Caneuon Gwerin

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

Archive for the tag “Myn mair”

Myn Mair

[scroll down for English]

Gan ein bod ni dipyn o’r ffordd mewn i adfent yn barod dwi’n teimlo y ddylwn i fod yn sgwennu am gân Plygain. Yn anffodus dwi ddim wedi cael y cyfle i recordio carol Plygain tri llais eto ond dwi’n gobeithio gwneud yr erthygl nesaf ar gân Plygain adnabyddus. Yn lle, dyma gân sydd yn ymddangos mewn rhai llyfrau Plygain (megis Hen Garolau Cymru: 60 o Garolau Plygain gan Arfon Gwilym a Sioned Webb) ond sydd, yn fy marn i, ddim yn gân Plygain go iawn. Rydym yn meddwl amdani fel gân Plygain oherwydd ei bod hi’n dod o’r oes cywir ac yn gân grefyddol a Phabyddol. Ond mae pwrpas y gân yn wahanol i’r caneuon Plygain arferol.

Candle

Canwyll. Gan @Kkalyan ar flick

Byddaf yn egluro mwy am y draddodiad Plygain y tro nesaf ond, yn fras, mae carolau Plygain yn cael eu canu adeg Nadolig er mwyn dathlu geni Crist (fel carolau Nadolig pob diwylliant!) ond hefyd er mwyn meddwl am ymhlygiadau o fywyd a marwolaeth Iesu. Yn aml maen’t yn efengylaidd ac yn ganeuon mawr swmpus sy’n cael eu canu efo balchder a lleisiau uchel.

Mae Myn Mair yn wahanol – mae’n gân mewnblyg, trist a theimladwy sy’n cael ei ganu o safbwynt galarwr. Mae’r alarwr yn cynnig popeth gallai – arian, canwyllion a gweddion – er mwyn achub enaid ei ffrind / cariad felly mae pwrpas y gân yn wahanol i’r ganeuon Plygain arferol. Am ryw reswm dwi wastad yn dychmygu taw merch ifanc sy’n canu’r gân a bod ei gŵr wedi cael ei ladd mewn rhyfel a bod y merch ddim yn mynd i gael ei gorff yn ôl i’w gladdu. Mae’r nodiadau yng nghefn Canu’r Cymry II gan Phyllis Kinney a Meredydd Evans yn awgrymu rhywbeth ychydig llai rhamantus…

Gwreiddiau

Yn ôl Canu’r Cymry II cafodd Myn Mair ei gasglu gan Myra Evans o Geinewydd, Ceredigion. Roedd hi wedi dysgu’r gân oddi wrth ei hendaid Daniel Williams, hefyd o Geinewydd, a dwedodd o bod y gân arfer cael ei ganu mewn achlysuron ‘gwylnos’, sef y noson cyn angladd. Mae hwn yn awgrymu bod y cân yn cael ei ganu gan ffrindiau, nid partneriad torcalonus yn unig.

Mae’r geiriau yn gwneud hi’n amlwg taw gân Babyddol yw hi ac mae hi felly yn dyddio nôl i’r adegau cyn y diwygiad Protestanaidd yn y 16fed ganrif. Rydym hefyd yn gwybod bod hyn yn gân Babyddol gan fod Daniel Williams wedi dweud wrth mam Myra i beidio canu’r gân neu bydd y ddau ohonynt yn cael eu taflu allan o’r capel roeddent yn mynychu!

Ble nesaf

Gallwch dod o hyd i’r geiriau yn:
Hen Garolau Cymru: 60 o Garolau Plygain gan Arfon Gwilym a Sioned Webb, Cwmni Cyhoeddi Gwynn, 2006
Caneuon Traddodiadol y Cymry / Traditional Songs of the Welsh gan Arfon Gwilym, Cwmni Cyhoeddi Gwynn, 2006
Canu’r Cymry II: Detholiad o Ganeuon Gwerin (Welsh Folk Songs) gan Phyllis Kinney a Meredydd Evans, Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, 1997.

Mae ychydig o gorau yn canu gosodiad clasurol o’r gân:
Cantorian Cywrig, 101 o Garolau, Sain, 2010
Cor Coleg Sant Ioan Caergrawnt (conductor George Guest), Sain, 1988

Ychydig o flynyddoedd yn ôl gwneaeth Rhys Mwyn, cyn gerddor pync, penderfynnu archwilio i’w gefndir cerddorol (mae’n dod yn wreiddiol o Lanfair Caereinion ym Maldwyn lle mae’r traddodiad Plygain dal yn gryf). Aeth i sawl gwasanaeth Plygain a gwnaeth rhaglen deledu ynglŷn â’r traddodiad. Yn ogystal, gwahoddodd nifer o gantorion gwerin cyfoes Cymru i ail-drefnu a recordio fersiynnau newydd o ganeuon Plygain. 9Bach cafodd y fraint o wneud Myn Mair:
9Bach, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Plygain, Anhrefn Records, 2010

Fel arfer dwi’n hoff iawn o fandiau cyfoes yn chwarae o gwmpas efo caneuon gwerin, yn ychwanegu alawon newydd ac yn defnyddio offerynnau sydd ddim yn draddodiadol i ddehongli’r hen ganeuon mewn ffyrdd newydd. Ond am ryw reswm, efallai gan fy mod i wedi tyfu fyny yn mynychu gwasauthau Plygain traddodiadol, mae’n well gen i berfformiadau o ganeuon Plygain sy’n ddigyfeiliant ac heb ormod o addurniad, megis rhein:
Meredydd Evans, Merêd, Sain, 2010
Elin Manahan Thomas, In Memoriam: Music for Funerals, WMC Records, 2007 – gwrandewch ger youtube

Geiriau

Fy hatling offrymaf dros enaid dan glo,
Fy nghanwyll gyflwynaf yn eglwys y fro,
‘R offeren weddïa’ saith seithwaith yn daer
Er cadw ei enaid anfarwol, Myn Mair.
Myn Mair, Myn Mair.

Sant Pawl a Sant Peder, holl seintiau y nef,
A Mair, Mam y Duwdod, eiriolwch yn gref
Dros iddo gael heddwch, a gwerthfawr ryddhad,
Paradwys agored, a breichiau ei Dad.
Myn Mair, Myn Mair.

Mam Iesu’r brydferthaf o ferched y byd,
Morwynig Frenhines y nefoedd i gyd,
Dlos lili y dyffryn, gwiw rosyn y nef,
Eiriolwch dros enaid fy nghyfaill yn gref.
Myn Mair, Myn Mair.

Nodyn bach ar Trad2Mad

Efallai byddwch wedi sylwi fy mod i’n cyflwyno’r fideo uchod trwy dweud rhywbeth am “Trad2Mad”. Dyma gystadleuaeth wych sy’n cael ei redeg gan Clwb Gwerin Islington yn Llundian. I gymryd rhan mae’n rhaid recordio eich hyn yn canu cân ddigyfeiliant – unrhywbeth o gân draddodiadol (trad) hyd at gân ychydig yn ddoniol neu wallgof (mad) – a’i roi ar youtube. Mae’n gystadleuaeth mor dda achos gall unrhywun cymryd rhan o unrhywle yn y byd. Dwi wedi cymryd rhan am y dair mlynedd dwethaf, yn rhannol gan bod hi’n esgus da i ddysgu a recordio cân sy’n newydd i mi, ond dyma’r tro cyntaf i mi ganu cân Cymreig. Basau’n dda gweld mwy o gystadleuwyr o Gymru yn 2014!

In Mary’s Name

As we’re a fair way into advent already I feel I should write about a Plygain song. Unfortunately I haven’t yet had a chance to record a three part Plygain carol but I’m hoping to do the next article on a well known Plygain song. Instead, here’s a song which appears in some Plygain books (such as Hen Garolau Cymru: 60 o Garolau Plygain by Arfon Gwilym) but which, in my opinion, isn’t really a Plygain song. We think of it as a Plygain song because it comes from the right period and because it has religious and Catholic lyrics. But the purpose of the song is different from that of the typical Plygain song.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

Mary by @Raymond Brown via flickr

I’ll explain more about the Plygain tradition next time but, briefly, Plygain carols are sung at Christmas time to celebrate the birth of Christ (as with every culture’s Christmas carols!) but also to think about the implications of Jesus’ life and death. Often the lyrics are evangelistic and they are big songs which are sung proudly in loud voices.

Myn Mair is different – it’s an introverted, sad and poignant song which is sung by a mourner. The mourner offers everything – money, candles and prayers – in order to save the soul of their friend / lover so the purpose of the song is very different from the usual Plygain songs. For some reason I always imagine the song to be sung from the point of view of a young woman whose husband has been killed in a war and that she won’t be getting his body back to bury him. The notes in the back of Canu’r Cymry II by Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evans suggest something a little less romantic…

Origins

According to Canu’r Cymry II, Myn Mair was collected from Myra Evans from Newquay, Ceredigion. She’d learnt the song from her great-grandfather Daniel Williams, also from Newquay, who said that the song used to be sung in ‘gwylnos’ evenings (a vigil, literally ‘night festival’) the night before a funeral. This implies that it was often sung by friends, not just heartbroken partners.

The lyrics make it obvious that this is a Catholic song so it dates back to the times before the 16th century Protestant reformation. We also know it’s a Catholic song because Daniel Williams told Myra’s mother that they shouldn’t sing it or they’d both be thrown out of the chapel they belonged to!

Lyrics

I’ve translated the title as In Mary’s Name although this isn’t strictly what it means. Other people translate the song as ‘O Mary’ which I think sounds a little weak for such a powerful song. Others, including Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evans, translate is as ‘By Mary’ because ‘myn’ is used in expressions such as ‘myn Duw’ (the equivalent of ‘by Jove’). However the word ‘mynnu’ in Welsh means to insist so I think Myn Mair literally means ‘I insist on it Mary’, which isn’t a very poetic title. If anyone can offer a better translation I’d be interested in hearing it!

My half farthing I offer for a soul in prison,
My candle I present in the district church,
The Mass I’ll pray earnestly, seven times seven,
To save his immortal soul, O Mary.
O Mary, O Mary.

St. Paul and St. Peter, all the saints of heaven,
And Mary, God’s Mother, plead strongly
That he may have peace and precious relief,
Paradise open, and the arms of his Father.
O Mary, O Mary.

Mother of Jesus, the most beautiful of earth’s women,
Maidenly Queen of all of the heavens,
Lovely lily of the valley, worthy rose of heaven,
Intercede strongly for the soul of my friend.
O Mary, O Mary.

Where next

You can find the lyrics and tune printed in:
Hen Garolau Cymru: 60 o Garolau Plygain by Arfon Gwilym and Sioned Webb, Cwmni Cyhoeddi Gwynn, 2006
Caneuon Traddodiadol y Cymry / Traditional Songs of the Welsh by Arfon Gwilym, Cwmni Cyhoeddi Gwynn, 2006
Canu’r Cymry II: Detholiad o Ganeuon Gwerin (Welsh Folk Songs) by Phyllis Kinney and Meredydd Evans, Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, 1997.

A few choirs sing a classical arrangement:
Cantorian Cywrig, 101 o Garolau, Sain, 2010
Cor Coleg Sant Ioan Caergrawnt (conductor George Guest), Sain, 1988

A few years ago Rhys Mwyn, the former punk musician, decided to research his musical background (he comes from Llanfair Caereinion in Montgomeryshire where the Plygain tradition is still very strong). He went to several Plygain services and make a TV programme about the tradition. He also invited some contemporary Welsh folk musicians to rearrange and record new versions of Plygain songs. 9Bach had the privilege of doing Myn Mair:
9Bach, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Plygain, Anhrefn Records, 2010

I usually really like it when contemporary bands play around with folk songs, adding new tunes and using non-traditional instruments to interpret the old songs in new ways. But, for some reason, perhaps because I grew up attending traditional Plygain services, I prefer Plygain songs to be performed unaccompanied and with minimal ornamentation, such as these:
Meredydd Evans, Merêd, Sain, 2010
Elin Manahan Thomas, In Memoriam: Music for Funerals, WMC Records, 2007 – listen via youtube

A note about Trad2Mad

You might have noticed that I introduce the video above by saying something about “Trad2Mad”. This is a great competition which is run by Islington Folk Club in London. To take part you record yourself singing an unaccompanied song – anything from a traditional song (trad) to something a little more humorous or crazy (mad) – and put it on youtube. It’s a good competition because anyone can take part from anywhere in the world. I’ve entered three times, partly because it’s a good excuse to learn and record a new song, but this is the first time I’ve entered with a Welsh song. It would be great to see more competitors from Wales in 2014!

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