Caneuon Gwerin

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

Archive for the category “Leaving home / a place”

Y Gwydr Glas (& Os Daw Fy Nghariad)

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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.”

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Cân Dai’r Cantwr

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Mae nifer fawr iawn o ganeuon gwerin Cymreig efo’r enw ‘Cân person’ neu ‘Cân lle’. Mae’n debyg i’r arferiad efo alawon yng ngweddill Prydain o gael ‘Morrison’s jig’ neu ‘John Ryan’s Polka’. Mae geiriau y gân yma yn swnio fel rhywbeth basau unrhywun sy’n gadael ei gartref am amser hir yn teimlo. Ond, wrth edrych ar y teitl a’r nodiadau sy’n dod efo’r gân gwelwn fod hi’n gân a chanwyd gan rywun penodol yn hanes Cymru.

Merched Beca

Llun o Ferched Beca o http://www.pgfl.org.uk

Yn 1839 – 43 roedd bywyd yn mynd yn anoddach i ffermwyr bychain tlawd oherwydd gostyngiad mewn gwerth da byw a chodiad mewn trethi. Roeddent yn poeni yn arbennig am bris y tollborthau roedd rhaid iddynt defyddio i fynd a’u da byw i’r farchnad neu i fynd a gwrtaith i’w caeau. Daeth grŵp o ddynion oedd wedu eu heffeithio at ei gilydd a ffyrfwyd cynllwyn i fynd allan fel dyrfa i losgi’r tollborthau – rhywbeth pendant a materol oedd yn cynrychioli y gorthrwm roeddent yn teimlo. Ond beth tasau rhywun yn adnabod nhw ac yn dweud wrth yr heddlu pwy oedd yn ymwneud â’r terfysg? Daeth yr arweinydd cyntaf, Thomas Rees (Twm Carnabwth), fyny efo’r syniad o wisgo fyny fel merched a rhoi lludw ar eu gwynebau i osgoi cael eu hadnabod. Dyma sut ddaeth y grŵp i’w adnabod fel Merched Beca. Un o ferched Beca oedd David Davies, neu Dai’r Cantwr (c. 1812 – 1874). Cafodd ei ddal a’i anfon i’r carchar yng Nghaerfyrddin a’i ddedfrydu i gael ei alltudio i Van Deimen’s Land (Tasmania rwan) a dyma pryd ysgrifennodd geiriau y gân yma.

Wnes i ddarganfod y gân yng nghyfrol Canu’r Cymry: Detholiad o ganeuon gwerin (Welsh Folk Songs). Mae’r llyfr yma, a’r ail gyfrol, yn hanfodol i rywun sy’n tyfu fyny yn cystadlu mewn Eisteddfodau gan fod nifer iawn o’r darnau gosod yn dod allan ohonynt. Mae llawer o ganeuon gwerin Cymreig heddiw yn eithaf fyr – fel arfer 4 pennill o hyd, neu 3 pennill efo corws efallai. Maent yn ddigon fyr i’w chwarae ar y radio neu i feirniad eisteddfod cael eistedd trwyddo 15 gwaith mewn awr a hanner o ragbrofion!

Mae’r caneuon Saesneg cafodd eu casglu yn y 20fed ganrif yn aml efo 8,12 neu hyd yn oed 20 pennill. Mae’r baledi hir yma yn cael eu chwarae ar y radio (gweler versiwn Chris Wood o Lord Bateman sy’n para 8 munud) ac yn cael eu canu mewn sessiynau a chlybiau gwerin. Yn bersonnol, dwi weithiau’n diflasu efo’r caneuon hir yma, yn enwedig os nad ydy’r alaw yn un ddiddorol ac os nad ydy’r perfformiwr yn rhoi ameywiaeth ynddo. Dwi’n amau fod llawer o bennillion o ganeuon gwerin Cymreig wedi cael eu colli yn y broses hyn o gasglu, recordio a sgwennu lawr y caneuon roedd pobl yn canu yn y 20fed ganrif gan fod golygwyr llyfrau fel Canu’r Cymry eisiau gwneud i’r caneuon edrych yn fyr a hawdd i’w ddysgu. Mae Cân Dai’r Cantwr yn wahanol i lawr o ganeuon eraill o’r pryd – mae pob un o’i 8 pennill hir wedi eu cyhoeddi yn Canu’r Cymry. Pan dwi wedi perfformio’r gân yma yn Lloegr dwi wedi canu’r 4 pennill gyntaf yn unig rhag ofn i’r gwrandawyr diflasu ond dwi’n meddwl ddylwn ni cantorion gwerin Cymreig dod o hyd i fersiynau llawn o ganeuon gwerin a pherfformio nhw mwy.

Gwreiddiau

Wedi dweud taw Dai’r Cantwr ei hyn sydd wedi sgwennu’r geiriau mae golygwyr Canu’r Cymry, Phyllis Kinney a Meredydd Evans, yn cyflwyno elfen o amheuaeth am hyn. Cafodd Emrys Cleaver y gân yn y post gan y Parch Gomer M Roberts a dwedodd y Parch mewn llythyr ynglŷn a’r gân fod si taw rhywun o’r enw Edward Matthews o Ewenni oedd wedi sgwennu’r gân ar gyfer David Davies. Mae’n well gen i gredu taw Dai’r Cantwr ei hun ysgrifennodd y geiriau ond mae’n mwy realistig meddwl bod rhywun arall wedi bachu ar y cyfle i wneud ceinioig neu ddau allan o sgwennu cân mewn llais troseddwr adnabyddus.

Baled broadside ydy’r gân. Yr arferiad yn y 19fed ganrif oedd i ysgrifennu geiriau newydd ac i roi ar y taflen “i’w ganu ar yr alaw X” basau’n alaw oedd yn adnabyddus yn barod. Mae Cân Dai’r Cantwr yn cael ei ganu ar yr alaw Roslin Castle. Y tro cyntaf clywais ffrind o’r Alban, Fiona Robinson, yn chwarae’r alaw mewn sessiwn yn Durham roeddwn wedi synnu bod hi’n nabod alaw Gymreig. Wrth gwrs, roedd hi’n honi taw alaw traddodiadol Albaneg oedd hi. Mae lle o’r enw Roslin tu allan i Gaeredin felly mae’n debyg taw hi oedd yn iawn!

Ble nesaf

Yn ôl y llyfr Canu’r Cymry mae copiau o’r gân ar gael yn y gyfrolau canlynol:

Hen Faledi’r Ffair, Tegwyn Jones (Y Lolfa Cyf., Talybont, 1970)

Gallwch weld copi gwreiddiol o’r taflen ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth

Os gwyddwch am recordiad arall o’r gân gadewch sylw isod!

Patrick Dean o’r Foxglove Trio sy’n chwarae’r soddgrwth ar y recordiad yma.

Geiriau

Drych i fyd wyf i fod,
Collais glod allaswn gael,
Tost yw’r nod, dyrnod wael,
I’w gafael ddaeth â mi.
Yn fy i’enctid drygfyd ddaeth,
Yn lle rhyddid, caethfyd maith,
Chwanegwyd at fy ngofid;
Alltud wyf ar ddechrau ‘nhaith.

Caf fy nanfon o fy ngwlad,
Tŷ fy nhad, er codiad tirion,
I blith y duon gôr,
Dros y môr o’m goror gron.
O’r fath ddrycin imi ddaeth,
Alltud hir, gyr hyn fi’n gaeth
Dros ugain o flynyddoedd,
Tost y’wr modd, cystudd maith.

Can’ ffarwel i fy ngwlad
Annwyl fad, fu wrth fy modd.
Amal les ges ar goedd
Rhwng dy wych aberoedd di.
O ffarwel I Walia gron,
Ei dolydd glwys a’i llwyni llon,
Heb bryder gwn mae Prydain

Yw gardd y byd i gyd o’r bron.
Hil Gomer mwy ffarwel,
I dir Babel fe’m danfonir,
Dros yr heli mae fy nhaith
Arw, faith, Duw fo imi’n fur.
O ffarwel i rianedd glân,
Teca’u bryd a chroywa’u gra’n,
Er penyd mae poen anian,
Dirwyn mae Dewi i’r man.

Plas Tre-gof angof fydd,
Cystudd prudd I Ddafydd ddaeth,
Calon lwys droi’r yn llaith,
Wrth weld y fordaith bell.
Plwyf San Tathan, brasfan bro,
A Thregatwg, treulais dro,
A Phen-y-Bont ar Ogwr,
Ffafwr Duw fo ŷ’nt yn do.

Yn iach Forgannwg wych,
Sŵn dy glych, henffych i’th deulu,
Y fro a’th ddolydd glân,
Hafal fan I Eden fu.
Ffarwel Fynwy lon ei swyn,
O droedrhiw’r Clawdd yn hawdd caf gŵyn,
Tredegar a’i thrigolion,
Hylon fan, bu imi’n fwyn.

Dichon bydd rhai o’u bodd
Yn gofyn pwy yw y bardd,
Gwn nad oes dyn a wardd
Un a dardd o’n hannwyl dir.
O wlad Forgan wiwlan daeth
Yr impyn llon sy’n awr yn llaith
Yng ngharchar sir Gaerfyrddin,
Cur i’m cof, ryw’n eithaf caeth.

Llancarfan ydyw’r plwyf
Lle tarddodd neyf fy nhyfiant dynol,
Fe’m ganed yn Nhre-gof –
Ffwrdd y ffof, ‘ddoi byth yn ôl:
Rhof fy enw I chi’n driw,
David Davies hoenus yw.
Dymunwn i’m hiliogaeth
Hiroes faith uwch gwaith fy Nuw.

Dai the Singer’s Song

There are many Welsh folk songs called ‘Someone’s Song’ or ‘Somewhere’s song’. It’s similar to the practice in the rest of Britain of calling a tune ‘Morrison’s Jig’ or ‘John Ryan’s Polka’. The words of this song talk about the feelings anyone leaving home for a long time would experience. But, when you look at the title and the notes which accompany the song, we see that it this song was sung by a very specific character in Welsh history.

Dai'r Cantwr

Sketch of Dai’r Cantwr by John Wynne Hopkins, Chairman of Llanelli Community Heritage. From http://www.llanellich.org.uk

In 1839 – 43 life was getting more and more difficult for poor smallholders and land labourers because of a drop in the value of livestock and a rise in taxes. They were particularly concerned about the price of using toll gates which they had to use in order to take livestock to markets or even to take lime fertiliser to their fields. A group of men who were affected by these issues came together and they formed a mob to burn the tollgates – something tangible and physical which represented the oppression they felt they were experiencing. But what if someone recognised them and told the police who was involved? The first leader, Thomas Rees (Twm Carnabwth), came up with the idea of dressing up as women and putting soot on their faces as a disguise. This is how they came to be called Merched Beca (Rebecca’s Daughters). David Davies, or Dai’r Cantwr ( Dai the Singer c. 1812 – 1874), was one of Beca’s Daughters. He was caught and sent to prison in Carmarthen and was sentenced to be transported to Tasmania. It’s at this point that he wrote this song.

I discovered this song in a book called Canu’r Cymry: Detholiad o ganeuon gwerin (Welsh Folk Songs). This book, and the second volume (Canu’r Cymry II) were essential for anyone growing up competing in Eisteddfods as I did because the majority of competition set pieces came from them. Lots of Welsh folk songs today are quite short – usually 4 verses long, or perhaps 3 verses with a chorus. They’re short enough to play on the radio or for an Eisteddfod judge to be able to sit through 15 times in an hour and a half at a prelim!

English songs collected in the 20th century, by comparison, often have 8, 12 or even 20 verses. These long ballads are played on the radio (see Chris Wood’s version of Lord Bateman which is 8 minutes long) and are sung in sessions and folk clubs. I personally sometimes get a bit bored during these long songs, especially if the tune isn’t very interesting or if it isn’t performed with much variation. I suspect that a lot of Welsh folk song verse were lost in the 20th century process of collecting, recording and writing down the songs which people were singing at the time because editors of books like Canu’r Cymry wanted to make the songs look short and easy to learn. Cân Dai’r Cantwr is different from a lot of songs from the period – all 8 of its long verses are printed in Canu’r Cymry. When I perform this song in England I only sing the first 4 verses in case the listeners get bored but I think it’s time we Welsh folk singers started finding the full versions of folk songs and performing them more.

Origins

Having said that Dai’r Cantwr himself wrote these lyrics, the Canu’r Cymry editors, Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evans, introduce an element of doubt about this. Emrys Cleaver got this song in the post from Rev Gomer M Roberts and the vicar said in a letter about the song that there was a rumour that Edward Matthews from Ewenni wrote it for David Davies. I prefer to believe that Dai’r Cantwr wrote it himself but it’s more realistic to think that someone else seized the opportunity to make a penny or two by writing a song from the point of view of a well known criminal.

This song is a broadside ballad. In the 19th century lyrics were often written to well known tunes and the author would write “to be sung on the tune of X” on the sheet. Cân Dai’r Cantwr is sung on the melody Roslin Castle. The first time I heard a Scottish friend, Fiona Robinson, playing the tune at a session in Durham I was surprised that she knew a Welsh tune. Of course, she claimed that it was a traditional Scottish tune. There’s a place called Roslin just outside Edinburgh so it seems she was right after all!

Where next

According to the Canu’r Cymry book there are copies of the song available in:

Hen Faledi’r Ffair, Tegwyn Jones (Y Lolfa Cyf., Talybont, 1970)

You can see a copy of the original sheet in Swansea University

If you know of any other recordings of this song please leave a comment below!

Patrick Dean from The Foxglove Trio plays the cello on this recording.

Lyrics

If anyone would like to suggest any changes to this translation please leave a comment below.

I’m looking into a world which could have been,
I lost the praise I could have had,
It’s a sore ambition, a poor blow,
Has been dealt to me.
In my youth a bad world emerged,
Instead of freedom, a long imprisonment,
To add to my worry;
I’m exiled at the beginning of my journey

I’m being sent away from my country,
From my father’s house, where I had had a gentle upbringing,
To a dark core,
Over the sea from all borders I know.
O such foul weather came upon me,
A long exile, which will imprison me
For over twenty years,
Such severe means, a long affliction.

I sing farewell to my fair, dear country,
in which I was contented.
I’ve received many benefits from living
Between your wonderful estuaries.
O farewell to all of Wales,
Her holy meadows and happy groves,
Without a doubt I know that Britain
Is the garden of the whole wide world.

Farewell sons of Gomer,
I’m being sent to a Babel land,
My long, rough journey will take me over the oceans,
God will protect me.
O farewell to my pure maiden,
Her fair complexion,
Despite my penance I have an instinctive pain,
Dewi is winding his way towards the apointed place.

I will forget Tregof Hall, 
Dafydd was struck with a sad afflicition,
His heart becomes damp,  
At seeing the far sea-voyage.
Saint Athan's parish, a well-heeled area,
And Tregatwg, where I've spent some time,
And Bridgend 
I hope God will look favourably upon them.

In brilliant, healthy Morgannwg,
The sound of your bells, hail to your family,
The area and it's pure meadows
Are equal to Eden. 
Farewell Fynwy and its merry magic,
From Droedrhiw'r Clawdd I'll easily get a complaint,
Tredegar and its inhabitants, 
Is a place which has been gentle to me.

Perhaps some will be overjoyed
Asking who is the bard,
I know there is no man 
One who hails from my dear land. 
From worthy Glamorgan he came
The happy descendent who is now getting damp
In Carmarthen jail,
My memory aches, I am imprisoned. 

Llancarfan is the parish
Where my human growth began,
I was born in Tregof -
Away I'll go, I'll never come back:
I'll tell you my name truthfully
I'm joyous David Davies,
I wish my descendents 
Long lives, according to the work of my God. 

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