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Posts Tagged ‘Welsh music’

Today I thought I would share this classic Welsh song “Ti a dy ddoniau” (You and your skills), written by comedian and singer/songwriter/actor Ryan Davies. Ryan formed part of a comedy duo with fellow actor Ronnie Williams. They were popular on Welsh language TV in the 1970s, “Ryan a Ronnie” (Ryan and Ronnie) became so popular that it was transferred to an English language version. I remember watching both Welsh and English versions as a child.

Ryan (1937-1977) was born in Glanaman in Carmarthenshire (west Wales), and first performed professionally at the National Eisteddfod in 1966. “Ti a dy ddoniau” is my favourite Ryan Davies song, although it is possibly not his most famous. He is considered one of the giants of Welsh language TV entertainment, there is a bust of him in the foyer of the BBC studios in Llandaf (Cardiff) which I have seen many times on my visits there to do astronomy interviews.

Ryan Davies (1937-1977) was a Welsh actor, singer and comedian.  He was born in Glanaman in west Wales. He is best known for his TV comedy series "Ryan a Ronnie" (Ryan and Ronnie). He was also an accomplished singer and songwriter.

Ryan Davies (1937-1977) was a Welsh actor, singer, songwriter and comedian. He was born in Glanaman in west Wales. He is best known for his TV comedy series “Ryan a Ronnie” (Ryan and Ronnie). He was also an accomplished singer and songwriter. This is the cover of one of his CDs.

“Ti a dy ddoniau” is clearly written by a man who is very bitter. Lied to, made a fool of and hurt, the man is lashing back. Ryan himself married his childhood sweetheart and they remained married throughout his life; so I can only assume that he did not write these wonderful lyrics from personal experience. 

Here are the lyrics of “Ti a dy ddoniau”.

O ble gest ti’r ddawn o dorri calonne?
O ble gest ti’r ddawn o ddweud y celwyddau?
Ac o ble gest ti’r wên a’r ddau lygad bach tyner?
Ac o ble gest ti’r tinc yn dy lais?

Os mai hyn oedd dy fwriad, i’m gwneud i yn ffŵl,
Wel do, mi lwyddaist, mi lwyddaist yn llawn.
Ond yr hyn rwyf am wybod yn awr,
Dwed i mi, o dwed i mi,
Ble gest ti’r ddawn?

Rwy’n cofio fel ddoe ti yn dweud, “Cara fi nawr”
A minnau yn ateb fel hyn, “Caraf di nawr”.
Ond mae ddoe wedi mynd a daeth heddiw yn greulon,
Ac o ble, ac o ble, ble rwyt ti?

Os mai hyn oedd dy fwriad, i’m gwneud i yn ffŵl,
Wel do, mi lwyddaist, mi lwyddaist yn llawn.
Ond yr hyn rwyf am wybod yn awr,
Dwed i mi, o dwed i mi,
Ble gest ti’r ddawn?

Here is my attempt at a translation. As usual, I have gone for a literal translation, with no attempt to retain any rhythm or rhyme.

From where did you get the skill to break hearts?
From where did you get the skill to tell your lies?
And from where did you get that smile and those two sweet tender eyes?
And from where did you get the lilt in your voice?

If this was your intention, to make me a fool,
Well yes, you succeeded, you succeeded completely.
But what I want to know now,
Tell me, oh tell me,
From where did you get the skill?

I remember like yesterday your saying “Love me now”
And my answering like this, “I will love you now”.
But yesterday has gone and today has come cruelly,
Oh from where, oh from where did you get the skill?

If this was your intention, to make me a fool,
Well yes, you succeeded, you succeeded completely.
But what I want to know now,
Tell me, oh tell me,
From where did you get the skill?

I could not find a video on YouTube of Ryan performing this song, although there are versions sung by other artists. So, I have created this video, which is the definitive version; Ryan singing it with his longtime comedy and entertainment partner Ronnie. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Ryan Davies song?

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Today I thought I would blog about this beautiful song (hymn), “Dros Gymru’n Gwlad” (For Wales, our country), written by the Reverend Lewis Valentine, and here performed by Dafydd Iwan. It is sometimes referred to as Wales’ second national anthem. This version of the song is, in fact, entitled “Gweddi Dros Gymru” (A Prayer for Wales) by Dafydd Iwan; but it is the same song, just with a different (and maybe more apt) title.



"Gweddi dros Gymru"  (Pryaer for Wales) appeared in Dafydd Iwan's album "Gwinllan a Roddwyd" (A vineyard was given).

“Gweddi dros Gymru” (Prayer for Wales) appeared on Dafydd Iwan’s 1986 album “Gwinllan a Roddwyd” (A vineyard was given).



I will blog next week about who Lewis Valentine was, because he holds a particular place in Welsh history for an act of defiance he committed in 1936 along with DJ Williams and Saunders Lewis. But, today I will just concentrate on this song/hymn.
“Dros Gymru’n Gwlad” is usually set to the tune of Sibelius’ Finlandia, as it is in the video I include below.

Here are the words (in Welsh)


Dros Gymru’n gwlad, O! Dad dyrchafwn gri,
Y winllan wen a roed i’n gofal ni;
D’amddiffyn cryf a’i cadwo’n ffyddlon byth,
A boed i’r gwir a’r glân gae1 ynddi nyth;
Er mwyn dy Fab a’i prynodd iddo’i hun,
O! crea hi yn Gymru ar dy lun.

O! deued dydd pan fo awelon Duw
Yn chwythu eto dros ein herwau gwyw,
A’r crindir cras dan ras cawodydd nef
Yn erddi Crist, yn ffrwythlon iddo Ef;
A’n heniaith fwyn â gorfoleddus hoen
Yn seinio fry haeddiannau’r Addfwyn Oen.


And now for my translation. As always, I am not going to attempt to retain any rhyme or meter, just translate the words as best I can; so that you get the meaning of what Lewis Valentine was trying to say in his song/hymn.


For Wales our country, O Father I raise a wail,
This pure vineyard which was given to us to care for;
May You protect it vigorously and keep it forever faithful,
And let the true and the pure find in her a nest;
For your Son who bought it for himself,
Oh! create a Wales in Your image.

Oh! Let there come a day when the breezes of God
Are once again blowing over our wilted acres,
And the awful wasteland under the grace of showers from heaven
Gardens of Christ, fruitful to Him;
And her old sweet language with a cheerful vigour
Ringing out on high, the deserves of the Gentle Lamb.


Here is an alternative translation which I found. It is far more poetic and less clumsy than mine, but less true to what Lewis Valentine was actually saying in his lyrics.


For Wales our land O Father hear our prayer,
This blessed vineyard granted to our care;
May you protect her always faithfully,
And prosper here all truth and purity;
For your Son’s sake who bought us with His blood,
O make our Wales in your own image Lord.

O come the day when o’er our barren land
Reviving winds blow sent from God’s own hand,
As grace pours down on parched and arid sand
We will bear fruit for Christ by his command,
Come with one voice and gentle vigour sing
The virtues of our gentle Lamb and King


Here is a video I have created on YouTube of Dafydd Iwan’s version of this song/hymn.




Had you heard of this song before?

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It’s been a while since I posted a Welsh-language song, so today I thought I would share this beautiful song by Meic Stevens – “Lan a Lawr” (Up and Down). There are many things I love about this song, including its simplicity and the enchanting duetting with Heather Jones in the chorus.



Meic Stevens' song "Lan a Lawr" (Up and Down) was on his album 1979 album.

Meic Stevens’ song “Lan a Lawr” (Up and Down) was on his 1979 album “Caneuon Cynnar” (Early Songs).



The song appeared on Meic Stevens’ album “Caneuon Cynnar” (Early Songs), which was released in 1979. I bought this album (on vinyl) around that time, here are my photos of the front and back of the album.



The front cover of my copy of Meic Stevens' 1979 album "Caneuon Cynnar" (Early Songs)

The front cover of my copy of Meic Stevens’ 1979 album “Caneuon Cynnar” (Early Songs)





The back cover of "Caneuon Cynnar".

The back cover of “Caneuon Cynnar”.



The song is also included on the Meic Stevens compilation “disgwyl rhywbeth gwell i ddod” (expecting something better to come), which I can see is available both at Amazon and on iTunes. According to the sleeve notes on “Caneuon Cynnar”, this song “Lan a Lawr” was first recorded at the BBC studios in Cardiff in 1969.

I haven’t been able to find the lyrics anywhere (either online or on the original record), so this is my best attempt to transcribe what Meic Stevens is singing. Although I adore his voice, he doesn’t always have the clearest diction; so I may have made a few mistakes. If you spot any, please let me know and I will correct them.


Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.
Yn yr awyr, ar y llawr.
Mi welaf fam y ddirgel hardd.
Aur yr heulwen, dŵr y wawr.
Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.

Beth yw’r llais mor swynol?
Sy’n canu yn y cwm?
‘Chlywais gân mor esmwyth.
Mae gen i’r galon drom.

Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.
Yn yr awyr, ar y llawr.
Mi welaf fam y ddirgel hardd.
Aur yr heulwen, dŵr y wawr.
Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.

Es yn fore tua’r coed.
Mi welais afon las.
O dan y dail rhyw frenin mawr.
Bwyta gyda’i was.

Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.
Yn yr awyr, ar y llawr.
Mi welaf fam y ddirgel hardd.
Aur yr heulwen, dŵr y wawr.
Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.

Edrychais yn yr afon.
A rhwng y cerrig crwn.
Llysywen wen fel arian.
A seren ar ei bron.

Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.
Yn yr awyr, ar y llawr.
Mi welaf fam y ddirgel hardd.
Aur yr heulwen, dŵr y wawr.
Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.

Lan a lawr, lan a lawr.


Here is my attempt at a translation. If you find any mistakes in my translation (or have suggestions for a better English wording), again please let me know.


Up and down, up and down.
In the air. On the ground.
I see the mother of the handsome secret.
Gold of sunlight, water of the dawn.
Up and down, up and down.

What is the so melodious voice?
Which is sining in the valley.
I have never heard such a smooth song.
I have such a heavy heart.

Up and down, up and down.
In the air. On the ground.
I see the mother of the handsome secret.
Gold of sunlight, water of the dawn.
Up and down, up and down.

I went early to the woods.
I saw a fresh river.
Under the leaves some kind of important king.
Eating with his servant.

Up and down, up and down.
In the air. On the ground.
I see the mother of the handsome secret.
Gold of sunlight, water of the dawn.
Up and down, up and down.

I looked in the river.
And between the round stones.
A white eel like silver.
And a star on her breast.

Up and down, up and down.
In the air. On the ground.
I see the mother of the handsome secret.
Gold of sunlight, water of the dawn.
Up and down, up and down.

Up and down, up and down.


Here is a video that I have created of this beautiful song. Enjoy!





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