Wales and the Welsh national Anthem
He does his best Chwarae teg iddo ef
More music by Tom Jones
The banks of the Rhondda
The National Anthem of Wales, established by a long tradition, is “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau” Literally “The old country of my fathers.” Though it is usually translated as “Land of my Fathers”
The melody was composed in 1856 by James James a harpist who owned a pub in Pontypridd. Pontypridd is a town at the southern end of the Rhondda valley in south Wales. Pontypridd is also the hometown of the famous modern Welsh singer Tom Jones.
As a member of the Welsh Gorsedd of bards James James was also known by his Bardic name of Iago ap Ieuan. The lyrics were written by his father Evan James, a weaver and a poet. James would play his harp in his pub and it was there that the melody was first heard. Originally it was called “Glan Rhondda” (The Banks of the Rhondda) It began to gain popularity outside Pontypridd when Elizabeth John went to the town of Maesteg and sang it in the vestry of a Chapel. In that chapel, Capel Tabor, was the first true public performance of the Welsh national Anthem..
Land of my Fathers
One of the unique features of Wales is the Eisteddfod, a gathering of poets singers and musicians. At the Eisteddfod in Llangollen in 1858 Thomas Llewellyn, his Bardic name was Eos Morlais, from the town of Aberdare won a competition for an unpublished collection of Welsh songs. His publication, titled “Gems of Welsh melody” contained Glan Rhondda renamed “Hen Wlad fy Nhadau” a phrase taken from the first line of the song. From that time on the tune increased in popularity throughout Wales. It was sang at patriotic events and today is recognized as the national Anthem of Wales. It is sung at local and national events including the opening of the Welsh Assembly. Usually only the first verse and chorus are sung. Though at special occasions, especially where national pride is involved, the whole song can be heard.
Y Pennod Cyntaf (The first verse)
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi, Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri; Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd, Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.
(Cytgan - Chorus)
Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad. Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau, O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.
Yr Ail Pennod (Second verse)
Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd, Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd; Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.
(Cytgan - Chorus)
Y Trydydd Pennod (Third verse)
Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed, Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed, Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad, Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.
(Cytgan - Chorus)
The old land of my fathers is dear to me, Land of poets and singers, famous men of honor; Her brave warriors, very good patriots, For freedom shed their blood.
Country, Country, I pledge to my Country. While the sea [is] a wall to the pure, most loved land, O may the old language endure.
Old mountainous Wales, paradise of the bard, Every valley, every cliff, to me is beautiful. Through patriotic feeling, so charming is the murmur Of her brooks, rivers, to me.
If the enemy oppresses my land under his foot, The old language of the Welsh is as alive as ever. The inspiration is not hindered by the awful hand of treason, Nor [is] the melodious harp of my country
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