Caneuon Gwerin

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

Archive for the tag “National Library of Wales”

Mae William Ar Ȏl

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Er mwyn dod o hyd i ganeuon newydd ar gyfer y blog yma es am ddiwrnod yn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru yn Aberystwyth a diwrnod yn gwrando ar recordiadau yn archif Amgueddfa Werin Cymru yn Sain Ffagan. Roeddwn yn edrych yn arbennig am ganeuon Saesneg eu hiaith cafwyd eu casglu yng Nghymru – mae’n rhaid fod mwy o ganeuon Saesneg o Gymru ar gael na’r rhein sy’n cael eu canu ar y sîn ar hyn o’r bryd a dwi efo diddordeb mawr mewn dod o hyd iddynt. Roedd ambell i gân Saesneg diddorol yn Sain Ffagan ond, wrth wrando ar rai casglwyd oddi wrth Bertie Stephens, des o hyd i sawl cân Cymreig oedd yn newydd i mi a byddaf yn rhanu rhein gyda chi yn ystod y misoedd nesaf.

Ar ôl y diwrnod yn Sain Ffagan ‘Mae William Ar Ôl’ oedd gân oedd yn sownd yn fy mhen a felly dyma’r un penderfynnais ei ddysgu’n gyntaf. Dwi’n amau fod yr alaw yn perthyn i emyn dôn ond dwi ddim yn gwybod p’run – gadewch sylw isod os ydych chi’n gwybod! Canais y gân am y tro cyntaf yn sesiwn yn nafarn The Pineapple in Kentish Town, Llundain. Roedd y canwr Gavin Davenport yn bresennol a sylwodd bod yr alaw yn debyg i’r cân Saesneg My Barney (ferswin o My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean) gan Harry Clifton. Mae’r ddwy gân yn sôn am golli rhywun sydd wedi mynd i ffwrdd ond un o safbwynt y rhieni a’r llall o safbwynt y cariad. Gan fod nifer fawr o ganeuon gwerin am golli rhywun dwi’n meddwl taw cyd-ddigwyddiad yn unig yw’r tebygolrwydd yn y pwnc.

William ar ol

‘William’ by Judith Thomas

Yn recordiau Sain Ffagan enw’r gân oedd ‘Gadawodd ei Gartref Mewn Anfri’ ond dwi’n amau fod hyn oherwydd na soniodd Bertie am enw’r gân yn ystod y recordiad. Penderfynnais newid enw’r gân i adlewyrchu’r pwnc a’r geiriau yn well.

Mae’r geiriau yn greftus ac yn paentio ambell i sîn emossiynol iawn er enghraifft y golygfa o dad yn crio yn angladd ei wraig gan fod y fab ddim yno i fynd trwy’r profiad efo fo. Mae’r cân yn sôn am y poen mae rhieni, yn enwedig y tad yn yr achos yma, yn teimlo pan mae eu plant yn mynd i ffwrdd. Dydy hi ddim yn glîr pam mae’r bachgen wedi mynd i ffwrdd ar yr achlysur hwn.

Mae 4 theory gen i am pam mae William wedi mynd i ffwrdd:

  1. Mae o wedi gwneud rhywbeth i ddwyn gwarth ar ei deulu (“gadawodd ei gartref mewn anfri“) ac mae o’n rhedeg i ffwrdd. Mae’r rheini yn deall pam mae o’n meddwl fod rhaid iddo gadael ond dydyn nhw ddim eisiau iddo fynd.
  2. Mae o wedi torri’r gyfraith ac wedi cael ei alltudio. Mae hyn yn llai tebygol – doedd pobl ddim fel arfer yn dod nôl o gael eu alltudio felly basau’r rheini ddim yn aros am y llongau i ddod a’u mab yn ôl.
  3. Mae o wedi mynd i wneud ei ffortiwn yn rhywle fel America ac mae’r rhieni yn poeni bod rhywbeth wedi mynd o’i le gan fod William ddim wedi dod yn ôl eto a dyden nhw ddim wedi clywed ganddo. Mae sawl cân gwerin ar y pwnc yma, megis Deio Bach.
  4. Mae William wedi mynd i ffwrdd i’r rhyfel. Dyma’r esboniad mwyaf tebyg yn fy marn i yn bennaf gan fod y gair rhyfel yn cael ei grybwyll yn y pennill olaf. Hefyd, mae’r mamau yn yn aros i fechgyn dod yn ôl ar y llongau, nid teuluoedd sydd wedi bod yn byw tramor. Wrth i’r gân mynd yn ei flaen ac mae amser yn mynd heibio mae’r grandawr, fel y tad yn y gân, yn cymryd fod rhywbeth mawr wedi mynd o’i le i William a dyna pam mae’r tad yn y bennill olaf yn dymuno bod yn y nefoedd. Recordwyd Bertie yn y 1960au cynar felly mae’n gwneud synwyr yn hanesyddol i gân am fechgyn i mynd i ryfel fod yn boblogaidd ar y pryd.

Dywedodd Bertie Stephens ar y tâp fod o ddim yn cofio o ble daeth y gân ond roedd o’n ifanc pan glywodd y gân yn gyntaf. Dywedodd mewn cyfweliad arall bod o byth yn sgwennu caneuon i lawr ond bod o’n dysgu popeth wrth gôf, gan amlaf roedd dim ond angen iddo clywed y gân un waith er mwyn iddo gallu dysgu hi. Hoffwn i’n fawr taswn i’n gallu dysgu caneuon efo cyn lleied o ymdrech!

Ble nesaf?

Hyd y gwn i does neb wedi recordio’r geiriau hyn heb law am Bertie Stephens. Gallwch clywed Bertie trwy ymweld â’r archif sain yn Amgueddfa Werin Cymru yn Sain Ffagan!

Yr unig peth sydd ar y wê sy’n perthyn i’r gân yma yw tudalen ar amazon sy’n cynnig “Mae William ar ol. Yn y ddau nodiant. Y cyfeiliant gan Pencerdd Peris [Unknown Binding]” gan yr awdur John Owen. Yn ôl y dudalen cafodd ei argraffu a’i chyhoeddi gan Gwmni’r Wasg Genedlaethol Gymreig yn 1910. Dwi’n meddwl taw pamffled 3 tudalen basau hwn mewn steil yr hen faledi ‘broadside’. Wrth edrych ar y dyddiadu mae’n digon posib bod Bertie wedi clywed rhywun yn canu’r gân allan o’r bamffled hwn pan oedd o’n ifanc.

Gadwech i mi wybod isod os gwyddoch chi ble mae recordiad neu argraffiad o’r gân ar gael!

Diolch

Diolch i Emma Lile o Amgueddfa Werin Cymru am helpu fi dod o hyd i ganeuon Saesneg a dangos i mi sut i ddefnyddio’r archif sain.

William is Left

William ar ol

‘William’ by Judith Thomas

In order to find new songs for this blog I spent a day in the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and another listening to archive recordings at the National History Museum at St Fagans, near Cardiff. I was particularly looking for English language songs which had been collected in Wales – there must be more English language songs from Wales out there than those which are in the Welsh folk repertoire at the moment and I’m really keen to find them! There were a few interesting English songs in St Fagans but, when listening to some collected from Bertie Stephens, I came across several Welsh language songs which I hadn’t heard before and which I will be sharing here in the coming months.

After my day in St Fagans ‘Mae William Ar Ôl’ (‘William is Left’ or, more literally, ‘It’s William who is Left’) was the song going round and round in my head so this is the song I chose to learn first. I have a feeling the tune is related to a hymn tune but I can’t think which – leave a comment below if you know! I sang the song for the first time at the session I attend at The Pineapple pub in Kentish Town, London. The folk singer Gavin Davenport was there and he commented that the tune is similar to the English song My Barney (a version of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean) written by Harry Clifton. Both songs are about missing someone who’s gone away but one is sung from the point of view of the parents and the other from the lover’s. As there are numerous folk songs lamenting the loss of a loved one I think the similarity in the topic is probably just a coincidence.

In the St Fagans records the song is called ‘He Left His Home in Disrepute’ but I suspect this is just because Bertie didn’t give it a specific name when it was recorded. I decided to change the name to reflect the subject and the refrain better.

The words are well crafted and paint some very emotional scenes such as the moment when we see a father crying at his wife’s funeral because his son isn’t there to experience it alongside him. The song talks about the pain parents, especially the father in this instance, go through when their children go away. In this case it’s not clear why the boy has gone away.

I’ve got 4 theories about why William left home:

  1. He did something to bring shame upon his family (“he left his family in disrepute“) and he’s running away. The parents understand why he feels he needs to leave but don’t want to him to go.
  2. He’s broken the law and is being exiled. This is less likely – people rarely returned after being exiled so his parents wouldn’t be waiting for a ship to bring him home.
  3. He’s gone to try and make his fortune somewhere like America and the parents are worried that something terrible has happened to him because he hasn’t come home and they haven’t heard from him. There are lots of songs on this topic, such as Deio Bach.
  4. He’s gone to fight in a war. In my opinion this is the most likely explanation, mostly because the word war is mentioned in the last verse. Also, the mothers are waiting for their boys to return on the ships for families who might have been living abroad. As the song progresses and time passes the listener, like the father, assumes that something very bad has happened William which explains why the father wishes to be in heaven in the last verse. Bertie was recorded in the early 1960s so it makes historical sense that a song about boys going to war would be popular at the time.

Bertie said on the tape that he couldn’t remember where he got the song from but he knew he was young when he first heard it. He said in another interview that he never wrote songs down as he remembered everything by memory. He usually only had to hear a song once before he’d learnt it himself. I wish I could learn songs so effortlessly!

Where next?

As far as I’m aware no one has recorded these words apart from Bertie Stephens. You can hear him by visiting the sound archive in the National History Museum at St Fagans!

The only item I can find on the internet about this song is a page on amazon which offers (in translation) “Mae William ar ol. In the two forms of notation [sol fa and modern five stave notation]. Accompaniment by Pencerdd Peris. [Unknown Binding]” which is written by John Owen. According to the page it was published and printed by the National Welsh Press Company in 1910. I think this would have been a 3 page pamphlet in the broadside ballad style. From looking at the dates it’s possible that Bertie heard someone singing the song from this pamphlet when he was young.

Please tell me below if you know where other recordings or copies of the song is available!

Thank you

Thank you to Emma Lile from the National History Museum for helping me find English songs and showing me how to use the sound archive.

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