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Dal gaelico “Llwyn Onn”, diventato nella versione in inglese “The Ash Grove” è un brano tradizionale gallese dalla popolarissima melodia. La prima versione comparsa in stampa di “Llwyn Onn” è la melodia per arpa pubblicata nel 1802 in “The Bardic Museum of Primitive British Literature and Other Admirable Rarities” di Edward Jones. Ma la melodia risale probabilmente al 1600 essendo ripresa pari pari nel brano detto “Cease for funning” (The Beggar’s Opera 1728) il quale a sua volta sembra derivare da “Constant Billy” una Morris Dance già riportata nell’English dancing master” di John Playford.

Controverse le opinioni degli studiosi, alcuni ritengono che la melodia sia inglese altri che la matrice sia chiaramente da ascriversi all’antica tradizione bardica gallese “A “Mr. Richardson”, quoted in The Musical World of Jan. 4, 1873 (p. 10), does not agree, and says: The air is said to belong either to the county of Carmarthen or Glamorgan. Among other titles given to it was ‘Llewellyn’ in a ballad on that prince. Whether ‘Cease your funning’ was borrowed from ‘Llyn on’ or not, we know that it was brought to London by John Gray, from his native place in North Devon, which was frequently visited by Welsh harpers. The melody is a genuine specimen of Welsh music, of which many similar forms are to be found in our national airs. The peasantry, so I am informed, in that part of the county of North Devon, often sing snatches of ‘Llyn on,’ or ‘The ash grove’ but know nothing of it by the English title, ‘Cease your funning.’ ” (tratto da qui)


Su Mudcat leggiamo “Tune first published in Edward Jones’s “The Bardic Museum”, 1802. With words, in Bardd Alaw’s “Welsh Melodies with appropriate English Words”, 1809. Much later, patriotic words were written by the poet Talhaiarn (1810-1869), “Gogoniant i Gymru“, literally “Glory to Wales”, translated by the poet himself as “All hail to thee, Cambria, the land of my fathers”.qui) John Jones (1810-1869) noto con il nome bardico di Talhaiarn fu architetto e poeta gallese che collaborò con John Thomas e Thomas Oliphant nella stesura della poderosa raccolta “Welsh Melodies, With Welsh And English Poetry”

Talhaiarn (John Jones, 1810-1870)

Gogoniant i Gymru,
Anwylwlad fy nhadau,
Pe medrwn mawrygwn
Dy fawredd a’th fri;
Mae’r awen yn caru
Dy wedd a’th rinweddau,
Hoff fammaeth athrylith
A dewrder wyt ti;
Bu amser pan hoffai
T’wysogion dy delyn,
A’i sain a gyffroai
Wrolion y gâd.
I ruthro’n ddisymwth
Ar warchae y gelyn,
Gan ymladd dros rhyddid
A breintiau ein gwlad.

Fy henwlad fendigaid,
Mae anian yn urddo,
Pob mynydd a dyffryn,
Pob clogwyn a glyn!
Ac yspryd prydferthwch
A’i liw yn goleuo
Pob afon ac aber,
Pob llanerch a llyn;
Gwladgarwch a rhinwedd
Fendithiant dy enw,
Dy feibion a’th ferched
A garant dy fri;
Gorhoffedd dy feibion
Yw denu dy sylw —
Er gwaethaf pob gelyn
Ein testyn wyt ti.


All hail to thee, Cambria,
The land of my fathers,
I would I could make thee
Immortal in song.
Thy virtues the muse from
Thy history gathers,
Thou cradle of genius
And home of the strong.
The strains of thy minstrels
Were pure as thy fountains,
They hallowed thy glory,
Joy, sorrow and strife.
Thy proud-hearted warriors
Have roamed o’er thy mountains,
And fought in thy valleys
For freedom and life.

All hail to the country
Where nature discloses
Her charms in each valley
And heath-covered hill,
‘Mid scenes where the spirit
Of Beauty reposes
In dell, rock and mountain,
Lake, river, and rill;
Shall thy children disown thee
And leave thee to perish?
Or tarnish the glory
That circles thy fame?
No, no, — In their hearts thy
Bright forms they will cherish
And truth and affection
Will cling to thy name.

Le versioni testuali, tra gaelico e inglese sono tuttavia molte e finiscono per creare un po’ di confusione, per una panoramica qui

Inizio quindi con la melodia che viene interpretata come slow air.


ASCOLTA Robin Huw Bowen  in “Harp Music of Wales” uno dei più grandi maestri dell’arpa tripla gallese su Spotify

ASCOLTA Timothy Seaman aggiungo anche questa versione con l’hammered dulcimer (vedi) per far apprezzare la diversità del suono che talvolta viene confuso con quello dell’arpa

seconda parte

Pubblicato da Cattia Salto

folklorista delle Terre Celtiche

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