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GWILYM BOWEN RHYS - Detholiad O Hen Faledi 

GWILYM BOWEN RHYS - Detholiad O Hen Faledi 
Erwydd Records ER001 

Subtitled A Selection Of Old Welsh Ballads, this recording follows an intriguing and enjoyable path through Welsh song ranging back to the 18th century and coming through to the 21st. The subject matter ranges from the tragedy of Yr Eneth Gadd Ei Gwrthod (The Rejected Maiden) to the comedy of Wrth Ddyfod o’r Gwyl Mabsant (a “coming home from the fair” song) and covers a broad gamut of human experience. A couple of songs are macaronic – a slight help to those of us with little or no Welsh. All are expressively and very well sung by one of the best singers in the Welsh language, so there’s a pleasure in the listening, however challenged one is Welsh-wise.

Nearly all the songs have known composers, including one (very clever and amusing) offering from the well-known Jac Glan-y-Gors as well as other writers from across a two century timespan, and in this respect the tradition has similarities with that of the Outer Hebrides, where songs are still being composed in the traditional style. There’s an interesting (Welsh) version of The Farmer’s Boy, and even one song with an Irish air more commonly associated with Nell Flaherty’s Drake.

As a listening experience, I enjoyed it very much, and it could be just the spur I need to get on with learning a bit more Welsh!

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.