Caneuon Gwerin

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

Suo Gân

(Llun gan stivoberlin ger Flickr)

[See below for English] Dyma gân prydferth sydd, fel Y Deryn Pur, wedi ei fabwysiadu gan y genre classurol a phop-classurol. Chwiliwch ar YouTube neu Spotify ac mae’r rhan fwyaf o ganlyniadau gan gorau neu cantorion fel Bryn Terfyl, Aled Jones a Charlottle Church ac mae sawl arall gan offerynnwyr, megis Elinor Bennett. Ymddangosodd y gânyn ffilm Steven Speilberg Empire of the Sun sydd wedi gwneud hi’n adnabyddus ar hyd a lled y byd. Mae hi mor boblogaidd fel gallwch clywed hi ar CD o hwiangerddi gan Fisher-Price (Tender Lullabies, 2013) a CD o ganeuon ‘Albaneg’ o’r enw Spirit of the Glen gan The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Universal Classics and Jazz, 2008)! Mae hi hefyd wedi trafeulu mor bell ag Ynysoedd y Philippines gyda’r Jazz-Choir of the State Children Philharmonic Society o Fanila yn dod a’r gan ‘nôl’ i Gymru wrth ei ganu yn Eisteddfod rhyngwaldol Llangollen yn 2013. Ond roedd Suo Gân yn boblogaidd yn America cyn Empire of the Sun. Gwrandewch ar y contralto Merle Alcock yn canu geiriau Saesneg ar yr alaw yn 1923 ar wefan Library of Congress yr UDA. Ar wefan cafe mudcat mae yna drafodaeth am y ffaith bod yr alaw rwan yn cael ei ddefnyddio ar gyfer emyn yn America. Mae hi weithiau yn cael ei ddrysu efo cân Nadoligaidd neu crefyddol achos mae pobl wedi defnyddio’r alaw ar gyfer geiriau newydd. Ysgrifennodd y tenor Gwyddelig John McDermott, er enghraifft, geiriau Nadoligaidd ar yr alaw. Er yr enwogrwydd mae Suo Gân yn gân syml iawn gyda theitl syml – mae’n golygu cân sy’n eich suo (‘lull’ yn Saesneg), neu hwinangerdd i ddefnyddio gair arall am y gair Saesneg ‘lullaby’. Mae Suo Gân weithiau’n cael ei alw’n Huna Bleyntyn ( h.y cer i gysgu plentyn!) sef y 2 air cyntaf.

Gwreiddiau

Mae hi’n ymddangos yn llyfr o’r enw Alawon y Celt (1905). Golygwyd y llyfr, a’r ail gyfrol, gan Robert Bryan (1858 – 1920) o Sir Ddinbych. Roedd Robert yn fardd a chyfansoddwr ac felly mae’n bosib bod o wedi penderfynnu ysgrifennu geiriau newydd i’w cynnwys yn y gyfrol ar gyfer alaw oedd o’n hoffi (neu’r ffordd arall o gwmpas) fel oedd yn digwydd yn aml yn y dyddiau hynny. Dyma beth mae’r cyfansoddwr George Guest (1924-2002) yn credu, yn ôl rhagair ‘Two Advent Carols and a Lullaby’. Mae Sian Thomas yn dweud (ar mudcat): “It was copied originally from a manuscript found in Llanberis (N.Wales) and first published around 1904. The current one is a variation on an older one (same name) published in 1794. In 1820, one of our big-time bards wrote, ‘it is very probable that Storace took his Lullaby in the Pirates from this tune’.” Mae hi felly’n fwy tebygol bod hi’n gân traddodiadol nid un cafodd ei ysgrifennu gan Mr Bryan.

Ble nesaf

Fel dwedais uchod, mae nifer o gantorion classurol ac offerynnwyr (yn enwedig telynorion) wedi recordio’r gân/alaw. Os am glywed nhw i gyd cofiwch chwilio arlein am Huna Blenthyn yn ogystal â Suo Gân. Gallwch gweld yr hen nodiant ar gyfer yr alaw ar wefan folktunefinder. Mae nifer cymharol fach o gantorion gwerin wedi recordio’r gân:

  • Hennesseys, Rhyddid yn Ein Cân, 1973 ac hefyd Y Caneuon Cynar/The Early Songs, Sain, 1993
  • Sian James, Suo-Ganeuon, Sain, 2004
  • Celtish, Traditional Songs & Melodies of England and Wales, OK Sales, 2014

O’r cannoedd o fersiynnau offerynnol bydd rhain efallai o ddiddordeb:

  • Calennig, Goreuon Canu Gwerin Newydd/The Best of New Welsh Folk Music, Sain 1996
  • Never Mind the Bocs, 2004
  • Taran, Catraeth, Ynys Records, 2009

Mae’r gân yn ymddangos yn y llyfrau canlynol:

  • Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales, William Cole (gol), Edward Ardizzone (darlunydd), Norman Monath (cydweithiwr), Alfred Music (July 1999)
  • Alawon y Celt, Robert Bryan (gol), 1905

Geiriau

Dyma’r geiriau oddi wrth y wefan MeuCymru. Huna blentyn yn fy mynwes, Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon; Breichiau mam sy’n dynn amdanat, Cariad mam sy dan fy mron; Ni cha’ dim amharu’th gyntun, Ni wna undyn â thi gam; Huna’n dawel, annwyl blentyn, Huna’n fwyn ar fron dy fam. Huna’n dawel, heno, huna, Huna’n fwyn, y tlws ei lun; Pam yr wyt yn awr yn gwenu, Gwenu’n dirion yn dy hun? Ai angylion fry sy’n gwenu, Arnat ti yn gwenu’n llon, Tithau’n gwenu’n ôl dan huno, Huno’n dawel ar fy mron? Paid ag ofni, dim ond deilen Gura, gura ar y ddôr; Paid ag ofni, ton fach unig Sua, sua ar lan y môr; Huna blentyn, nid oes yma Ddim i roddi iti fraw; Gwena’n dawel yn fy mynwes Ar yr engyl gwynion draw.

Lullaby

Baby feet

Baby feet. Picture by Paul Hocksenar (via Flickr)

This is a pretty song which, like Y Deryn Pur (The Gentle Dove), has been adopted by musicians in the classical and classical-pop genres. If you search on YouTube or Spotify most of the results you’ll find are by choirs or singers like Bryn Terfyl, Aled Jones or Charlotte Church or instrumentalists like Elinor Bennett. The song appeared in the Steven Speilberg film Empire of the Sun which has made it well-known throughout the world. It’s got such a wide reach that it even appears on a Fisher-Price CD called Tender Lullabies (2003) and a CD of ‘Scottish’ music called Spirit of the Glen by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Universal Classics and Jazz, 2008)! It’s also travelled as far as the Philippines – the Jazz-Choir of the State Children Philharmonic Society  from Manila brought it back to Wales when they sang it at the 2013 Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Suo Gân was popular in America even before Empire of the Sun. Listen to a recording of contralto Merle Alcock singing English words to this tune in 1923 on the Library of Congress yr UDA website. On the mudcat cafe website you can find a discussion about the Suo Gân tune being used in America as a hymn tune. It’s sometimes confused with a religious or Christmas song because of people’s tendency to write new words to good tunes! The Irish tenor John McDermott, for example, wrote Christmas words to fit this tune. Despite its fame, Suo Gân is a very simple song with a simple title – it’s translated as Lullaby but literally means a song (cân) to lull (suo) you. Suo Gân is also sometimes called Huna Blenthyn (which means ‘go to sleep, child’!) which are the first two words.

Origins

It appears in a book called Alawon y Celt (Songs of the Celt, 1905). The book, and the second edition, was edited by Robert Bryan (1858 – 1920) from Denbighshire. Robert was a poet and a composer so it’s possible that he decided to write new words to fit a tune he liked (or vice versa) as was often the case in that period. This is what composer George Guest (1924-2002) believes, according to his preface to ‘Two Advent Carols and a Lullaby’. Sian Thomas says (on mudcat): “It was copied originally from a manuscript found in Llanberis (N.Wales) and first published around 1904. The current one is a variation on an older one (same name) published in 1794. In 1820, one of our big-time bards wrote, ‘it is very probable that Storace took his Lullaby in the Pirates from this tune’.” It’s therefore more likely to be a traditional song than one written by Mr Bryan.

Where next

As I mentioned earlier, lots of singers and instrumentalists (particularly harpists) have recorded this song/melody. If you’d like to hear all of them remember to search online for Huna Blentyn as well as Suo Gân. You can see the notation for the tune on the folktunefinder website. A relatively small number of folk singers have recorded the song:

  • Hennesseys, Rhyddid yn Ein Cân, 1973 and also Y Caneuon Cynar/The Early Songs, Sain, 1993
  • Sian James, Suo-Ganeuon, Sain, 2004
  • Celtish, Traditional Songs & Melodies of England and Wales, OK Sales, 2014

Of the hundreds of instrumental versions available, perhaps these will be of interest to folkies:

  • Calennig, Goreuon Canu Gwerin Newydd/The Best of New Welsh Folk Music, Sain 1996
  • Never Mind the Bocs, 2004
  • Taran, Catraeth, Ynys Records, 2009

The song appears in the following books:

  • Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales, William Cole (Editor), Edward Ardizzone (Illustrator), Norman Monath (Collaborator), Alfred Music, July 1999
  • Alawon y Celt, Robert Bryan (Editor), 1905

Lyrics

Apparently Robert Bryan translated the first two verses himself. They’ve been done a poetic, non-literal way which scans with the tune, but it’s a fairly accurate translation. I’ve translated the third verse in a slightly less poetic way! Sleep, my baby, on my bosom, Warm and cozy, it will prove, Round thee mother’s arms are folding, In her heart a mother’s love. There shall no one come to harm thee, Naught shall ever break thy rest; Sleep, my darling babe, in quiet, Sleep on mother’s gentle breast. Sleep serenely, baby, slumber, Lovely baby, gently sleep; Tell me wherefore art thou smiling, Smiling sweetly in thy sleep? Do the angels smile in heaven When thy happy smile they see? Dost thou on them smile while slumb’ring On my bosom peacefully? Do not be afraid, it’s only a leaf Brushing up against the door; Do not be afraid, it’s a lonely little wave Rocking, rocking at the sea shore; Sleep child, there is nothing here To scare you; Smile quietly on my breast At the yonder white angels.

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