales’ leading folk musicians have come together to create a programme of Welsh folk tunes and songs which include new ones (such as a tune by Jamie Smith), popular ones (like Llongau Caernarfon (Caernarfon’s Ships)) and less well-known ones.

Tamsin from Theatre Mwdlan, who are co-producing the tour, asked if I would like to write something about the Song Chain series. I’ve already written about Y Deryn Pur (The Gentle Dove) so here are a few observations on one of the less well-known songs, Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn (As I Was In Spring Time) which is also appropriate for this time of year!

Sheep and lambs

Sheep and lambs

The song is short but it’s striking because of its chilling tune. It sounds medieval in parts with a meandering tune and phrases of different lengths. I think it also sounds a little similar to the tune for the English folk song One Night As I Lay Upon My Bed.

It should be a happy song – a boy is looking at his lover and is singing about how beautiful she is. But, like many Welsh folk songs such as Cariad Cyntaf, the happy words are sung to a sad melody. The tune for the line “Happiness was dawning on her two cheeks” is especially mournful. Perhaps there’s a sad back-story, like in Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, which means that the boy can look at the girl but that they can’t be together.

Origins

Blanche Rowan, who has a recording of the song on Soundcloud, says, “It was collected by Maria Jane Williams so it’s a song from the South East, but I’m sure it’s very old because the melody feels so Medieval. It’s in the Dorian mode.”

According to Daniel Huws who wrote an article in The National Library of Wales journal (Vol. 15, No. 1, Summer 1967). Lady Augusta Hall asked the poet Tegid (Rev John Jones) if he could ‘correct’ lots of the songs which Maria Jane Williams had collected and was intending to publish in Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morgannwg. Some of the songs have had misspellings or incorrect mutations corrected, in others English or impolite words have been changed. Sometimes the songs have totally different verses written by Tegid or Taliesin ab Ioan especially for the book, or pre-existing verses written by Iolo Morgannwg.

Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn was on the list Lady Hall sent Tegid with the title Pan Own I’n Fachgen Ieuanc Llawen (When I Was A Young And Happy Lad) with a note saying “to Tegid for other Welsh words and translation”. We can therefore surmise that the words in the book are a bit, or a lot, different from those originally collected by Maria Jane Williams.

Where next?

You can hear an instrumental version of the song on Taith’s CD, Now & Then, Taith Records, 2005. You can hear Blanche Rowan’s version on Soundcloud but it hasn’t made it onto one of her CDs yet!
Ceri Rhys Matthews has recorded the tune which you can hear on youtube.
According to a recent article in Golwg Jess Hall also sings it but it’s not on her latest CD.

It’s published in Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morgannwg written by Maria Jane Williams in 1844.

Of course, you can go and see the Song Chain concerts where Jamie Smith, Dylan Fowler and Delyth Jenkins play an instrumental arrangement. The remaining dates are:

10 April: Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon
11 April: Theatr Hafren, Newtown
12 April: SPAN @ Queen’s Hall, Arberth

Lyrics

When I was in springtime on a high hill,
Watching the sheep and the lambs.
I heard the voice of my lover singing purely,
Ringing happily in the grove,
Happiness was dawning on her two cheeks
So beautiful her colour and image,
And I was staring, and delighting,
At how beautiful my dear one looked.

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5 thoughts on “Pan O’wn Y Gwanwyn

  1. Hi Ffion
    It’s interesting that you describe the tune as ‘mournful’. I’ve always seen it as unusual and interesting, full of colour, but it had never occured to me that it was mournful! Especially not in your version – being an octave higher than mine helps! It’s the irregularity of the tune and the unexpected half-notes that I love.

    Is it one of those ‘unrequited love’ songs so prevalent in the Welsh tradition? Well, maybe, maybe not. There’s no evidence either way. Given that the lyric is “Oedd gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd” I see it as a question – “Was that a blush on her cheeks?” She’s down in the grove, singing to herself … I think she’s thinking about him as she’s singing (pure conjecture on my part), she blushes (gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd, literally the dawn of happiness on her two cheeks) and there he is up on the hill, gazing, enraptured (yn syllu ac ymhyfrydu).

    But there again I’m a soppy sod with mediaeval leanings, so it’s all down to artistic interpretation.

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    • Thanks for your thoughts Blanche. You’ve really set the scene well! I’d thought of it as a statement about the “gwawr llawenydd ar ei deurudd” but I can see that it might be a question.

      Re the half-notes, they seem to make more sense when played instrumentally by Taith than when sung with words. I wonder whether (given what Daniel Huws argues about ‘correcting’ the words) MJ Williams collected this as a tune (either instrumental or vocal) and Tegid or ab Ioan wrote words which sort of fit. It’s a great song but perhaps it’s at its purest form as an instrumental tune.

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  2. We have had long discussions whether those semitones are actually half tones, apparently that was the way it was notated

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  3. It’s a beautiful tune and lovely to play! Glad you appreciate it and thanks for spreading the word about the tour.

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