Caneuon Gwerin

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

Archive for the category “Heart break”

The Lass of Swansea Town / Swansea Barracks

Caneuon Cymreig yn Saesneg

Yn 2009 cefais y cyfle i ganu yng Ngwyl Gwerin Bromyard fel rhan o fy ngwobr o ennill y Fred Jordan Memorial Prize yn yr ŵyl blwyddyn yn gynharach. Roedd Paul a Liz Davenport yn perfformio mewn nifer o’r un cyngherddau a fi ac ar ôl un ohonynt cawsom sgwrs am ganeuon Cymreig mewn Saesneg. “Mae’n rhaid bod llawer iawn ohonynt ar gael” meddai Paul ond doeddwn i methu meddwl am un!

Ers cael y sgwrs yma efo’r Davenports dwi wedi bod yn cadw llygad allan am ganeuon Saesneg sydd yn dod o neu wedi eu casglu yng Nghymru ond mae nhw wedi bod yn eithaf anodd i’w darganfod! Mae’r traddodiad canu gwerin yng Ngymru wedi ei gynnal yn rhannol gan yr Eisteddfod ers degawdau felly dydy caneuon Saesneg eu hiaith ddim wedi cael yr un llwyfan a’r rhai Gymraeg. Serch hyn, dwi wedi llwyddo i ddarganfod rhai caneuon Saesneg ar CDs ac mewn archifau. Y cyntaf dwi am addangos yw The Lass of Swansea Town.

Phil Tanner
Tua 10 mlynedd yn ôl cafais CD Phil Tanner, The Gower Nightingale, yn anrheg Nadolig. Roeddwn i arfer gwrando arni yn fy ngwely min nos yng Ngoleg yr Iwerydd i ganslo allan sŵn y pobl roeddwn i’n rhannu ystafell efo! Mae’r CD yn dechrau efo trafodaeth 5 munud a hanner o hyd gan Wynford Vaughan Thomas ynglŷn â bywyd Phil a roeddwn i fel arfer yn cwympo i gysgu cyn i’r canu dechrau!

Pan llwyddais i aros ar ddihun am ddigon hir i wrando ar y caneuon roeddwn i wedi fy siomi briadd. Doedd hwn ddim yn CD o ganeuon slic oedd yn aros mewn tiwn ac efo trefiannu newydd a diddorol fel fy hoff CD ar y pryd – Ffawd gan Julie Murphy a Dylan Fowler. Fel gantores gwerin hyn a mwy aeddfed, dwi rwan yn sylweddoli bod CDs fel un Phil yn ddolen hanfodol i’r gorffennol. Bydd ddim modd i bobl fel Julie a Dylan gwneud gosodiadau newydd, cyffroes a diddorol tasu cyrff fel y BBC ddim wedi recordio pobl fel Phil.

The Lass of Swansea Town / Swansea Barracks
Ar CD The Gower Nightingale mae cân o’r enw ‘Swansea Barracks’. Mae stori y gân yn un gyfarwydd – mae dynes yn aros wrth glan y môr i’w cariad dod adref ac mae dyn yn dod heibio i ddweud wrthi bod ei chariad wedi marw. Mae Mike Waterson hefyd yn canu’r gân ond mae o wedi ychwanegu pennill lle mae’r dyn yn datgelu taw fo yw’r cariad a bod o ddim wedi marw wedi’r cyfan. Yn aml mewn caneuon fel hyn dydy’r merch ddim yn coeli’r dyn tan iddo dangos modrwy neu arwydd arbennig felly mae’r math yma o gân yn cael ei alw’n gân ‘broken token’.

Mae Brian Hicks yn dweud ar ei wefan bod o wedi dod o hyd i hyd yn oed mwy o eiriau lle mae’r dyn y profi taw fo yw’r cariad cywir trwy dangos craith ar ei frest. Dydy’r geiriau hyn ddim yn ffitio’r alaw yn dda iawn felly dwi ddim yn defnyddio nhw. Efallai bod Brian Hicks yn defnyddio alaw amgen.
Mae Phil Tanner yn canu mewn tempo eithaf hwylus ond mae Jon Boden (a dysgodd hi gan Mike Waterson) yn mynd i’r cyfeiriad gwahanol gan ganu hi’n araf a thrist. Mae hwn yn gweddus i lawer o’r cân ond, yn fy marn i, mae geiriau cariadus y corws a’r pennill olaf ychwanegol yn gwneud hi’n gân gobeithiol felly dwi’n hoffi canu hi mewn arddull mwy fel Phil Tanner.

Gwreiddiau
Mae sawl wraidd posib i’r gân yma. Yr un mwyaf amlwg yw bod hi’n gân sydd wedi ei ysgrifennu, canu a chasglu yn ardal Abertawe. Daeth y gân i’r amlwg ar ôl i Phil cael ei a recordio gan y BBC ar 20 Mai, 1949 ym Mhenmaen. Ymddangosodd y recordiad ar Phil Tanner (EFDSS, 1968), A Soldier’s Life for Me (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 8; Topic, 1970) a The Gower Nightingale (Veteran, 2003). Cafodd Phil eni a’i magu yn y Gwŷr ac os taw fo ydy’r unig person mae’r gân wedi cael ei gasglu oddi wrth, a gan for y gân wedi ei osod yn Abertawe, gallwn tybio taw gân Cymreig yw hwn. Hefyd, mae Ceri Rhys Matthews yn credu bod Phil wedi cyfansoddi’r alaw ei hun. Os ydy hyn yn wir mae’r gân yn o leisf hanner Cymreig.

Ond dydy pawb ddim yn cytuno efo hwn. Dywedai Peter Kennedy yn nodiadau A Soldier’s Life for Me bod y gân yn fersiwn o’r gân Gwyddelig ‘The Blooming Rose of Antrim’ / ‘The Flower of Corby Mill’. Yn nodiadau The Gower Nightingale mae Roy Palmer yn anghytuno efo hyn. Mae o’n nodi bod argraffwyr arfer creu taflenni o’r enw ‘The Lass of -Shire’ fel bod y cantorion yn gallu ychwanegu enw eu hardal nhw i’r gân.

Cyhoeddwyd John Harkness (Preston) a Birt (Llundain) ‘The Lass of -Town’ efo cyfarwyddion bod hi i’w ganu ar yr alaw Irish Molly O ond dydy Phil Tanner ddim yn canu i’r alaw yma. Mae fy ffrind Laura Smyth yn canu gân o’r enw ‘The Lass of Manchester Town’ efo alaw tebyg ‘The Lass of Swansea Town’ Phil Tanner ac roedd band o’r enw Oak yn canu ‘The Lass of Newcastle Town’ felly mae’r esboniad yma yn dal dŵr. Serch hyn, mae Palmer yn ddatgan yn hyderus “Suggestions that there is an Irish version of this song, as The Blooming Rose of Antrim, have proved unfounded, and Phil Tanner’s recording is apparently unique.”

Ar wefan the Digital Tradition Mirror mae’n dweud bod y geiriau (rhai Brian Hicks, nid Phil Tanner) wedi eu casglu gan y teulu Kenny o Kitchuses, Newfoundland, a hefyd bod Ken Peacock wedi trawsysgrifio hi gan ganu Harry Curtis o Joe Batt’s Arm, Newfoundland, yng Ngorffennaf 1952. Dwedodd Harry bod o wedi dysgu’r gân pan stopiodd ei long cargo yng Ngymru pan oedd o’n gweithio ar y llong.

Ble nesaf
Gallwch clywed fersiynnau o’r gân yn y llefydd canlynol:

Phil Tanner, Phil Tanner, EFDSS, 1968
Phil Tanner, A Soldier’s Life for Me, The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 8, Topic, 1970
Phil Tanner,The Gower Nightingale, Veteran, 2003
Roy Harris, The Rambling Sailor, Fellside Recodings Ltd, 1995
Mike Waterson, Mike Waterson, Topic, 1999
The Watersons, Mighty River of Song, Topic, 2004
The Watersons, For Pence and Spicy Ale, Topic, 2006
Jon Boden, A Folk Song A Day: March, Navigator Records, 2011

Yn ol y wefan Digital Tradition Mirror mae hi wedi ei gyhoeddi yn Songs of the Newfoundland Outports gan Amgueddfa Cenedlaethol Canada, 1965.

Os hoffech clywed mwy o ganeuon gwerin ynglŷn ag Abertawe chwiliwch am ‘Swansea Town’ neu ‘I’m Going Home to Swansea Town’ sy’n cael ei ganu i alaw y gân ‘Holy Ground’ ac sydd i’w gael ar:
Max Boyce, The Very Best of Max Boyce, 2005,
The Sherringham Shantymen, All at Sea, Clovelly Recordings Ltd, 2008
The Band of the Prince of Wales’ Division, We’ll Keep a Welcome, Bandleader Records, 2010

Welsh songs in English

In 2009 I was give the opportunity to sing at Bromyard Folk Festival as part of my reward for having won the Fred Jordan Memorial Prize at the festival the previous year. Paul and Liz Davenport were performing in several of the same concerts as me and after one of them we had a chat about English language Welsh songs. Paul said there must be loads of them but I couldn’t think of any!

Since having this chat with the Davenports I’ve been keeping an eye out for songs in English which come from or have been collected in Wales but they’ve been quite hard to find! For decades the folk song tradition in Wales has been partly sustained by the Eisteddfod so English language songs haven’t been given the same platform as the Welsh language ones. Nevertheless, I’ve been able to find a few English songs on CDs and in archives. The first one I want to showcase is The Lass of Swansea Town.

Phil Tanner

About 10 years ago I received Phil Tanner’s CD, The Gower Nightingale, for Christmas. I used to listen to it in bed at night to cancel out the noise of my Atlantic College dorm mates! The CD begins with a 5 and a half minute speech by Wynford Vaughan Williams about Phil’s life so I usually fell asleep before the singing started!

When I managed to stay awake long enough to listen to the songs I was a bit disappointed. This wasn’t a CD of slick songs sung in tune with interesting, new arrangements like you could find on my favourite CD at the time – Ffawd by Julie Murphy and Dylan Fowler. As an older, more mature folk singer, I’ve now realised that CDs like Phil’s are an essential link to the past. It wouldn’t be possible for people like Julie and Dylan to create new, interesting, different arrangements if organisations like the BBC hasn’t recorded people like Phil.

The Lass of Swansea Town / Swansea Barracks

On Phil’s CD there’s a song called Swansea Barracks. The song’s story is familiar – a woman by the sea shore is waiting for her lover to come home and a man comes by to tell her that her love has died. Mike Waterson also sang this song – albeit with the title The Lass of Swansea Town – and he added an extra verse in which the man reveals himself to be the woman’s lover, alive and well. Often in songs like this the woman doesn’t believe the man until he shows her a ring or a special sign so this type of song is called a ‘broken token’ song.

On his website Brian Hicks says that he has found even more lyrics where the man proves that he is the true lover by showing her a scar on his chest. These extra words don’t fit the tune very well so I don’t use them. Perhaps Brian Hicks uses an alternative tune.
Phil Tanner sings the song in an upbeat tempo but Jon Boden (who learnt it from Mike Waterson) goes in the opposite direction singing it slowly and sadly. This is appropriate for a lot of the song but, in my opinion, the loving words of the chorus and the additional last verse make it a hopeful song, so I prefer to sing it in more of a Phil Tanner style.

Origins

This song has several possible origins. The most obvious is that it’s a song written, sung and collected in the Swansea area. The song came to light when Phil was recorded by the BBC on 20 May, 1949 in Penmaen. The recording appeared on Phil Tanner (EFDSS, 1968), A Soldier’s Life for Me (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 8; Topic, 1970) a The Gower Nightingale (Veteran, 2003). Phil was born and bred in the Gower and if he’s the only person it’s been collected from, and as the song is set in Swansea, we can presume that it’s a Welsh song. Also, Ceri Rhys Matthews believes that Phil composed the tune himself which would make the song at least half Welsh!

But not everyone agrees. Peter Kennedy said ih the sleeve notes for A Soldier’s Life for Me that the song is a version of the Irish song ‘The Blooming Rose of Antrim’ / ‘The Flower of Corby Mill’. In The Gower Nightingale sleeve notes Roy Palmer refutes this. He notes that publishers used to create sheets called ‘The Lass of -Shire’ so that singers could insert the name of their area into the song.

John Harkness of Preston and Birt of London published ‘The Lass of -Town’ with instructions that it should be sung to the tune of Irish Molly O but this isn’t the tune that Phil Tanner uses. My friend Laura Smyth sings a song called ‘The Lass of Manchester Town’ to a similar tune to ‘The Lass of Swansea Town’ and a band called Oak used to sing ‘The Lass of Newcastle Town’ so this explanation makes sense. Despite this, Palmer confidently states “Suggestions that there is an Irish version of this song, as The Blooming Rose of Antrim, have proved unfounded, and Phil Tanner’s recording is apparently unique.”

On the Digital Tradition Mirror website it says that the words (Brian Hicks’ words, not Phil Tanner’s) were collected from the Kenny family from Kitchuses, Newfoundland, and also that Ken Peacock had transcribed it from the singing of Harry Curtis from Joe Batt’s Arm, Newfoundland, in July 1952. Harry said they he had learnt the song when the cargo vessel he was working on stopped in Wales.

Where next?

You can hear versions of the song in the following places:
Phil Tanner, Phil Tanner, EFDSS, 1968
Phil Tanner, A Soldier’s Life for Me, The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 8, Topic, 1970
Phil Tanner,The Gower Nightingale, Veteran, 2003
Roy Harris, The Rambling Sailor, Fellside Recodings Ltd, 1995
Mike Waterson, Mike Waterson, Topic, 1999
The Watersons, Mighty River of Song, Topic, 2004
The Watersons, For Pence and Spicy Ale, Topic, 2006
Jon Boden, A Folk Song A Day: March, Navigator Records, 2011

Songs of the Newfoundland Outports by the National Museum of Canada, 1965.

If you’d like to hear more folk songs about Swansea try ‘Swansea Town’ or ‘I’m Going home to Swansea Town’ which sung to the tune of a song called ‘Holy Ground’ and is available on:
Max Boyce, The Very Best of Max Boyce, 2005,
The Sherringham Shantymen, All at Sea, Clovelly Recordings Ltd, 2008
The Band of the Prince of Wales’ Division, We’ll Keep a Welcome, Bandleader Records, 2010

This song has also been arranged by Holst and this can be found on these CDs, amoung many others:
Treorchy Male Voice Choir, Songs You Have Loved, EMI Records Ltd, 2009
Robert Shaw Chorale, Sea Shanties, BMG Music (the holst arrangement), 1961,

http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/Pea547.html
http://collections.mun.ca/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/munfla_list&CISOPTR=2642
http://www.worldcat.org/title/swansea-town-hampshire-folk-song/oclc/12193484 – which version?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Geofferybard/Draft_Essay_on_Videographic_Documentation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEDkZMzhMCg

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Y Gwydr Glas (& Os Daw Fy Nghariad)

[SCROLL DOWN FOR ENGLISH]

Mae Y Gwydr Glas yn gân sy’n rhannu nodweddau efo llawer iawn o ganeuon gwerin – mae sawl fersiwn ohoni ac mae dehongliad pob canwr yn wahanol. O’i cymharu efo caneuon eraill yn y blog yma mae Y Gwydr Glas yn eithaf adnabyddus o fewn y sîn gwerin Cymreig ac mae’n ymddangos ar sawl CD (gweler isod). Serch hyn does dal dim llawer o wybodaeth amdano ar y wê a llai fyth o drafodaeth am gysylltiadau sydd gan y gân yma efo caneuon gwerin eraill.

Cafodd geiriau yn pennill cyntaf eu casglu oddi wrth Mrs Ellen Ellis (gwraig tŷ, ganed 1907) a’i merch Rhian (ganed 1945) yng Ngwynfryn, Mynytho, sir Gaernarfon yn 1964. Dysgodd Mrs Ellen Ellis hi gan ei mam oedd yn dod o Nefyn. Gallwch gwrando ar Ellen a Rhian yn canu eu fersiwn o’r gân ar wefan Sain Ffagan. Recordwyd yr un versiwn oddi wrth Thomas Williams (postmon, g. 1899) o Sarn Mellteyrn, ger Aberdaron, sir Gaernarfon yn 1964 – Gallwch clywed yn ar wefan Sain Ffagan hefyd. Casglwyd geiriau’r pennill cyntaf hefyd gan Tal Griffith oddi wrth ei gyfaill Robert Griffith, Trefgraig Bach, Rhoshirwaen a hefyd oddi wrth J.C. Parry o Sir Fôn a dywedodd bod o wedi dysgu’r gân gan ei fam oedd wedi dygu hi gan ei mam hithau. Mae’r geiriau felly yn dyddio nôl i 1867 o leiaf.

Ar ôl y pennill cyntaf yma mae rhywbeth diddorol yn digwydd – mae’n ffynnu amryw o bennillion gwahanol i ffurfio beth sydd heddiw’n cael eu hystyried yn ddwy gân gwahanol. Mae’r ddwy gân yn defnyddio’r un pennill cyntaf ond wedyn yn dehongli yn wahanol beth oedd y ferch yn teimlo a meddwl. Mae 100 o Ganeuon Gwerin wedi enw’r ddwy gân gwahanol yn ‘Y Gwydr Glas’ ac ‘Os Ddaw Fy Nghariad’ a felly dyna’r teitlau byddaf i’n defnyddio hefyd.

Yn y pennill cyntaf mae merch yn gofyn i rhywun i basio ymlaen neges at ei chariad os daw o i’r tŷ y noson honno. Y neges yw bod hi wedi mynd i ffwrdd efo bachgen o blwyf arall. Yn Y Gwydr Glas mae’r ferch yn awgrymu bod hi ddim eisiau bod efo’r dyn newydd achos mae o’n mynd a hi i ffwrdd o’i chariad ac mae hyn yn torri ei chalon. Dyw’r 2 pennill ychwanegol ddim yn dweud stori a felly mae nhw’n cael eu canu mewn trefn gwahanol gan wahanol perfformwyr.

Yn Os Daw Fy Nghariad mae’r dyn yn troi fyny yn yr ail bennill ac yn gofyn iddi mynd fwrdd efo fo ar ei gwch. Mae’r ferch yn gwrthod gan ddweud bod digon o le yn y byd i’r ddau ohonynt bod yn hapus a ddylai mynd i ffwrdd ar ben ei hyn. Dyma’r dau fersiwn mwyaf cyffredin o’r geiriau ond dwi’n siwr bod mwy o ddiweddgloi posib i’r stori – gadewch sylw isod os rydych yn gwybod am un. Mae 9bach yn canu 2 bennill gwahanol ond dwi’n amau bod nhw wedi sgwennu nhw eu hunain.

Yn ogystal a mwy nag un fersiwn o’r geiriau, mae hefyd sawl alaw i’r gân. O’r dau mwyaf cyffredin mae un yn hiraethus a mewn cywair mwyaf. Mae’r llall mewn cywair lleiaf ac efo ambell i troad melodig diddorol, er enghraift y pedwerydd yn y 3ydd llinnell. Mae’n ddiddorol bod y rhan fwyaf o gantorion Cymru yn canu’r geiriau trist i’r alaw cywair fwyaf a’r geiriau cas i’r alaw cywair lleiaf. Dyma hefyd sut mae’r caneuon yn cael eu pario yn 100 o Ganeuon Gwerin. Yn bersonnol dwi’n meddwl basau hi’n ffit gwell i wneud nhw y ffordd arall o gwmpas. Ar gyfer y blog yma dwi wedi canu nhw y ffordd cyffredin ond dwi’n bwriadu arbrofi efo canu’r geiriau trist i’r alaw cywair lleiaf (yr alaw mwy diddorol a bachog, yn fy marn i).

Mae nodiadau Phyllis Kinney a Meredydd Evans yn Canu’r Cymry II yn dweud bod y pennill cyntaf wedi ei gysylltu ag o leiaf 8 alaw gwahanol, rhai yn debyg i’r alawon Saesneg Grim King of the Ghosts a Sweet Polly Oliver. Mae alaw Ellen a Rhian Ellis a Thomas Williams yn un wahanol eto. Mae’r nodiadau ar wefan Sain Ffagan yn dweud bod y gân weithiau’n cael ei chanu ar yr emyndon ‘Hen Ddarbi’ neu ‘Cyfamod’.

Ble nesaf

Mae’r gân yma wedi cael ei recordio gan sawl artist cyfoes gan gynnwys:

  • 9bach, 9bach, 2009, Gwymon
  • Calan, Jonah, Sain, 2011
  • Ar lôg, O IV i V
  • John Rodge, Angel Falling, 1998, Recordiau La Tene Records
  • Robin Huw Bowen, Gwlad y Delyn: Wales – Home of the Harp, Sain, 2003
  • Sian James, Cymun, 2012, Rcordiadau Bos Records
  • Carreg Lafar, hyn, 1998, Sain
  • Plethyn, popeth arall ar CD – the best of the rest on CD, Sain, SCD2437, 2004
  • Tudur Huws Jones, Dal i Drio, Sain, 2004

Geiriau

Y Gwydr Glas

Daw’r geiriau hyn allan o 100 o Ganeuon Gwerin

Os daw ‘nghariad yma heno, yma heno i guro’r gwydyr glas.
Rhowch ateb gweddus iddo, gweddus iddo, na atebwch mono’n gas
Nad ydyw’r ferch ddim gartre na’i h’wyllys da’n y tŷ,
Llanc ifanc o’r plwy aralI, o’r plwy arall sydd wedi mynd â hi.

Pe meddwn edyn eryr, edyn eryr, mi fyddwn lawer gwell
I hedeg at fy nghariad, at fy nghariad, sydd yn y gwledydd pell;
Dros diroedd maith a moroedd, gobeithio’i fod o’n iach –
Rwy’n caru’r tir lIe cerddodd, tir lle cerddodd o wraidd fy nghalon fach.

Fy nghalon sydd cyn drymed, sydd cyn drymed a’r march sy’n dringo’r rhiw.
Wrth geisio bod yn llawen, bod yn llawen, ni fedrwn yn fy myw.
Mae’r esgid yn fy ngwasgu mewn man nas gwyddoch chi
A llawer gofid meddwl, gofid meddwl sy’n torrri nghalon i.

Os Daw Fy Nghariad

Daw’r geiriau hyn allan o 100 o Ganeuon Gwerin

“Os daw fy nghariad yma heno i guro’r gwydyr glas,
Rhowch ateb gweddus iddo, na ddwedwch ddim gas,
Nad ydyw’r ferch ddim gartref na’i h’wyllys da’n y tŷ,
Llanc ifanc o’r plwy aralI, llanc ifanc o’r plwy arall sydd wedi mynd â hi.”

“A chwithau, lân ferch ifanc, rhowch ran o’ch cwmni cu
I lanc sy dan y ffenest, heb feddu lle’n y byd.
Mae’r llanw wedi llenwi, a’m llong ar frig y don;
Ni ddeuaf ddim i’ch blino, ni ddeuaf ddim i’ch blino ‘run noswaith ‘rhawg, ond hon.”

Atebai’r ferch yn gryno nad oedd hi’n lojio neb,
“Mae’r ffordd yn ddigon llydan a’r llwybrau’n ddigon teg,
A chwithau, lencyn gwisgi, ewch efo glan y dŵr,
Mae digon o’r mân gychod, mae digon o’r mân gychod, cwech bàs efo’r rhain yn siŵr.”

The Window Pane (& If My Love Comes)

Y Gwydr Glas shares a certain feature with many folk songs – there are lots of versions of it and each singer’s interpretation is different. Compared with some of the other songs in this blog Y Gwydr Glas is relatively well known within the Welsh folk scene and it appears on several CDs (see below). Despite this, there still isn’t much information about it on the internet and there’s even less of a discussion about this song’s connections with other folk songs.

The words to the first verse were collected from Mrs Ellen Ellis (a house wife born in 1907) and her daughter Rhian (born 1945) in Gwynfryn, Mynytho, Caernarfonshire in 1964. Mrs Ellen Ellis learnt it from her mother, who came from Nefyn. You can hear Ellen and Rhian singing their version of the song on the Saint Fagans website. The same version was recorded from Thomas Williams (a postman, born in 1899) from Sarn Mellteryn, near Aberdaron, Caernarfonshire in 1964 – you can hear this on the Saint Fagans website too.  The words to the first verse were also collected by Tal Griffith from his friend Robert Griffith, Trefgraig Bach, Rhoshirwaen and also from J.C. Parry from Anglesey who said that he’d learnt the song from his mother who’d learnt it from her mother. The words therefore date back to at least 1867.

After this first verse something interesting happens – it sprouts different verses which today form what we consider to be two different songs. Both songs use the words of the first verse but then interpret the girl’s thoughts and feelings differently. 100 o Ganeuon Gwerin (100 Folk Songs) calls the two songs ‘Y Gwydr Glas’ and ‘Os Daw Fy Nghariad’ so those are the titles I’ll also use.

In the first verse we hear a girl asking someone to pass on a message to her lover if he comes to the house that night. The message is that she’s gone away with a man from another parish. In Y Gwydr Glas the girl implies that she doesn’t want to be with the new man because he’s taking her away from her lover and this is breaking her heart. The two additional verses here don’t form a story and, as such, they’re not always sung in the same order by performers.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham_Willaerts,_Galley_and_men_of_war.jpeg

Galley and men of war by Abraham Willaerts via http://en.wikipedia.org

In Os Daw Fy Nghariad the man turns up in the second verse and asks her to go away with him in his boat. She turns him down saying that there’s enough room in the world for them both to be happy and that he should go away by himself. These are the two most common versions of the words but I’m sure there are more possible endings to the story – leave a comment below if you know of one. 9bach sing two different additional verses but I think they might have written these themselves.

In addition to there being more than one version of the words, this song also has several tunes. Of the two most common ones, one is wistful and in a major key and the other is minor and has the occasional interesting melodic twist, such as the 4th in the 3rd line. Curiously most people sing the sad words to the major melody and the more mean spirited words to the minor melody. This is how they lyrics and tunes are paired in 100 o Ganeuon Gwerin too. Personally I think it might be a better fit to do them the other way around. For this blog I’ve sung them to usual way around but I’m going to experiment with singing the sad words to the minor tune (which is, in my opinion, the more interesting and catchy melody).

The notes in Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evan’s Canu’r Cymry II say that the first verse was associated with at least 8 different tunes, some similar to the English melodies Grim King of the Ghosts and Sweet Polly Oliver. The tune sung by Ellen and Rhian Ellis and Thomas Wiliams is another different one. The notes on the Saint Fagans website say that the song was sometimes sung on the hymntune ‘Old Derby’ or ‘Cyfamod’.

Where next

This song has been record by several contemporary artists including:

  • 9bach, 9bach, 2009, Gwymon
  • Calan, Jonah, Sain, 2011
  • Ar lôg, O IV i V, Sain, 1988
  • John Rodge, Angel Falling, 1998, Recordiau La Tene Records
  • Robin Huw Bowen, Gwlad y Delyn: Wales – Home of the Harp, Sain, 2003
  • Sian James, Cymun, 2012, Recordiadau Bos Records
  • Carreg Lafar, hyn, 1998, Sain
  • Plethyn, popeth arall ar CD – the best of the rest on CD, Sain, SCD2437, 2004
  • Tudur Huws Jones, Dal i Drio, Sain, 2004

Lyrics

Y Gwydr Glas (The Window Pane)

If my love comes here tonight, here tonight, to knock on the window pane,
Give him an appropriate answer, an appropriate answer,
Don’t answer him unkindly, tell him the girl isn’t home neither is her good will in the house,
A boy from the other parish, from the other parish has taken her.

If I had the wings of an eagle, the wings of an eagle, I would be much better able
To fly to my love, to my love, who is in the far away lands;
Over the large lands and seas, I hope he is healthy,
I love the ground on which he walked, the land on which he walked, from the bottom of my heart.

My heart is a as heavy, is as heavy, as the horse who climbs the hill.
I try to be happy, to be happy, but could never manage it in my life.
The shoe Is squeezing me in a place you don’t know
And a lot of sorrows, a lot of sorrows are breaking my heart.

Os Daw Fy Nghariad (If My Love Comes)

If my love comes here tonight to knock on the window pane,
Give him an appropriate answer, don’t answer him unkindly,
tell him the girl isn’t home neither is her good will in the house,
A boy from the other parish, from the other parish has taken her.

And you, young pure girl, Give some of your kind company
To the lad under the window, who doesn’t belong anywhere in the world.
The tide has come in, and my ship is on the crest of the waves;
I won’t come to tire you, I won’t come to tire you any night for a long time, apart from tonight.

The girl answered concisely that no one was lodging with her,
“The road is wide enough and the paths fair enough,
And you, brisk lad, go to the shore,
There are enough small boats, there are enough small boats, you’ll get a lift with these for sure.”

Dod dy Law

[Scroll down for English]

Mae llawer o’r bobl sy’n ymddiddori yng ngherddoriaeth gwerin yn bendant bod rhaid dyfynnu ffynhonnell pob cân ac alaw rydych chi’n perfformio. Dwi’n cytuno bod hi’n angenrheidiol i gyfeirio at rywun sydd wedi ysgrifennu geiriau neu alaw i gân rydech chi’n perfformio ac os ydych chi wedi penderfynnu dysgu’r gân ar ôl clywed unigolyn penodol yn ei berfformio mae hi’n caredig i gydnabod hyn.

Ond mae gen i ddau broblem efo’r mynnu hyn ar ddyfynnu ffynhonnellau: 1) Os ydych yn traddodi stori hir am ffynhonnell pob cân cyn ei berfformio gall eich set 40 munud mynd yn ‘formulaic’ a diflas efo mwy o amser yn cael ei wario ar straeon am y ganeuon nag ar y gerddoriaeth 2) Yn aml mae’n amhosib dweud o ble daethoch chi o hyd i’r gân yn y lle gyntaf! Un arwydd o sîn gwerin iachus yw fod pobl yn tyfu fynny yn canu a nabod caneuon gwerin efo dim syniad o bwy recordiodd hi’n gyntaf. Yn wir, dyma un o’r brif pethau sy’n gwneud y caneuon hyn y ganeuon gwerin – mae nhw’n perthyn i bawb yn hafal gan fod neb yn gwybod enw’r dyn neu’r dynes a ysgrifennodd hi yn y lle gyntaf.

Cân felly yw Dod Dy Law i mi. Dwi’n gwybod, o wneud ychydig o ymchwil, bod y gân wedi cael ei gasglu gan Miss Tydfil Roberts o Lanerfyl sy’n agos i’r pentref Llanwddyn ble cefais i fy magu felly mae’n debyg fy mod i wedi cywed hi’n gyntaf gan rywun o’r ardal leol fel Sian James neu Glandon o Barti Cut Lloi. Serch hyn dwi ddim yn cofio’r tro cyntaf i mi glywed i gân na gan bwy dysgais i’r geiriau neu’r alaw.

(Photo credit Gabrielle Kai Photography)

(Photo credit Gabrielle Kai Photography)

Pan dwi’n perfformio efo’r Foxglove Trio dwi’n aml yn dweud taw Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn yw’r gân mwyaf trist yn y repertoire o ganeuon gwerin Cymreig. Ond mae hyn oherwydd y stori sy’n mynd efo’r gân am gariad gwaharddedig Wil Hopcyn ac Anne Thomas. Wrth edrych ar y geiriau yn lle y cyd destyn, dwi’n sicr taw Dod dy Law yw’r gân mwyaf emosiynol, os nad y gân tristaf, dwi’n nabod. Mae’n gân fyr iawn – dim ond 3 pennill o 4 llinell yr un – ond mae pob gair yn hynnod o bwerus.

Mae geiriau’r cân o safbwynt rhywun sydd wedi cael eu brifo gan cyn gariad ac mae nhw’n siarad yn syth at y cariad yma gan ddweud, efallai nad ydych wedi sylweddoli hyn, ond rydych chi wedi torri fy nghanol a dwi ddim yn gwybod os byddai eriod yn gwella. Mae’r alaw yn syml ond yn gweddu’r ddicter a’r tristwch yn y gân yn berffaith.

Geiriau

Daw’r geiriau hyn o wefan Gwenan Gibbard. Dwi wedi newid y geiriau “pob dyn unig” i “pob un unig” i wneud hi’n gân unrhyw.

Dod dy law on’d wyt yn coelio
Dan fy mron a gwylia ’mriwio,
Ti gei glywed os gwrandewi
Swn y galon fach yn torri.

O f’anwylyd, cymer frwynen
Ac ymafael yn ei deupen,
Yn ei hanner tor hi’n union
Fel y torraist ti fy nghalon.

Trwm yw’r plwm a thrwm yw’r cerrig
Trwm yw calon pob un unig,
Trymach fyth dan haul a lleuad
Yw canu’n iach lle byddo cariad.

Gwreiddiau

Yn ol wefan Parti Cut Lloi Casglwyd Dod dy Law gan Amy Parry-Williams o Gymdeithas Alaw Werin Cymru oddi wrth Miss Tydfil Roberts, Y Rectory, Llanerfyl. Dwedodd Miss Roberts bod hi wedi clywed y gân gan ei mam.

Ble nesaf?

Mae sawl act cyfoes wedi recordio Dod dy Law yn ddiweddar:

  • Siân James, Y Ferch o Bedlam, Recordiau Bos Records, 2005
  • Gwenan Gibbard, Y Gwenith Gwynnaf, Sain (SCD2504), 2006
  • Fiona & Gorwel Owen, Spring Always Comes, Yamoosh!, 2008
  • Linda Griffiths, Blodeugerdd: Song of the Flowers – An Anthology of Welsh Music and Song, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (SFW40552), 2009

Heblaw am wefannau rhai o’r gantorion hyn dwi ddim yn meddwl bod y gân wedi cael ei argraffu unrhyw le. Mae llawer of ganeuon gwerin wedi cael eu argraffu er mwyn iddynt bod yn ddarn gosod mewn Eisteddfod ond dwi’n amau basu yna teimlad bod Dod dy Law yn rhy ddwys i berfformwyr ifanc a rhy fyr ac anuchelgeisiol i’r rhai hyn a bydd hi felly byth yn cyrraedd llwyfan yr Eisteddfod. Os ydych chi’n gwybod am unrhyw argraffiad neu os ydw i’n anghywir ac mae’r gân eisioes wedi chwarae rhan mewn Eisteddfod gadewch i mi wybod!

Place your Hand

(Photo credit Gabrielle Kai Photography)

(Photo credit Gabrielle Kai Photography)

Lots of folkies are adamant that you have to cite the source of every song or tune you perform. I agree it’s essential to credit known composers of lyrics or melodies and if you’ve decided to learn a song as a result of hearing a certain individual performing it then I think it’s polite to acknowledge this.

However I do have two problems with the insistence on citing: 1) If you tell a long story about the source of each song before you perform it a 40 minute set can become formulaic and boring and you risk spending more time talking about songs than actually making music. 2) Often it’s impossible to say where you first came across a song! One sign of a healthy folk scene is that people grow up singing and knowing folk songs without knowing who first recorded them or which part of the country they were original sung in. In fact, this is one of the elements that make these songs folk songs – they belong to everyone equally because no one knows who created them.

For me, Dod dy Law is one of these song. I know, having done some research, that the song was collected from Miss Tydfil Roberts from Llanerfyl which is near Llanwddyn, the village where I was brought up, so it’s possible that I first heard it from someone in the local area like Siân James or Glandon from Parti Cut Lloi. However, I don’t remember the first time I heard the song or who I learnt the lyrics and tune from.

When I perform with The Foxglove Trio I often say that Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn is the saddest song in the Welsh folk song repertoire. But this is because of the back story about Wil Hopcyn and Anne Thomas’ forbidden love. When looking at the lyrics instead of the context, Dod dy Law is certainly the most emotional, if not the saddest, song I know. It’s a very short song – only 3 verses of 4 lines – but each word packs a punch.

The lyrics are sung from the point of view of someone who has been hurt by an ex-lover and they’re speaking directly to that lover saying, perhaps you haven’t realised it, but you’ve completely broken my heart and I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. The tune is simple but it suits the rise and fall or the anger and sadness in the lyrics perfectly.

Lyrics

These lyrics are translated by Dafydd Iwan and taken from Gwenan Gibbard’s website. The original lyrics say “pob dyn unig” (all lonely men) but I sing “pob un unig” (each lonely one) to make it a unisex song. Interestingly, Dafydd’s translation already says “all lonely people”.

Place your hand, lest you believe,
On my breast, without hurting me,
If you listen, you may hear
The sound of my little heart breaking.

Oh my dearest, take a reed
And hold it at both ends,
Break it in half
Just as you broke my heart.

Heavy the lead, heavy the stones,
Heavy is the heart of all lonely people,
Heaviest of all, twixt sun and moon,
Is bidding farewell where there is love.

Origins

According to Parti Cut Lloi‘s website Dod dy Law was collected by Amy Parry-Williams of the Welsh Folk Song Society from Miss Tydfil Roberts, The Rectory, Llanerfyl. Miss Roberts said that she had heard the song from her mum.

Where next?

Several contemporary acts have recorded Dod dy Law recently:

  • Siân James, Y Ferch o Bedlam, Recordiau Bos Records, 2005
  • Gwenan Gibbard, Y Gwenith Gwynnaf, Sain (SCD2504), 2006
  • Fiona & Gorwel Owen, Spring Always Comes, Yamoosh!, 2008
  • Linda Griffiths, Blodeugerdd: Song of the Flowers – An Anthology of Welsh Music and Song, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (SFW40552), 2009

Other than websites of some of these singers I don’t think the song has been printed anywhere. Many Welsh folk songs have been printed in order for them to be a set piece at an Eisteddfod but I suspect Dod dy Law would be deemed too deep for younger singers and too short and musically unambitious for the older ones and will therefore never reach the Eisteddfod stage. If you know of any publications or if I’m wrong and the song has already been part of an Eisteddfod do let me know!

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